Who Made God? (Revisited)

During my years of teaching Biblical Studies to High School students, the question, “Who made God?” was probably the one that was most commonly asked. Not surprisingly, the question gets a lot of airplay in the adult world as well. “If God made everything, who made God?” is the sceptic’s favourite question, asked repeatedly by Richard Dawkins and other outspoken ‘new atheists’. It is wielded like a mighty sword that is designed to cut the legs out from underneath anyone foolish enough to declare their belief in a supernatural Creator. But in reality, it is a sword made of straw that makes no impact on its intended targets and, in the end, makes the person brandishing it look rather foolish.

This is because the atheist proposes his own illogical answer to the question. After asking, “Who made God?”, he then offers what seems to him (or her) the obvious answer; “We did! We made God! Not the other way around. He is merely a construct of our own wishful thinking.” According to atheism, we are not God’s creation, he is ours.

Ironically, however, the “We made God” hypothesis faces the same apparent conundrum as the theist’s answer, “God made us“. Because if a person confidently declares that “We made God“, the next obvious question is, “If we made God, who made us?” Proposing that “Evolution made us” does not wash, because as Scott Adams observes, “Evolution (if it is true at all) isn’t a cause of anything; it’s an observation, a way of putting things in categories. Evolution says nothing about ultimate causes.”[1] To put another way, if evolution made us, who made evolution?

Consider this imaginary three-way conversation, between a theist, an atheist and a genuine enquirer:

ENQUIRER: Can anyone tell me who made everything?

THEIST: Yes. God made everything.

ATHEIST: Really? So who made God?

THEIST: No one. He exists eternally and without a cause.

ATHEIST: Nonsense! We made God!

THEIST: Well, if we made God, who made us?

ATHEIST: Evolution made us.

THEIST: And who made evolution?

ATHEIST: No one. It is simply a functional aspect of the way everything works. ‘Everything’ made evolution.

ENQUIRER: Umm … But who made everything? Oh, never mind. This is going around in circles! (He leaves, scratching his head in confusion).

Thus, the logical extension of the atheist’s “We made God” contention leads to the same kind of ontological dead end that they accuse theists of.

However, while both competing viewpoints (“God made us” vs “We made God”) lead to the ultimate quandary of first cause, the theistic viewpoint offers a reasonable answer to the supposed dilemma whereas the atheistic contention is completely devoid of one. The theistic view that “God made us” is not the unanswerable dead end that atheists claim it to be (and which their own viewpoint turns out to be!). There is a logical, reasonable answer to the question, “Who made God?” The answer lies in the uncaused nature of God himself, as is inferred by logical, philosophical deduction. The deductive line of reasoning goes as follows:

> Any Creator of nature (the physical universe) must necessarily exist outside of nature and not be bound by it. It or He (let’s stick with “He”) must necessarily be supernatural (meaning beyond nature), as nature can’t create itself.

> As nature is now understood by science to be the ‘space-time continuum’, meaning that it consists of physical dimensions and lineal time, the Creator must exist outside of those natural constraints. He cannot be bound by the things he created before he created them, nor can he be bound by them afterward. He is perpetually supernatural.

> Thus, the supernatural Creator of nature is necessarily both timeless and dimensionless. A being who is anything less than this, could not have created our space-time continuum.

> The timelessness of God, in particular, infers ‘causelessness’. Cause and effect only apply to lineal time within the natural world, where there is a ‘before’ and an ‘after’. In a timeless realm, ‘before’ and ‘after’ are meaningless, as are the concepts of ‘beginning’ and ‘end’, and ‘cause’ and ‘effect’.

> Thus, God is timeless (eternal) and causeless (uncreated).

This accords with the Christian scriptures, which describe God as “spirit” (spatially dimensionless) and timeless (eternal). Several Bible passages hint at this latter truth, including God’s revealed name to Moses as “I am” (Exod 3:14), meaning the ever-present one, and Jesus’ reference to his eternal existence with the Father before the creation of the world (John 17:5).

This is not to say that the theistic explanation is easy to understand. A timeless, uncaused God may be logically deducible, but the concept certainly does our heads in!

However, the atheistic viewpoint (that there is no supernatural Creator) is even more difficult to accept, because it leaves us with two equally untenable scenarios regarding the question of first cause. In the atheistic view, either the universe is eternal and uncaused or there is an infinite regression of causes receding eternally into the past, with each earlier cause being caused by something even earlier. The concept of an eternally pre-existing universe has now been soundly discredited by the overwhelming consensus of leading cosmologists who, in recent decades, have documented irrefutable evidence that the universe did, in fact, have a finite beginning. The alternative scenario – an infinite regression of causes – defies common sense and requires much more faith than believing in a God whose timeless nature is at least consistent with logic and philosophical deduction.

So, who made God?

No one. He is timeless and uncaused.

But who made the universe if there is no God?

You tell me.

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“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1)

[1] Scott Adams, God’s Debris, Andrews McKeel Publishing, Kansas City, 2001, p.49