If God didn't create everything, who did?
This argument betrays the theist's built-in assumption that the universe was created by a sentient being. This argument is an example of the logical fallacies of the argument from ignorance and begging the question.
- Main Article: God of the gaps
- The use of the word "who" makes this a complex question, or a question in which multiple questions or assumptions are being considered without acknowledging so. The person asking the question presupposes that the universe was created by a person (a "who" rather than a "what"). A better series of questions would be "Are we even in the position to make specific claims about "pre"-universe existence?" and "Do we have a reason to believe that a sentient being exists outside of the universe?" and "Do we have a reason to assume that the universe was caused by this sentient being instead of some other phenomenon?" For the atheist, the answers to these questions are likely to be 1) no, 2) no, and 3) no, because humans lack the epistemological and philosophical evidence required to answer otherwise. For the theist, the answers are likely to be 1) yes, 2) yes, and 3) yes, but each of these answers requires justification. The need for such justification is, of course, the essential point of disagreement between the atheist and the theist, so the question does nothing to advance the discussion.
- The question also raises a false dichotomy by assuming that either 1) God created the universe, or 2) some other being did so. It ignores the possibility that both of those explanations might be wrong, and that sentience played no role in the origins of the universe. Further, any being who had the power to create the universe would be a god by definition, so the very question is illogical.
- It is difficult to claim that an undemonstrated concept or entity should be the default answer to a question for which we have no other answers. The more appropriate default answer is, "We don't know, yet". The reasoning involved in asking this question also is circular, because the point of the question is to demonstrate the very thing (God) that's assumed by the question to be the default answer.
- The question ignores the problem that if one assumes the universe needed to have a sentient creator, then there is every reason to assume that the sentient creator also needed to have a sentient creator, who in turn was created by a sentient creator, ad infinitum. The non-theist's answer for the origins of the universe is, "We don't believe in God and we don't know where the universe came from," while the theist's answer is "God created the universe, but we don't know where god came from." This is simply shifting the unanswered question one step back, and therefore has no explanatory power.
- Even if the question's presupposition is correct, and the universe were created, it does not lead to any knowledge of the creator. It does not require a single creator (see polytheism), any creator that still exists, or any god figures of any specific religion.