What Caused God?
by Brian Tubbs
If God caused the universe, what caused God? Read the article to find out if this question is even legitimate.
The strongest argument for the existence of God is that the universe must have an ultimate “first cause,” and that God qualifies perfectly as this ultimate cause. Atheists and agnostics have countered the cosmological or causality argument in a way exemplified best perhaps by Bertrand Russell. Asked Russell, “What caused God?” After all, if everything, including the universe, needs an ultimate cause, why except God? What caused God?
As this article will demonstrate, this argument against the existence of God is little more than semantic gamesmanship. They subtly redefine God into a physical or energetic force within the space-time continuum that we inhabit and argue out from there accordingly. This article will show how foolish and desperate this argument against God really is.
The Universe Began to Exist
Before we claim that God originated the universe, we must understand how preposterous it is to think that the universe itself has always existed. According to the second law of thermodynamics, the universe is running down. It is literally running out of energy. This means that it can’t be eternal. An eternal universe would already have used its energy up, if that is one of the features of its existence.
Moreover, we have learned from the fields of mathematics and philosophy that it is logically nonsensical to assume an infinite number of events or moments. An eternal universe, and with it an eternal number of moments, is simply impossible. Thus, we can accept the overwhelming view of modern science that the universe began to exist (most scientists estimating that origin to be roughly 14-15 billion years ago) and that it will eventually end.
Given the fact that the universe began to exist, it must have had a “cause” that originated it. To deny this is absurd and to ignore it makes one an agnostic. A person cannot declare that there is no creator-god and then evade or acknowledge uncertainty in response to a question about universal origins. He or she can’t do that, and remain rational, that is. Uncertainty equates to agnosticism, not atheism.
Nevertheless, the universe began to exist. What must have caused it? Answering this question will lead us to the nature and reality of God in the same way that understanding gravity and the dynamics of space has led us to discover Black Holes.
The Necessary Being
The cause of the universe would be its ultimate cause. Since the universe is the boundary within which we understand space, time, matter, and energy, it can safely be said that the cause of the universe would be what the ancients called a “Necessary Being” – that is, a being which is necessary for another to exist.
A true “Necessary Being” must be sufficient to cause all of the contingent beings stemming from it. Put another way, a pencil cannot cause a piece of paper. An ant cannot cause a skyscraper. The cause must be greater than the caused. It must be capable of accomplishing the creation. That means, as philosopher Winfried Courdan writes, the ultimate Necessary Being would be “uncaused, unsustained, and undetermined.”
Some readers of this article will undoubtedly feel that this argument represents what some philosophers would call “special pleading” – i.e., changing the rules in order to accommodate a disputed conclusion. Walk through the logic again, and you will readily see this is not the case.
If there is a Necessary Being (meaning an ultimate cause to all the contingent beings which have ever existed, including the universe), then that Necessary Being would, by its very nature, be independent, uncaused, infinite, and unrestricted by time and space.
There is no other way to contemplate a Necessary Being. Remove one or more of these characteristics, and you no longer have a truly Necessary Being. The real question isn’t whether these features are appropriate to assign to a Necessary Being. The real question is whether there is a Necessary Being.
The answer, once again, is that there has to be a Necessary Being. Existence makes no sense without one. Saying there is no Necessary Being is as irrational as watching a pen drop and then claiming there is no such thing as gravity.
Only God Qualifies as a Necessary Being
Once again, the existence of a Necessary Being is as certain as anything can be. The fact that a person may not have directly experienced this Being or the fact that it does not live up to any personal or emotional expectations has NO BEARING whatsoever on the reality of that Being. Thus, the reality of evil and suffering in the world or the apparent chaos in certain parts of the galaxy is not relevant to the issue at hand.
The existence of God is simple logic. If the universe began to exist (and it did), it needs a cause. Only an independent, infinite, uncaused, eternal, and omnipresent cause is sufficient to account for the universe. Therefore, such a being exists. Period.
Can we fairly call this Necessary Being “God”? In order to answer that, we must once again look to the features of this Necessary Being. It would be timeless or eternal. It would be infinite and omnipresent. It would itself be uncaused and completely independent. This sounds strikingly similar to the God described in the major religions of the world, especially Judaism and Christianity, religions to which the author is most familiar.
Many atheists or agnostics will still argue that God needs a first cause or a creator. This is because they have often redefined God into a form of matter or energy. God is neither. According to the Bible anyway, God is Spirit (John 4:24). Indeed, the Genesis account of Creation identifies the “Spirit of God” (Genesis 1:2) as the driving creative force for our universe. There is no scientific law which demands that a spiritual being requires a cause.
Logically, only a spiritual or supernatural being is capable of serving as the ultimate, first cause of a universe characterized by time, space, matter and energy.
The bottom line is that God exists. Denying this is simply absurd. The sooner we recognize that, the sooner we can dive into the more relevant questions of how we can know God and what this God has to say to us.
Courtesy of Protestantism Suite 101 - reproduced with thanks.
This page was created on 22 May 2008
Last updated on 22 May 2008
Copyright © 2006 Brian Tubbs