This would have been a blasphemous question at one time, and there is always part of me that loves these kinds of questions. If it was once blasphemous, and it still can’t be asked in Sunday school, then it must be onto something. Growing up in a traditional religious fashion, this was one of my earliest questions – if God created everything, then who or what created God? I remember hearing a story once about a culture of people who believed that the earth rested on the back of a giant turtle. When an anthropologist asked what the turtle was standing on, the reply was – ‘that’s easy, it’s turtles all the way down.’ I’m not even sure this is a true story but is illustrates my point – the elephant in the room of all thinking about any God, or turtles holding up the earth – is where did they come from in the first place? What creates them? What is the origin? Then, as I grew spiritually and begin to see God as consciousness itself, as consciousness which is the creative force behind all things and is also in all things including me and you, the question of where did God come from also becomes the question of where did we come from, where did everything come from? What was the original impetus that created all there is? Just as scientists struggle to explain the beginning of the universe, we begin to realize it is all the same question. How did the Universe, or God, come into being in the first place, and why?
So, what does science tell us about where it all came from? We know there was the big bang, but where did the energy for the big bang come from? The answer is (drum roll please…) from nothing. From nothing, came everything. The truth is, scientists don’t really understand what banged or what caused it to bang, and all the evidence suggests that before there was everything, there was nothing. The big bang was the creation of time itself, of matter, energy and space, none of which existed before the big bang. So, as we grabble with the scientific explanation, let’s turn to religion to see what it has to say. I’m no biblical scholar and I rarely quote the Bible (for me the truest scripture is within), but there are some gems in there and I always liked the first line of the book of John which describes the beginning of creation – it says – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Everything was made through Him and without Him was not anything made.” The “Word,” used in this sense, is the essence of creation itself. It is the impetus, the vibration that has awakened consciousness and existence. The Word is with God and is God. “With” God implies outside of God – as something that is with something else is separate from it, even though it is with it. But the Word also is God. So God is simultaneously along side of creation (“with” it) and creation itself, and creation itself happens at the beginning – which must be the beginning of time. God is both the subject and object of creation.
Furthermore, and here’s the kicker for me – “…without God was not anything made”. It is the term “without” that strikes me here. “Without” implying the lack of existence of God. So, without God, there was nothing, with God, there was everything. So, from nothing, came everything. Sounding familiar? This is what the science tells us as well, as strange as it is – everything came from nothing. This first sentence in the Bible is not implying that God existed before creation, but that God was, and is, creation itself. God is the big bang. God is everything that exists. God is the word, the word is creation, creation is God, and so on in an eternal loop. There are others who will interpret this differently, but I believe this is a valid interpretation that is in harmony with what science tells us – that nothing, not even time, or God, existed “before” the moment of creation, and that everything, including time, and God, existed and was created at the moment of creation or what we call the big bang. God popped into existence out of nothing. God is creator and the creation itself. The beginning and the end. Ultimately, neither science nor the Bible give any specific cause for creation. It seems that it simply happened. The Universe has no cause. But really this is not a surprise, after all the concept of ‘God’ would be the one who has no cause, but is the cause itself. It appears the last turtle is standing on itself, and thus it is, in fact, turtles all the way down.
This is something I was spurred to write in response to Seven Hawking’s assertion that there is no God because there was nothing before the moment of creation – there was no energy, matter, space or time before the big bang, so there could not be a God. He’s both right and wrong in my opinion, and much of it hinges on your perception of God. Since I see God and creation as one, I see no conflict between the science of the big bang and the philosophy of God as creation itself and the creative force within creation.
Love and light