An insight one discovers when exploring the gap between science and religion is that there are always two “somethings!”
There is the object “out there” which is the subject of an individual’s observation, and there is the representation of that object in that humans as “definers” create.
There is a bark-encased, branch-spreading, leaf-bearing (or needle bearing) object, and then there is the representation of that something that we have in our minds. It is of course, the tree. This representation is so pervasive, we almost never attend to it.
This “twoness” is not so clear when it comes to intangible “things,” such as love, smell, and transcendental object humans label as “God.”
The labeling of something as “god” or “God” is not limited to those who believe in God. Atheists have a model of god, to which they attribute the characteristic of “non-existent.”
Whether one is an atheist or a theist, the fact that humans created of the term and concept that deals with the transcendental raises the question, “What experience has led humans to label something as “God.”
Perhaps it is what Sociologists report as a universal experience of something bigger than ourselves–aka transcendental. “Universal” in this case refers to a global phenomena where every culture has those in their society who testify to this experience.
From this experience of the transcendental–that which transcends the individual (aka ego)–we humans have modeled this experience is different ways. For example, eastern philosophy’s representation as Nirvana and/or the opening lotus blossom.
Notice that in next graphic, the Abrahamic religion’s representation of God as a old male with a long beard and flowing robes. That representation is shaped by other people, the prevailing culture, scripture & other written works, and prayer & meditation.
For people who have a strong religious sense then, the challenging question becomes:
Whom shall I worship? The god I created, or the God that created me?
The next logical question is:
How do I know which one?