The Uncaused Cause

In a previous post we examined the commonly asked question, “If God made the universe, who made God?”. We found that atheists who criticise theists of arriving at a philosophical dead end (“No one made God; he is timeless and uncaused”) are guilty of exactly the same thing because they either end up positing an eternally existing, uncaused universe (a notion which cosmologists now overwhelmingly reject) or an infinite regression of prior causes, which defy common sense.

But in this post, I want to approach the issue from an ontological perspective. The response of many atheists to the theistic claim that “No one made God” is to assert that God cannot, therefore, exist, because everything that exists must have a cause. Supposedly, if God is causeless, his existence is illogical. But this argument is also flawed because those who propose it are conflating physics with metaphysics.

Cause and effect are indeed intrinsic to our physical universe. In fact, without the consistent operation of causality, life as we know it would not be possible or, at the very least, would be completely chaotic. Eggs don’t pop into existence from nothing. They come from chickens; they have a predictable cause. Furthermore, they don’t suddenly appear in mid-air above my head, resulting in me having to wash my hair. Neither do elephants suddenly appear in my microwave oven.

But on what basis do atheists insist that God’s existence must conform to predictable causality? Why should causality operate in the same manner, or indeed at all, in the spiritual realm? All that can be logically claimed by science is that causality is inherent and foundational to the physical universe, but science cannot comment on either its presence or absence in a metaphysical realm. Indeed, science, by its own definition, is the study of the physical universe. That is the stated limit of its scope. It does not have the tools to study the metaphysical realm or even to postulate on its existence.

Yet that is precisely what some scientists do. They boldly claim that the metaphysical or spiritual realm does not exist. Why? Because it cannot be observed or measured by scientific methodology, which by its own admission can only observe and measure the physical world! The circular reasoning inherent in this is truly astonishing!

In the very early days of the COVID outbreak, I was struck down with COVID symptoms, so I rang the COVID hotline to enquire about getting tested. The person I spoke to informed me that testing was only being carried out on symptomatic people who had recently been overseas, and as I had not been overseas recently, they would not test me. He then made the ridiculous statement, “But don’t worry, sir. The only people who are currently testing positive to COVID are those who have recently been overseas”.  I responded, “But that’s because they are the only ones you are testing! Can you see the circular argument you have just made?”. Sadly, he couldn’t.

Many atheists fall into the trap of using the same kind of circular reasoning. They start with the assumption that the physical universe is all there is. Then they assert, with some logical justification, that everything must have a cause because that is how the physical world predictably and universally works. But they then conclude that an uncaused God cannot, therefore, exist, because everything must have a cause. It is a completely circular argument. It starts by assuming that there is no spiritual realm (so, goodbye God) and concludes by ‘proving’ the initial unfounded assumption. Maybe these atheists have been chatting to the COVID hotline operator.

On the other hand, if we start with the assumption that it is possible for there to be a realm that lies outside the physical universe and beyond the scope of science to study – a metaphysical realm – it is entirely possible, indeed probable, that such a realm would not conform to the operational parameters of the more limited physical realm. The very term, metaphysical, implies something that is both beyond and bigger than the physical realm. And by ‘bigger’, we mean not limited to the constraints of our physical realm.

If we understand metaphysics in the sense of a lack of physical and causal restraints, the possible God who inhabits such a realm could be defined as the unrestrained, uncaused Being. On this understanding, the question, “Who made God?” is nonsensical. It is effectively asking, “Who created the uncreated one? Who caused the uncaused one?” Such a nonsensical question arises as a result of inappropriately applying the causal restraints of a physical universe to the uncaused, unrestrained metaphysical realm.

So, who made God?

No one. Because God exists outside of our finite, causal realm. He does not have a home office on the moons of Jupiter or in the gas cloud of the Horsehead Nebula. Although he is present throughout our universe, he exists beyond it, in an uncaused, unrestrained realm.

He is the uncaused cause.

“Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:2)