The pun in the title is intended. It is obvious to every well-read person that the concept of god is man-made. No hocus-pocus, no revelation, and no god. It is said that God created humankind after his image, but it is more likely that humankind created God after its image.

There is an interesting curve of the mentioned concept and I shall present it through the great philosophers in two millennia of dealing with God.

Ancient Greeks tried to explain the natural phenomena with anthropomorphic gods and they created a vast genealogy of gods, where each of them covered a certain aspect of life. Somewhere in the seventh century BC, the first known philosopher of the West thought that explaining nature with gods is a silly thing to do, so he said there's a rational way of doing it. He said the source of everything is water. So he abolished gods and tried to see the world through the scientific eyes of reason.

After him, there were marvellous debates over the ultimate substances that build our world, and one of them, Anaximander, established the famous four elements but added the fifth one: apeiron. Apeiron is a kind of a heavenly matter, from which everything ultimately origins and eventually returns. Not long after him, two rival philosophers proposed their options: Heraclites, a strange and a lonely man, established the famous idea that the world was primarily a chaos and was turned to a cosmos by logos. Logos stands for many things in Ancient Greece, but in this case it means the source and fundamental order of the cosmos. His nemesis, Parmenides, said that it was an awful idea and suggested that the world was created from light and dark matter and put together by Eros, the god of love and beauty.

I bet everybody knows Aristotle. He is the father of modern science and he abolished all the spiritual aspects of his teacher Plato. Plato said, by the way, that there are two worlds: our fleeting material world and the world of Ideas. He put the transcendent world back in fashion. Returning to Aristotle, despite being a scientist, he invented a concept of God that was used later in the Christian religion. He said that everything that lives moves and everything that moves needs something to move it. Since we cannot regress infinitely with movers, there has to be the ultimate first mover. And that is God. But Aristotle's God is more like a physical principle, a first force that started our universe, life and everything.

After the foundations are laid, we only need a Christian philosopher that will customise the ideas of his predecessors and mix them with his religion. Enter Saint Augustine, a man who was raised Christian, left the religion because he thought it was stupid, joined a Gnostic sect and then returned to Christianity after he found Plato. He was a very confused young man. He liked Plato's immaterial world of Forms and the eidos of Good as the principle of all. He decided that that's it, changed Plato's Form of Good into the Christian God, agreed that the immaterial world is the most important and added that the Holy Bible should be the one and only guide in one's life.

Humankind has always tried to make up gods that would maintain order in this chaotic universe. More or less people needed to feel special, god made, and to have a purpose. With all kinds of gods, they apparently have it. To love god, to serve god and to come back to god. Meanwhile there are many other things to do.

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Comment by Doug Reardon on May 29, 2009 at 1:12pm
Wasn't it Aristotle who said: "there is no idea, so patently absurd, that someone won't believe it."
Comment by Alex on May 29, 2009 at 4:02pm
I'm not aware of that quote, but it's likely for him to say such a thing. :)
Comment by Alex on May 30, 2009 at 5:53am
And it hasn't changed a bit since then.


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