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Why We Created God By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

March 14, 2018

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge,” - Stephen Hawking (January 8, 1942 – March 14, 2018)

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge,” - Stephen Hawking (January 8, 1942 – March 14, 2018)

Now I know why our ancestors, in every culture, noted in some ways that ignorance is bliss.

Until recently, I did not know that when I stepped on this earth that I was standing on a piece of 4.54 billion-year-old object that is 92.96 million miles away from the sun and moving around the sun at the speed of 67,000 miles per hour while rotating at the speed of 1000 miles per hour.

Just think about it. 

Your typical passenger airplane flies at 460 – 575 miles per hour. To be sitting or standing on a piece of object that is speeding at 67,000 miles per hour into an unknown destination without a care in this world is the ultimate bliss. But that is where we are and how we live.

Does that humble you a bit as you fight for space, relevance, and legacy on that piece of object? Does it entice your curiosity? 

If the speed and movement of the earth is all there is, like a spinning football on the tip of a professional football’s finger, perhaps our imagination could handle it. But looking outside the immediate environment of the earth, we find a solar system made of planets surrounding a sun. We haven’t visited any of the planets. We only know that the sun has been burning for over 5 billion years. In another 6 billion years, it will burn out and everything around it will collapse into a giant black hole.

It is not only our earth that is speeding, our whole solar system is also speeding around our galaxy at 490,000 miles per hour. There are billions of these galaxies. The galaxies around us are moving at 621,37 miles per second towards a part of the universe called the Great Attractor. The universe on its own is continually expanding. It has both visible matter and dark matter that we cannot see. These galaxies speed into a universe made of billions of similar galaxies.  To get a glimpse of the complexity of what is out there in outer space, just take a look up the sky at night. Each star is a solar system of its own. 

If the above picture does not make you feel small, maybe nothing else will.

For a moment, let us come back from outer space. Let us return to the earth where we live. The earth has between 1.75 billion to 3.27 billion years of habitable life left. After that period, it will move to a hot zone of our solar system that will make it uninhabitable for humans.

Even though insects appeared on earth some 400 million years ago and dinosaurs appeared some 300 million years ago, we humans have been living on earth for just 200,000 years. So far, after 200,000 years of living on this earth, we do not know what is underneath the earth. Efforts to dig a hole through the earth surface has not gone beyond Russia's Kola Superdeep Borehole that went just 7.5 miles out of the 3959 miles of earth’s radius. More than seventy percent of the earth surface is covered by water. So far, we have not been able to explore 95% of our ocean. Each year new species of animals are found in the ocean. Even landmasses, like the 55 million-year-old Amazon rainforest, covering over 2 million square miles with more than 390 billion trees have been left unexplored.

How does that make you feel? Does that make you cocksure about the accuracy of what you believe about who we are and where we are and why we are here?

Despite the 20th century advancement in science that has intensified the scratching of the surface of these mysteries, the world has relatively remained a mystery to us, just as it was to our ancestors who lived in an era when the moon was a god and microorganisms were spirits.

We are still as clueless as those humans that first asked, “Where are we and how did we get here?” Like them, we are continuing to concoct theories to explain the complexities of the maze we have found ourselves in. 

The 19th century greatest physicist, Isaac Newton, once told those who admired his intellect and accomplishment that he didn’t do much. He said, “I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

The yet to be discovered “great ocean of truth” is not under any obligation to sync itself with the template of God that our imagination has created. 

I place my bet that in due course, like in 20,000 years from now, most things that we believe today would turn out to be mere fiction. They will embarrass those coming after us just like the beliefs of our fore parents did to us. Our most cherished beliefs of today will become part of the long list of discarded beliefs that mankind had held since the beginning of time.

It is not going to be a happy ending for those of us who are so sure that what they believe is the final answer that they are willing to kill others for that belief.

When a glimpse of reality is overwhelming, the only logical thing left for humans to do is to believe that there is someone somewhere who made them. That was how we created God. Not that he wasn’t there, to begin with; his manifestation was all around us. We created God to make sense of what we could not explain. We pay tribute to that God the same way a toddler sees his parents as the ultimate being until he grows up and becomes wiser.

Humans over the years have creatively come up with stories about this God to explain things about where we found ourselves that we do not understand. Over time, the explanations of man have fallen short. They have been inadequate in interpreting our gigantic and ever-expanding universe.

In his work, “The Advancement of Learning,” Francis Bacon noted that “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content, to begin with, doubts, he shall end in certainties.”

Every now and then, the old explanation becomes totally discredited and new ones are invented to fill in the missing gaps. When that happens, we recreate God. Even as we do so, he remains elusive. 

Nobody knows the number of God’s reincarnations humans have executed in our 200,000 years of existence as species. What is clear is that the current incarnation of God won’t be the last. Thank God we are not required to prove that God exists – we created him.


Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo is the author of This American Life Sef.