Definitions

Creator_deity

Creator deity

A creator deity is a deity in a creation myth responsible for the creation of the world (or universe).

In monotheism, the single God is necessarily also the creator deity, while polytheistic traditions may or may not have creator deities. Number of monolatristic traditions would separate a secondary creator, from primary transcendent being, identified as a primary creator.

Polytheism

In polytheistic creation myths, the world often comes into being organically, e.g. sprouting from a primal seed, sexually, by hierosgamos, violently, by the slaying of a primeval monster, or artificially, by a divine demiurge or "craftsman". Sometimes, a god is involved, wittingly or unwittingly, in bringing about creation. Examples include

Platonic demiurge

Plato, in his dialogue Timaeus, describes a creation myth involving a being called the demiurge (δημιουργός "craftsman"). This concept was continued in Neoplatonism and Gnosticism. In Neoplatonism, the demiurge represents the second cause or dyad, after the monad. In Gnostic dualism, the demiurge is an imperfect spirit and possibly evil being, transcended by divine Fullness (Pleroma). Unlike the Judeo-Christian God, Plato's demiurge is unable to create ex-nihilo.

Monolatrism

Monolatristic traditions would separate a secondary creator, from primary transcendent being, identified as a primary creator. According to Gaudiya Vaishnavas the four-faced Brahma is the secondary creator and not the supreme. Vishnu is the primary creator. According to the Vaishnava belief he creates the basic universal shell and provides all the raw materials and also places the living entities within the material world, fulfilling their own independent will. Brahma is the secondary creator. He works with the materials provided by Visnu to actually create what is believed to be planets in Puranic terminolog and he supervises the population of them.

Monism

Monism has its origin in Hellenistic philosophy as a concept of a all things deriving from a single substance or being. Following a long and still current tradition H.P. Owen (1971: 65) claimed that

"Pantheists are ‘monists’...they believe that there is only one Being, and that all other forms of reality are either modes (or appearances) of it or identical with it."

Although, like Spinoza, some pantheists may also be monists, and monism may even be essential to some versions of pantheism (like Spinoza's), not all pantheists are monists. Some are polytheists and some are pluralists; they believe that there are many things and kinds of things and many different kinds of value. Not all Monists are Pantheists. Exclusive Monists believe that the universe, the God of the Pantheist, simply does not exist. In addition, monists can be Deists, Pandeists, Theists or Panentheists; believing in a monotheistic God that is omnipotent and all-pervading, and both transcendent and immanent. There are monist pantheists and panentheists in Hinduism (particularly in Advaita and Vishistadvaita respectively), Judaism (monistic panentheism is especially found in Kabbalah and Hasidic philosophy), in Christianity (especially among Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans) and in Islam (among the Sufis, especially the Bektashi).

Hindu

In Advaita Vedanta, Brahman is the abstract notion of "the Absolute" from which the universe takes its origin, and at an ultimate level, all assertions of a distinction between Brahman, other gods and creation are meaningless (monism).

Buddhism

Some gods in Buddhism have the view that they are creators of the world. For example, Baka Brahma. However, Buddha pointed out to them that they do not know the whole extent of the universe (he said they have no knowledge of some of the highest heavens), and further, the spiritual power of the Buddha was greater than the spiritual power of these gods who thought they created the world. One of the Suttas dealing with this subject is the Kevaddha Sutta.

Also, Buddha said (in DN1 - the Brahmajala Sutta or The Net of Views) that their view of being the creator of the world is a misconception, and that these Brahma-gods actually have a cause which lead their origination (taking birth as a Brahma-god). Buddha even tells how the views concerning 'creator gods' originate in the world - through junior Brahma-gods (with a more limited life-span) who, on their passing away, get reborn as a human, and through practicing meditation are able to remember their previous life as a junior god to a Brahma god.Then, he starts to preach this view of a 'creator god' to others (see DN1 - the Brahmajala Sutta). Jainism similarly believes in "craftsman" deities responsible for the physical world, which are however transcended by a static and uncreated universe.

Monotheism

Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism and Islam teach that creation is believed to be the origin of the universe by the action of God.

Among monotheists it has historically been most commonly believed that living things are God's creations, and are not the result of a process inherent in originally non-living things, unless this process is designed, initiated, or directed by God; likewise, sentient and intelligent beings are believed to be God's creation, and did not arise through the development of living but non-sentient beings, except by the intervention of God.

Judaism

Orthodox Judaism historically affirms that one incorporeal God is the creator of all things, and that this same one created Adam and Eve personally (directly). They affirm that this Being is an indivisible one, incomparable to any created thing, and immutable.

Christianity

It is a tenet of Christian faith (Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant) that God is the creator of all things from nothing, and has made man in the image of God, who by direct inference is also the source of the human soul. Within this broad understanding, however, there are a number of views regarding exactly how this doctrine ought to be interpreted.

  • Some Christians, particularly Young Earth creationists and Old Earth creationists, interpret Genesis as an historical, accurate, and literal account of creation.
  • Others, in contrast to both of these views of acts of the Creator, may not understand any of these to be statements of historic fact, but rather, spiritual insights more vaguely defined.

While the synoptic gospels do not address the question of creation, the Gospel of John famously begins:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being ... And the Word [Jesus Christ] became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" .

Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews contains another reference to creation:

"For by faith we understand the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible" .

Thus, in Chalcedonian Christology, Jesus is the Word of God, which was in the beginning and, thus, is uncreated, and hence is God, and consequently identical with the Creator of the world ex nihilo.

The Roman Catholic Church allows for both a literal and allegorical interpretation of Genesis, so as to allow for the possibility of Creation by means of an evolutionary process over great spans of time, otherwise known as theistic evolution.

It believes that the creation of the world is a work of God through the Logos, the Word (idea, intelligence, reason and logic):

In the beginning was the Word...and the Word was God...all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made." The New Testament claims that God created everything by the eternal Word, Jesus Christ his beloved Son. In him "all things were created, in heaven and on earth.. . all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Surrounded by a pervasive culture of rationalism, relativism and secularism, the Catholic Church is questioning the validity of reason basing itself on an evolutionary origin of mere chance. In a 1999 lecture at the University of Paris, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said:

The question is ... whether reason, being a chance by-product of irrationality and floating in an ocean of irrationality, is ultimately just as meaningless; or whether the principle that represents the fundamental conviction of Christian faith and of its philosophy remains true: "In principio erat Verbum" — at the beginning of all things stands the creative power of reason. Now as then, Christian faith represents the choice in favor of the priority of reason and of rationality. [...] there is no ultimate demonstration that the basic choice involved in Christianity is correct. Yet, can reason really renounce its claim to the priority of what is rational over the irrational, the claim that the Logos is at the ultimate origin of things, without abolishing itself?

Even today, by reason of its choosing to assert the primacy of reason, Christianity remains "enlightened," and I think that any enlightenment that cancels this choice must, contrary to all appearances, mean, not an evolution, but an involution, a shrinking, of enlightenment.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Followers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and others within Mormonism, believe that physical reality (space, matter and/or energy) is eternal, and therefore does not have an absolute origin. The Creator is an architect and organizer of pre-existent matter and energy, who constructed the present cosmos out of the raw material and that God was created by the god before him.

Creationism

Christian fundamentalism in the USA since the 1930s has pursued Biblical literalist doctrines of "Creationism" as a counter-hypothesis opposing the scientific community, with concepts such as flood geology, creation science and intelligent design proposed as syntheses of Christian creation beliefs and scientific method.

Islam

The fundamental concept in Islam is the oneness of God. Muslims believe that God (Arabic:Allah) is the creator of all living and non-living things in the universe, has no gender, source or offspring. This monotheism is absolute, not relative or pluralistic in any sense of the word.

Sikhism

One of the biggest responsibilities in Sikhism is to worship God as "The Creator". The religion only takes after the belief in "One God for All".

Chinese Mythology

Pangu can be interpreted as another creator deity. In the beginning there was nothing in the universe except a formless chaos. However this chaos began to coalesce into a cosmic egg for eighteen thousand years. Within it, the perfectly opposed principles of yin and yang became balanced and Pangu emerged (or woke up) from the egg. Pangu is usually depicted as a primitive, hairy giant with horns on his head (like the Greek Pan) and clad in furs. Pangu set about the task of creating the world: he separated Yin from Yang with a swing of his giant axe, creating the Earth (murky Yin) and the Sky (clear Yang). To keep them separated, Pangu stood between them and pushed up the Sky. This task took eighteen thousand years, with each day the sky grew ten feet higher, the Earth ten feet wider, and Pangu ten feet taller. In some versions of the story, Pangu is aided in this task by the four most prominent beasts, namely the Turtle, the Qilin, the Phoenix, and the Dragon.

After the eighteen thousand years had elapsed, Pangu was laid to rest. His breath became the wind; his voice the thunder; left eye the sun and right eye the moon; his body became the mountains and extremes of the world; his blood formed rivers; his muscles the fertile lands; his facial hair the stars and milky way; his fur the bushes and forests; his bones the valuable minerals; his bone marrows sacred diamonds; his sweat fell as rain; and the fleas on his fur carried by the wind became human beings all over the world. The distance from Earth and Sky at the end of the 18,000 years would have been 65,700,000 feet, or over 12,443 miles.

The first writer to record the myth of Pangu was Xu Zheng (徐整) during the Three Kingdoms (三國) period.

References

See also

Search another word or see Creator_deityon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature