In His Own Image …
Open your mind’s eye for a moment and let it begin a journey in space and time! Far away and long ago. … Look at those construction workers laying down the foundation of the Eiffel Tower. As you pass over Jerusalem, see how the ruins of al-Aqsa turns into a new mosque as the workers reconstruct it brick by brick after a devastating earthquake. … You are now leaving behind the Flavian Amphitheater, the playing field of brutal gladiatorial games in Rome. You are passing the times when King Khufu commissioned the building of his tomb, the Great Pyramid at Giza, and when the Sumerian king Aannipadda built his temple at Ur. Watch how the pyramids are fading away, the temples are disappearing, the huts and mud houses leaving your sight! Do you see a savanna approaching you? Stop there. Now you are somewhere in east Africa or Eurasia some time between 50 and 100 thousand years BCE; eons before any towns or villages existed on the face of our planet.
Can you see the silhouette of those men trudging wearily in the savanna at dusk? They are returning to their cave after a long, laborious day of hunting, each proudly carrying a part of the carcasses of the boars they had killed earlier. The big smile on their faces speaks of their immense joy for having been able to provide a few day’s supply of food for their clan.
Their smiles are not to last long, however, because they notice that the wind is picking up speed, and the clouds in the sky are turning dark gray. They look at each other in fright. One of them quickens his pace; the others follow. By the time they are within a few yards from their cave, the wind is so strong that they have to bend forward and exert great pressure against it to be able to take the next step. “Big Serpent hiss,” utters one of the men as they enter the cave.
The mental capacity of our ancestors was sufficiently developed at this stage of our evolution to try to find a cause for every effect — the “scientific” disposition. All disasters were characterized by motion, severe unpredictable motion, and they originated from sky, which was also the seat of regularity and calm such as the motion of the Sun and Moon and the beneficial rain, soothing breeze, and fair weather. As our ancestors looked around, they saw that motion — both capricious and calm — was invariably associated with animals and humans. They quite naturally concluded that the source of all disasters must be mighty — possibly human-like — moody creatures residing in the sky. And when they looked up above on a partly cloudy day, they could actually see those creatures as the clouds morphed into human and animal shapes.
Was there any way that they could alleviate the disasters sent by those creatures? Conceivably, after some unsuccessful confrontational attempts, our ancestors decided to open a dialog with the whimsical and overpowering beasts up above. A direct communication seemed ineffective as the sky was too far away. On a stroke of genius, our ancestors came up with the brilliant idea of creating statues of the heavenly creatures and communicating with those statues! “If each statue is a sincere replica, then surely our words will reach the creature it represents,” they thought. And the statues began to multiply and spread from one community to another.
And thus man, in his own image, created gods to explain the natural phenomena! And with that creation, science and religion were born as twins!