The Origin and Nature
of the Universe
The Origin of the Universe—There are seven main ways
the existence of the universe is explained in various religions of the world:
(1) The universe is eternal and uncreated.
(2) The universe was created by God out of nothing (ex nihilo).
(3) The universe was created by God (or various gods) using a preexisting
(4) The universe was created by God, yet is separate from him.
(5) The universe was created by God. Though it is not God in manifestation,
he is the essence of life within it.
(6) The universe was emanated out of God (ex Deo). Therefore, it is
divine in essence.
(7) The universe is simply the result of causal actions.
The Nature of the Universe—Some religions teach the
natural creation is an illusion; others teach it is real. Some teach that it has
a divine essence; others teach it is separate from God. The various views are
defined as follows:
- Monism: the concept that all things in the universe, natural and
spiritual, are of one essential substance. Monism is usually married to the
concept of pantheism. If "All is One" (monism) it is only logical
that "All is God" (pantheism). There are three types of monism—the
belief that the universe is: (1) Purely Mental; (2) Purely Physical; (3) A
Mixture of Both Views.
- Monistic Theism: a blend between monism and dualism. According to
this view, during the soul’s evolution, God temporarily ‘appears’ to
be transcendent, separate from creation and from us. Ultimately, all things
will blend together in undifferentiated, monistic oneness. In monistic
theism God is both transcendent and immanent. This allows for a personal
relationship with God on the way to an undifferentiated union with an
- Pantheism: the idea that creation with its substances, laws and
forces, is an emanation of God. In the most extreme form of pantheism, God
does not exist apart from these—"All is God; and God is All."
Theism: the view that creation is separate from
God, that he is transcendent, existing apart from the material universe. The
‘life’ of animate things is distinct from God. It is a gift from
God, but it is not an emanation of God.
Some religions are very precise in their cosmogony; others
are vague. A few even discourage speculation in these areas. Regardless of which
view is held, most of us can agree with Sir Thomas Brown that:
"The created world is just a small parenthesis in
Select the desired religion or teacher from the drop-down box below to
what followers believe regarding the origin and nature of the universe.