If God created the universe, then where did God come from? Doesn’t everything, including God, have to come from something else? If so, who created God?
Most people lead busy lives and spend most of their time dealing with the immediate challenges of their everyday routines. And yet, in the quiet and unhurried moments of life, nearly everyone has wondered about big, timeless issues:
“Where did I come from? In fact, where did everyone and everything come from? Things don’t just happen by themselves, do they? Doesn’t everything come from something else? Doesn’t every effect have a cause?”
For some, the questions go even further. “Does that apply even to God? Did something, or someone, cause God? Who created God?”
A simple example
In addressing these questions, let’s begin by considering a simple example. You look at the back yard of your home—the same home you have lived in all your life. You see a large, mature oak tree. It’s your favorite tree. You are impressed by its size and beauty. You love that tree.
If someone, perhaps a small child, asked you whether that tree had always been there, you would be confident that the answer is, “No, of course not!” Perhaps you are old enough to remember when that particular tree was not there at all. You know that it grew out of the ground, from an acorn. Perhaps, many years ago, you even saw a squirrel bury an acorn right in that spot, and shortly after that, the tree began to grow. The effect (the tree) has a cause (the seed, the acorn).
If the child persisted and asked, “Well, where did the acorn come from?” you would answer, “The acorn came from another oak tree.” The conversation could go on for a while, but the pattern has already been set. Oak trees produce acorns, which produce oak trees, which produce acorns. …
Has it always been this way?
But has it always been this way? Is this an eternal pattern—an eternal sequence? Have there always been oak trees and acorns? Did one of them have no beginning? The answer to these questions is the same—from science and the Bible. The answer is no.
Scientists, even those who do not believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible, even those who have no religious belief at all, would confidently answer that there have not always been acorns and oak trees. They might differ as to when exactly the sequence began, but they agree that it had a beginning. That is because they believe that all things in the physical realm—including oak trees and acorns—had a beginning.
A lot of scientists believe that the observable universe and the earth, including oak trees and acorns, could not be older than 15 to 20 billion years, and some scientists believe that it is much younger. But there is pretty general agreement in the scientific community that physical things have not always been.
One of the most prominent scientists of modern times, Stephen Hawking (who does not believe in the Bible’s creation account) has stated, “All the evidence seems to indicate, that the universe has not existed forever, but that it had a beginning, about 15 billion years ago. This is probably the most remarkable discovery of modern cosmology. Yet it is now taken for granted” (http://www.hawking.org.uk/lectures.html, emphasis added throughout).
The Bible gives the same answer regarding the question of whether the universe (including oak trees and acorns) is eternal. The material universe is not eternal—it had a beginning. It began when God began to create the universe (including oak trees).
According to the Bible, God spoke these words to the children of Israel, from Mount Sinai: “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11).
So we have two conclusions about which there is nearly universal agreement. First, every effect that we can measure has a cause. The example we have considered is that oak trees are caused by acorns, which are caused by oak trees. Second, this sequence of cause and effect is not eternal. There have not always been either measurable causes or effects. There have not always been oak trees and acorns.
What can we surmise from these two conclusions? In answering this question, nearly all people are in one of two groups. In the first group are people who believe that the entire sequence just began—by itself—with no underlying intelligence, no purpose, no plan, no direction. It all just happened by itself.
In the second group are people who believe that an intelligent, purposeful Creator God began the sequence. The God of the Bible has this to say about those in the first group. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt” (Psalm 14:1).
Has God always existed?
Here is what the God of the Bible says about that through the pen of the apostle Paul: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
Here we see that the God of the Bible gives a direct and powerful answer to the question we began with—“who created God?”—and that the correct answer should in fact be obvious to us all—it should be “clearly seen.” No one created God. He is the Creator. God is uncreated. God is eternal. In the judgment of God, we are “without excuse” if we come to any other conclusion.
God makes it clear that we should not congratulate ourselves on the “wisdom” of thinking that there is no Eternal Creator God. To the contrary! “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22). In other words, getting hung up on the question of how it can be that God is eternal (uncreated) only distracts us from the blatantly obvious.
According to the Bible, the only correct and wise conclusion is to believe that Someone who is uncreated, who is eternal and superior to what we can see, created all that we can see. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. … By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:1, 3).
However, some people respond, “But that is so hard for me to understand—to accept—for two reasons. First, I can’t see God. How am I supposed to believe in something I can’t see? Second, I can’t understand, with my limitations of mind, an eternal Being. I find it hard to believe that God has always existed. Nothing else I am aware of is eternal. How can God be eternal?”
Can I believe this?
Let’s address both of those points. First, most people—whether they consciously think about it or not—believe in many things that they cannot see with their eyes. We believe in gravity, but we don’t see gravity. We only see its effect: things fall to the earth. We believe in magnetism, but we don’t see magnetism. We only see its effect: iron filings drawn to a magnet.
We don’t see gravity and magnetism with our eyes, but that does not mean that we don’t believe they exist. It should be no different with regard to a spiritual, nonmaterial Creator God.
Second, admittedly, it is difficult for us, who are mortal and who live in time and space, to conceive of a Being who is not mortal and who is not limited by time and space.
In fact (as we just read), the God of the Bible says that it is foolish to believe that the Creator of everything has not always existed! The “eternal power” of God should be “clearly” perceived!
The God of the Bible tells us that He is not like us—living in time and space. Instead, “thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones’” (Isaiah 57:15).
It becomes apparent from these biblical passages that we humans, even with the limitations of our physical senses and our mortality, have the ability—indeed the responsibility, before the Creator God of the Bible—to arrive at the correct answer to the question of who created God. As we saw in the book of Romans, we are “without excuse” for not coming to the “clearly seen” conclusion that the Creator God exists and that He is eternal.
Furthermore, it is revealed in the Bible that the ease with which we come to that correct answer can be determined, to at least some degree, by our state of mind—by our attitude—by whether we approach the matter with self-will and pride or with humility.
If we have a humble spirit, we can better perceive and come to the correct conclusion regarding the “High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity.” If we have a proud spirit, one that does not want to admit that there is a superior Being to whom we might owe our lives and service, we will sadly be led to a “foolish” conclusion—either that there is no God or that God is somehow so limited that He Himself must be explained by another cause.
You can decide—and learn more!
In a very real sense, then, we have the power to choose whether we arrive at the correct answer—the wise answer. In the final analysis—in the judgment of God—we are “without excuse” if we arrive at the wrong and foolish one.
Who created God? The answer is that God was not created. He is the eternal Creator of all that is. He reveals, in the Bible, much about Himself, and His plan and purpose for having created the whole universe and—especially—mankind, including you and me!