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A Non-Creating God

My god definition does not depict god as a creator. Once god as creator has been eliminated, the tone of the discussion changes radically.

Positing a creator god automatically requires invention of a “theodicy” – a model which attempts to explain and excuse the existence and the persistence of evil in a creation supposedly spawned by a creator deity. If god is a creator then responsibility for the condition, state, and maintenance of the creation is solidly on that creator’s shoulders.

Eliminating the creator function from one’s god definition automatically eliminates the need for invention of a theodicy. A non-creating god is not responsible for the state of creation, and cannot be blamed for its bad or praised for its good.

Generally the Abrahamic faiths each posit a creator, and each has been forced to develop woefully inadequate theodicies. A non- “creatorist” view escapes this problem. There are some exceptions to this in the West. The Gnostic Christians, for example, posited an “Alien” god – a transcendent, transcosmic being who, though real, is not a creator. Instead, they claimed that the creator is not the true god, but rather an ignorant, arrogant, indifferent (but sometimes cruel) “Demiurge.” The Gnostics bemoaned the fact that so many falsely worship a creator who is not the real god. They came to the smart conclusion that belief in an Intelligent Designer is not necessarily good news: god exists – but he’s mean? He’s incompetent? Evil? Insane? Better to deny the creator and contemplate the True Alien God.

As I said, once the idea of a creating deity has been eliminated, the tone of the discussion changes radically. It moves beyond the necessity to derive, or to decline, evidence for an Intelligent Designer. It moves beyond the need to prove god’s existence by some purported behavior or element in or of the physical universe. It moves beyond the necessity to uphold or deny god’s omnipotence, since the transcosmic god after all is neither powerful or un-powerful. Like the Buddha Mind or the Tao, the real god is the smallest of the small, is subtle, and to the extent it is known and named, its essence remains elusive.

I am not a Gnostic, but I do deny the notion of a creator deity. I much prefer the notion – found in mysticism, Eastern spirituality, and some forms of panentheism – of a non-creating god, Which has more to do with the qualities of transcendence, no-thing-ness, non-being and paradox than with that all-too-familiar Sky Father whose incoherent image haunts the West.