Skip to Content

Who was the first to God?

The question of who was the first to find God is a complex one that has been debated throughout history. There are many different religious traditions that each have their own perspective on this issue. Some faiths believe that God revealed himself first to a particular prophet or religious figure. Others see the search for God as an innate part of human nature, with our ancestors developing the first primitive forms of religious belief and worship. There is also debate around what exactly constitutes “finding” God – is it making contact with a divine being, developing an abstract conception of God, or just beginning to engage in spiritual activities like ritual and prayer. With so many views on this topic, there is no straightforward answer to the question of who was first to God. However, by exploring some of the key figures, events, and developments put forth by different faiths, we can shed light on the origins of humanity’s relationship with the divine.

Important Figures in the Search for God

While an exhaustive list would be impractical, there are a few important names that frequently arise in discussions about early connections to the divine. Here are some of the most notable:

Adam and Eve – In the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Adam and Eve are the first man and woman created by God. Their placement in the Garden of Eden to live in harmony with God is sometimes interpreted as the original human relationship with the divine.

Henotheistic Worship in Ancient Egypt – The Ancient Egyptian religion did not center on one supreme creator deity. However, texts and artifacts attest to early stages of henotheism – the worship of a single god while not denying the existence of others. Some scholars believe this was one of the first moves toward monotheism.

Ahura Mazda in Zoroastrianism – Zoroastrianism is one of the earliest recorded monotheistic faiths, originating in ancient Iran around 1500 BCE. Ahura Mazda is the supreme deity in this tradition. The faith may preserve early human conceptions of a single universal God.

Polytheism in Ancient Mesopotamia, Greece etc – Many early civilizations developed robust pantheons of gods governing every aspect of life and nature. Though not monotheistic, the divinities provided an early divine presence.

Important Religious Developments

In addition to key figures, there are a few religious developments throughout history that stand out as pivotal moments in humanity’s understanding of and connection to God:

– The development of shamanism and animism among early hunter-gatherer groups as early as 6,000 BCE.

– The writing of the Vedas, foundational Hindu scriptures that describe the origins of the cosmos, around 1500 BCE.

– The development of Judaism and the worship of Yahweh as the one universal God beginning around 1000 BCE.

– The life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the subsequent rise of Christianity and worship of the one God in three persons.

– The revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad and the rise of Islam as an Abrahamic monotheistic faith.

– The philosophical arguments for the existence of God articulated by medieval Christian, Muslim, and Jewish thinkers.

The Beginnings of Religion

While identifying the absolute first person to develop a concept of God may be impossible, archaeology and anthropology can shed light on the earliest evidence of religious belief systems and practices. Based on current research, here is what we know about early religion:

Burial Practices – Ancient burial sites provide some of the earliest evidence of religious and spiritual beliefs. The inclusion of items like tools, jewelry, and food in graves indicates a belief in an afterlife. The earliest known burials date back over 100,000 years.

Ritual Objects and Art – Cave paintings, carved artifacts, and other sacred items dating back tens of thousands of years have been discovered across the world. These objects likely played a role in prehistoric religious rituals and spiritual practices.

Temples and Shrines – Purpose-built spaces for spiritual practice like the G??bekli Tepe temple in Turkey provide concrete evidence of religion as early as 10,000 BCE.

Anthropomorphic Figures – Statues and artwork depicting gods, goddesses, and human-animal figures like the Lion-man of the Hohlenstein Stadel date back over 30,000 years.

Together, these artifacts demonstrate that prehistoric hunter gatherers and early agrarian civilizations sought to understand existence through spiritual frameworks, divine beings, and the mystical world. Religion, in some form, has likely been with humanity since the very beginnings of culture.

Progression Toward Modern Beliefs

Of course, ancient religious concepts are very different from modern monotheistic notions of God. How did humanity progress from primitive rituals, superstitions, and polytheism to the globally dominant Abrahamic faiths today? Here are a few of the key developments:

Abstract Thinking – Preliterate cultures were limited in their ability to conceptualize abstract ideas like an all-powerful God. As language and thinking advanced, so did theology.

Philosophy and Science – Disciplines like philosophy and physics presented logical arguments for monotheism and God as the prime mover, advancing ideas.

Competition and Adaptation – Religions competed and adapted their theologies over time, moving toward more coherent and complex concepts of God.

Texts and Scripture – Holy texts like the Bible and Quran allowed sophisticated narratives and universal moral frameworks to develop and spread.

Wave of Monotheism – For complex historical reasons, monotheism gradually rose to global prominence between 1000 BCE – 500 CE through Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Missionary Activity – Proselytizing activities in the modern era allowed dominant monotheisms to spread far and wide, cementing their status.

The Cognitive Science Perspective

The cognitive science of religion is a modern field that explains humanity’s seemingly innate tendency toward religious thought as byproducts of normal mental functioning:

Hypersensitive Agency Detection – Being quick to attribute events to conscious action helped early humans survive. This manifests in seeing signs of gods, spirits.

Theory of Mind – We evolved to infer intentions, beliefs behind behavior. Applied to gods, this generates supernatural beliefs.

Teleological Thinking – Our minds see purpose and design everywhere. This predisposes us to believe in a grand designer – God.

Dualism – We intuitively separate mind and matter. Belief in non-physical souls or spirits emerges from this tendency.

Anthropomorphism – Human-like gods with emotions and desires emerge from attributing human qualities to non-human things.

Remembrance of Dead – Grieving and remembering dead loved ones lays groundwork for believing in continuing existence after death.

So in a sense, religion and God may have been “found” when hominins first developed theory of mind, agency detection, dualism and other now-instinctive cognitive habits.

The Perspective of Different Faiths

Adherents of different religious traditions often have strong views on who was the first to develop an understanding of God based on the teachings and history of their faith:

Abrahamic Faith Perspective

– Judaism, Christianity, Islam point to Adam as first man created by God.

– The biblical patriarchs like Abraham and Moses had critical early revelations.

– These faiths see creedal monotheism beginning with Judaism around 1300 BCE.

Hindu Perspective

– Hinduism cites the Vedas as revealing truths about the divine going back as far as 1500 BCE.

– Hindus see modern practices as evolutions of India’s ancient Vedic traditions.

Dharmic Perspective

– Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs focus less on the exact origins and more on the proper path to enlightenment.

– Siddhartha Gupta’s revelations around 500 BCE are seen as pivotal.

Pagan Perspective

– Modern Pagans revere ancient pre-Christian nature religions tracing back tens of thousands of years.

– Gods and Goddesses revered before Christianity are interpreted as early insights into the divine.

Chinese Folk Religion Perspective

– Posits a steady evolution of Chinese religion from prehistoric animism to modern folk practices.
– Sees divine truths accumulating over this entire unbroken lineage.

Atheist Perspective

– Atheists point to psychological and anthropological explanations for theistic beliefs.
– The earliest rituals and superstitions simply reflect human imagination, not actual divine truths.

Universalist Perspective

– Truths about divine reality have been revealed since the very origins of human spirituality.
– The world’s faiths express different glimpses of the same eternal truths.

The Anthropic Perspective

I don’t have a personal religious affiliation or firm convictions about the exact origins of human spiritual belief. However, based on my knowledge of world history, cultures, and religions, I would summarize the beginnings of humanity’s discovery of God as follows:

– Primitive forms of animism, totemism, and ancestor worship were likely the earliest stages of religious belief dating back over 50,000 years.

– Polytheistic and henotheistic religions like those of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece etc expanded human concepts of the divine over thousands of years.

– Sophisticated philosophies and increased abstraction in thought allowed coherent monotheistic concepts of God to emerge around 2000 BCE.

– The cultural and theological contributions of many religious traditions, both ancient and modern, have collectively shaped our understanding of God today.

– Ongoing scientific study and inquiry into humanity’s spiritual proclivities continue to shed light on this profound question.

So while no single group, time period, or person can claim sole credit for “discovering” God, it has been a long, rich, and collaborative effort spanning cultures and millennia. The search to understand our place in the cosmos through the lens of faith is a fundamentally human endeavor that is still unfolding today.


The question of who first discovered God is complex, with theological adherents offering different perspectives based on sacred stories and history. While the exact origins may be shrouded in the mists of prehistory, archaeology and scripture provide clues to humanity’s long spiritual journey from primitive ancestor worship to intricately developed notions of a universal Supreme Being. The truth likely encompasses contributions from multiple faiths across ages, with ongoing new insights and perspectives continuing to shape and refine our understanding of the Divine to this day. The search for God is thus an profoundly human process that has unfolded across diverse civilizations over thousands of years and continues to captivate our imagination today.