For many centuries humanity has cast God in its own image. We have some benevolent /vengeful geezer with a beard in a paternal sense and a Caucasian man getting nailed to the cross in Israel long before there was widespread travel and intermingling. Over the years many cultures have their own version of God and Gods. Our concept of deity is a time evolving one. This is a safe statement. Even the religions splinter and have different versions of God which arise out of the same scriptures.
I personally cannot imagine heaven and hell as they are often portrayed in artwork, because these portrayals have humans in corporeal forms. When you are dead and have quit your body, you don’t have one that looks like meat. Some people even have their body burned.
There are some questions that we cannot answer.
Science is pretty sure that the universe exists, and modern science even has a time frame for this current manifestation of the universe, 14 billion years-ish. By using instrumentation based largely on electromagnetic radiation we can measure the visible or emissive universe. This is the prakṛti or material universe, we do not have any instruments that might measure puruṣa. So even in our wisdom, which we might overestimate, we have at best half the story. The immaterial universe, the subjective is as it currently stands, beyond our instrumentation. The cycling of universe is spoken of in Vedic writings, and is not as yet forbidden by modern science, we have the so-called great crunch as a possible fate for this one. The one in which you and I are currently manifested incarnate beings.
We can say with a fair measure of confidence that the universe is.
We cannot answer why it is, nor for what purpose it manifested / is manifesting.
We might be able to offer some reasoned arguments for how come it came into being, in what way it manifests.
So, did a God kick off this whole shebang?
Does God have other beings who are his/her Gods?
Many traditions have a sense of an overarching Spirit which remains unmanifested. The so-called negative veils of existence Ain, Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur of the kabbalist, the Nagal of the Toltecs, The Brahman and in a sense Wakan Tanka of the Sioux.
Is it necessary to invoke some kind of being? Or could we simply have “an awareness” without any form whatsoever, an awareness which is arupa, formless, no matter, no shape. As an abstract concept it is difficult to get your head around an insubstantive thing which is aware. Are we limited by our prejudices?
Now more than ever humanity is much more capable of abstract thought, we do not need oil paintings, or statues we have virtual reality and that can be time evolving.
In the Toltec Teachings there is a notion of before the universe. If there is no universe, there is no thing. No thing is very empty, a void, the utter nothingness of vacuum. We already have few problems with our cartesian thinking. What were the dimensions of this no thing? It is an invalid question because if there is no thing, even dimension has not yet manifested and remember dimension is something we humans dreamed up.
The narrative continues. This no thing this void was somehow aware, and it figured out that it was lacking “self”-knowledge there were aspects about itself which were unknown, perhaps unknowable. Remember this awareness was alone in the non-universe the void. In contemplation it had the inquiry as to what was known, unknown and unknowable. Some ”thing” stirred in its awareness. Or perhaps it might be better to say the progenitor of “thing”, this bugged it. In order to find out what was unknown it had to manifest the unknown or matter aspect of itself. It had to make stuff. Out of arupa and pure nothingness it had to manifest rupa. And so, in a quest to understand its own awareness the great Spirit, the Nagal, gave birth to an aspect of its own awareness, the Nagal’s awareness which precipitated the creation of our universe as we now know it.
To imagine even for an attosecond that we mighty comprehend an awareness capable of manifesting a universe to better understand itself, is foolhardy arrogance.
You may notice that I have used it. This it cannot be until after the very first stages of manifestation. Because it cannot exist unless there is something. Nothing implies no it. I have used it as a convenience cognisant that it is strictly a turn of phrase.
Is God – a being or a state of awareness?