Thursday, January 19, 2012

God the Eternally Self-Generating Ultimate Cause

The story of the Bible starts with God. The Bible tells us “in the beginning God” (Gen 1:1). God just ... is! God is uncreated reality, eternally self-generating, without beginning and without end. He has always been around, and always will be around.

The existence of God is the fundamental starting point of Christianity. Whatever system of religion or philosophy that one believes in, there has to be starting point. When it comes to the question of the existence of the world there are only four major options: (1) either the world is not real, and all of “reality” is unreal (like some kind of dream); or (2) the world is real and eternal; or (3) the world is real but finite in time, and has come from absolutely nothing; or (4) the world is real but finite in time, and has been caused or created by a previously existing power.

The view that the world is eternal was taught by some ancient Greek philosophers (e.g., Aristotle), and it is also taught in Hinduism and Buddhism. The view that matter has come from nothing, that absolutely everything has come from absolutely nothing, is the view of various forms of modern atheism. Despite the fact that many scientific atheists hold this view, this is logically speaking a difficult position to hold in view of the scientific axiom of cause and effect. Science (with the arguable exception of quantum mechanics) presupposes the idea of cause and effect. To hold that the big bang which led to the formation of the universe came from absolute nothingness—the equivalent of saying that the big bang had no cause—is to posit the existence of an effect without a cause. For the view that the world has come from a previously existing power, the major religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all believe in one eternal God who is Creator of the universe.

Which view is the most logical of these options? The major choice today lies between theism and atheism. Out of these, theism is more logical and much more probable. It requires a lot more faith to believe that all of the universe and the approximately 100 million different species that inhabit our earth came about as a massive fluke, totally by chance, from absolutely nothing, than it does to believe that there was a powerful self-generating designer who generated this world for a reason. Both theism and standard atheism hold that everything came from nothing. In theism, however, there is a cause: God.


Anonymous said...

What does self-generating mean?

Steven Coxhead said...

To generate means to cause to be, or to cause to come into being. To say that God is self-generating is simply to say that God is the (eternal) cause of his own existence. The alternative to being self-generated is to be a creature, i.e., generated by someone or something other than oneself.