Wed 1 Apr 2009
After my recent post re Peter Kreeft’s thoughts on “Who made God?” I’ve seen that same question come up in several places during my random web wanderings. As I was thinking about this question today in the shower (where all great philosophical thought occurs) I imagined a conversation like the following … hopefully this isn’t too contrived and doesn’t caricature the two imagined persons involved too much:
Christian: The cosmological argument is strong evidence that God exists. If the universe was made, it needs a maker; if it was created, it needs a creator. That creator is God.
Skeptic: Ah, but this merely raises the question “Who made God?” which Richard Dawkins himself asks in The God Delusion.* It just pushes the question back one step further.
Christian: This seems to me to be a category error; it confuses the uncreated creator with His created creation. God doesn’t need a maker because God was never made; He was and is eternally existing.
Skeptic: That’s special pleading at best, hypocritical at worst. Why is it okay for God to be “eternal, uncreated” but not the universe?
Christian: Because we have good reasons, both philosophical and scientific, that the universe is not eternal, whereas no such reasons exist to believe that God is so. God is not subject to the same limitations of the material world He created. The cosmological argument proposes not that everything requires a cause, but whatever begins to exist requires a cause; if God did not begin to exist (since there is no reason to believe He did, unlike the universe) He requires no cause.
Skeptic: Even if we agree that the universe is not eternal, why must its cause be God? Why not some other explanation?
Christian: Whatever created both time and space must transcend both time and space. Also, there are numerous other attributes which can be discerned about whatever created the universe that imply a personal entity (that is, it possesses volition among other things). So the creator of the universe is an entity which is beyond time and space yet still possesses certain attributes and is personal. This sounds to me a lot like God.
* In The God Delusion Dawkins is attempting to apply the question as a defeater to the design argument (p.109), not the cosmological argument (which Dawkins shockingly dismisses in less than a page). I’ve personally heard it applied more often to the cosmological argument, at least in the realm of Internet banter.