Creation as the making of the divine or as its outflow and manifestation is a concept alien to early Buddhism. Buddhist Pāli texts criticized contemporary Indian religions for embracing the concept of creation and a creator god. The focus of the Buddhist critique has two prongs: first, the concept of an eternal supernatural god is strongly denied in many Pāli texts. For instance, the Anguttara Nikāya records the following statement:
At the same time, the entirety of the Buddhist traditions affirms the existence of devas, that is, impermanent gods who are of ‘a shining, supernatural body and spend their existence in sensual pleasures’.2 These impermanent gods lack the power to create the universe or to govern its laws. Nāgārjuna has some harsh words for them:
Impersonal laws that are beyond the reach of all sentient beings determine the course of the universe. Second, the Buddhist critique attacked god’s qualities of omnipotence and omniscience. If he truly had these qualities, he created the universe as a complete and perfect entity, which excluded any change. Experience, however, contradicts this assumption. Thus, so the texts conclude, the concept of a creation by a god contravenes logic. Śāntideva elaborates this thought in his famous Bodhicaryāvatāra (IX 124):
Thus, we might conclude that there is no such thing as a Buddhist belief in creation. Such assumption, however, is true only if we adopted a literal and materialistic connotation of creation. After all, the texts I quoted above speak to an Indian audience that embraced creation stories where god/s make/s the world similar to a potter creating some pieces of earthenware.