The most frequently cited evidence for the existence of God is the existence of all creation; all matter, energy, space and time, surely could not have come to be by accident, and surely it is irrational to say that the entire known universe just popped into being, uncaused, out of nothing. It is surely not implausible that the cause of all nature, space, and time, would transcend nature, space, and time. Many atheists believe that they have dealt the death blow to this type of argument, namely that if God created the universe, another question immediately arises: who created God?
I would say that the reason that this argument is so popular among Generation Y is that the zoologist Richard Dawkins attempted to write a book on philosophy, which he titled The God Delusion. The God Delusion has been the source of what has become the rallying cry among atheists, namely the who created God? argument. So I say again, this is a zoologist writing about philosophy, and despite its’ popularity, it is a patently fallacious argument (I will not criticize the syllogism as I did in my article How To Identify Fallacious Reasoning), but rather I will just examine the who created God? question itself).
In the words of the philosopher Doctor Alvin Plantinga, “One could say that Richard Dawkins forays into philosophy are at best sophomoric, but that would be unfair to sophomores. Indeed, his arguments would receive a failing grade in a sophomore philosophy class.” This goes to underline the point that Richard Dawkins arguments are not taken seriously by academics in a related field; his is a popular level book, not a scholarly book, and the who created God? argument as such is brimming with holes.
Must I Explained The Explanation?
As a logical refutation against God as creator and designer of the universe, the who created God question completely misrepresents philosophy of science. This is because, in order to recognize an explanation as the best, you do not have to be able to explain the explanation. In order to say that A caused B, you do not have to be able to explain where A came from.
For example if we came across a pit of ashes in a field, we would be justified in inferring that there was a fire, even if we had no idea whatsoever where the fire came from or what caused it. The explanation of the fire is simply irrelevant to the inference that a fire was in fact there. Now I am hesitant to use an example like this, because people tend to attack the illustration. Note well that the illustration goes only to emphasize the main point: in order to recognize that A caused B, you do not have to show where A came from.
Indeed as the philosopher Doctor William Lane Craig pointed out, if we had to show where A came from, that would lead immediately to an infinite regress. We would have to show the explanation of A, the explanation of the explanation of A, the explanation of the explanation of the explanation of A, and so on, to infinity, and thus we could never have an explanation of anything, which would destroy science. So I say again, the question who created God? radically and fundamentally misrepresents philosophy of science.
The question of where God came from is just left in open question for future inquiry, but from a logical angle, cannot serve as an argument against God as a creator and designer of the universe.
So What Is The Explanation Of God?
Though it is not necessary to show to infer design, as I demonstrated above, it is trivially easy to answer the question of God’s explanation. Although it is a bit of a misnomer to ask who created God? because God is not a created entity. As a necessary consequence of the argument, God transcends all nature, all space, and all time. As such, he is supernatural, aspacial, and atemporal. As such, he is eternal, and uncaused.
Now this is a necessary consequence of the argument, for if we are to say that God is the cause of the universe, that necessitates that God is eternal and uncaused, and thus this cannot be rebutted by asking who created God, because the answer is necessarily that God is eternal and uncaused. That would be the case for any possible cause of space and time, it would have to be without space and without time; eternal and uncaused, because the cause of time cannot be contingent upon time. Thus it is quite irrational to ask who created God, and that is precisely why it is not regarded as a scholarly treatise of philosophy but only a popular level book aimed at people who do not know any better.
I therefore do not think there is anything fallacious about the intuition that we all have, that the natural world is a product of design. What we need to remember is that the nature of the designer is irrelevant to whether the universe is a design. Even Richard Dawkins admits that he intuitively perceives design in the universe in his book, for he said that that appearance of design is overwhelming. He just thinks it is a false intuition.
The who created God? question is probably the most frequent objection that I hear, and yet is also the worst argument for atheism.
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2 Thoughts to “Who Created God?”
The problem I have with this reply is that when we talk about God we’re not talking about a normal object or event. We can conclude that a mound of ash signifies a fire without asking where the fire comes from because we have observational evidence of how fires work and what remains from them. As God by his nature cannot be quantified we can’t rely on this sort of logic. God requires an explanation for his existence because without one his existence solves nothing. The philosophical justification for God as a concept comes from the fact that there must be a creator for something to exist. Asking where God comes from points out an arguable flaw in this argument and without a satisfying answer the concept of god becomes redundant. The fact that this question stems an infinite regression doesn’t invalidate the question but invalidates the concept of god; the entire concept of god is to solve this infinite regression so to say that Dawkins’ question leads to an infinite regression scores a point again theist rather than for it. For these reasons I don’t agree with this section of your article.
I do however agree that Dawkins completely misses the concept of God being outside of space and time. This concept solves the problem of infinite regression. However it for me stems a number of other issues. From the philosophical issue of infinite regression comes the issue of the very concept of something existing outside of existence. How can anything exist with to time or space for it to exist in? It’s a fundamentally nonsensical concept. By claiming that God exists outside of space and time you merely appeal to the unknown and unknowable. I’d argue that this is bad philosophy and certainly bad science. If we cannot empirically test that which exists outside of space and time or even make sense of the concept then to claim that God exists like this is in my opinion yet another method of excluding God from the scientific method in order to maintain faith.
I look forward to a potential reply.
Notice in my article I pointed out that people often like to attack the analogies. I went on to say that the purpose of the analogy was to show that in order to recognize that an explanation is the best, you do not have to be able to explain the explanation. A designer is not redundant because one thing is explained. Of course another thing is open to being explained now. But that open explanation says absolutely nothing about whether it is valid. We may not know where the designer of the universe came from, where he is a created being, whether he has revealed himself in mankind and so forth. But that says absolutely nothing about whether the universe is a product of design. That is the basic point of the article. You cannot refute a design hypothesis by asking where the designer came from, that, as a said, completely misrepresents philosophy of science and why atheist philosophers of science such as Michael Ruse call The God Delusion an embarrassment to atheism.
Secondly, I do not think it is bad philosophy to say that the cause of time transcends time. Indeed that is a necessary deduction. The cause of time *must* be beyond time and cannot be contingent upon it.