A number of unbelieving
skeptics ask this question. But God by
definition is the uncreated creator of the universe, so the question
‘Who created God?’ is illogical, just like ‘To whom is the bachelor
Maybe a better question
to ask would be: ‘If the universe
needs a cause, then why doesn’t God need a cause? And
if God doesn’t need a cause, why should the universe need a cause?’
My reply is simply,
Christians should use the following reasoning:
The universe has a beginning.
Therefore the universe has a cause.
- Everything which has a beginning has a cause.
It is important to stress the words in bold type.
universe requires a cause because it had a beginning, as will
be shown below. God, unlike the universe, has no beginning,
so He does dot need a cause.
In addition, Einstein’s theory of
which has much experimental support, shows that time is linked to
matter and space. So time itself would have begun along with
matter and space.
Since God, by definition, is the Creator of the whole universe,
He is the Creator of time.
Therefore He is not limited by the time
dimension that He created,
and so He has no beginning in time — God is
‘the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity’ (Isaiah
57:15). Therefore He doesn’t have,
or need a cause.
In contrast, there is good evidence, and
science now believes that the universe had a
is shown from the Laws of Thermodynamics,
the most fundamental laws of the physical sciences.
- The 1st Law of
Thermodynamics: The total amount of mass-energy in the
universe is constant.
- The 2nd Law of
Thermodynamics: The amount of energy available for work is
running out, or entropy is increasing,
and will continue until energy is exhausted.
If the total amount of mass-energy is limited, and the amount of
usable energy is decreasing, then the universe cannot have existed
forever, otherwise it would already have exhausted all usable
energy — which is the ‘heat death’ of the universe.
For example, all
radioactive atoms would have decayed, every part of the universe
would be the same temperature, and no further work
(energy) would be
So the obvious corollary is that the universe began a finite time
ago with a lot of usable energy, and is now running down.
Now, what if the questioner accepts that the universe had a
beginning, but not that it needs a cause? But it is self-evident
that all things that begin
in the universe have a cause — no-one
really denies it. All science and history would collapse if this law of cause
and effect were denied. So would all law enforcement, if the police
didn’t think they needed to find a cause for a stabbed body or a
Also, the universe could not have been self-caused — nothing can create
itself, because that would mean that it existed before it came into
existence, which is a logical absurdity.
- The universe (including time itself) can be shown to have had
- It is unreasonable to believe something could begin to exist
without a cause.
- The universe therefore requires a cause, just as
Romans 1:20 teach.
- God, as the Creator of time,
stands outside of time.
Since He has no beginning in time,
He has always existed, so does not
need a cause.
There are only two ways to refute an argument:
- Show that it is logically invalid.
- Show that at least one of the premises is false.
Is the argument valid?
A valid argument is one where it is impossible for the premises
to be true and the conclusion false. Note that validity does not
depend on the truth of the premises, but on the form of the
argument. The argument in this article is valid; it is of the same
form as: All
horses have four legs;
Trigger was a horse;
therefore Trigger had
So the only hope for the skeptic is to dispute one or both of the premises.
Are the premises true?
1. Does the universe have a beginning?
Oscillating universe ideas were popularized by atheists like
the late Dr. Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov solely to avoid the notion
of a beginning, with its implications of a Creator.
But as shown
above, the Laws of Thermodynamics undercut that argument.
an oscillating universe cannot overcome those laws.
Each one of the hypothetical
cycles would exhaust more and more usable energy,
and at some future time would die its' 'heat death'.
This means every cycle would be larger and longer than the
previous one, so looking back in time there would be smaller and
smaller cycles. So the multi-cycle model could have an infinite
future, but can only have a finite past.
Also, there are many lines of evidence showing that there is
far too little mass for gravity to stop expansion and allow
cycling in the first place, i.e., the universe is ‘open’.
This means it has edges, or limits.
According to the best estimates (even granting old-earth
assumptions), the universe still has only about half the mass
needed for re-contraction. This includes the combined total of
both luminous matter and non-luminous matter (found in galactic
halos), as well as any possible contribution of neutrinos to
Some recent evidence for an ‘open’ universe comes from the
number of light-bending ‘gravitational lenses’ in the sky.
Also, analysis of Type Ia
supernovae shows that the universe’s expansion rate is not
slowing enough for a closed universe.
there is only 40-80% of the required matter to
cause a ‘big crunch’ that would be followed
by another 'big bang' event.
Incidentally, this low mass is also a major problem for the
currently fashionable ‘inflationary’ version of the ‘big bang’
theory, as this predicts a mass density just on the threshold of
collapse — a ‘flat’ universe.
Finally, no known mechanism would allow a bounce back after a
hypothetical ‘big crunch’.7
As the late Professor Beatrice Tinsley of Yale explained,
even though the mathematics say that the
universe oscillates, ‘There is no known physical mechanism to
reverse a catastrophic big crunch.’
Off the paper and into the real world of physics, those
models start from the Big Bang, expand, collapse, and that’s the
2. Denial of cause and effect
Some physicists assert that quantum mechanics violates this
cause/effect principle and can produce something from nothing.
For instance, Paul Davies writes:
… spacetime could appear out of nothingness as a result
of a quantum transition. … Particles can appear out of nowhere
without specific causation … Yet the world of quantum
mechanics routinely produces something out of nothing.9
This is a gross misapplication of quantum mechanics.
has never produced something out of
nothing. Davies himself admitted on the previous page that his
scenario "should not be taken too
Theories that the universe is a quantum fluctuation must
presuppose that there was something to fluctuate
to begin the process — their
‘quantum vacuum’ is a lot of matter-antimatter potential — not
Also, [Jonathan Sarfati] has plenty
of theoretical and practical experience at quantum mechanics
(QM) from his doctoral thesis work.
example Dr. Sarfati,
in his work shows that Raman spectroscopy is a QM phenomenon.
But from the wave-number and intensity of the spectral bands,
the masses of the atoms can be worked out,
and force constants of the bonds causing
the bands. To help the atheist position that the universe came
into existence without a cause, one would need to find Raman
bands appearing without being caused by transitions in vibrational quantum states, or alpha particles appearing without
pre-existing nuclei, etc.
If QM was as acausal as some people think, then we should not
assume that these phenomena have a cause. Then
Dr. Sarfati may as well burn his Ph.D. thesis, and all the spectroscopy journals should
quit writing, and
all nuclear physics research should
Also, if there is no cause, there is no explanation why
this particular universe appeared at a particular time,
nor why it was a universe and not, say, a banana or cat which
appeared. This universe can't have any properties to explain its
preferential coming into existence, because it would
any properties until it actually came into existence.
Is creation by God rational?
As a last desperate
approach by skeptics to avoid a theistic
conclusion is to assert that creation in time is incoherent.
correctly points out that since time itself began with the beginning
of the universe, it is meaningless to talk about what happened
‘before’ the universe began. But he claims that causes must precede
their effects. So if nothing happened ‘before’ the universe began,
then (according to Davies) it is meaningless to discuss the cause of
the universe’s beginning.
But the philosopher (and New Testament scholar) William Lane
Craig, in a useful critique of Davies,10
pointed out that Davies is deficient in philosophical knowledge.
Philosophers have long discussed the notion of simultaneous
causation. Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) gave the example of a
weight resting on a cushion simultaneously causing a depression in
it. Craig says:
The first moment of time is the moment of God's creative act
and of creation's simultaneous coming to be.
Some skeptics claim that all this analysis is tentative, because
that is the nature of science. So this can’t be used to prove
creation by God. Now think about it...
skeptics can't have it both ways: saying
that the Bible is wrong because science has proved it so, but if
science appears consistent with the Bible, then well, science is
A FINAL THOUGHT
Bible informs us that time is a dimension that God created, into
which man was subjected. It even tells us that one day time will
no longer exist. That will be called "eternity."
stands outside of the dimension He created (Psalm
He dwells in eternity and is not subject to
the limitations of time.
God spoke history before it came into being.
He can move
through time as a man flips through a history book.
The Bible is His history book given to us.
Because we live in the dimension of time, it is impossible
for us to fully understand anything that does not have a
beginning and an end. Simply accept that fact, and believe the
concept of God's eternal nature the same way you believe the
concept of space having no beginning and end -- by faith -- even
though such thoughts put a strain on our distinctly insufficient
Larner, adapted from
References and Notes
- Actually, the word ‘cause’ has several different meanings in
philosophy. But in this article, I am referring to the
efficient cause, the chief agent causing something to be made.
- Novikov, I.D. and Zel’dovich, Ya. B., "Physical Processes Near
Cosmological Singularities", Annual Review of Astronomy and
Astrophysics, 11:401-2 (1973).
- Schramm, D.N. and Steigman, G., "Relic Neutrinos and the
Density of the Universe," Astrophysical Journal, 243:1-7
- Watson, A., "Clusters point to Never Ending Universe,"
Science, 278 (5342):1402 (1997).
- Perlmutter, S. et al., "Discovery of a supernova explosion at
half the age of the universe," Nature, 391(6662):51 (1998).
Perspective by Branch, D. Destiny and destiny. Same issue, pp.
- Glanz, J., "New light on the fate of the universe," Science,
- Guth, A.H. and Sher, M., "The Impossibility of a Bouncing
Universe," Nature, 302:505-507 (1983).
- Tinsley, B., "From Big Bang to Eternity?", Natural History
Magazine (October 1975), pp. 102-5. Cited in Craig, W.L.,
Apologetics: An Introduction (Chicago: Moody, 1984), p. 61.
- Davies, P., God and the New Physics (Simon & Schuster,
1983), p. 215.
- Craig, W.L., "God, Creation and Mr. Davies," Brit. J. Phil.
Sci. 37:163-175 (1986).
Answers in Genesis. First published in: Creation Ex Nihilo
Technical Journal 12(1):20-22, 1998.
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