by Matt Slick
The question "Who created God?" is asked by critics and the curious alike. Some ask in hopes of stumping Christians. Others are simply curious and want to know if God had a beginning? But, biblically speaking, God is eternal and never had a beginning. God was never created. He has always existed.
- Psalm 90:2, "Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."
- Malachi 3:6, "For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed."
The Christian perspective, found in the Bible, tells us that God is the only being with an eternal and unchanging nature (Psalm 90:2; Malachi 3:6; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5). Therefore, he had no beginning. No one created God.
Analyzing the question
By asking the question "Who created God?" there is an implication of a being who preceded God. If that is the case, then we could ask, who created the being that created God?" And, why stop there? We could ask the same question over and over again, "Who created that god, and the one before that, and the one before that, etc.?" The logical problem is that we would run into an infinite regression of causes, i.e., a god created by a previous god, which was created by another before it, and so on, forever. It is kind of like a set of dominoes where one is caused to fall by a previous one and so on, forever. Can this set of causes go back in time without beginning? No, it cannot. Let me illustrate why.
The problem with an infinite set of causes
Let's say that there was an infinitely long line of dominoes on an infinitely large surface. You and I are talking about the origin of God, and we hear the sound of dominoes falling, one after another. We stop our conversation and watch one domino knock down another as the sequence passes us by. We are curious to find the origin of the sequence, so we get in our superfast spaceship, and we head towards the origin of the domino sequence. But, if that line is infinitely long (each domino represents a cause), then by definition, we can never reach the start, because there is no start. There is no first domino. But, if there is no first domino, then there cannot be a second, or a third, or a fourth, etc. Furthermore, in order for the dominoes to fall one after another and reach us at our original location, an infinite number of dominoes would have needed to have fallen in order to get to where we are now. But that is not possible because an infinite number of dominoes (which implies an infinite distance/time) would need to be crossed to get to us. But, it's not possible to cross an infinite distance of dominos; otherwise, it is not infinitely long. See the problem?
Let me summarize. It is impossible for an infinitely long sequence of causes to lead to the present because it would mean that we would have to cross an infinite amount of time to get to now. But it's not possible to cross an infinite amount of time to get to now; otherwise, it's not an infinite amount of time. Therefore, there cannot be an infinite number of causes. If there is not an infinite number of causes, there must be a finite number of causes. If there is a finite number of causes, then there is a single, uncaused cause. That uncaused cause is God. He had no beginning.
If everything needs a cause, then...
However, there is a common assumption derived from observing our world, that everything around us has a cause. We know that automobiles were caused to exist. We know that clothes are also made. We know that life comes from life, that offspring come from parents, that they have causes. And so we conclude that everything has a cause. But, as the previous point dealt with, an infinite number of causes is not possible. We have to ask if the premise that "everything needs a cause" is valid. But, as a previous section in this article addresses, it cannot be the case that everything needs a cause.
In the Beginning
- Genesis 1:1–3, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light."
- John 1:1–3, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being."
As you can see, there are two places in the Bible where the phrase, "in the beginning" is used in the context of God creating. In each, there is the implication of the beginning, not of God, but of creation. This means that God must have preceded the existence of the universe. But if he preceded the existence of the universe and the universe operates within a timeframe, then we could offer speculations about the nature of God's existence before time. This would then spill over to the issue of eternity. What would it mean for God to exist forever without time? This is a question we cannot answer because we are creatures who are restricted to the material world, and we operate in a timeframe that to which God is not restricted.
Therefore, we will naturally have difficulty understanding how God could be before the beginning of time and also exist independently of it and what we would call "forever," without a beginning.
- God Is Infinite, Jer. 23:24; Psalm 147:5
- God is All-Knowing, 1 John 3:20
- God is Everywhere, Psalm 139:7-12
- God is All Powerful, Jer. 32:17,27
- God Does Not Change, Num. 23:19; Mal. 3:6; James 1:17
- God Is Without Limit, 1 Kings 8:27; Jer. 23:23-24
- God Is Eternal, Psalm 90:2; 1 Tim. 1:17
- God Is the Creator, Isaiah 40:12,22,26