This is a great post and it poses great questions. First and foremost, "creation" of the universe is something that is so far beyond human intellect to comprehend that all we can do is guess. Thus, there can't really be a right or wrong answer. To conjecture on the creation of the universe leads one to wonder what "was" before the "creation" of such. (I'll stop with the quotation marks now. ) Wondering if there was something before there was something is a paradox. How could there be something before there was something? It's unable to be comprehended. And if there was nothing before there was something, how was there something in that nothing that created something? What if everything is but a circular something, never starting, never ending? In solely my own opinion, I like to think of everything being similar to a soap bubble- you blow on the bubble, and another bubble can be formed, attached to the original bubble, but still a bubble of it's own. Those two bubble are connected but still separated in their own nature. Bubbles can create bubbles and the bubbles stay attached, creating means of passing from one bubble to another. Bubbles creating bubbles creating bubbles. The question is "what created the bubble" and "what blew on the bubble?" Is it science? Is it godly? Is it something so far beyond me that I can't even think of it?
I think because this paradox is SO far beyond the ability for a human mind to comprehend and extrapolate, it is the easiest conclusion to deduce that there is some greater power that caused all of this to happen... which brings us back to what was there before something was there.
Being an agnostic, I have no idea. I don't have the answers, and no one does. I simply don't believe the Bible's explanation of creation because it doesn't answer my questions. In no way am I saying it's right or wrong, my mind just won't believe it.
Therein lies the differentiation between myself and a believer: I don't have faith in the story, and I don't understand it enough to believe in the story.
Which is a problem that a lot of people have with religion, both on the outside and on the interior. People want things to fit very nicely inside of definitions. However, when dealing in terms of infinance no one definition can ever adequately be applied. We simply are not smart enough to understand, and that scares a lot of people, be it into adhereing only to what can be understood through scientific means or to emotional and philisophical systems because they understand their own thoughts and are comforted by them.
Which is to say nothing about perception, but that's an entirely different kind of conversation altogether.
And questions, oh Good Lordy, I love questions. Curiosity is one of the most valuable traits of sentient life and should never be wasted or ignored. Question everything. Hell, I have begged mathematicians for years to prove to me that two plus two will always, in every instance universally, equal four. Most of them have looked at me like I was insane for even suggesting that it wouldn't, but a few have asked for elaborations and those usually end with them being exceptionally confused.
Taking things as a given is an absolutely horrible way to live, and fundamentally destroys one of what I believe to be the most essential aspects of physical existence - free will. Of course, the fact that the choice was made to accept those givens means that your still fitting in with free will, so it all works out.
As for that bubble theory of yours, I absolutely love the idea. A lot of people like to compare the idea of creation with a painting. This essentially expands that out into a question of "What could be more perfect than a painting that is never the same each time it is viewed?" Where did these "bubbles" come from? Well, that is the fantastic question and after many thousands of years of debate we still aren't any closer to the answer. All again, free will in action.
What I don't understand about the whole creation story is if there's a sole identity that engineered everything, wouldn't something have had to create said identity? How could god come from "nothing"?
The age old riddle of the chicken and the egg. The major problem here is that we're not talking about chickens or eggs or anything else within the physical spectrum. To ask "What created God?" is to assume that the idea and function of creation extends outside the realm of the physical, which again is the fault of perception and I'd rather not write that essay right now.
But for an answer to the question, because it's perfectly possible that God has a creator, let's think of this. If the function and heirarchy of creation is unchanged between the physical and the non-physical, then it should also be accepted that the understanding involved in each layer of creation remain the same. No creation can ever give perfect definition to its creator. Again, this fits in very nicely with the idea of free will which would also need to remain a constant (albeit a very inconsistant one). Am I making sense here?
As an example, your children will never fully do justice in explaining who you were at your funeral, and they will have little to no understanding of who your great great great great grandparents were in their lives.
Wow, that got long. I'll stop here. And I still haven't even gotten into why I'm a Christian yet....