There are mistaken beliefs held by both religious and scientific people about God and Its vast creation, the Universe. Even today, many religious people dogmatically insist that the creation story contained in the Book of Genesis, or in some other holy work, is true, despite the mountain of evidence that has been accumulated over the past centuries by many individuals, which evidence shows that this simplistic religious account of how God created the Universe and Life on Earth is clearly wrong. On the other hand, there are many scientific people, whom I have denoted by the term “scientific simpletons,” who believe that the Universe and everything in it originated and developed strictly in accordance with natural laws, with no divine intervention on the part of God, except perhaps to set things in motion and set the laws that govern its development. Since both of these simplistic views about how the Universe started, developed, and has reached its present state are wrong, what then is the truth about how God created the Universe and everything in it, including the Life that teems on the planet Earth?
In many religious people’s view, God is a divine drudge that, for example, happily or contentedly spends its time creating every single individual organism that is born, and then determines exactly how it will behave during the course of its life. Some silly religious people would go even further and say that God decides the motion of every single atom in the Universe at every instant of time, as It has done since the beginning of time. Such a myopic view of God would leave It no time to do much else. But God is much more clever and efficient than this, for instead It chooses to invent and perfect, in the case of terrestrial life, the processes of birth and development – whether morphological, behavioural, or reproductive – which processes then enable new organisms to be born continually and develop into functioning organisms without the need for God to have to intervene continually for these things to happen. In other words, contrary to a widespread traditional religious belief, God most emphatically does not intervene in everything that happens in the Universe, as well as in the lives of every single living organism or human being, at every single moment of time. The same is true of the Universe: God set the Universe into being in the cataclysmic event known as the Big Bang. Afterwards, it closely monitored its development, while deciding how it would develop, such as the formation of stars, planets, galaxies, and other things that exist in the Universe. However, just as in the case of Life on Earth, God most emphatically does not intervene in the formation of every single star in the Universe, nor does It determine how long that star will shine before it runs out of fuel, and so forth. Rather, God has set certain rules and general processes into motion, such as the law of gravity, which determines that matter will tend to coalesce into stable compact bodies like stars and planets, as well as large stable configurations of stars in galaxies, nuclear fusion, which is the process by which stars combust and produce the prodigious amounts of energy which they produce throughout their usually very long lives, and the speed of light, which is a fixed speed that is assumed to be the same in all parts of the Universe.
Even the recent astronomical observation that the rate at which the Universe is expanding is increasing is, in my opinion, an instance of God’s intervention in the development of the Universe. Clearly, since God is the Creator of the Universe, It can modify the rate at which the Universe is expanding, just as It may have done in the past, whether to speed up or slow down this rate, as It decides is best for Its purposes. Of course, when God makes changes, It has to take into consideration the laws that It has already promulgated for the Universe’s development, as well as consider how the new changes It wishes to make will affect the Universe’s, or a part of the Universe’s, subsequent development.
The God that created our Universe and Life on Earth is a God that likes variety and likes to experiment and create new things. Although there is much homogeneity visible in the Universe, there are all sorts of unusual objects and phenomena which astronomers have discovered in recent decades following the development of larger and more precise terrestrial telescopes, as well as telescopes that lie outside the Earth’s distorting atmosphere. This is evidence of God the Divine Inventor at work. Long before It turned Its attention to developing a radically new kind of existence on the Earth, God spent the preceding nine billion years or so determining, formulating, modifying, and varying the vast objects and entities that exist in the Universe. The enormous variety of Life that exists, and has existed on the Earth in past ages, is testament of God’s fondness for variety, since these different life forms most certainly could not have arisen by the processes that are posited by the mistaken theory of evolution, namely, beneficial random changes and transformations, some of which are then selected and propagated by natural selection.
The fact that Life on Earth is composed of substances that are fairly common throughout the Universe has led many a speculative scientific simpleton to conclude that the commonness of some of Life’s components means that Life must also be common throughout the Universe. However, this seemingly logical inference is wrong. Rather than invent completely new substances for what I have called Its Life Project, God took fairly common, already existing substances such as water, heavy elements – by these I mean elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, which were the most common elements at the beginning of the Universe and also in active stars, and organic compounds that existed long before Life’s appearance, and then used these constituents to fashion a radically new kind of thing from the kinds of things that had existed in the Universe before Life’s appearance. This gives us an insight into how God operates and creates things. Just as human creators fashion new non-living things out of pre-existing materials like stone, wood, earth, clay, and metals, so too does God, in Its case out of the substances that already existed in the Universe.
In creating the Universe, God’s preference was to create it and then set general rules or invent novel processes that would determine its future development and structure. This is true of both living creatures and non-living objects like stars and planets. Of course, there are probably times, such as during the beginning and early part of the Universe, when God pays close attention to what is going on and may intervene frequently so that the Universe and its constituent parts develop in a manner that is pleasing to It. But afterwards, once It has set things in motion, for the most part, except when It needs or wants to intervene for whatever reason, God doesn’t continually intervene in Its Creation, as many religious people believe. Scientists have discovered many of these general rules, which they call natural or scientific laws. But they have made the mistake of assuming that all natural phenomena are due to invariable natural laws, when there is very clear and widespread evidence for God’s periodic interventions, whether in the development of the Universe or of Life on Earth, as well as the continual preservation of the conditions that Life requires in order for it to continue existing and thriving. This is another example of how the rigid, fallible, and often erroneous rules of human logic have misled humanity in a major way, by making many people believe mistakenly that either God created the Universe and Life on Earth as it is recounted in the Bible or in some other supposedly holy work, or the Universe and everything it contains, including Life on Earth, developed in accordance with natural laws, whether these laws are physical, chemical, geological, biological, or otherwise. As we have seen, the truth about the development of the Universe and Life on Earth is a selective amalgamation of these two seemingly contradictory and inconsistent beliefs.
The God of the Bible is a drudge who is believed to spend all Its time creating living organisms, one by one, as if Its Living Creation were manufactured in a sort of divine factory, and then making sure that these individual organisms behave properly in accordance with its dictates or commandments. Another way of expressing this mistaken belief is that people who lived in the past attributed to God powers and knowledge that It doesn’t possess. These ignorantly credulous people believed God to be a sort of divine magician who could instantaneously create something as vast and complex as the Universe and everything it contains, as well as the complex organisms that exist on the Earth, without having to work things out and see how things would develop, given the choices It had made and the intentions It had. The true God is a being that sets the laws which govern their development, but then is free to intervene whenever and wherever It chooses, and is thus liberated from this attributed religious drudgery, so It can look after things elsewhere, along with other matters of which we humans may have no inkling because they do not pertain to the Universe in which we live. The existence of natural laws that govern the development and structure of the Universe allows God the freedom to intervene whenever and wherever it chooses to do so, and make modifications, variations, and other changes if It wants to do so, but without having to intervene constantly in order to sustain its Creation and the things that exist and occur within it.
Contrary to the religious doctrine of predestination, God most certainly did not possess the knowledge about the Universe and Life that It came to possess later. Instead, these were things that God learned or figured out along the way, as It became more adept at creating complex things and making changes to them. Given the immensity of the Universe, God clearly does not spend all Its time observing the Earth and its living inhabitants, and making sure that they behave properly in accordance with Its will, as the ancient Greeks and Romans believed, and as Christians and many other religious people continue to believe today. Those who lived in the past had no idea of how vast the Universe really is. But humans living today know this, or they could know it, meaning that God clearly has a great many other things to attend to in the Universe besides the not-so-terribly-interesting-or-important doings of humanity. In other words, God is frequently absent from the Earth, not in a physical but in an attentive sense, which is why, for example, bad actions often go unpunished, and why bad things happen to good people. In addition, God doesn’t necessarily feel obliged to punish all bad actions and reward good ones, for to suppose such a thing would make God the slave of its own rules, which It clearly is not. The world we live in is frequently unfair and illogical because, among other reasons, God is not always present, in the attentive sense, to observe all the things that happen in our lives.
Rightly understood, there is no incompatibility between science and religion. However, in the vast majority of people’s brains, who don’t understand the situation rightly, there is conflict between the orthodox religious view, as it is expounded in a sacred work like the Bible, and the orthodox scientific view, which gives God no role in the Creation of the Universe and of Life on Earth. Both of these rigidly dogmatic views are right and wrong, for each viewpoint contains a part of the truth; but in addition to these partial truths, they also contain much error: the orthodox religious view in supposing that a sacred work like the Bible, which was written by persons who lived in a long Age of Ignorance and therefore held many mistaken beliefs about how God created the Universe, as well as the powers and qualities which they wrongly attributed to God; and the scientific view in supposing that there is no God, or even if there is, It has played no role in the development of the Universe and Life on Earth, except perhaps to set these things in motion and fix the laws that govern their development, after which It did not intervene in their subsequent development.
The many religious or traditional accounts of the creation of the Universe and Life on Earth were God’s best attempts, in those earlier ignorant times, to help humanity understand Its Creation. But God is neither perfect nor omnipotent, and so these accounts were flawed and, not surprisingly, they contain many inaccuracies, for God was not able to give those humans the scientific knowledge that humanity possesses today. The more recent development of science is God’s sustained effort to help humanity gain a more precise and accurate understanding of exactly how, and over what very long time spans, God created the Universe and everything it contains, including the Life that exists on Earth. This is the merged truth, which results from the union of science and religion, that correctly explains God’s Creation and all that is contained within it.