A recent news flap concerns the issue of science “doing away with God”. Unfortunately, the God to be done away with is just the same old Judeo-Christian creating-god, and the current debate suffers from the limitations of that definition.
The whole question, issue, and idea that science can do away with God is predicated on the precarious assumption that, for God to exist at all, God must be a creator. This notion is a Western prejudice forced on us by our Judeo-Christian cultural background.
It is possible that God does not exist.
Alternatively, it is equally possible that God does exist, but is not a creator. This is the simple consideration that virtually no one, and no debate, takes into their view and into their God-talk.
“God is real, but is not, has never been, and will never be, a creator” states my position. Those who insist that God must be a creator are like someone saying, “Either the moon is made of green cheese, or it doesn’t exist”. But of course, God can exist, but all the while not being a creator. Non-believers, as much as believers, have permitted this Western image of a creating sky-father to dominate, even permeate, their thinking.
Hence comes the idea that science can dispense, is dispensing, or soon will dispense with God … God as a creator of matter, that is.
First, science has never needed the creator hypothesis. The recent news flap on which this thread is based is really old news. Science does not posit or deal with the supernatural in any way. God was never a useful hypothesis for modern science. (And how could God, by most definitions a supernatural, non-material entity, be the object of science to begin with?)
It’s not a matter of science disposing with the idea of a creator.
It’s a matter of science never having needed the hypothesis to begin with.
Second, any claim that the universe issues from a supernatural deity is doomed from the start, because the claim inextricably entangles God-as-creator with the existence, function, and maintenance of the physical universe. Past experience shows the stupidity of that, as the fate of “the God of the Gaps” has shown.
As long as any material thing or process in, or about, the universe, is claimed to be tied to a deity, that deity is automatically threatened with extinction based on the next scientific discovery that eliminates any supposed divine connection to the universe. Any few remaining claims of a universe-spawning deity are wholly dependent on scientific developments which in time may, and probably will, decimate such claims.
To insist that God is a creator is at the same time to insist that God is bound up with material functions, a claim which at the same time risks the eventuality that God may be kicked out of cosmological speculation entirely. “Creatorists” – i.e., those who claim that God is a creator – run the risk of the utter annihilation of their God-concept, pending ever-increasing scientific progress. What a stupid – even an unkind – thing to do to the “Being” they claim to love and worship: to expose “Him” to annihilation by binding “Him” to material processes which are entirely within the domain of science.
Hence, as a non-creatorist panentheist (not to be confused with pantheist), my God-definition omits any notion of God-as-creator (and hence of intervener), and I predict that the God-debate would move to a more intelligible level if only the “God is a creator by definition” thesis could be eliminated from the discussion.