The idea of God is very fundamental to the human view of the cosmos. It lays the foundation for all but one view of the cosmos (agnosticism, which is essentially admitting no specific view) and deserves special attention before any view of the cosmos is addressed. Rather than writing a series that you must read from first to last, I’ve decided to write about this topic in a collection of blog posts that will likely make a comparative analyses or focus in on a particular belief.
All belief systems are based on one of three different views of “God” (in this case, “God” refers to the origin or originator of all things): pantheistic (God and the universe are one and the same), panentheistic (God and the universe are connected by separate in some way), and theistic (God and the universe are entirely separate, independent entities). The primary sub-quality of each of these is the belief in how much the cosmos is physical and how much is beyond the physical. For example, atheism is pantheistic, but this says nothing about how much the universe contains some extra dimension beyond what is observable by scientific apparati. Physicalists would say that the physical universe is all that there is, and while physicalists are definitely atheists, being atheist does not necessarily make you a physicalist.
Within these broad categories, there are number of diverging beliefs about “God”. Perhaps the most argued facets of “God” are in regards to or because of the idea that God has a personality – a free will, perhaps something resembling emotions, an ability to design, and so forth – and, assuming that is the case, what that personality is. After all, from these things, all other ideas about God seem to be derived. Naturally, atheists would argue that the universe (and therefore God, by virtue of their pantheism) is emotionless with no free will whatsoever. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the ancient Greeks may have argued that God (or rather, the gods) all possessed flawed human-like personalities.
Another argued issue with God is whether or not their needs to be some kind of beginning to the universe. For physicalists, the fact that the universe, if stellar trajectories are mathematically extrapolated backwards, must have begun at a single point presents a serious problem because it suggests a beginning rather than an eternal, perhaps cycling continuation. The problem is unavoidable because no alternative, eternal realm or dimension is suggested as the source because such a thing is immeasurable by physical apparati. On the other end of the spectrum, those who believe in a purpose from God for the universe must explain how a being that needs nothing (such as God) would choose to create such a universe, much less watch it self-destruct.
What is God’s relationship to the universe in regards to interaction? Exactly what sort of interaction – on a spiritual mechanical or physical mechanical level does God have? How does God choose to interact (if God can make a choice)? If God is separate from the universe, how does God interact with it? If God is one with the universe, can the entities within manipulate God? What does God do for the cosmos and the inhabitants of the earth that they cannot do for themselves?
How can we answer these questions?
In this collection of articles, I intend to describe and analyze these different bases for the origin of the universe.