Monday, June 5, 2017

If God Made the Universe Then Who Made God?

Have you ever been involved in a conversation with a skeptical co-worker or a friend who has asked you this question: "If God made the universe then who made God?" Let's get to the real issue of this objection for God's existence by looking a three of understandings for answering it.

First, this objection makes a categorical mistake. It would be like asking, "How does your favorite song smell?" It just does not make sense, does it? This objection is often asked by those who are fans of the famed atheist, Bertrand Russell who once said, "It everything must have a cause then God must have a cause."  But everything does not need to have a cause.
 And it is here that God is lifted high and lofty in a category all His own, which takes us to our second understanding.

Second, there are several kinds of being. There is self-caused where something has caused itself to exist. This is implies several things that do no apply here.  There are contingent causes. These are things (including people) who are caused by another.  And there is this type of causation we know as "uncaused" where the God of the Bible is found.

God is the uncaused Cause. He is the beginning-less Beginner. He is the uncreated Creator.  God is the Cause (the first Cause) of all that exists.  Think of it this way. Every painting has a Painter.  Every product has a Producer. If there is an origin, then there must be an Originator.  And since there is a beginning (a genesis) there is a first Generator.  That generator is God.

Exclaimed right from the very first verse of the Bible the Scriptures announce, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). God is far from being created. God is the Creator of all things.  He is the Cause of all first causes.

Think back to what God said to Moses at the burning bush as He was appointing him to confront the Pharaoh of Egypt.

"Moses said to God, 'If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, "What is his name?" what shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Say to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you'" (Exodus 3:13-14).

As the One who was not made, God was saying, "Moses, go tell them that the One who never began to exist (unmade) sent you.

God is unlike us.  We are contingent beings where God is a necessary Being.  We are dependent beings where God is an independent Being.  The universe is contingent. God spoke the universe into existence.  This means that all things that have begun to exist are dependent on God for their existence.

Third and finally there is a problem with the question, "Who made God?  The word made cannot be said of God. For God is the unmade Maker.

If you look all around us, look at your desk, your car or your computer. Somebody made that. Everything that exists around us had a cause for its existence. Wouldn't it be easier to say that Somebody made that? Or how about this. Wouldn't be easier to believe that Something or Someone took nothing (Genesis 1:1) and made something than to believe that nothing took nothing and made something?

So the next time someone asks you, if God created then universe then who made God, take these three thoughts with you and share them with your friend asking this objection. It might get them to investigate the Christian faith a little deeper.  It also may cause you to look into more learning how to answer more objections to your faith.


Charleston James said...

For a long time, atheists were satisfied in presuming the universe was eternal. When they could pretend to know such a thing they also had to contend with questions of origins, "where did the universe come from?". A common atheist response was that eternality, be definition, means it was always here. It was not created. There is no need to explain how it got here.

The same is true of the God of Abraham. The three Abrahamic religions teach there is only one God (though they may differ as to who that God is) and that he is an eternal being. While the science seems to indicate the atheists were wrong in presuming the universe was eternal, they were right in what eternality means. There is no need to explain where an eternal being comes from, as eternality means God is NOT a created being.

But now that atheist have largely accepted the notion of a finite universe (though Plasma Physicists may disagree on that) they have played a sleight of hand trick and pretend science has also shown the God of Abraham is finite, created, like the universe. This is not what the Abrahamic religions claim. And this is a curious assertion from people who deny God exists at all.

There is no good reason to blindly accept the atheistic premise. They were wrong when presuming the universe was eternal and they are wrong in presuming an eternal being was created. They've flipped flopped on the meaning of eternality now that they can not longer claim it for their own ideology. This is intellectually dishonest. There is no good reason to accept the atheist's definition of God, or faith, or reason itself.

If you're talking about Zeus or Ra, asking "who created god" is perfectly reasonable, as these deities have origin stories in their own native lore. The God of Abraham has no origin story among the three
Abrahamic religions. Thus because of the meaning of "eternality", and because of the internal claims made about God, asking who created the God of Abraham becomes a non-sequitur (no different from asking "How does your favorite song smell?").

The reductive nature of atheism invites the atheist to oversimplify that which he does not wish to accept. In doing so, the atheist typically presumes that which he does not care about is not relevant. This is the problem of not knowing the difference between fact and opinion, as what the atheist rejects as irrelevant may still be important, regardless of the value he places on it.

Thus, it is very common for atheists to presume all religions are fundamentally the same, and only superficially different. To the Bertrand Russels or Richard Dawkins of the world, pretending all gods are created beings may be easy and convenient, but ultimately reveals ignorance and intellectual laziness. The question of "who created God" when talking about the God of Abraham unintentionally reveals the blind doubt of the asker - one who is not interested in understanding such things, but merely interested in rejecting God.

On the matter of ultimate origins, the supposedly scientific alternative to God is essentially the idea of spontaneous generation: the universe created itself out of nothing. This is a faith-based position that requires more blind faith than I have.

Anonymous said...

I think the standard atheist comeback to this is something along the lines of "If God can be uncaused, why can't the universe be uncaused as well. We can eliminate the needlessly complex explanation of there being a God if the universe is pre-existent in some form or another.

Rob Lundberg said...

Anonymous, the idea that the universe is eternal stems from the great Carl Sagan. However there is no scientific evidence of the eternal nature of the universe since the Hubble telescope, second law of thermal dynamics, astronomical evidence of an expanding universe, shown even in the red shift, and Einstein's theory of relativity. So IF the universe had a beginning are you going to try and define nothing as its origin? I look forward to your answer.