Like I said, I'm not attempting to prove the existence of a demiurge, only explain why I believe in one.
To Sabby, what do you mean by sentient? Do you mean reasoning (i.e. humans and maybe dolphins, octopuses, great apes, and elephants) or sensing? I'm asking because there are different definitions of sentience. In either case, in the absence of all living organisms, I'd say the universe is deterministic. It exploded, moved about due to the way forces interacted based on where matter was located at the start, compiled, continued to interact based on strict laws governing that interaction, and will eventually expand until heat death. The only thing that might be called non-deterministic aspect is the (seemingly) random movement of some subatomic particles, but since determinism is defined against will, not chaos, it would still qualify, to me, as being deterministic in the absence of sentient beings. Who would be calling it this is a different question, though.
To Mr. Tanner, the thing is, if individuals atoms don't have will, why do a collection of atoms have will? Basically, all the world breaks down to the fundamental forces, right? Basically, all of the forces that we experience in our daily lives (excepting the earth's gravity) are variations on the electro-magnetic force, if I'm not mistaken. So there is really no such thing as friction or wind resistance or hard or soft, it's just ways that matter interact with one another based on the various electro-magnetic properties of various molecules, is it not? If that's all will is, then we don't really have choices, do we? I suspect that the brain is little more than a complex version of a worm's ganglia or a bacteria's photo- and chemo-receptors. But we don't attribute consciousness to those things. We don't say they choose what to do. So just because a human's brain is taking in more stimuli and has a wider range of potential actions we say it thinks and has will? That sounds like bullshit to me. I don't see how the electro-magnetic force can be used to make decisions - one phenomenon can only cause another and that another. Where does "decision making" or "will" come in? What tells the nerve to fire - chemicals from another nerve. What releases those - an electrical impulse. Where does that come from - another set of chemicals. Where does that chain start - some external stimuli. At what point do we have any say over our decision? At what point can thought intervene? I suspect the answer is nowhere. Which means we are no more willful or thoughtful than a bacteria or the sun - we're just running processes based on what is happening around/within us. So, I would place a soul (or call it what you will, a mind or spirit works just as well, an animus or anima) that interrupts these processes and then uses the to allow for decision making (i.e. to allow for will).
To Laa, I'm not putting the questions onto a god, I'm putting them onto the soul. I suspect it would simply be a matter of something beyond materialistic explanation or creating another fundamental force that can be called "will" that is unique to thinking beings (the way the electro-magnetic force is unique to charged particles). But, the assumption you make is that all universes must follow the laws of this universe, which is obviously a terrible argument from a scientific perspective. I mean, the movements of planets cannot be predicted by the movement of quanta, and vice versa. So how can you predict how another universe (greater, smaller, or parallel) might act based on this universe? I would think it obvious that you cannot. But, I would agree, based on what we have observed, there is no god and there is no soul. I would take it further and say there is no good or bad, right or wrong, life or death, that there is nothing aside from three/four fundamental forces and energy/matter. I'm not saying do what you want, abandon all morality, I'm saying there is no want and that all choice is gone. I'm saying that's very likely true. But that even if it is true, I'd rather bury my head in the sand and pretend that I do have free will, even if I have no choice in believing as such.