Who created God?
When theists ask "Who created the universe? It must have been God", asking "Who created God?" is a way of turning the original question back on itself. This is the most concise answer to the first-cause argument. This leads to an infinite regress, known as ad infinitum.
- "The argument asks, essentially, why theists think that creation needs a Creator, but the Creator doesn’t."
- "After all, what is the difference between arguing in favor of an eternally existing creator versus an eternally existing universe without one?"
Asking about God's creator is a way of drawing attention to the fact that inventing a god is not an explanation for the existence of the universe, or of unexplained features within the universe. On the contrary, it fails as an explanation because it does nothing more than push the question of origin up a level, and on this new level the same problem exists. Many theists also them use the special pleading fallacy to justify their beliefs.
In a more general way, this is a template for the technique of turning theistic questions about the world around on the God that they use to explain it. It can also be used as a response to arguments such as:
- The natural-law argument ("If the order of natural laws can only be explained by a creator, then what explains the order of the creator?")
- Irreducible complexity and the argument from design ("If complexity can only be explained by an intelligent designer, then how do you explain the complexity of the designer?")
- Morality, as in the Euthyphro dilemma ("If God is needed to tell us what is right and wrong, then on what basis does God decide what is right and wrong?")
- Cosmological argument ("If the universe had to have God as a cause, what caused God?")
- "God however is in a different category, and must be so. God is different from all nature and humanity and everything that exists, in that he has always existed, independent from anything he created. God is not a dependent being, but self-sufficient, self-existent."
- "But if something exists outside of time—like God—then it does not need an explanation for its beginning, because it does not have one."
Another common theistic response is that God is specially exempt from the rules they (the apologists) have invented, because he exists "outside of time" or is "necessarily existent" and so is not subject to rules such as "everything requires a creator." (See also Kalam.)
This argument is ultimately self-defeating. If there exist things which are not subject to the rules, then the rules are not really rules, but more like guidelines. If theists grant that some things do not need a creator, then we may as well simplify and say that it is the universe, or some other ungodlike entity, that requires no creator.
Of course, the theistic counter to this is that God is special. This is begging the question, since it is the specialness of God that is what they are trying to prove.
Aquinas: God is not an entity
- "Any decent freshman survey could have informed Hitchens that, as Aquinas and many others have patiently explained, God is not an entity and thus is not ensnared in any serial account of causality. Not a thing himself, God is rather the condition of there being anything at all. Thus, “creation” is not a gargantuan act of handicraft but rather the condition of there being something rather than nothing. Creation didn’t happen long ago; it’s right now, and forever."
If God is really independent of causality, it is likely that his other attributes are so outside of human experience that he is unknowable. How does Thomas Aquinas know that God is not an entity (or not id quod est)?
While this type of God might be accepted by intellectual theists such as Chris Hedges, most theists have a more anthropomorphic conception of God.
- "Our universe cannot be explained any other way. It could not have created itself. It has not always existed."
The apologist asserts the universe cannot be necessarily existent, self creating or eternal, but they have no evidence to support this view. No one knows the details of the early Big Bang or what (if anything) came before. Although they try to deny it, they are making an argument from ignorance.
God is uncaused
- "So, to ask a silly question like, “Who caused the un-caused creator of the Universe” is a bit silly. He is uncaused by definition."
How does the apologist know that God is uncaused? Just defining God that way does not make it true.
The universe cannot be necessarily existent
- "God, unlike the universe, is the sort of Necessary Cause that can be the ground of all being. “God created the universe and everything in it” is a coherent argument in a way that “the universe created the universe and everything in it” isn’t."
It is a straw man to compare the first proposition to "the universe created the universe and everything in it", which is incoherent. It is better stated as: the universe necessarily exists. Saying that god is unique in being a "ground of all being" is special pleading.
- "God is infinite being, the Creator of time and space. It makes sense to say that He always existed (since He’s necessarily infinite). But the universe isn’t infinite being, it’s bound by time and space, and it isn’t true that the universe is necessarily infinite."
The apologist argues that since the universe is (seemingly) finite, it cannot be necessarily existent. This is an unjustified assertion. How does the apologist know that God is infinite (and exists) without begging the question?
Not an infinite regress
- "It isn't coherent to argue that the universe was created by God, but God was in turn created by God to the second power, who was in turn created by God to the third power, and so on. As Aristotle cogently argued, there must be a reality that causes but is itself uncaused (or, a being that moves but is itself unmoved). Why? Because if there is an infinite regression of causes, then by definition the whole process could never begin."
Apologists have not shown any scriptures to be factually reliable. Assuming scripture to be true is simply begging the question.