3 May 2013
The God that evolved
Let’s rewind back to the beginning of human consciousness, some millions of years back in history; back in Africa, back to the time when the then hominids’ brains just about evolved to point that they realized they could understand their environment better than the other creatures. At this point (rather period) in human history the requirement was only survival. It is unlikely that they needed any god, life was mostly instinctual.
Forwarding a couple of million years the hominid brains almost tripled in size and this was key to self-consciousness historian say. But the world was still an unforgiving place. Only might was right; hunting and foraging was survival. Staying in groups ensured better survival and having a strong leader for the group helped well. The leader possibly became the origin of lords; Servility and condescension to the lord(s) of the group, most of the time, guaranteed security of both food and life.
Moving ahead in time, generations’ later, and our still-crude almost-human ancestors realized that there are forces of nature that were way more powerful that any of their group-lords. Earth (quakes), Wind (storms) and Fires were definitely on top of the list.
With the advent of agriculture on the fertile banks of rivers, human physical and belief evolutions took a fast pace. Agriculture and social structures brought security (relative to the past) to food supply and otherwise. Our ancestors had now some time to imagine: and so they thought that dark-forces (it still being a rather pessimistic time) governed the uncertainty (in harvests and in health) to life and so were gods. The earlier-identified powerful awe-elements (Earth, wind, fire & water) were never fully understood and so never discarded, just associated with these new inventions.
Wind is the carrier of disease (and of locusts), lightning the spear of the gods and volcano the seat of the gods. In fact, the then insurmountable mountains were all the seats of the gods, in most cultures.
A few thousand years back time was right for the need for stability and direction. The more time certain humans had at their disposal then more they wanted to make sense of the chaos of the world: Gods, sacrifices, fluid kingdom-lines, etcetra. And so arose the concept of Godhead of the gods. The creator of the minions, the more-powerful and higher in the escalation matrix! It was only logically to amalgamate the gods, based on their creative/preservative/dissolutive natures, under any of the three or two hoods. Most spiritually-progressive religions of the world had come up to this realization quite early. A good comparison is in India: over the last thousand years all the individual gods, prevalent across south Asia, were assigned as a manifestation of one of the Godheads of the Hindu trinity.
Last two thousand years: we contemplate that there can be only one God who is most powerful and most merciful. Notice the shift from a negative to a positive God; the One positive for humans. Now the three is boxed into One with each head being simply a face of the ultimate. That’s again only logical :)
Hinduism achieved this heap-to-singularity; so did its sister religions: Buddhism and Jainism; and so did the Abrahamic religions.
The next logical phase in the spiritual evolution is blending everything into the One! There can be no distinction between us and That; between good and evil. I am That. No duality. In this level of spiritual-maturity-model, only the eastern philosophies come close.
We have come a long way baby; why try harder :)
So I ask: what changed over the course of history? God or our concept of God? For instance, observe the character change of God/god from the Old testament to the New Testament: from a jealous, capricious, vengeful one to a gracious and merciful one. If God is infinite how can he change in this short time-period. Its absurd to think in such lines.
The funny fact is that humans created this being(s) and changed the definition over time to rationalize the world.