Saturday, July 6, 2013
You hear this question posed all the time by atheists. If god created the universe, then who created god? I once stumped a Catholic friend of mine with this question. He literally was unable to find a way to answer it. Now if you're a theist who does their homework, then you'll know that the answer to this question is that god is uncaused, uncreated and eternal. God just always is.
Now I don't really use this question when debating god, unless I'm feeling really lazy and I know I'm dealing with an amateur apologist. But the question is not one to be immediately dismissed. The theist will generally defend the uncreated god two ways. First they'll say that god is a necessary being and invoke some aspect of the ontological argument; or they'll argue that god is timeless, eternal and therefore beginningless.
Necessary beings to me sound like a load of sophistry. When I try to think of necessary beings, the closest things I can think of are numbers and logic. But they aren't beings, they're not alive, I wouldn't even go so far to say that they exist in any kind of platonic sense. They're constructs that we use to describe reality; they would exist as concepts independent of human beings, like if there were perhaps, intelligent alien life somewhere out there, they'd come to the same mathematical truths we have. But numbers and logic don't exist in the same way that god does and plus the god concept is not fully logical.
The eternality of god bemuses me too. Sophisticated theologians have mostly settled on the idea that god is timeless yet exists in some kind of hypothetical metaphysical time that we have no way of knowing epistemically other then rigorous armchair philosophy. Given the fact that trying to use pure reason and philosophy to discover reality has failed us so miserably in the past, and is usually only ever right by pure accident, god's rocky relationship with time and ontology cannot be validated.
So I don't think the two most common defenses of the uncaused deity are that sound. I can certainly understand the concept that god is not a created god, but if god is a thinking mind and has an eternal past in some sort of imaginary time dimension, then to me the theist is guilty of special pleading. He knows he can't deny god's complete timelessness because it's illogical, so instead he just invents his own made up time dimension that god lives in, claims that it's off limits to verification and then turns around and criticizes the idea of an eternal past universe. Wow! The theist gets to have his cake and eat it too.
I've never forgotten the subtle dishonesty that the theistic worldview offers.