Will the real God please step forward
by Britt Michaels
October 08, 2007
Revised: January 08, 2015
Throughout history, there have been many gods ― but is there A God? [We have a bad habit of misusing superlative comparisons.] We’re not very good at grammar. Commentators say “… is one of the best teams in the league.” To be correct, it’s either ‘one of the better teams’, or, ‘the best team’; however way ‘best’ is defined.
Let’s first look at the semantics of language.
‘Best’ is the superlative case. There is only one ‘best’. Supreme is synonymous to ultimate or greatest. ‘Supreme’ is the superlative case. There can be only one supreme being, or God. The old Greek and Roman societies had patrons, or gods, for most any occasions. Crops, the seas, war, backgammon ….. The Catholic Church thought this a real neat set-up. The use of many gods though, clashed with the First Commandment. The hierarchy got around that by using tricky wording: calling their gods, “patron saints”. Probably were lawyers.
A (one) God would have manifested himself the same to all new tribes during the dawn of civilization. Instead, each new group came up with its own god. Why different gods ― if there’s only one God? Gods are the invention of man.
Each society in its early development, as to even today, had to devise laws and morals to survive. Otherwise, without controls, the society would break down, into rival factions. Tribal leaders realized this. Human controls, such as police and jails, for example, wouldn’t be enough. Some higher form would be needed.
Since ‘God’ hadn’t shown his face, or even a sleeved arm with a finger pointing out a cloud, one had to be invented. Tribes were small and isolated from each other in those early days. Since there wasn’t a common God, each tribe would have had to invent its own god. Humanoids were pretty thick in those days. They were easy to manipulate. (Actually, they still are.) ‘God’ had to be a physical force. Strong enough to control. Plain enough to see. Acts of Nature, like active volcanoes, thunder and lightning and forest fires were good starters.
These were strong forces. Though easily visable, it was hard to grasp and understand them. Though survival tactics were the primary activities, there was always enough time for tomfoolery, thievery, debauchery and other non-social activities. The tribal leaders saw the morals of their community disintegrating. Hence, the need for the invention of a ‘Supreme Being’. The rest is history. Some ‘gods’ aren’t really gods ― but we treat them as such. Celebrities, the almighty dollar and twinkies, to name a few.
Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher (341 – 270 BCE). His philosophy on the existence of God, and of death:
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
On death: Death is the end of both body and soul, and should therefore not be feared.
© 2007 by James M. Britvich All Rights Reserved