I’m going to say something now that may give offence to certain people, but here in the 21st century of the modern era, at this later stage of human development when we are supposedly reaching peak knowledge and understanding of ‘life, the universe and everything’, we should now be mature enough to give consideration to such basic concepts as ‘are there invisible beings?’ In particular, is there an invisible god?
The concept of an invisible god or supreme being who created the world, us, and everything that we see in the universe, has been with us now for some 2,500 years or so. In other words ever since all the gods disappeared.
Our ancient forebears, no matter where we live in the world, never believed in an invisible god. They didn’t have to. Their gods lived and breathed and walked among them, in full view. They were just like us. They ate, they drank, they built things, they loved, they hated, they got angry, they were kind, they fornicated with whoever they fancied, they had children with half-sisters (as a means of succession), they fought among themselves, they murdered. They even created us – originally in test tubes – which is why we are so like them. They even took human spouses (creating a range of demi-gods). But there came a time, somewhere in the sixth century BCE (Before the Current Era) when all, or most of the gods went away and left us on our own, to make do, entirely reliant on our own wits and the civilisational knowledge with which they had endowed us in earlier times.
Of the few that remained here after the general departure, Alexander the Great, himself just being told that he was in fact a demi-god by the oracle at Siwa, went to visit and grasp the hand of the last great original god, known to be alive only a few years earlier, at home in his Esagila ziggurat in Babylon in 331BCE, only to find the god Marduk lying in his tomb, dead. Marduk’s son Nabu was still alive at the time but his whereabouts were never subsequently known.
And so, finding ourselves alone in the world, we gradually succumbed to the idea that the gods were invisible but somehow still with us, unseen. Various statues were erected in their honour, just as we do now for eminent people, and these became objects for the focus of worship (and supplication for the gods to return). Eventually someone, or some groups of someones, had the idea that there should only be one invisible god and that they themselves should have the exclusive franchise of being the intermediary between ordinary people and that supreme being. And that is where we find ourselves today. Except for the fact that with all that we now know, that story is beginning to wear a bit thin. A bit late in the piece but we are beginning to question the narrative’s validity.
Do we believe in invisible other things? Well, yes we do. At least many of us believe in our own invisible ancestors, still existing somewhere in some other state of being. All based, I would expect, on the surmise that an invisible god must also exist somewhere and perhaps we will one day join them and all our loved ones that have passed away before us.
I’m not decrying that thought. It is quite comforting, just as is the thought of an invisible god. But is it at all or in any way real?
Let’s think about this for a minute. What are the reasons for a god, any god, even a former visible god, being invisible?
1. We don’t see them because they don’t actually exist – even if they once did.
2. They are not seen any longer because they have gone somewhere else in the universe and have forgotten that we even exist. Or, if they are still alive, they may remember us and come back to visit at some stage, 2,500 years not being very long in a god’s life.
3. We don’t see them because they are a figment of our imagination.
4. They exist on some other plane of existence – they are for example ‘spirit’ and therefore unable to intervene or even ‘appear’ in the physical realm.
There are no other reasons, valid or otherwise, for believing in invisible gods (or ancestors for that matter). So, why do so many of us continue to do so?