Who Created God?

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 beg 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, a temporal and immaterial. Even more importantly, the first cause must be uncaused. If this was 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, a temporal, 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 simultaneous 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, a temporal, 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, a temporal, 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.

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, God’s Crime Scene for Kids, and Forensic Faith.

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17 replies
  1. Andy Ryan says:

    “But there are good scientific and philosophical reasons to believe the universe did, in fact, begin to exist”
    Sure there are good reasons to accept that the Big Bang was the start of the universe in its current form. But that doesn’t mean there was nothing at all before the Big Bang. Richard Dawkins is pointing out that an eternal God is no less problematic than an eternal universe.
    .
    “If the cause of the universe is simply an impersonal force, its effect (the beginning of the universe) would occur simultaneous with its existence”
    A personal God doesn’t solve this problem. How can a timeless being operating in a timeless realm DECIDE to do something and then put that decision into action?
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    “in order to avoid the irrational problem of an infinite regress of past causes and effects”
    Why is a universe existing eternally into the past more problematic than a God existing eternally into the past?

    Reply
    • Clinton says:

      Why does a universe existing eternally into the past more problematic?
      Because everything seems to be falling apart. Stars, planets. Things on the planets. There are black holes forming and sucking things in and destroying them. So an infinite universe wouldn’t exist at some point because it would eventually fall apart and be a bunch of crap floating around.

      Reply
      • KR says:

        If it were that simple, all cosmologists would agree that the universe cannot be infinitely old. The truth is, if there’s anything the cosmologists agree on, it’s that this is an open question. The fact that our observable universe seems to be decaying doesn’t really tell us anything about the ultimate beginning – if there was one. E.g., it could be the case that the universe is going through a cyclical process of expansion and contraction and we just happened to be around to observe one of the expansion phases.

        Our empirical experience tells us that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. It’s such a consistent observation that we call it a scientific law. If we follow this law to its logical conclusion, it seems to indicate that matter and energy have always existed in some form. Again, this is an observation within the universe we see but if we are to base our hypotheses on our empirical observations (and I don’t see why we shouldn’t) then the suggestion that the universe was created from a state of nothingness seems baseless – at least until someone demonstrates that a state of absolute nothingness is even physically possible.

        I’d also like to point out that the statement “God was not created because that’s how I define God” is just a definition of a concept. If the claim is that this concept corresponds with reality and that there really is an uncreated, eternal God then this claim needs to be substantiated.

        Reply
        • Clinton says:

          Well. Yes. We can’t create or destroy matter. But matter seems to always be decaying. If it was infinite, like I said, it would be a bunch of particles floating around.
          And since we haven’t ever observed particles (matter) come together and form something on its own, we’ve only seen it go the other way, it seems baseless to say that the universe, as vast and awesome it is, came from a bunch of matter floating around.
          Most physicist and astronomers are in agreement that the universe had a beginning. So the question is, what force caused it to form in such a precise way, that it’s governed by laws and permits life?
          Science can neither prove, nor disprove God. Sure, we can make the claim based on our personal experience with God. Which you say is baseless.
          But science can also make the baseless claim that there isn’t one. But the evidence seems to point to a supernatural creator.

          Reply
          • KR says:

            “But matter seems to always be decaying. If it was infinite, like I said, it would be a bunch of particles floating around.
            And since we haven’t ever observed particles (matter) come together and form something on its own, we’ve only seen it go the other way, it seems baseless to say that the universe, as vast and awesome it is, came from a bunch of matter floating around.”
            .
            And yet thats precisely what the evidence suggests. One prediction of the Big Bang theory was that there should be cosmic background radiation still detectable from the very early stage of the Big Bang when the universe existed as a dense, extremely hot plasma where no atoms could exist. Scientists were even able to predict that there would be inhomogeneities in the radiation pattern and also the level of these inhomogeneities. These predictions were later confirmed when sensitive enough measuring equipment became available. So yes, we have observations that indicate that matter can condense from elementary particles.
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            “Most physicist and astronomers are in agreement that the universe had a beginning.”
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            No, they’re not. They’re in agrement that the expansion of our observable universe had a starting point about 13.7 billion years ago but that’s an entirely different thing.
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            “So the question is, what force caused it to form in such a precise way, that it’s governed by laws and permits life?”
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            The only fundamental forces we’ve detected are gravity, electromagnetic force, strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force. Do you have evidence of any other? If so, how was it detected?
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            “Science can neither prove, nor disprove God.”
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            Right – because it’s an unfalsifiable proposition, which puts it outside the realm of science.
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            “But science can also make the baseless claim that there isn’t one.”
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            Only if it has evidence to support this claim, which we just agreed it cannot have – so it doesn’t.
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            “But the evidence seems to point to a supernatural creator.”
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            If you claim that there is evidence of a supernatural creator, you must first have a hypothesis that predicts what evidence this creator would leave behind and explains why. This seems like a pretty tall order when we’re dealing with a supposedly omnipotent deity who could literally leave any imagineable evidence. I think you’ll have accept that when you postulate an omnipotent deity, you have to give up the idea of finding evidence for it.

          • Clinton says:

            Scientist come up with ideas and claim they know the universe came about completely by accident. They observe things in the universe and claim that that’s evidence for a big bang that happened completely on it’s own. The laws your talking about rule the universe. Without gravity, the planets would be just floating around bumping into each other. And without the planets set up as they are, things could be radically different.
            They detect radiation in the universe.
            And so we discover the sun emits massive amounts of radiation.
            ” Right, it’s an unfalsifiable proposition. So it’s outside the realm of science”
            Exactly. There’s more out there than just science. Science isn’t the only thing that’s real. A lot of people think so, and then use philosophy while denying philosophy. Interesting.

            There’s plenty of evidence around to suggest this God exists. The fact that you’ve rejected it means nothing.

          • KR says:

            “Scientist come up with ideas and claim they know the universe came about completely by accident. They observe things in the universe and claim that that’s evidence for a big bang that happened completely on it’s own. ”
            .
            No offense but you clearly don’t understand how science works. Scientists study the evidence. They formulate hypotheses and from them they make predictions that can be tested by empirical observations. If the prediction fails, the hypothesis is obviously wrong and they try a new one. If the prediction is correct, this doesn’t mean that the hypothesis is correct, just that it hasn’t been falsified. This is how science progresses: by constantly trying to prove itself wrong – i.e. the complete opposite of your straw man version.
            .
            “The laws your talking about rule the universe. Without gravity, the planets would be just floating around bumping into each other. And without the planets set up as they are, things could be radically different.”
            .
            So you’re saying that if things were different, they would be different? Sounds about right.
            .
            “They detect radiation in the universe.
            And so we discover the sun emits massive amounts of radiation.”
            .
            What exactly are you saying – that astronomers can’t tell the difference between cosmic background microwave radiation and solar radiation? How about the little fact that solar radiation comes from a specific direction and background radiation doesn’t? Why do you you think they call it background radiation?
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            “Exactly. There’s more out there than just science. Science isn’t the only thing that’s real. A lot of people think so, and then use philosophy while denying philosophy. Interesting.”
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            I’d love to hear you explain how you can know that something is real if you can’t verify it empirically.
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            “There’s plenty of evidence around to suggest this God exists. The fact that you’ve rejected it means nothing.”
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            The fact that you claim to have evidence means nothing until you actually present it.

          • Clinton says:

            I understand how science works. Im not as stupid as you think. They create a hypothesis, then take steps to investigate.
            Sure. But what happens when they predict things that they couldn’t possibly know, and say, ” this is what we’ll see if this is true”. Then, ” it’s true because we observed it.”
            Sure. Ok. But didn’t they already know about the radiation before they decided that that’s the evidence from a big bang that they didn’t witness, nor have they witnessed anything like it.
            This radiation, coming from the direction of the sun. Do you realize there’s a lot of stars out there like the sun, and bigger than the sun that emit radiation too. Thousands of them.

            As for the evidence for Christianity. Haven’t you been reading things on this website?
            There’s a lot out there. Historical, archeological, scientific. But no matter whats presented, if it isn’t evolutionary science, it’s rejected.

            And to clarify, when I say science, I don’t mean doing an experiment, and oh, holy crap, it’s god.
            If the things done in a lab is the only thing trustworthy, then we couldn’t possibly know anything about history. We wouldn’t know morals.
            Because science can’t explain those things.

          • KR says:

            “Sure. But what happens when they predict things that they couldn’t possibly know, and say, ” this is what we’ll see if this is true”. Then, ” it’s true because we observed it.””
            .
            I just explained that this is not how science works. It’s in the post you’re responding to.
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            “Sure. Ok. But didn’t they already know about the radiation before they decided that that’s the evidence from a big bang that they didn’t witness, nor have they witnessed anything like it.”
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            No, they didn’t know – that’s why it’s called a prediction.
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            “This radiation, coming from the direction of the sun. Do you realize there’s a lot of stars out there like the sun, and bigger than the sun that emit radiation too. Thousands of them.”
            .
            If the radiation is coming from a star, it’s still directional. That’s why we see stars as points. Have you considered the possibility that astronomers actually know what they’re doing and are capable of distinguishing between starlight and background radiation? If you have, how did you exclude this possibility?
            .
            “As for the evidence for Christianity. Haven’t you been reading things on this website?
            There’s a lot out there. Historical, archeological, scientific. But no matter whats presented, if it isn’t evolutionary science, it’s rejected.”
            .
            I’ve read plenty of things on this website but nothing that I would consider to be compelling evidence. The funny thing about this s.c. evidence is that all religions claim to have it. I’m pretty sure you have no problem rejecting the evidence presented for islam or hinduism. I’m just applying the same level of skepticism to all religious claims – and found them lacking.
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            “If the things done in a lab is the only thing trustworthy, then we couldn’t possibly know anything about history.”
            .
            See, this is the kind of statement that convinces me that you don’t understand science. If you did, you would understand that the scientific method is perfectly applicable without doing laboratory experiments. We can look at one set of historical data and formulate a hypothesis that would explain it. We can then make predictions that can be tested by looking at another set of historical data (e.g. from another time period or another geographical area).
            .
            “We wouldn’t know morals.
            Because science can’t explain those things.”
            .
            The origin of morals are perfectly explainable by evolutionary biology and game theory mathematics. What’s more, this explanation includes a mechanism which means it provides an actual understanding of the process instead of ending up with a supernatural mystery.

          • Clinton says:

            2 things. You talked about how to know history. They’ve applied those same standards to the new testament texts.
            As far as morals go, they are not explained very well at all by evolutionary science. If they were, then why does everyone think it’s subjective. Up to the individual.
            I think the only reason you reject the evidence, is because you’d rather believe that you can do whatever you want without accountability.
            I don’t trust evolutionary science because these people are perfectly willing to lie. Just like the climate scientist.

          • KR says:

            “2 things. You talked about how to know history. They’ve applied those same standards to the new testament texts.”
            .
            Are you suggesting that there’s a scientific basis for the claim that a man rose from the dead? If so, I’d like to see it.
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            “As far as morals go, they are not explained very well at all by evolutionary science. If they were, then why does everyone think it’s subjective. Up to the individual.”
            .
            Are you saying that the theory of evolution would predict that morality is objective? If so, why?
            .
            “I think the only reason you reject the evidence, is because you’d rather believe that you can do whatever you want without accountability.
            I don’t trust evolutionary science because these people are perfectly willing to lie. Just like the climate scientist.”
            .
            Yeah, everyone who doesn’t agree with you is immoral and a liar. Now, isn’t that convenient? Just think of the time you save not having to look at evidence or trying to understand arguments.

  2. Mark says:

    Because nothing in our universe is timeless. The only viable option then is for that timeless entity to be external to our universe. That’s what we call God.

    “Richard Dawkins is pointing out that an eternal God is no less problematic than an eternal universe.”

    I disagree. Any universe, if it had a beginning, CANNOT be the first cause. That’s impossible. Thus, the only other choice is an eternal God. I find the concept of an eternal God, while difficult to comprehend, as a far more explanation viable than a self-creating universe.

    Reply
    • Andy Ryan says:

      Me: “Richard Dawkins is pointing out that an eternal God is no less problematic than an eternal universe.”
      Mark: “I disagree. Any universe, if it had a beginning…”
      .
      Did you read what I said? I said ‘an eternal universe’ and your reply talked about a universe that had a beginning. If it’s eternal then it didn’t have a beginning.
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      “a far more explanation viable than a self-creating universe”
      Again, if it’s eternal then it didn’t create itself, any more than an eternal God is ‘self-creating’.

      Reply
      • Mark says:

        Stephen Hawking (atheist): “Virtually all scientists now believe that the universe, and time itself, had a BEGINNING 13.7 billion years ago at the Big Bang.”

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          As you point out, Hawking is an atheist – he doesn’t think the Big Band needed a God. So is he an expert here or not? Hawking says this – do you agree with him?

          “The universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago. The beginning of real time, would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down. Nevertheless, the way the universe began would have been determined by the laws of physics, if the universe satisfied the no boundary condition. This says that in the imaginary time direction, space-time is finite in extent, but doesn’t have any boundary or edge. The predictions of the no boundary proposal seem to agree with observation.”

          Reply
          • Mark says:

            I merely disagree with your statement above, namely “…if the universe is eternal…”. Per Hawking et. al., the universe and all time, space, and matter BEGAN to exist, and thus required a cause. What do YOU think caused the universe to begin to exist, Andy?

        • Andy Ryan says:

          “What do YOU think caused the universe to begin to exist, Andy?”
          .
          I’ve no idea. But as I pointed out, positing a God is just attempting to explain a mystery by appealing to a bigger mystery.
          .
          If the Big Bang was slam dunk evidence for God then we’d expect cosmologists to all by theists, when in fact the experts on the subject are less likely to theists than the general population and less likely than other scientists. Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawking do not see a God as required to explain the beginning of the universe.

          Reply

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