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Atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell mused, “If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause.” But the question of what or who caused God is misguided.
First, science supports the notion that the universe had a beginning and that something independent of the universe brought it into being. The well-accepted scientific belief in the universe’s origination and expansion and the second law of thermodynamics (energy tends to spread out) support the universe’s absolute beginning from nothing. This sounds remarkably like Gn 1:1! The chances of a thing’s popping into being from literally nothing are exactly zero. Being cannot come from nonbeing; there’s no potential for this. Even skeptic David Hume called this “absurd”—a scientific (real) impossibility.
Second, believers reject the claim “Everything that exists has a cause” and affirm “Whatever begins to exist has a cause.” To say “Everything needs a cause” would necessarily exclude an uncaused God. This is “question begging” (assuming what needs to be proved). It’s like presuming that since all reality is physical (which can’t be demonstrated), a nonphysical God cannot exist.
Third, why think everything needs a cause, since an uncaused entity is logical and intelligible? Through the centuries, many believed that the universe didn’t need a cause; it was self-existent. They thought a beginningless/uncaused universe wasn’t illogical or impossible. But now that contemporary cosmology points to the universe’s beginning and an external cause, skeptics insist everything needs a cause after all!
Fourth, a good number of uncaused things exist. Logical laws are real; we can’t think coherently without using them (e.g., the law of identity, X = X, tells you: “This book is this book”). Moral laws or virtues (love, justice) are real. But none of these began to exist. They are eternal and uncaused (being in God’s mind).
Fifth, the question “Who made God?” commits the category fallacy. To say that all things, even God, must be caused is incoherent—like the question “How does the color green taste?” Why fault God for being uncaused? When we rephrase the question to say, “What caused the self-existent, uncaused Cause, who is by definition unmade, to exist?” the answer is obvious.
Who Made God?
What does the Bible say? Moses wrote: “Jehovah, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:1-2, UASV) Similarly, Isaiah the prophet cried out suddenly: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? Jehovah is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah 40:28) Likewise, Jude I his letter refers to God as “to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. [Lit to all the ages] Amen.”—Jude 25.
Those Scriptures make it clear to us that God is “the eternal King,” as the apostle Paul explains him. (1 Timothy 1:17) The Bible makes it plain that God has always existed, from an eternity in the past to an eternity in the future. (Revelation 1:8) Thus, his always existing for an eternity in the past and into the future is an essential attribute of God Almighty.
Imperfect humans find this idea difficult to grasp. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, they and the other immediate descendants would be well over 6,000 years old right now and might be able to appreciate this idea better. Because of our limited life span at the moment, our perception of time is far different from God’s. Being God is eternal; for him, a thousand years are like a day. (2 Peter 3:8) To picture this: Think of it this way: imagine a housefly could grasp time. Since they live only 28 days, how would they understand a human life of 100 years and the giant tortoises in captivity that have been known to live longer than 200 years? Unimaginable. Like the housefly, we stumble at the idea of there being an Almighty being that has no beginning and no end of life. Even our power to reason is overshadowed by his. (Isaiah 40:22; 55:8-9) So why would we be stunned that there are facets of God’s nature that are well beyond our human understanding?
Even though the idea of a God living eternally in the past and into the future is difficult to grasp, we can understand that it is reasonable and logical. If there was another more powerful being that created God, well, then that being would be the Almighty God, the Creator. Yet, as we saw from the above Scriptures, the God of the Bible is the one who ‘created all things and by his will they existed and were created.’ (Revelation 4:11) Additionally, we know that there was a time when the billions of universes did not exist. Science knows that they came into existence and that they continue to grow. (Genesis 1:1-2) Where did the universes come from? Whoever brought them into existence had to exist first. While most scientists would not recognize spirit creatures far superior to humans, God existed before them as well. (Job 38:4, 7) Undoubtedly, God was in existence by himself before deciding to create other spirit persons, such as angels, universes, and then humans. God was not created. He has no creator. There was nothing that existed that could have created him; otherwise, that being would be the Creator.
When we think of the meticulousness of our human life, our existence in the universe, it is one of the greatest testimonies of God’s eternal existence. God is the one who brought the intelligent lives of angels into existence, who created something out of nothing, who gave us the billions of universes that continue to grow, who created human and animal life, who put in the laws that keep everything under control, He has always existed. It is him alone. The Bible tells us, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4) – Edward D. Andrews.
Psalm 94:2 “Pride” in the psalms is rarely, if ever, referring to ordinary pride in appearance or achievement. It is pride that oversteps God’s boundaries and acts autonomously against God, His people, and His institutions. This psalm, directed against the “arrogant” and “evildoers” who oppress the faithful (vv. 4–7), belongs to the category of “psalms of imprecation,” or cursing.
Psalm 94:12 The psalm echoes Ps 1, “happy is the man.” The Hebrew word here, however, is different: not the generic ʾish “man,” but gever, “strong man.”
Psalm 94:14 The Lord will not reject His people, those who have entered into covenant by faith. Thus, the psalm is not entirely about condemnation of the wicked; it is a prayer for God’s kingdom.
Psalm 95:3 The Lord is “a great King above all gods.” On “gods” in the psalms, see note on 82:1, 6.
Psalm 95:8–9 Massah means “testing” (on Meribah, see note on 81:7).
Psalm 95:11 Because of their faithless challenge of God at Meribah, the Israelites were not permitted to enter the rest, i.e., the promised land (Heb 4:7). On the psalm’s ending on a negative note, see note on 88:15–18. Jesus gives rest, spiritual rest now and eternal rest in the world to come (Mt 11:28).
Psalm 96:1 On the “new song,” see note on 33:3.
Psalm 96:4 On “gods” in the psalms, see note on 82:1, 6. The Lord God made the heavens and everything in them, even those things the pagans venerate.
Psalm 97:1–5 Here the declaration that the Lord reigns is followed by the poetic language of theophany or epiphany—descriptions of spectacular natural phenomena in the heavens and on earth that reveal God’s presence. Much of the imagery goes back to Sinai (Dt 4:11, 24), but it also anticipates the coming “Day of the Lord.” Thick, dark clouds (Ps 97:2) usually refer to judgment from the Lord, whose decisions are always right and just. Lightning, fire, and earthquakes all speak of the penetrating nature of divine judgment. The psalm refers, ultimately, to the future coming of the Lord (the verb is prophetic perfect). When He comes to establish His kingdom on earth, generations will see Him and be overwhelmed by the power.
Psalm 98:8–9 The psalm says that the rivers clap, the mountains sing, and all nature echoes and reverberates in anticipation of the coming of the Lord. In Rm 8:19–22, Paul described the longing of creation to see the fulfillment of God’s purpose.
Psalm 100:1 The “shout” (“make a joyful noise,” KJV, RSV) was the war cry; the Hebrew verb is the same as that of the shouting of the Israelites at the capture of Jericho (Jos 6:20). This psalm takes the worshiper into the realm of spiritual warfare.
Psalm 100:3 Translations of this verse differ (“not we ourselves,” KJV, NASB; “we are his,” RSV, NIV) because of textual emendation by some translators, supported by a marginal note in the MT. The Hebrew text reads literally, “He made us and not we.” However, the negative particle loʾ is usually used with verbs; another form of negation is used for nouns or pronouns. It is likely that the original reading was lo (without the unvoiced final letter aleph), meaning “His,” which sounds the same as the negative particle. An error could have crept in when a copyist misunderstood what was being dictated to him. The psalm refers to the Lord’s covenant loyalty (hesed, “love,” v. 5) so the worshipers are His; the other reading, of course, is also theologically correct since they did not create themselves.
Psalm 101 This Davidic psalm is the charter of the king. He should shun all forms of evil in court and punish the wicked in the land. If the psalm is also prophetic of the reign of Christ, it indicates there will be people to be punished during His reign, suggesting that this is the messianic reign which will in the end be delivered up to the Father (1 Co 15:24).
Psalm 102:10 The psalmist suffered under divine discipline, which he called God’s “indignation and wrath.” In the NT the wrath of God is the effect of His judgment on sin (Rm 1:18, 1 Th 1:10). It is this also in the OT, but in this psalm the speaker did not ascribe his suffering to his personal sin. Though he wrote that God had unleashed His anger on him in words that suggest both physical affliction and persecution (vv. 3–9), the psalm may have come out of the experience of the exile in Babylon in which it seemed that God had judged Israel harshly. The writer shared in the punishment due all Israel for its corporate sin against the Lord (see Is 6:5). And yet the writer also knew that God had not rejected His people but had promised a glorious future (Ps 30:5; Is 50–55). The full revelation of the NT reassures believers of their secure relationship with the Lord. But the NT also affirms that God’s wrath is poured out on sin, and that divine chastening even of the believer (Heb 12:7) comes from that same attribute of God.
Psalm 102:25–27 These words praise the Lord as the eternal, unchanging God of creation. Hebrews 1:10–12 quotes them and applies them to Jesus.
Psalm 103:6 The psalm praises God for the kinds of things He does; the verbs used provide general truths (as with wisdom literature). To say that the Lord “executes acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed” does not mean that there are no oppressed people. It means that this is how the Lord consistently acts, so the oppressed who are faithful to His covenant (vv. 17–18) can look to Him to work in their behalf. Deliverance will come—if not in this life, certainly in the life to come. In the meantime, the people of God are to join the hosts of heaven and all God’s works of creation (see 19:1) in declaring His praise (Ps 103:20–22).
Psalm 104:1–9 The psalmist used vivid word pictures to describe the sovereign Lord’s work of creation. The imagery was drawn from the making of a palace with tent coverings, private upper stories, and a solid foundation. The Lord uses all the elements recognized in the ancient world—wind, clouds, fire, and water—and controls them for His purpose. The Creator-King is surrounded by His servants, whether they be angels, forces of nature, or creatures of earth.
By Paul Copan
The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith, ed. Ted Cabal et al. (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007)