The Creation Conundrum

By Cyberquill 09/03/20129 Comments

What good is the grandest hypothesis if it raises the exact same question it professes to answer?

Replacing one mystery with an equivalent mystery does nothing in the way of solving the mystery. Doing so merely reärranges the deck chairs on a sinking vessel, and it leaves us just as smart as we were before, except that our mystery now resides over there instead of over here.

Religious people often scold atheists for “having no answer” regarding the mystery of origin.

That’s right. Atheists have no answer.

But neither do the religious, for how in the world is positing a creative entity while leaving its origin unexplained supposed to resolve the mystery of origin?

Obviously, the notion of God having created the universe rests on the assumption that magnificent phenomena, such as the universe and life, could not simply have materialized out of nowhere. But then to roll out the Big Exception right out of the gate, namely to allow for the possibility that a very magnificent phenomenon named God simply exists without having come into being as a result of some superior creative force, instantly wipes out the very reason the notion of God for purposes of explaining the origin of magnificence was resorted to in the first place.

If this creative entity can exist without having been created by some higher creative entity—an Über-God, as it were, and an Über-Über-God to have created the Über-God, and so on, ad infinitum—then why not simply ascribe the property of “existing without having been created by a higher entity” to the universe itself and, by extension, to all the magnificent phenomena it contains?

Other than for purely therapeutic reasons in the way of allaying our fear of death, what’s the point of postulating some hypothetical being whose purported existence merely pushes the conundrum back by one generation, at which point we hit the very same wall that we hit prior to postulating it?

The human mind has trouble wrapping itself around the idea of origin without a source.

Observes one very faithful individual in his latest piece on intentional leadership:

This is just human nature. We inherently try to see the patterns behind the facts and create meaning. Sometimes we get the story right; often we get it wrong. Regardless, we knit together the facts and create narratives to make sense of our world. (Michael Hyatt)

That’s right, and God certainly qualifies as a powerful narrative to make sense of our world.

Yet no matter which way our human mind turns, alas, it always comes up against some perplexingly sourceless phenomenon that leaves us without a cogent narrative to make sense of. At some point down the chain of creation, the human mind inevitably runs out of sense-making narratives.

In this respect, atheists and the faithful are one, except that the latter go one narrative further before the well of narratives dries up.

The net result is the same—everyone is at an equal loss to explain the origin of something.

This post is a condensed version of a previous post.

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  • Richard

    An atheist sees no need for a source.

    • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

      Apparently, neither do the religious, or else they’d be expending more time and effort pondering God’s origin rather than contenting themselves with a sourceless creator. 

      • Richard

        Failure to ponder an entity does not amount to a denial of its existence. Belief in an entity does not require the believer to ponder its existence.

        I may believe in my thumb. That does not require me to ponder its existence. The existence or non-existence of a particular entity is beyond me precisely because I owe my own existence to it. Some say existence itself is a fact; they are believers. Others say it is a fiction; they are atheists.

        • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

          Atheists only say that the existence of a divine creator is fiction. Atheists don’t consider the existence of other phenomena, such as life and the universe, to be fiction. After all, they’re called a-theists, not a-existence-ists.  

          Just because someone doesn’t believe in the Easter bunny doesn’t mean they don’t believe in anything. To argue that someone who doesen’t believe in one thing therefore believes in no-thing is ludicrous. 

          Atheists simply refuse to accept the magnificence of the universe itself as proof positive that there must be a divine creator, just as religious people don’t consider the magnificence of God as proof that God must have a source. 

          Ergo, both camps are stuck with a magnificent phenomenon whose origin they cannot—or don’t feel a need to—explain. What’s the difference?

          • Richard

            … Atheists only [my romans] say …

            Absolutists are absolute, I suppose, and seek a creator or give up seeking a creator. There’s no point in looking for one anyway, given the magnificence of creation. Do I get your drift?

            If so, I agree.

            • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

              Not sure what lower-case “romans” are. You mean your novels? What novels? 

              And I’m all in favor of searching for origins and creative sources. However, part of an honest search is admitting that one hasn’t (yet) found what one is looking for. To simply call it a day and genuflect before the God of the Gaps strikes me as a rather lazy way of solving problems, philosophical or otherwise. 

            • Richard

              This is where we diverge.

  • Nepenthe

    You’ve stumbled upon something here….God as a convenient short answer. Love the uber god point.

    • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

      Well, the first cause dilemma is the oldest dilemma in the book. The capacity of the religious to sweep it under the rug never ceases to amaze me. 

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