Animals Don’t Seem to Worship God, So Did Humans Invent God?

Did the idea of “God” only arise with humans? And if so, what does that say about the reality of God, and our relationship with God?

Some people might reject the notion of “God” because we are just another animal on this Earth, and the animals don’t seem to be worshiping any Gods, so God must be a uniquely human creation. I think this has some truth to it, but I think it might not fully consider our uniquely human condition or psycho-spiritual state of being, which seems to be quite different than most animals or other forms of life on Earth.

Another way to look at it might be that the animals never left God’s presence to begin with, they never fell into a sense of being a separate individual, alienated from the world and nature. They are in Nature at all times, living together with it, Nature providing them with all the sustenance they need to live, move, play, mate, and enjoy life. Thus, they have no need to return to God or Nature. They are already there.

I perceive that we are actually already there too, we are already at-one with God and Nature, but we don’t know it. The problem arises in our particularly human psychological sense of separation, in being this separate self, the egoic self, the psychological self, the “natural man,” the alienated individual, one who thinks they are apart from the Whole, disconnected, divided, Fallen from God’s Presence, believing that we are a single person journeying in a hostile world in which we will one day die and be no more.

This sense seems to be something that only arises to such a great degree in us humans with our complex consciousness and self-awareness. Animals do not seem to have this sense to such an elevated degree as we do. They don’t seem to be concerned about being separate or not belonging. They don’t seem to even know about their “self” in the way we do. They seem to largely live their life in the moment, doing what needs to be done from deeper instinctual motivations. They don’t seem to spend a lot of time thinking about things as we do, reasoning one way or another. Our complex consciousness has allowed us humans to be able to create tremendous things on the Earth, but it is also our downfall as we become trapped in our sense of being a separate mortal self, and the works we do from this ego-centric state can be harmful to ourselves, and others, and thus to the Whole.

In this uniquely human state of feeling separate, in a sense I think we have invented our ideas of God, our symbols of the Divine, but they are inventions originally meant to help point our minds back in the direction of wholeness, oneness, belonging, Love, unity, nonduality, community, being a part of Nature and the Cosmos instead of feeling separate from it, instead of being a “separate self” in it. The spiritual/religious mythologies may all be various techniques to tell the story of humanity, of the Human One, of the human condition, of our psycho-spiritual “Fall” from this primordial unity, singularity, or One, into a sense of being separate from it, and of our psycho-spiritual journey back home to that Oneness, Nonduality, Wholeness (Holiness), to a deep sense of well-being, Love, and absolute Union with the All, the Absolute, knowing we are not separate from it in our deepest essence.

Those mystics and contemplatives who communicated them seem to have transcended the sense of being a “separate self,” at least momentarily, to perceive an Absolute in pure consciousness, and then returned to everyday life to bring news of that Absolute to their fellow humans, and how they might also realize it. But because their cultures were so diverse and different, their languages so different, their ways of living and interacting so disparate, the stories they told were all somewhat different, and over time those differences seem to diverge even more. But as we look at each of them, and investigate them closely, we can see many similarities. I think they are all pointing to the same One Ultimate Reality or Truth, but express this in many diverse and beautiful ways.

I do think that these symbols often become misinterpreted or misconstrued to mean things that are quite incompatible with that oneness, wholeness, or Absolute. They can become quite contradictory and irreconcilable with truth that we discover from other sources and with other means. When we take the symbols literally, even if they were originally written as literal narratives, we can miss their deeper import, the deeper psycho-spiritual transformations that they are guiding us towards, the transfigurations of the mind and consciousness and being that I think they have been trying to help us realize for millennia.

So we need mystics today, contemplatives, genuine prophets, to continually reinterpret the journey back to wholeness, the deeper archetypes of human nature and our being in the cosmos, continuing to retranslate them into symbols and narratives that have meaning for us today, in our current contexts, in our current frameworks and systems of knowledge and language, incorporating the discoveries of science, and psychology, and cosmology, etc. We have to transcend those archaic mythologies, and then include them again at a higher or deeper level of understanding.

I think we must be careful to not get too attached to any one spiritual system of pointing along this spiritual journey, thinking it is the only way to this oneness. That may lead to dogmatism and fundamentalism, and is just another tool of the ego-self to barricade itself within separateness, dividedness, hate, and bigotry. Humans have clearly come up with hundreds, even thousands (at least), of different ways of considering the human spiritual journey of life. None of them is necessarily the “best” one, or the “right” one, although some might be better than others in guiding us back to that wholeness, and better for some people than other people.

They seem to all be pointing in a similar direction, particularly if we look closely into their more mystical schools, the sources from which they sprung (also known as the perennial tradition). If the traditional notion of “God” has too much baggage for you, then perhaps another term would work better, to help point your mind towards that Ultimate Reality, that One, that Singularity, that Wholeness, that pure Love, that Truth, that unity in being that all humans seem to strive for.

And so, in our particularly human way of perceiving the world, and perceiving our selves, we humans have made these stories of a “God,” or “Gods,” pointing to an Absolute that seems to be beyond our typical human egocentric state of consciousness and perception. In that state we’ve returned to that primordial sense of union with nature that animals might have, which may be why Jesus taught using animals as examples of how we should also live, and even plants (Luke 12:22-32). Animals perhaps don’t “worship” God because they are always at-one in God, in that Life and Spirit and Truth of simply being what they are, and that may be their worship (John 4:23). Their life is their worship.

And this is just another story I’m now telling you, another reinterpretation, to help point our minds towards that One, however we may consider it, whatever terms we might use for it. It is One that I have realized myself at times, and I seek to realize it more deeply and completely every day.


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5 thoughts on “Animals Don’t Seem to Worship God, So Did Humans Invent God?

  1. “Did the idea of ‘God’ only arise with humans? And if so, what does that say about the reality of God?”

    Did the idea of ‘humans” only arise with humans? And if so, what does that say about the reality of humans?

  2. We should seek “God beyond God.” i.e. the divine essence beyond our conceptions. Using Allah, God, ha-Shem, Ishvara, Sambhogakaya or other names does not change that divine essence. Ultimate Reality is the holy One in All and All in the wholly One.

    The personal, yet transcendent, divine which we worship is also immanent in all existence. The word Godhead, used by Christians in English, is al-Haqq in Islam, Brahman in Hinduism, Dharmakaya in Buddhism, and Ein Sof in the Kabbalah of Judaism. These are some words for the essence of the divine One, which both penetrates and exceeds everything.

    1. Yes, I agree. God is beyond all our human concepts of God. We use many different names to point to that, and ironically, in pointing to it we often think it is something separate from us. The ego seems to point to it because it doesn’t know God is not something separate. When the ego falls away from consciousness, we realize we are One in God, that God penetrates us and is immanent in all things including us.

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