Creator deity

A creator deity is a deity responsible for the creation of the world (or universe). In monotheism, the single God is often also the creator deity, while polytheistic traditions may or may not have creator deities. A number of monolatristic traditions separate a secondary creator from a primary transcendent being, identified as a primary creator.[1]



In polytheistic creation myths, the world often comes into being organically, e.g. sprouting from a primal seed, sexually, by miraculous birth (sometimes by parthenogenesis), 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.


Monolatristic traditions would separate a secondary creator from the primary transcendent being, identified as a primary creator.[1] According to Gaudiya Vaishnavas, Brahma is the secondary creator and not the supreme.[4] Vishnu is the primary creator. According to Vaishnava belief Vishnu 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 works with the materials provided by Vishnu to actually create what are believed to be planets in Puranic terminology, and he supervises the population of them.[5]


Monism has its origin in Hellenistic philosophy as a concept of 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 Baruch 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.[6] 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).

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).


The Buddha explicitly rejects a creator,[7] denies endorsing any views on creation[8] and states that questions on the origin of the world are worthless.[9][10]

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.

The 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).


Hinduism includes a range of viewpoints about the origin of life, creationism and evolution. The accounts of the emergence of life within the universe vary in description, but classically the god Brahma, from a Trimurti of three gods also including Vishnu and Shiva, is described as performing the act of creation, or more specifically of "propagating life within the universe" with the other two deities being responsible for preservation and destruction (of the universe) respectively.[11] Most Hindu schools do not regard the scriptural creation myth as a literal truth, and often the creation stories themselves do not go into specific detail, thus leaving open the possibility of incorporating at least some theories in support of evolution. Some Hindus find support for, or foreshadowing of evolutionary ideas in scriptures, namely the Vedas.[12] An exception to this acceptance is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), which includes several members who actively oppose "Darwinism" and the modern evolutionary synthesis.[13]


Jainism does not support belief in a creator deity. According to Jain doctrine, the universe and its constituents - soul, matter, space, time, and principles of motion have always existed (a static universe similar to that of Epicureanism and steady state cosmological model). All the constituents and actions are governed by universal natural laws. It is not possible to create matter out of nothing and hence the sum total of matter in the universe remains the same (similar to law of conservation of mass). Similarly, the soul of each living being is unique and uncreated and has existed since beginningless time.[a][14]

The Jain theory of causation holds that a cause and its effect are always identical in nature and therefore a conscious and immaterial entity like God cannot create a material entity like the universe. Furthermore, according to the Jain concept of divinity, any soul who destroys its karmas and desires, achieves liberation. A soul who destroys all its passions and desires has no desire to interfere in the working of the universe. Moral rewards and sufferings are not the work of a divine being, but a result of an innate moral order in the cosmos; a self-regulating mechanism whereby the individual reaps the fruits of his own actions through the workings of the karmas.

Through the ages, Jain philosophers have adamantly rejected and opposed the concept of creator and omnipotent God and this has resulted in Jainism being labeled as nāstika darsana or atheist philosophy by the rival religious philosophies. The theme of non-creationism and absence of omnipotent God and divine grace runs strongly in all the philosophical dimensions of Jainism, including its cosmology, karma, moksa and its moral code of conduct. Jainism asserts a religious and virtuous life is possible without the idea of a creator god.[15]


Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism teach that creation is 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.[16]


Bahá'í teachings state that God is too great for humans to fully comprehend, or to create a complete and accurate image of, by themselves. Therefore, human understanding of God is achieved through his revelations via his Manifestations.[17][18] In the Bahá'í religion God is often referred to by titles and attributes (e.g. the All-Powerful, or the All-Loving), and there is a substantial emphasis on monotheism.

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.

Shangdi is another creator deity, possibly prior to Pangu sharing concepts similar to abrahamic faiths.

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.


It is a tenet of Christian faith (Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant) that God is the creator of all things from nothing but by his word, and has made human beings 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, mainly evangelical Protestants, particularly Young Earth creationists and Old Earth creationists, interpret Genesis as a historical, accurate, and literal account of creation. Others, in contrast, may understand these to be, not 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 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" <John 1:1-3 and 1:14>.

The Epistle to the Hebrews, a book of the New Testament, 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" <Hebrews 11:3>.[19]

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 Catholic Church allows for either a literal or 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).

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.[20]

Surrounded by a pervasive culture of rationalism, relativism and secularism, the Catholic Church has asserted the primacy of reason in Christian Theology. 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 "the elements are eternal" (Doctrine & Covenants § 93:33), and that God (our Father in Heaven−−the Creator, Sustainer, and Governor of the Universe)--organized or wrought the creation of the Earth through His Son, Jesus Christ (known as YHWH "Jehovah" of the Old Testament), Who was with Him in the beginning (John 1:1−2, 14): "And by the word of my power have I created them [i.e., the Earth and its many inhabitants], which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth" (Moses 1:32). God, the Father, had His Son fashion the eternal elements into the Earth upon which we live over the course of six creative periods that He called "days" (yōm in Hebrew, Genesis 1:5)(note, however, that there is nothing to suggest that these six days were either immediately contiguous or of 24 hours duration (indeed, as to the latter, the data suggests that these "days" were rather longer)). "We will go down," said Jehovah, "for there is space there, and we will take of these [already existing] materials, and we will make an earth whereon these [i.e., us] may dwell" (Abraham 3:24). But Latter-day Saint theology does not perceive God as the Creator of our Earth alone, but of countless worlds: "[W]worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten" (Moses 1:33), "[B]y him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God" (Doctrine & Covenants 76:24).

In short, the Creator is an architect and organizer of pre-existing matter and energy, who constructed our original Earth and other worlds out of this raw material according to the laws and principles He has decreed shall govern such things.


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.


Orthodox Judaism historically affirms that one incorporeal God (self-identified to Moses as Yahweh) is the creator of all things (many references available, see Job 38-41, for example),[21] and that this same one created Adam and Eve personally (directly).[22] They affirm that this Being is an indivisible one, incomparable to any created thing, and immutable.


According to Islam, God, known in Arabic as Allah, is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator, Sustainer, Ordainer, and Judge of the universe. Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular (tawhid). God is unique (wahid) and inherently one (ahad), all-merciful and omnipotent. According to tradition there are 99 Names of God (al-asma al-husna lit. meaning: "The best names") each of which evoke a distinct attribute of God. All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive divine name. Among the 99 names of God, the most famous and most frequent of these names are "the Compassionate" (al-rahman) and "the Merciful" (al-rahim).

Creation is seen as an act of divine choice and mercy, one with a grand purpose: "And We did not create the heaven and earth and that between them in play."[23] Rather, the purpose of humanity is to be tested: "Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving;"[24] Those who pass the test are rewarded with Paradise: "Verily for the Righteous there will be a fulfilment of (the heart's) desires;"[25]

According to the Islamic teachings, God exists above the heavens and the creation itself. The Qur'an mentions, "He it is Who created for you all that is on earth. Then He Istawa (rose over) towards the heaven and made them seven heavens and He is the All-Knower of everything. "[26] At the same time, God is unlike anything in creation: "There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing."[27] and nobody can perceive God in totality: "Vision perceives Him not, but He perceives [all] vision; and He is the Subtle, the Acquainted."[28] God in Islam is not only majestic and sovereign, but also a personal God: "And indeed We have created man, and We know what his ownself whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein (by Our Knowledge)."[29] Allah commands the believers to constantly remember Him ("O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance"[30]) and to invoke Him alone ("And whoever invokes besides Allah another deity for which he has no proof - then his account is only with his Lord. Indeed, the disbelievers will not succeed."[31]).

Islam teaches that God as referenced in the Qur'an is the only god and the same God worshipped by members of other Abrahamic religions such as Christianity and Judaism. (29:46).


One of the biggest responsibilities in Sikhism is to worship God as "The Creator", termed Waheguru who is shapeless, timeless, and sightless, i.e., Nirankar, Akal, and Alakh Niranjan. The religion only takes after the belief in "One God for All" or Ik Onkar.

See also


  1. ^ a b (2004) Sacred Books of the Hindus Volume 22 Part 2: Pt. 2, p. 67, R.B. Vidyarnava, Rai Bahadur Srisa Chandra Vidyarnava
  2. ^ "The Great Hare". Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  3. ^ "Nanabozho, Access geneaology". Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  4. ^ Nandalal Sinha {1934} The Vedânta-sûtras of Bâdarâyaṇa, with the Commentary of Baladeva. p. 413
  5. ^ "Secondary Creation". Retrieved 2009-08-06. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Monism". Columbia Encyclopedia. Columbia University Press. 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-23. 
  7. ^ Thera, Nyanaponika. "Buddhism and the God-idea". The Vision of the Dhamma. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. "In Buddhist literature, the belief in a creator god (issara-nimmana-vada) is frequently mentioned and rejected, along with other causes wrongly adduced to explain the origin of the world; as, for instance, world-soul, time, nature, etc. God-belief, however, is placed in the same category as those morally destructive wrong views which deny the kammic results of action, assume a fortuitous origin of man and nature, or teach absolute determinism. These views are said to be altogether pernicious, having definite bad results due to their effect on ethical conduct." 
  8. ^ Bhikku Bodhi (2007). "III.1, III.2, III.5". In Access To Insight. The All Embracing Net of Views: Brahmajala Sutta. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. 
  9. ^ Thanissaro Bhikku (1997). "Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturable" (in translated from Pali into English). AN 4.77. Access To Insight. "Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it." 
  10. ^ Thanissaro Bhikku (1998). "Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta: The Shorter Instructions to Malunkya" (in translated from Pali into English). Access To Insight. "It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him. In the same way, if anyone were to say, 'I won't live the holy life under the Blessed One as long as he does not declare to me that 'The cosmos is eternal,'... or that 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,' the man would die and those things would still remain undeclared by the Tathagata." 
  11. ^ "Religion & Ethics-Hinduism". BBC. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  12. ^ Moorty, J.S.R.L.Narayana (May 18–21, 1995). "Science and spirituality: Any Points of Contact? The Teachings of U.G.Krishnamurti: A Case Study". Krishnamurti Centennial Conference. Retrieved 2008-12-26. 
  13. ^ Smullen, Madhava (27 December 2008). "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed". ISKCON News. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  14. ^ Nayanar (2005b), p.190, Gāthā 10.310
  15. ^ *Soni, Jayandra; E. Craig (Ed.) (1998). "Jain Philosophy". Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (London: Routledge). Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  16. ^ Rouvière, Jean-Marc, Brèves méditations sur la création du monde L'Harmattan, Paris (2006), ISBN 2-7475-9922-1.
  17. ^ Hatcher 2005, pp. 1–38
  18. ^ Cole 1982, pp. 1–38
  19. ^ New American Standard Version, ISBN 0-7369-0018-7
  20. ^ CCC Search Result - Paragraph # 291
  21. ^ Job 38-41
  22. ^ Genesis 1:26 and elsewhere
  23. ^ Qur'an [21:16], Sahih International Translation
  24. ^ Qur'an [67:2], Muhsin Khan Translation
  25. ^ Qur'an [78:31], Yusuf Ali Translation
  26. ^ Qur'an [2:29], Muhsin Khan Translation
  27. ^ Qur'an [42:11], Sahih International Translation
  28. ^ Qur'an [6:103], Sahih International Translation
  29. ^ Qur'an [50:16], Muhsin Khan Translation
  30. ^ Qur'an [33:41], Sahih International Translation
  31. ^ Qur'an [23:117], Sahih International Translation

External links

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