God, they still argue about him. And he is again in the news.
One hears about "scientists" discovering God in between the molecules. G.W. Bush has decided to be the Executor of God's Will on Earth. Now it is up to him (G.W. Bush) to decide which nation will survive and which is to be wiped off the face of the Earth. And an American general says that the Americans will win their war against their enemies, because their God is bigger than the Idol of their enemies. And an American Evangelist has assured us that God and Jesus are the same thing. And some people are asking us, if God is part of the Universe, or is He outside of it?
So, what is God? What is it made of? Where can it be found? Who does it belong to? Whose God is the biggest? Is God part of the Universe? And does God exist at all?
All these questions have preoccupied Mankind from Times Immemorial. So, let us try to answer them using the Accumulated Knowledge of Mankind and the Power of Logical Reasoning given to us by God.
Humans are born, they open their eyes, and they see around them things they have not created, and they learn to live among those things. They call all these things around them "the World", and by looking at the parts of their own body that they can see, or in a mirror, they see that they themselves are part of this World.
As people keep exploring the world around them, they discover, that the world they know keeps expanding with their knowledge. And they come to the conclusion that they know only a part of the world around them, and do not know the rest of the world. And the whole world, the one they know, and the one they know that they do not know, they call "the Universe", that is Everything that Exists. And, because people discover that, while most things in the Universe have limits, the Universe itself does not end at any point. There is always something beyond any limit. And because the Universe is Everything that Exists (by definition), and there is always something beyond any limit, people conclude that the Universe has not End. The Universe is Infinite.
They also learn that there is some order in the Universe. That certain actions or events predictably cause other events to take place. They discover that there are Causes and Effects. This orderly nature of the Universe leads them to the conclusion that something must have caused the existence of the Universe itself. Something must have created the Universe and made it what it is. And they call this something, that created the Universe - God (Elohim, Allah).
So, the only thing that people know about God is that it is whatever has created the Universe. But this is just an abstract logical conclusion. It tells them nothing about how God looks, or where they can find it.
But people feel uncomfortable to deal with something they do not know and cannot describe. And they do want to relate to it and, if not to control it, then at least to influence it.
So they supplement their ignorance with imagination, and try to imagine how God looks and where it can be found. And they even imagine many different gods, or even whole families of gods. And they create statues, or images, of the gods, as they imagine them to be, and try to bribe their gods by offering them various sacrifices.
But human knowledge of the Universe grows and the gods they imagine are proving not to exist, and people lose their beliefs in old gods and invent new ones, until they come to the concept of One God - the Creator of the Universe.
Abraham (Avraham, Ibrahim) understood that God is not an idol, creation of man's hands, but whatever has created the World, as it was known at the time. This was a big discovery. But, although his children followed his God, the later generations were following the gods of the people around them.
Moses (Moshe, Musa) brought his people back to the beliefs of Abraham. He called that God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (whose nickname was Israel). Successors of Moses called God, the God of Israel, and themselves Israelites (descendants of Jacob), and they thought of God, as their tribal or "national" God.
Jesus (Yeshu, 'Isa) brought the beliefs of Abraham and Moses to the Gentiles (non-Jews), thus making God universal. The Gentiles believed that Jesus was the Son of God, and created a theory of what God consists of - The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Muhammad, who was a much traveled businessman, learnt about the beliefs of the Jews and Christians of his time. But instead of accepting them in their entirety and becoming a Jew or a Christian, formed his own view of God.
He accepted the belief in God, the Creator of the Universe, but rejected the beliefs, that it is possible to know what God consists of, where it can be found, or that he can have a son, like a human, or that God can belong to a particular tribe or nation.
His view was that God has no shape or image, was never created, did not beget a son, exists everywhere at the same time, and guides whom he wills, rather than any particular section of Mankind. And this view of God is consistent with the view of God which can be derived logically from prime principles on the basis of the knowledge available today to Mankind.
In the meanwhile some European thinkers rejected the Christian view of God and became Atheists. They began to say that God does not exist at all, but only the Universe exists. And they tried to explain the existence of the Universe by creating various theories on how the Universe had created itself.
Atheists have no difficulty to prove that God, as painted on the walls and ceilings of the European churches and cathedrals, does not exist. What they cannot disprove is that something (i.e. God) has created the Universe, because the Universe is just a collection of animate and inanimate things none of which singly or jointly with others could have created the Universe. And this is why, being unable to explain the creation of the Universe, they are turning back towards the idea that, maybe after all, God does exist. But they are still trying to find out what He consists of, and where He can be found. And this is like trying to measure the infinity, or to find what it consists of and where it can be found.
Infinity does exist. It is a mathematical logical concept, without which it is impossible to understand certain truths about the Universe. But the existence of Infinity can be only understood and proved logically. Infinity cannot be touched, smelled, measured, photographed, or even imagined.
And so is God. Without the concept of God it is impossible to understand the ordered nature of the Universe. It is possible to understand that God exists and to prove this logically. But it is impossible to describe, measure, locate, or photograph God. Although people (especially journalists) would love to do such things. Just imagine the news value of a photograph of God Himself!
Thus, to sum up:
"God has no shape or image, was never created, did not beget a son, exists everywhere at the same time, and guides whom he wills",or to put it in the modern language:
"God is a logical concept derived from the fact of the existence of the Universe".Logical concepts have neither shape nor image, are not created, but discovered through logical reasoning, cannot beget children, exist everywhere at the same time, and everybody can benefit from their knowledge and understanding. There is nothing else that people can know about God.
But the value1 of the concept of God, the Creator, for the people is not so much in the fact of acceptance of its existence, as in seeking to understand their own behaviour and to order it in accordance with the intentions of the Creator. This is the real subject of religion as a science. And this is the view of religion by the prophets, who sought to guide the people of their time onto the Path of God.
But because this science concerns people themselves, and people are good at judging others, but most of the time hopeless at judging themselves, instead of seeking to understand the teachings of the prophets, they distort them as it is convenient for themselves.
For most people religion is still either idolatry - worshiping symbols and/or "sacred" texts, or ideology - a theory to justify why they are "superior" to others and should rule over them. This is the view of religion by the people and their "Political" Leaders.
And, this, as it was repeatedly stated in all the "sacred" texts by all the prophets, "arouses God's anger", and leads Him to punish the people for "not following His ways". Or to put it in the modern language "produces results different from those intended by the people and their Leaders".
To survive as individuals, God has given people instincts and selfishness. To survive as a species, people need to learn to use their gift of objective and logical reasoning (given to them by God).
And religion is the science that seeks to teach people to live in accordance with the intentions of the Creator. And the challenge before Mankind today is to re-discover this science and to make it the basis of their lives, that is to submit themselves to the Will of God.
1) Our book Religion, Morality and Government deals with some of the issues involving the practical implications of religion for Mankind.