Friday, January 25, 2013

Who Made God?

Nobody.  Christians hold that God has always existed and will always exist and is, therefore, uncaused.  Only things that begin to exist need a cause, and God never began to exist, so God needs no cause.  Nobody and no thing made God.
Something or someone had to have always existed, or else everything that exists now would have ultimately come from nothing.  Nothing causes nothing, so the fact that something exists today means that something or someone must have always existed.
An infinite regress of causes going backward in time not only doesn’t solve the problem, it makes the problem infinitely worse.  You are just adding an infinite number of effects that need a cause.
You have to stop somewhere with causation.  Atheists may claim that the universe needs no cause, but if it began to exist, then it does need a cause.  The atheist may respond that the universe never began to exist, and therefore does not need a cause.  But this is a statement of faith.
Ultimately, you either go with God or matter, personality or impersonality, intelligence or non-intelligence, as the source of everything.


  1. I'm gonna ramble, but only because I miss having these discussions with you! Here it goes...

  2. Part 1:

    Don't forget about the ultimate *mind-blown* of time not existing before the Big Bang. But of course, we need to refer to the timeless 'whatever' that caused the Big Bang as 'before' based on cause-and-effect. And you're right. You have to stop somewhere with causation. An infinite regress doesn't answer the question of "what caused the universe?"

    The troubling part of it all is that not only do we not know the answer to the question, but we don't even know the possible answers to the problem.

    We know the universe is expanding and we've traced this expansion back in time to seconds from the beginning, over 13 billion years ago. We know that from this starting point that everything we're familiar with came into existence: protons, neutrons, stars, galaxies, and even space and time itself. But despite all of our recent advancements - including the discovery of the Higgs boson - it still seems like we're barely scratching the surface.

    We don't know how life could have started from non-life, but we're trying to figure it out. We aren't sure exactly how consciousness evolved, but we're trying to figure it out. And we don't know what caused the Big Bang. But we're trying to figure it out.

    As much as saying "God made it happen" might satisfy all the problems, and it does, it also faces the issue of not having any evidence to support it. "Oh, perfect - you say there's an entity called 'God' that breaks all the rules and caused everything... wonderful. Case closed!"

  3. Part 2:

    How do you think we came up with the properties for God? It seems to be built around a wish-list of what is needed to explain everything instead of being based on evidence... which is why theists all-so-often pose these sorts of questions as 'evidence' for god: "Then how do you explain ____?" or "Well how else could ____ have happened?". More than not, an honest "I don't know" is better than an ignorant "Goddunnit"... ignorant because there are plenty of other potential explanations.

    Unfortunately for Lee Strobel, it isn't 'case closed'. Not only is the verdict not in yet, but the jury hasn't even sat down. The exhibits haven't even been prepared. The evidence hasn't yet been tested. We don't even know what evidence is out there. We probably don't know anything about the actual, specific, first-cause that we're supposed to be meeting about. We're in a very real "I don't know" - and yet Christianity not only wants to proclaim an answer, but also wants to suggest that other people are acting on 'faith' by not accepting that answer.

    I can't speak for all atheists, but I'm not sure why you say atheists suggest the universe needs no cause. I would say that something, at some time must have been uncaused, but this isn't necessarily the universe. And even then... I'm just suggesting this based on my understanding of cause-and-effect. I'm not trying to say 'aha', we solved it! Scientists are searching for the ultimate cause, the "theory of everything" so to speak. But to say 'belief in a first-cause of some sort' is "a statement of faith" isn't fair when you're comparing it to the religious faith that not only says we need a first-cause, but then tells us exactly what this first-cause is based fully on faith.

    And as long as we're going with Christianity based on your post: It's invisible, it's personal, it loves us, it became one of us (at a time when we couldn't prove it), and it wants to give us eternal life to hang out with it. Well that was easy... I guess we don't need to wonder anymore.

    Ultimately, Christians say you either go with intelligence or non-intelligence as the source of everything... and they go with god. As an atheist, I agree that you either go with intelligence or non-intelligence. I'm just not going to pick one when I don't know. And if it's indeed intelligence, I doubt it would be defined as "god" in the same way that a Christian wishes it to be.

  4. It's all good you are always welcome to ramble here - that was one of the reasons I made the blog in the first place a couple years ago so we'd have a place to share ideas.

    In reply to part 1:
    That’s actually a good point to start off with in saying that before the universe began as we know it there was no time. So indeed if everything that begins to exist has a cause (and based on our current observations this is true even though technically we can’t know if it is or not) and we know that 13 billion years ago the universe did in fact begin to exist then the cause of the universe would be outside of time – it would be timeless. You are correct we don’t know how this happened, what mechanisms were involved, if intelligence was required or not, but we can make inferences to the best explanation. Something outside of time and the universe itself would seem like a reasonable “something” to think exists and caused all this. Whether or not we want to call it “god” or not seems kind of irrelevant. I fail to see how saying I don’t know what caused all this but to me it seems like something that would have to be timeless, immaterial, and intelligent is any different then saying I don’t know what caused all this but I’m going to assume it was natural processes (despite the fact that natural processes don’t do anything on their own without having natural, material things to act upon).

    Even if someone like Kraus for example could scientifically show that the universe came from nothing – isn’t that exactly what the major monotheistic religions already have been saying for hundreds or thousands of years? That in the beginning (of time) there was nothing except a being outside of time, and from him material things were created from non-material things. It’s a mechanism (one that we don’t understand at all) – it doesn’t even prove that a God or intelligent input was unnecessary. The point is it would appear that something had to have “broken all the rules” to cause things to exists. Maybe it was nothing, maybe it was something we would term “God” obviously at this point in time no one can say for sure. Saying “God made it happen” doesn’t satisfy any scientific way of thinking because it doesn’t give us any answers to the process or the mechanisms of how it works. With that said this doesn’t mean that this being is an unnecessary piece of the puzzle.

    Sorry it took so long for me to write anything! You know test week just ended so literally every waking moment was either studying, eating, or writing exams. I’ll write something in regards to part 2 soon.

  5. In reply to part 2:
    Yeah it does seem like the image of God is based on a wish-list of what we need to explain things. But we do need certain qualities to explain the origin of the universe – we need something outside the system, we need something timeless (since time didn’t exist as we know it), we need something eternal (to avoid the infinite regress), and of course we need something that is capable of all this (whether that is intelligent, all-powerful etc. is up for question). You know me I too prefer an honest I don’t know rather than just to assume God did it and leave it at that. Yet I can’t help but at least form a belief and preference on the matter.

    It’s true we don’t know all the evidence that’s out there and have barely even started to scratch the surface yet we all still seem to form beliefs on how this all happened and came to be. Why is it so much more believable in such a complex, crazy universe that we barely even understand, to believe that some form of intelligence was not involved in the process? Speaking from a Deistic point of view at the moment why is it more probable that intelligence and consciousness was a cosmic accident instead of the product of intelligence?

    Hmm poor wording on my part I should have said, “Some atheists may claim the universe had no cause” instead of “often say.” My point was that there is a belief system out there (usually associated with the atheist position) that the universe never began to exist and thus doesn’t need a cause. Though I admit it is a rare position to hold and I know you don’t hold it.

    And finally, in saying you’re not going to pick between intelligence and non-intelligence when you don’t know – haven’t you already picked non-intelligence in taking the atheistic position? Though I can definitely see why you say, “I don’t it would be defined as “god” in the same way Christians wish it to be” but I think that’s a whole other topic.