More on Middle-Eastern Genesis

More on Middle-Eastern Genesis

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Middle Eastern visions of a Creator-God date back to a fourteenth century B.C.E. hymn to Aton (the Sun) where the poet declares:

      How manifold are your works!

      They are hidden from before us

      O sole God, whose powers no other possesseth

      Thou didst create the earth according to thy heart.

   We have Mesopotamian myths in which “creation was often presented as the creator divinity’s victory over chaos, chaos being represented as a rival deity, a fearful watery dragon, s flood monster.”

  We read in the Prayer Book of the Jewish tradition:

      In Your goodness the work of creation

      Is continuously renewed day by day.

      How manifold are your works, O Lord.

      With wisdom You fashioned them all.

      The earth abounds with Your creations.

The Latin poet Cicero expressed it this way: “The celestial order and the beauty of the universe compel me to admit that there is some excellent and eternal Being, who deserves the respect and homage of men.”

God the Creator is so much part of the Christian faith that it was declared by the 1870 Vatican Council: “Whoever says that the one and only true God, our Creator and Lord, cannot be known with certainty by the natural light of the human reason by means of created things, let him be anathema.”

Islamic scholars have pointed out that a fundamental basis of Islam is recognition of a Creator of the whole universe and everything in it. We read in the Holy Qur’an (vi: 102-103): “That is Allah, your Lord!  There is no god but He, the Creator of all things; then worship Him, and He has power to dispose of all affairs.  No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision; He is the Sublime, Well-Aware.”  

The poet Joseph Addison, in his Wondrous Tale,  articulated the work of the creator in these lines:

      The spacious firmament on high

      With all the blue ethereal sky,

      And spangled heavens, a shining frame,

      Their great original proclaim:

      The unwearied sun, from day to day,

      Does his Creator’s power display,

      And publishes to every land

      The work of an almighty hand.

Scientists and philosophers have thought about the question too. Unlike in the inspired writings of religious texts in which a Creator God is taken for granted, these thinkers argue about the question. Arguments on fundamental issues never lead to unanimous conclusions. One of the more frequently cited philosophical writers (in the English speaking world) to reason out, à la Cicero, the existence of God was  Paley who argued that if one found a watch with a mechanism, one will arrive at the inevitable inference that “there must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers, who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction, and designed its use.” Paley said that he took his stand on the basis of the well-conceived structure of human anatomy. In the context of the human mind, Roger Penrose phrases this argument rhetorically: “How could the blind forces of natural selection, geared only to promote survival of our ancestors, have been able to ‘foresee’ that such-and-such an unknowably sound conceptual procedure would be able to resolve obscure mathematical issues that had no relevance whatsoever to those survival issues?”