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bhoup
Oct 28th 2008, 01:16 PM
Hello everyone. I currently started reading the book Who Made God by Ravi Zacharias. One of the first questions is actually the title...

Who caused God?

Here is part of the response:

1) It [the question] wrongly assumes that everything must have a cause when it is claimed that "everything that had a beginning had a cause."

2) BUT God does not need a cause because he had no beginning--He is eternal.

But now my question is this: what if skeptics ask, "Why are we assuming that God had no beginning?" Where do I take the discussion from here?

Dragonfighter1
Oct 28th 2008, 01:26 PM
Hello everyone. I currently started reading the book Who Made God by Ravi Zacharias. One of the first questions is actually the title...

Who caused God?

Here is part of the response:

1) It [the question] wrongly assumes that everything must have a cause when it is claimed that "everything that had a beginning had a cause."

2) BUT God does not need a cause because he had no beginning--He is eternal.

But now my question is this: what if skeptics ask, "Why are we assuming that God had no beginning?" Where do I take the discussion from here?
This is a question with no easy answer. Usually it is asked to confound or frustrate us, but it can be turned around to the same affect on them...
Try asking them:
"why are we assuming the universe had a beginning, we believe in a big bang, we believe the big bang came from super compressed material that materialized in our universe, where did it come from, answer that and I will answer your question about God"

Another approach is to ask: "Why do we need to believe he did have a beginning?"


Simply put though, neither science nor man will ever answer that question completely until the end of time as we know it. Many theories will be postulated but none will be complete. These questions are useful for tearing down Christians only, so avoid them, they serve no large purpose. With the exception of Ravi's wonderful efforts to guide us through this minefield of philosophy of course.
In My Opinion.

Athanasius
Oct 28th 2008, 02:49 PM
But now my question is this: what if skeptics ask, "Why are we assuming that God had no beginning?" Where do I take the discussion from here?

You refer them to the book of Revelation... God is the alpha and omega (the beginning and the end). God wouldn't be God if He had a beginning, by the way.

Dani H
Oct 28th 2008, 04:15 PM
But now my question is this: what if skeptics ask, "Why are we assuming that God had no beginning?" Where do I take the discussion from here?

"Why are you assuming that we are assuming?"

bhoup
Oct 28th 2008, 06:49 PM
"Why are you assuming that we are assuming?"

Basically if answer #2 went to a skeptic and they responded with "why are we assuming that God is eternal"... Where would I then go with the discussion?

Also, here's another question for you all...

We are told that evil came in Genesis 3 with the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Now, if people ask "Why didn't God create humans that would not sin?" The book responds by saying that God wanted Adam and all humanity to show love by freely choosing obedience, hence not making robots who would worship Him instead. But where do we find Scriptural support for this answer? In other words, we are told that God thought that the way he made us (thinking, feeling, loving, with free will, etc.) was a better option than making "robots" who would never sin. How can we prove this?

Dragonfighter1
Oct 28th 2008, 08:07 PM
Basically if answer #2 went to a skeptic and they responded with "why are we assuming that God is eternal"... Where would I then go with the discussion?

Also, here's another question for you all...

We are told that evil came in Genesis 3 with the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Now, if people ask "Why didn't God create humans that would not sin?" The book responds by saying that God wanted Adam and all humanity to show love by freely choosing obedience, hence not making robots who would worship Him instead. But where do we find Scriptural support for this answer? In other words, we are told that God thought that the way he made us (thinking, feeling, loving, with free will, etc.) was a better option than making "robots" who would never sin. How can we prove this?
If you are looking for a scripture verse that specifically address' free will in this specific manner you won't find one. Sometimes you have to read bunches of scripture to get a meaning that isnt spelled out but is actual truth. A child may never hear his father say he loves him (I didnt) but reviewing years of care and council leads me to know for certain my dad loved me.

I am sorry it isnt an easier answer., Clearly you want to progress forward as fast as possible in your learning of God. Unfortunately all of us run into detours along the way and then its the hard road for a while...
God Bless

Scruffy Kid
Nov 2nd 2008, 06:29 PM
Dear Bhoup,
Welcome to Bibleforums! :hug:
(I realize you've been here over half a year, but I don't believe we've met yet, so I want to welcome you!)
It's great to have you here!! :pp :pp :pp

Below I give an attempt to provide materials which can be useful to you in constructing an answer which might start to satisfy the concerns of non-believing frieds who are asking the kinds of questions you are asking for help with.


How is it that God is the Uncaused Source of Being, Love, and Life?

God's existence is qualitatively different from our own existence, or the existence of other things.

By "God" in the Judeo-Christian sense we mean the source of all things, whose being is absolute and whose nature is its own necessity. In other words, God is such that it is impossible for Him not to exist. The goodness of God, and the fullness of His being, is its own cause.

In this sense, God is unlike any created thing -- that is, unlike anything other than God Himself, unlike anything in the universe. God is, indeed, not "a thing" in the same sense that anything else is: God's being is absolute and complete, where our being is contingent (or accidental) and incomplete. We, and every other creature (created thing or being) exist contingently (roughly, by accident) and could not exist or continue in being except that other things, or other conditions, combine to allow or enable or support our existence.

Thus even to say that "God exists" is not like saying "Scruffy exists" or "this tree I see exists" or "Hudson Bay" exists. These other things do have existence -- and it is from their being in existence that we initially understand the idea of existence. But their existence is limited, and impermanent, and mutable (changeable) -- in fact, contingent, contingent upon other things and circumstances. That means, inter alia (among other things) that their existence is temporary. But the temporariness of finite things is an indicator of their more fundamental contingentness: they are not things that must be, they just happen to be. And so, they may pass away. God is not like that. God is the fullness of being, the source of being, and (in particular) the source of His own being. Nothing other than God is like this: He only, as the source of His own being, exists uncontingently. It could not be that God was not.

Considering our contingency, and the various ways in which our existence is dependent

The contingency, or contingentness, of our being, and the being of other things, and also their mutability, is patent: evident to anyone's inspection of the universe we inhabit. Trees -- even very old ones that have been around for hundreds or thousands of years, like some redwoods -- exist because there was a seed they grew from, and because no fire came and burned them down, and because there was enough sunlight and water for them to grow, and because no deadly parasite destroyed them, and so on. Human beings exist because they were conceived, and raised, by their parents -- and their parents met, and chose to procreate them (and not some sibling) at a particular moment. I might have died in childhood. My parents very nearly did not meet. One or both of my parents nearly died before I was born. Things I have created, in turn, need not have existed. I might have chosen to make something else. What I began might not have been completed. In this way, each created thing depends upon antecedent (prior, earlier) causes; none need be; none has absolute or unassailable being.

Further, the world of contingent things is a dependent world in at least two other senses, as well.

One is that all things we know depend not just upon the particular causes which brought them into being, but also upon the framework of laws which orders and enables the causality by which one thing leads to another. The planets, as Newton established in detail, move through the skies in accord with a series of laws of motion, which are mathematical and precise. Apples falling to the ground upon earth do the same. We don't of course fully understand the rules -- or the lawful processes -- by which things cause other things, or continue their trajectories (usually somewhat modified) by interaction with other things. But we do see, from much study, that things proceed in a lawful fashion, in accord with universal laws -- gravity, electromagnetism, QCD (quantum mechanics), strong and weak nuclear forces and so on -- which describe, or govern, how material bodies act in interaction with one another. (That need not mean that things are absolutely determined by antecedent circumstances: there may be a range of indeterminacy, or freedom, in some of the particulars. But that freedom or indeterminacy occurs within an orderly framework of laws which govern most of what occurs.) Not only the general form of laws of physics and so on governs what happens, but also the specific size of particular physical constants (Planck's constant, the speed of light, the coefficients determining the magnitude of gravitational and electromagnetic forces, etc.) Thus, there is a vast framework of law, everywhere operative, everywhere held in being, which governs the physical universe. and the things in it. All things are dependent upon this framework of laws.

Also, notably, as mentioned above in passing, the kinds of things which are found in the Creation, in the cosmos which science inspects, are mortal, finite, and passing in the sense that they run down. This is of course particularly evident in the case of living things. We do not live forever. We need food (and air and water) to go on living. One generation is succeeded by the next. Even if we have all elements we need for life, our energy, our strength to live, the orderliness of our cells, ultimately fails. We get old and die. In the same way, any process that goes on gradually loses usable energy, and order. If we want warmth, we must burn up some material -- wood, or gas, or animal or vegetable products -- that have energy stored in them. When they have been burned, they are used up. They become ash. This is, as careful scientific enquiry has established over the last couple of centuries, an essential and fundamental property of the universe we inhabit. Things in it wear out -- "they grow old like a garment" -- and decay. Roughly, this is the area covered by what's called the second law of thermodynamics, and the concept of entropy.

That decay does not apply just to particular things: according to the laws of physics as best we understand them, any closed system, including the entirety of the cosmos, will ultimately run down, with its energy all diffused in unusable heat (at a very low level -- that is, a tiny amount of heat which we would call "cold" widely distributed). The universe, like the things in it, according to the calculations of science, will run down, get cold, cease to be doing anything interesting, and die.

God is not like that: God, being the source of His own being, is the inexhaustible source of being, for himself, and for all else. Thus, He is the one who can create a universe, and set it in motion. He is the one who can establish and govern it, sustaining its laws and making all elements or particles within it operate in a law-governed, scientific way.

This is similar to the Cosmological Argument, the Argument from Design, or the Argument from Contingency
(and so on) In Classical Philosophical Theology

Often, the line of reasoning which I have just developed -- that God is unlike created beings in that they are contingent, and dependent, and must have causes, and that God is the one who brings these things into being and keeps them in order -- is presented in terms of the wonderful line of philosophical development started by Aristotle (the Unmoved Mover argument) and brought to its fullness in the arguments for God's existence developed (following Aristotle) by Thomas Aquinas. This leads to what are sometimes called "proofs" for God's existence (although, I'm told, Thomas didn't present them as proofs, but rather considerations which, if pondered, would incline us to see that God exists as the source of all being). Here I have developed them more with an eye to the understanding of the world which has been gradually built up by modern science. In either case, they are suggesting that the existence of the world points to its Creator -- just as Paul says in Romans 1, and just as the Biblical account of Creation tells us.

How All This Reflects the Profound Teaching of the Scriptures:
Moses and the Burning Bush

More than that, the difference in Being between God and the things He has created is revealed with blinding clarity -- in a way that conforms both the the philosophical argument from contingency and to the insights presented to us by the 2nd law of thermodynamics -- in God's revelation of His name to Moses in Exodus 3 ff. Briefly, God reveals Himself to Moses in a bush which burns and is not consumed. Moses, speaking with God, asks God's name, and is given a strange sort of name "I am" or (YHWH) "I am that I am". Both of these things -- the name given to Moses as God's own name, and the appearance of God in a bush which burns and is not consumed -- are signs of just what we have been talking about in the discussion here.

God is being-itself, the source of all being. Whereas other things exist incidentally, or relatively, God exists absolutely. He is the great I AM. Whereas other things exist only because of other things, and laws relating one thing to another, and thus in a way which is relative and non-independent, God is YHWH "I am that I am" -- the one who is the cause and principle of His own being. His being is inexhaustible! And thus, of course, it can be the cause, and He the architect and governor, of all else. This is clearly set forth in God's unique name: I am, I am that I am, or YHWH.

Similarly, the appearance of God in the burning bush represents, physically and visually, Who God is. Whereas in which world, that which burns is exhausted by its burning, burns up as it pours out light and heat to the world around it, it is not so with God. God is the inexhaustible source of life and light. Thus a bush which burn and is not consumed represents the absolute being of God, his status as the "I am", the inexhaustible fullness of life and being which is God's alone.

How All This Reflects the Profound Teaching of the Scriptures:
God our Savior, and the Revelation of Jesus Christ

Finally, the Biblical revelation of God in the burning bush not only confirms and validates the philosophical thinking which shows why God is utterly unlike created things, and has no beginning and end, but also does one more crucial thing.

God appears to Moses in order to liberate those who are hurt, those who are oppressed, those who are groaning. He hears their cries, has compassion upon them, and commissions Moses to set them free from bondage, and lead them into a land of rest and promise. Thus "I am", the source of being, is revealed not just as some impersonal source of existence, but as intimately caring for those He has made. He is revealed simultaneously here as Eternal God (Absolute Being, before and beyond time, space, and all that He has made) and Creator, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, as Savior, and the one who has mercy upon human beings in their distress and brokenness.
(Moses, earlier, understood that it was wrong for his people to suffer, but Moses' self-generated attempts to free the people of Israel ended in disaster: Moses himself had to flee for his life. Moses' burning zeal for justice and liberation from bondage led to Moses burning out. Thus, the image of the bush which burns and is not consumed had particular relevance for Moses: it is the image of a zeal and life which, unlike Moses's own efforts, does not become exhausted.) God reveals Himself both as the Source of existence, the Creator, and as the Healer of a broken creation -- the liberator from bondage, the Savior of His people.

Thus the revelation of God's self-existence prefigures the revelation of Jesus, "Emmanuel, which being interpreted is 'God with us'." Jesus, Yeshua or Joshua, as the successor of Moses, bears the Divine Name in a form which more clearly reveals that He who most wonderfully created us still more wonderfully restores us to life. The name Jesus means "YHWH saves": that is "I am, YHWH, He who is the self-caused source of being", is also the redeemer of those who are in bondage, the one who overcomes our sin and self-destruction, "the one whose indestructible power of life overcomes death" and saves us from death and from our sins. Jesus, as Savior, Who is the undeserved outpouring of God's love and grace upon us, is the full and perfect image in this broken world, of the great I am who is the uncaused Source of Being.


Postscript
This post was written de novo by me today, in response to Bhoup's questions, specifically to try to provide the intellectual materials with which you can find ways to answer the question about how God has no cause, or what caused God, to the satisfaction of those who may be inquiring about that with some openness toward God, but without a Biblical faith.

(While I endeavor, at the end, to relate the argument to Biblical material, which -- I believe -- it faithfully recapitulates, the argument is not, in its earlier parts, based upon Bible verses, because I am seeking to provide materials which can also help you with those who would not see those verses as having any authority, or might indeed take an argument which cited them as authority as demonstrating its inability to provide answers to legitimate doubts and concerns without begging the question. Like Paul on the Areopagus, we must carefully understand the cultural and philosophic presuppositions of those we are presenting the Gospel to, and try to meet them on their own terms, in order to lead them to Christ.)

As noted, the argument made here is often made with a greater emphasis upon the purely philosophic arguments, such as the argument from contingency, developed along the lines of Aristotle and Thomas. I have made that argument about 5 times in response to various posters over the years here at BF, and if you want more elaboration of it, you can find those threads by using the search function to search posts by me containing "Aristotle".

In friendship,
Scruffy Kid

JesusReignsForever
Nov 2nd 2008, 06:57 PM
You refer them to the book of Revelation... God is the alpha and omega (the beginning and the end). God wouldn't be God if He had a beginning, by the way.


GREEEEEEAT Answer!! He started it he will finish it!

Genesis 1
1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth

John 1
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Its not a hard question, God told us He is the BEGINNING and the END.

You either believe it or you dont.:idea:

Lamplighter
Nov 2nd 2008, 08:05 PM
God is the uncaused, first cause, of the beginning of all cause.