Can a ‘Creator God’ be ‘Created’?

mountains with crepuscular ray
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Unless out of Bodhicitta,
wanting to create something external
is a sign of internal [spiritual] imperfection,
incompletion and discontentment.

— Shilashanti

In the Brahmajala Sutta (http://tinyurl.com/sutta1), the Buddha tells of a long time ago, when this world system is naturally and cyclically dissolved after a lapse of many aeons. During this time, beings are mostly reborn as gods with radiant light from their subtle ‘bodies’ in the Abhassara heaven (the highest of the second jhanic heavens) nurtured by jhanic bliss. (See http://tinyurl.com/31planes for planes of existence) When the world arises again after a long time, a palatial Brahma abode manifests naturally (in one of the first jhanic heavens – of Maha Brahma, his ministers and retinue). One of the Abhassara beings is reborn into it due to exhaustion of his relevant positive karma or lifespan. There, he lived alone for many aeons, becoming weary and lonely. Longing for company, he uttered, ‘Would that some other beings come to this place!’ By a string of karmic ‘coincidences’ instead of his power, other beings from the Abhassara ‘fall’ and are reborn there.

‘Seeing this, the ‘first’ god thought, ‘I am Brahma, the Great (Maha) Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered [Almighty], Omniscient, the Subjector of All to His Wishes [Lord of All], the Omnipotent, the Maker, the Creator, the Supreme, the Controller… and Father to All that Have Been and Shall Be. I have created these other beings…’ These beings revered him as they too assumed that he created them – as he was there before they came into being, and that they too had forgotten about their past lives. However, this was simply because the first god there karmically has a longer life, more beauty and power than the following ones. When the Earth is formed later, one of these gods dies and is reborn as a human, who becomes an ascetic. Through diligent mental cultivation, he is able to recall just one immediate past life, from which he wrongly concludes that Maha Brahma creates humans, and that he is ‘eternal’ and ‘unchanging’.

The Buddha thus illustrated how belief and worship of a creator god arose. Incidentally, the Buddha was first invited to teach the Dharma by Brahma Sahampati from the highest fourth jhanic heaven. Being an enlightened ‘Teacher of humans and gods’, the Buddha clearly saw that world systems undergo natural cycles of formation, evolution, dissolution and destruction, which interact with beings’ karma without the need of any creator. He also saw how beings could be reborn as wondrous gods through meditation and goodness, though many are still spiritually short-sighted, unmindful of the existence of many past lives, higher heavens and the path to Buddhahood. It is by karmic default that some gods naturally mistaken themselves to be omnipotent, omniscient, omnipotent creators, when they are not – due to their inadequacy, pride and delusion. As they only live the illusion of ‘eternal life’ in ‘eternal heavens’, they too are still trapped in rebirth. Interestingly, the Kevatta Sutta (https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2009/12/the-bird-that-flew-too-far) says Maha Brahma already realised the Buddha’s superiority!

Being ultimately enlightened,
the Buddhas are able to understand
and explain everything ultimately.

— Shilashanti

Related Articles:

How Baka Brahma Realised He is Not a Creator God
How the Goldilocks Effect Affects You

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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