Who Created God?

SEARCHING FOR THE UNCAUSED FIRST CAUSE

Richard Dawkins, the famous English evolutionary biologist and renowned atheist, revived an objection related to God’s existence in his book “The God Delusion.” In the fourth chapter (“Why There Almost Certainly Is No God”), Dawkins wrote, “The designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer. The whole problem we started out with was the problem of explaining statistical improbability. It is obviously no solution to postulate something even more improbable.”

In essence, Dawkins offered a restatement of the classic question, “Who created God?” On its face, this seems to be a reasonable question. Christians, after all, claim God created everything we see in our universe (all space, time and matter); He is the cause of our caused cosmos. Skeptics fail to see this as a satisfactory explanation, however, because it seems to raise the question “If God, created the universe, who (or what) created God?”

Part of the problem lies in the nature of the question itself. If I were to ask you, “What sound does silence make?” you’d start to appreciate the problem. This latter question is nonsensical because silence is “soundless”; silence is, by definition, “the lack of sound.” There’s something equally irrational about the question, “Who created God?” God is, by definition, eternal and uncreated. It is, therefore, illogical to ask, “Who created the uncreated Being we call God?” And, if you really think about it, the existence of an uncreated “first cause” is not altogether unreasonable:

It’s Reasonable to Believe the Universe Was Caused
Famed astronomer Carl Sagan once said, “The Cosmos is everything that ever was, is and will be.” If this is true, we are living in an infinitely old, uncaused universe that requires no first cause to explain its existence. But there are good scientific and philosophical reasons to believe the universe did, in fact, begin to exist. The Second Law of Thermodynamics, the expansion of the universe, the Radiation Echo, and the problem of Infinite Regress cumulatively point to a universe with a beginning. In the classic formulation of the Kalam cosmological argument: (1) whatever begins to exist has a cause, (2) the universe began to exist, therefore, (3) it is reasonable to believe the universe has a cause.

It’s Reasonable to Accept the Existence of an Uncaused “First Cause”
This “first cause” of the universe accounts for the beginning of all space, time and matter. It must, therefore, be non-spatial, atemporal, and immaterial. Even more importantly, the first cause must be uncaused. If this were not true, the cause of the universe would not be the “first” cause at all. Theists and atheists alike are looking for the uncaused first cause of the cosmos in order to avoid the irrational problem of an infinite regress of past causes and effects. It is, therefore, reasonable to accept the existence of an uncaused first cause.

It’s Reasonable to Believe God Is the Uncaused “First Cause”
Rationality dictates the ultimate cause of the universe (even if it isn’t God) must have certain characteristics. In addition to being non-spatial, atemporal, immaterial, and eternal (uncaused), it must also be powerful enough to bring everything into existence from nothing.

Finally, there is good reason to believe the cause of the universe is personal. Impersonal forces cannot cause (or refuse to cause) at will. The minute an impersonal force exists, its effect is experienced. When the impersonal force of gravity is introduced into an environment, for example, its effect (the gravitational attraction) is felt immediately. If the cause of the universe is simply an impersonal force, its effect (the beginning of the universe) would occur simultaneously with its existence. In other words, the cause of the universe would only be as old as the universe itself. Yet we accept the reasonable existence of an uncaused first cause (one that is not finite like the universe it caused).

For this reason, a personal force, capable of willing the beginning of the universe, is the best explanation for the first cause of the cosmos. This cause can be reasonably described as non-spatial, atemporal, immaterial, eternal, all-powerful, and personal: descriptive characteristics commonly reserved for the Being we identify as God.

All of us, whether we are atheists or theists, are trying to identify the first cause of the universe. The eternal nature of this non-spatial, atemporal, immaterial cause is required in order to avoid the problem of infinite regress. It is, therefore, irrational to ask “What caused the uncaused first cause?” It is far more reasonable to simply recognize the attributes of this cause as an accurate description of God.

This article is adapted from one that originally ran at Cold Case Christianity.

Image courtesy of ClaudioVentrella at iStock by Getty Images.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, Christian Case Maker, senior fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the author of “Cold-Case Christianity,” “Cold-Case Christianity for Kids,” “God’s Crime Scene,” and “Forensic Faith.”


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  • Scott

    This is another great article bringing modern, relative evidence that points to the existence of God.

    Just finishing your book “Cold-Case Christianity, love it! Thanks!

  • Breezeyguy

    Great discussion.

    You wrote “Famed astronomer Carl Sagan once said, “The Cosmos is everything that ever was, is and will be.” If this is true, we are living in an infinitely old, uncaused universe that requires no first cause to explain its existence.”

    Not necessarily true. Aristotle believed the universe was eternal, but he STILL said there needed to be “first cause”. The cause is not necessarily chronologically necessary, but logically necessary.

    Consider the nature of causes not just as horizontal (billiards), but also as vertical (health as the cause of goodness in food).

    A guy once said to me, “Butter is good. But too much butter is bad. Therefore there is no such thing as good or bad”. Forget the obvious problem that his conclusion denied both his premises. The real problem is that his analysis misses the WHY of butter being good or bad. The vertical cause of this judgement is a totally higher and more general concept, “health”. Health is a higher good than butter. Is health the highest good? By no means. For example virtue is far more important than health. But if you keep climbing, eventually you get to the highest values, those of “goodness, truth, and beauty”, otherwise known as the transcendentals. And there is nothing higher than that except God. I think it was in this sense that St Thomas (and Aristotle?) stated that “in the number of causes and things caused, you cannot proceed to infinity”.

    Excellent article.

  • jason taylor

    There is really no logical alternative but either pantheism or theism. Materialism is just pantheism with an impersonal deity(if there is nothing higher then the universe then the universe is God whether or not it can speak). Polytheism tends to postulate beings that have recognizably corporeal existences. They do not Incarnate because they are already carnal(usually in the other sense of the word but that is another story.
    As was pointed out, impersonal creativity is hard to believe. On the other hand and to be fair, every other hypothesis as to the nature of the universe is hard to believe. One the other hand at the very least I know I am irreducibly complex. I also know that if the chief desire was to promulgate one’s genes it is hard to believe that it would not be a conscious desire. The fact is people want love, they want children, they even want sex. Often they want the first and the last without children which is highly telling. But wanting to promulgate ones genes is not an urgent human instinct. When it does appear it in the form of ideology not in the form of instinct. People definitely take pride in ancestors and want descendants after them to take pride in them. But that is not an instinct. The part of us that is recognizably biological exists without it. It is ideology. And people compete for honor, like animals, and when they do the possibility of advantageous couplings is part of the reward and often consciously expected as a reward. But it is a bonus among humans who compete for honor in whereas it is according to theory the main point among animals. And sometimes people create, study, collect or beautify for no other reason then that they like beauty and knowledge irrelevant to whether it brings them biological advantage. In short any materialism has to deal with the fact that humans are already transbiological. Or to put it another way, if our chief motive was to promulgate our genes, Richard Dawkins would not have to tell us.

    So it is hard to believe I am a creature only of the universe, when I am clearly not. And yet I am clearly not a god, even though I come from a race that can blow highway tunnels through Mt, Olympus should it get it into it’s head to do so. Rather I am an animal and yet not an animal, as indeed rather suspiciously, is the tradition of the Church. And thus it seems that there should be something that created me.

  • Robert Cremer

    I always thought the question, “Who created God?” Is a rabbit trail argument hiding in a question to avoid responsibility to the God who created us. If someone or something else created our God, the answer to that question is unknowable to us. Even if our God was created, how would knowing that change the responsibility we have toward our Creator? (If anyone has any good answer please respond. If it takes more than a 150 words, don’t bother as your answer cannot qualify as being good, learn to be succinct.)

  • Tom Sathre

    robert cremer 1. Your (self-inflicted?) limit of 150 words to any answer to the Question you asked, cuts all of us out from reading longer answers, if any. 2. You can hide your eye then. 3. What are the limits of your Responsibility toward your Savior? Are they only bounded by His willingness to forgive?

    • Robert Cremer

      My self-inflicted limit is a search for thought out succinct arguments. Many people write rambling diatribes that say a whole lot of nothing. I cannot stop longer answers, it is just my request. 2. Yes, I could hide my eyes but I just skip by the rambling ones as soon as I see they are going nowhere. 3. I am not trying to limit or expand whatever responsibility we have toward our Creator. The Bible defines what that should look like. I say it starts as a relationship of love and goes from there.