In their search for God, the ancients found the things that transcended themselves. Art, music, war, politics and the clan all came out of the ancient pursuit of the metaphysical.
No one should claim homo sapiens always sought after God. The earliest cave art was not about God, nor about anything like God. Early art was the hunt, the fire, the animals in their lairs and the fear men take from the growing darkness of each day.
Or did the very work of art itself demonstrate the human ability to express God symbolically until such time as God should come to them? Any art is utilitarian in that it serves a purpose. Any art is symbolic in that it represents something other, perhaps more, than itself, though art does not immediately uplift by its presence and may even degrade its subject. Any art is metaphysical, since it combines the physical structure of the art with the heart of the artist and the eye of the beholder.
In their search for God the ancients discovered wisdom, often their own wisdom, and placed on it the seal of religious writ. Some deity must approve the wisdom, for all wisdom comes from God. The deity, once established in human thought, could then be warped to fit the momentary need. The darkness still gathered every night. No man knew why the darkness came or if the sun would come again. Every night was death. Every morning was rebirth.
Wisdom gave birth to religion, which sired philosophical introspection. Meanwhile, humankind continually experienced metasensate encounters, which both jolted them from their present physical reality and drew them with a fearful fascination to itself. Where humans sensed the More, they built monuments as best they could, altars where they might. In those places they worked to force the gods to reduplicate their experience. When blessings failed for a time, homo sapien could question his own ability to reconstruct the circumstances of his rebirthed moment. When blessings failed for a time, homo sapiens moved on to the next spiritual gold rush.
The ancients, in their race for god, found it takes one man to have a religious experience. It takes a lot of people to have a religion. In order to be cooperative, it seemed, religion had to be first (and continually) persuasive. Polytheism let man make his gods, when and where he needed. Pantheism made god readily available but equally unaccessible.
Monotheism appeared. Monotheists are the arrogant elitists of the wisdom religionists.
Monotheists built their altars on top of the bloody altars of their fearful forebearers.