This atheist argument has been very popularly restated as, “Who designed the designer?” This is, by his own admission, the very central argument of Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion.
The following quotations demonstrate the ubiquity of the argument:
Richard Dawkins (in The Blind Watchmaker) wrote, “To explain the origin of the DNA/protein machine by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing, for it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer.”
Prominent atheist, Christopher Hitchens, like others, asks the philosophically naïve question, Who created the Creator? The answer is in Sunday School 101.
Prominent atheist, Christopher Hitchens, like others, asks the philosophically naïve question, “Who created the Creator?” The answer is in Sunday School 101.
Christopher Hitchens (in God Is Not Great) wrote, “who designed the designer or created the creator? Religion and theology have consistently failed to overcome this objection.”
Daniel Dennett (in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea) references Richard Dawkins and declares that it is an “unrebuttable refutation, as devastating today as when Philo used it to trounce Cleanthes in Hume’s Dialogues two centuries earlier.”
And of course, Richard Dawkins (in The God Delusion) quotes Daniel Dennett who is quoting Richard Dawkins and proclaims that Daniel Dennett is correct in approving of Richard Dawkins!
This argument, although very popular and promulgated by atheist scientists and even atheist philosophers, is a premier example of what is generally termed “Sunday School Atheism”. It is called this because it is a Sunday School level question and one that Sunday School children are able to answer before achieving puberty.
God is eternal and thus does not need a cause.
To elucidate a bit, in the next section we will consider the cosmological argument which makes clear that everything that begins to exist has a sufficient cause. Since God never began to exist, God did not have a cause.
But is not claiming that God is eternal a mere way out of the problem of who made God? No.
Since time began to exist, time had a cause. Since time began to exist, whatever caused time is timeless (aka infinite or eternal). It is the linear time that we experience that makes cause and effect relationships possible: an effect follows a cause. Yet, since God exists outside of, or without, time, cause and effect relationships are impossible and thus God is the uncaused/uncausable first cause. It was God’s first action of creation that brought the space-time continuum into being and set cause and effect relationships into motion. Therefore, in God’s timeless realm there is no such question as “Who made God?” since this is a time space domain based question which simply does not apply. It is like asking “To whom is the bachelor married?”
Note, however, that atheists have no problem believing in an uncaused first cause, at least when it is not supernatural, but Nature, as they promulgate the following assertions:
- It is ignorant and superstitious to believe that God made everything out of nothing.
- It is rational and scientific to believe that nothing made everything out of nothing.
- It is ignorant and superstitious to believe that God is eternal.
- It is rational and scientific to believe that matter (or energy) is eternal.
- God is an effect and must have had a cause.
- Matter/energy is the uncaused first cause.
- If God made everything, then who made God?
- Matter made everything and nothing made matter.
. “This chapter has contained the central argument of my book…who designed the designer”: Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.), 2006), pp. 157–158.
. Sarfati, J., If God created the universe, then who created God? Journal of Creation 12(1):20–22, 1998; .