You may have heard that everything in the universe is made by God, but then, who made God? JACKIE HWANG takes us on a thought exercise using logic to answer this question.
There are few questions harder to answer than “Who made God?” or “Where did God come from?” Western philosophers and theologians have pondered and debated these types of questions for a long time. But, because of our human limitations, we will never be able to verify any of the answers offered. Our best chances lie in using logic to address these questions. So, instead of trying to arrive at a 100-percent certain answer, let me take us through some steps to explore this issue using logic.
STEP 1: EVERYTHING IS CAUSED BY ANOTHER THING
The first step in our thought exercise is to recognise that everything and everyone in the universe came into being because something or someone caused it/him/her to enter into existence. To explain this, I will use two examples. The first example is a watch. If we were to see a watch in a shop, we would assume that the watch was made by either a watchmaker or a watchmaking machine at some point in time. The second example is a baby. If we were to see a baby, we would assume that the baby was birthed by a mother at some point in time. For both the watch and the baby, it is most logical that their existence was caused by another thing or another person.
STEP 2: NOTHING CAN COME INTO EXISTENCE BY ITSELF
After we recognise that everything and everyone’s existence was caused by another thing or person, we know that the statement in reverse must also be true. This is that nothing and no one can come into existence by it/him/herself. Using the same two examples as in step 1, we would say that it is impossible for a watch to make itself, and it is also impossible for a person to give birth to him/herself.
STEP 3: THE EXISTENCE OF A THING MEANS THERE NEEDS TO BE A CAUSE OF THE THING
Since the world around us has things and people, it is most logical that there is something or someone else that caused its/his/her existence. So, in the example of the watch, its existence means that someone or something else made it. In the same way, your existence and mine mean someone else gave birth to us. So, the existence of a thing indicates the existence of a cause.
These first three steps establish the logical relationship between a thing and something else that caused it to exist. The thing and the cause cannot be the same item or step in the chain, and the thing’s existence means that there is also a cause. We can call this logical relationship thing-and-its-cause.
STEP 4: TRACING THE LOGIC OF THING-AND-ITS CAUSE LEADS BACK TO A BEGINNING OF ALL THINGS
Following the logic of thing-and-its-cause, we can trace this connection back to a time when there was a beginning cause which led to the existence of the thing/person. For the watch, the existence of a watch means that there is a watchmaker. The watchmaker was taught by someone else who knew how to make watches. The teacher of the watchmaker also learned his trade from another person. And, tracing all the way back, there must be a first teacher (or possibly multiple first teachers in different civilisations) of all subsequent watchmakers. As for human beings, the existence of you and me means that our mothers gave birth to us. Our mothers were birthed by their mothers. Tracing our ancestries all the way back, there must be a first mother who was the beginning of humanity.
STEP 5: THE FIRST BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING MUST BE THE FIRST CAUSE
After we trace everything back to a beginning, we must ask if there was also something or someone else that caused the beginning. The logic of step 2 tells us that the beginning also needs a cause other than itself. Antony Flew, a well-known atheist philosopher who later changed his mind about the existence of God, states, “Every system of explanation must start somewhere, and this starting point itself cannot be explained by the system.” This starting point would be known as the First Cause in philosophy. Flew later would admit that the First Cause is best identified as God.
In the example of the watch, God as the First Cause would be the One who made the universe, the sun, and the earth. The sun shines on the earth. The movement of shadows resulting from sunlight as the earth rotates led to the concept of the sundial to keep track of time. The sundial led to the invention of clocks and watches. Therefore, we have watchmakers and watches.
In the example of the baby, God as the First Cause would be the One who made humanity and gave us bodies with a reproductive system to perpetuate human existence. Therefore, we have fathers, mothers, children, and families.
STEP 6: GOD AS THE FIRST CAUSE CANNOT BE MADE OR CAUSED BY SOMETHING ELSE
If we recognise that the First Cause must be God, then God cannot be made by something or someone else. If He is made by someone else, then He would no longer be the First Cause. The other thing that made God would be the First Cause. Then, the other thing that is the real First Cause would actually be God. God must be the First Cause; otherwise, He is no longer God. According to this line of reasoning, the logical answer to the question of “Who made God?” is that no one made Him. For Him to be God, He has to always exist and not be made. This requires some serious thought, but God is God because He is not made by anything or anyone else, and is always and forever in existence (John 1:1–4; Col 1:16–17)!