Friday, September 25, 2009

Who Made God?

If God made the world who made God?

The simple answer is, “No one made God.” He is self-existent and eternal. Although the answer is simple, understanding it is a bit more difficult. But let’s think through it for a moment.

When it comes to the origin of God, we have four theoretical possibilities. Either:

(1) He popped into being without a cause
(2) God made himself
(3) He was made by someone else
(4) He was not made at all; he is eternal

(1) The first possibility is that God just popped into being without a cause. But this is not really a possibility at all. We cannot conceive of an effect without a cause. If he had a beginning, there must have been a cause.

(2) But it’s clear that God could not have made himself, because for him to have made himself he would had to have existed prior to himself, which is absurd. It would be a logical contradiction.

(3) It is equally clear that he was not made by someone else, because if God derived his existence from someone else, then this someone else would be greater than God, and he would deserve our worship and obedience. In other words, this someone else who is greater than God would be the true God.

Not only so, but we would very naturally want to know who it was that made this someone else. And then, “Who made the one who made this someone else?” And then again, “Who made him?” and so on until we are involved in what’s called an infinite regress. We keep moving the question back one step further until we have an infinite chain of cause and effect, which is impossible.

(4) The only real possibility, then, is to say that God was not made at all—that he is self-existent and eternal. By “self-existent” we mean that he has the power of existence in and of himself…and always has had this power.

Everything else that exists derives its existence from something outside of itself, and ultimately from God. Take human beings, for instance. The cause of our existence lies outside of ourselves; and the conditions of our continuing existence, likewise are outside of us.

Humanly speaking we depended upon the coming together of our parents for the beginning of our existence. Before we were conceived in our mothers’ wombs we did not exist. But we came into existence when we were conceived. After conception we depended upon our mothers to carry us in the womb for nine months, receiving nourishment from her body. After we were born we depended upon her to feed and clothe us and to nurse us back to health when we were sick. And even now that we are grown to maturity and can take care of ourselves, we must still depend upon many things outside of ourselves for our continuing existence. We depend upon the air to breathe, for instance. We depend upon food to eat and water to drink, and many, many other things also to keep our bodies alive and well. But God has no such needs…never has and never will.

The universe and everything in it has a derived and dependent existence, but God is self-existent, self-sufficient. He does not depend upon anyone or anything outside of himself for his existence (or for anything else).

Jesus expressed this very simply and very elegantly when he said in John 5:26, “The Father has life in himself.” He has life (or the power of existence) in himself.

This seems to be one of the things God wished to communicate when he made his name known to Moses. When Moses asked God what his name was, God said his name was/is, “I AM.” When God says that his name is I AM, he means he is the God who IS, as opposed to the gods of the pagan who are not; which is to say he is the God who exists, while the pagan gods do not exist.

And not only does God exist, but he exists in the most absolute sense. He is the ground of all existence, the source of all existence, the one from whom all things derive their existence, and upon whom they continually depend for their existence—and it’s because he has the power of existence in and of himself.

This is why when we open the Bible and come to the very first verse, it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The phrase, “in the beginning,” refers to the heavens and the earth. It doesn’t refer to God. God has always been. There never was a time when God was not. He never began to be. You had a beginning, and I had a beginning. The universe itself had a beginning. But God has always existed. There never was a time when he was not. And there never was a time when he began to be.

The eternal God is your dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms (Deut. 33:27)

Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Ps. 90:2)

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