Who created God? Where did God come from? If the universe needs a creator, then who created God? If design needs a designer (Design argument), then who designed the designer? If everything that begins to exist needs a cause (Cosmological argument) then what caused God? These are very common objections proposed by atheists. They are also questions that confuse many Christians and may cause doubts. I discussed this question with one student while working at Summit Ministries this summer. So, is there a response? Why do Christians think God doesn’t need a cause or a designer if everything else does? There are three important things you need to understand in order to properly respond to this question.
Contingent vs Necessary Being
The first step is to recognize that there are two different types of entities that exist. The first type is a contingent being. According to the Philosophy Dictionary, a contingent being is “Something that does not exist in and of itself but depends for its existence upon some other being.” Created things such as humans would be examples of contingent beings. We are created and depend on our parents to bring us into existence. Also, everything we create would also be contingent.
The second type of entity is a necessary being. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines necessary being as an entity that “could not have failed to exist.” Necessary beings exist necessarily and are not created ; they have to exist. Christians would define God as a necessary being.
It is a confusion of these terms that creates the problem. When atheists ask the question “Who created God?” they are defining God as a contingent/created being. This is not how Christians define God, so we are talking about two different things. We first have to agree on a definition of God before we discuss the question. If God is created, then asking who created Him is a good question. However, if God is necessary then we are led to my next point.
The question is illogical
It is because God, by definition, is a necessary being that the question “Who created God?” doesn’t even make sense. This question actually commits what philosophers call the category fallacy. It’s like asking, how much does the color red weigh? Since red is a color, it doesn’t have weight. Therefore, to ask how much it weighs is illogical. You would be applying the wrong category of question to the object. The same is true for God. Since God is a necessary being who is not created, it is illogical to ask who created Him. You can only ask what made something if that thing is something that could be made. Asking “What created the un-created being?” simply doesn’t make any sense. It would make more sense discussing if God is a necessary being by definition instead of asking who created Him (The video below by J.P. Moreland explains why God, by definition, must be necessary). This leads me to my last point.
Everyone is searching for something eternal
Both the atheist and the Christian realize that there has to be something that is eternal. Since we are contingent beings that exist, we therefore depend on something else for our existence. So, either the universe is eternal or there is something outside the universe that is eternal for which we owe our existence. For many years atheists believed the universe was eternal and that explained our existence. But now that science is showing that the universe is not eternal, we all recognize that there is something else. Some atheist say that it is a quantum vacuum, others say we live in a multiverse, while Christians say say that our universe was created. All of these views hold to something eternal (the vacuum, the multiverse, God). So, for an atheist to say that Christians are mistaken for believing that God is eternal because nothing can be eternal destroys their view as well.
Simply put, this question should not make you doubt God’s existence. Know that there is a response and that it is reasonable to believe that God is the un-created Creator. Here is a list of great Christian thinkers all answering the question “Who created God?” from a different perspective.
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