It is not uncommon for Christians to claim that God can be clearly seen in creation. In a response, someone has asked, “Which God?” Among the suggested alternatives were Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. I was intrigued.
The rest of this post is an elaboration of the response that I posted in reply to the original question.
The basis for the Christian claim that God can be clearly seen in creation is the statement Romans 1:20:
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they [unbelievers] are without excuse.
Considering this statement, Roopster asked, Which God is “clearly seen” in creation? He listed a number of alternatives, and asked:
Why not Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Sustainer), or Krishna (Love, destruction of evil)?
(Note: From my limited understanding, I assume Roopster meant Shiva, not Krishna.)
Now, I have wondered about this before.
Observe John 1:1:
In the beginning was the Word [Jesus]. All things were created by Him.
Then Colossians 1:17:
He [Jesus] existed before everything and holds everything together
And 1 John 3:8:
The Son of God [Jesus] appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.
Of course, Christianity and Hinduism are very different, but it is is interesting both Christianity and at least some branches of Hinduism believe in a Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer. Why? Because people all over the world have looked at creation and drawn conclusions that have something in common with each other. We shouldn’t be surprised at this. It is the same world, after all, and we’re all people.
So, what are the characteristics of God that are seen in creation, to be understood by the things he has made? Here are a few:
- Immense power.
- Unimaginable magnitude.
- Immeasurable intelligence.
- Fantastic creativity.
- A commitment to sustaining life.
- Great potential for destruction.
It is no coincidence that the world’s religions endow their gods with characteristics such as these. Despite the claims of atheists, for many of us it seems natural to look upon the world and to conclude that there must be someone out there who is responsible for the marvels of creation. We look at the majesty of the natural world, and perceive the handiwork of the divine.
Of course, there are great variations in the way people understand their place in the universe. There are, after all, an uncountable number of influences on a person’s world-view. Nevertheless, there are common themes that speak to the heart of humanity.
A person’s world-view deals, by definition, with the experiences of a human being within creation. As a result, I find it quite possible to find something of merit in virtually every world-view I have encountered. Both religious and non-religious perspectives have something to commend them. Oftentimes, the perspective that is radically different from my own that proves most stimulating.
So, what do I understand about God from my experience creation?
Truth, Love and Justice: each of these aspects of God implies the existence of the other. They are just different names for the very same thing.
I perceive the power of Truth over everything, for Reality is the substance of our Universe. Life is rooted in Truth. Without a basis in Reality, Life is unsustainable.
I perceive that Truth manifests Love. Love is what makes Life possible. Without Love, there is no Life, for Love is that which sustains Life.
I perceive that Love demands Justice. Without Justice, Love would be incomplete, and therefore meaningless.
Overall, I have found that enough of my views / experience are in harmony with Christianity. As a result, I have decided to make my home in Christ. I am particularly taken with Jesus Himself. I am persuaded that He really is God (in any sense that matters), and that the Bible is the best record of His life and its meaning that we have.
I also believe that Love would die for me, and that Love is greater than death.
As a Christian, I naturally reject the aspects of other perspectives where they contradict my faith in Jesus. That said, it is not unusual for an apparent contradiction to be based on misunderstanding – from comparing caricatures of our differences rather than from comparing the real deal. Even where we have real differences of opinion, we have a great deal to gain from understanding the reasons why we differ.
At worst, I recognise that we are all fellow travellers; all of us are learning the way.
So, why not “Creator, Sustainer & Destroyer”? It is true that Christ is my home, but everyone likes a holiday.