Essay:Counter to If God Created Everything, Who Created God

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This is a rebuttal to If God Created Everything, Who Created God by Evidence for God from Science (retrieved 15 August 2009).

Rich Deem's article

 

Reflections of Memory's responses

How did God get here?[edit]

Richard Dawkins, among other atheists, thinks he has the ultimate proof that God doesn't exist. If God created a complex universe, wouldn't it take an even more complex entity to have created God? However, such logic assumes that time has always existed, rather than being merely a construct of this universe.

 

Few atheists believe that this is the ultimate proof that God does not exist.

Introduction[edit]

Who created God? It is an age-old question that has plagued all those who like to think about the big questions. Having grown up as an agnostic non-Christian, it provided me with a potential reason why there might not be any god. Various religions tend to solve the problem in different ways. The LDS church (Mormonism) says that the God (Elohim) to whom we are accountable had a father god, then grew up on a planet as a man, and progressed to become a god himself. Many other religions have claimed that gods beget other gods. Of course the problem with this idea is how did the first god get here? This problem of infinite regression invalidates such religions. Christianity claims that God has always existed. Is this idea even possible? Does science address such issues?

 

The passage assumes that all religions have Gods begetting Gods, but this is not necessarily true. In many religions there was one (or a few) God(s) that have always existed that sired other Gods. For example, in Greek Mythology (depending on the account) there was Chaos, who has always existed. Chaos begot a few other such Gaia, Nyx, Erebus, etc. Christianity is not unique in its aspect of saying that its God has existed forever, or before time.

Christianity's answer[edit]

Christianity answers the question of who created God in the very first verse of the very first book, Genesis: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) This verse tells us that God was acting before time when He created the universe. Many other verses from the New Testament tells us that God was acting before time began, and so, He created time, along with the other dimensions of our universe:

  • No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. (1 Corinthians 2:7)
  • This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time (2 Timothy 1:9)
  • The hope of eternal life, which God... promised before the beginning of time (Titus 1:2)
  • To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 1:25)

The idea that God created time, along with the physical universe, is not just some wacky modern Christian interpretation of the Bible. Justin Martyr, a second century Christian apologist, in his Hortatory Address to the Greeks, said that Plato got the idea that time was created along with the universe from Moses: "And from what source did Plato draw the information that time was created along with the heavens? For he wrote thus: “Time, accordingly, was created along with the heavens; in order that, coming into being together, they might also be together dissolved, if ever their dissolution should take place.” Had he not learned this from the divine history of Moses?"[1]

 

I would again like to re-iterate that this is not unique to Christianity. Beyond that, the verse in Genesis that he sites says nothing about God existing before time; it only states that God existed before the material universe. Accepting these quotes for a moment, how are they stating that Plato’s ideas came from Moses? Judaism was not a popular religion at the time; it is unlikely that Plato ever had contact with any Jewish text. This is a transparent attempt to try to give their theory an ounce of credibility.

God exists in timeless eternity[edit]

How does God acting before time began get around the problem of God's creation? There are two possible interpretations of these verses. One is that God exists outside of time. Since we live in a universe of cause and effect, we naturally assume that this is the only way in which any kind of existence can function. However, the premise is false. Without the dimension of time, there is no cause and effect, and all things that could exist in such a realm would have no need of being caused, but would have always existed. Therefore, God has no need of being created, but, in fact, created the time dimension of our universe specifically for a reason - so that cause and effect would exist for us. However, since God created time, cause and effect would never apply to His existence.

 

I have never heard of the “God exists outside of time” argument before! Wow this is a shock! Now, I could just say that Occam’s razor applies, for it is possible that time is an internal property of our universe and not an external, from that it is possible that our universe does not need a cause. Since our universe not needing a cause is a simpler explanation than God creating it we can remove God from the equation. I think I just disproved his point, but I will continue in another vein. While it is generally accepted that time started after the Big Bang, it is also noted that any event occurring before (what is the meaning of before without time?) the Big Bang could have no effect on our universe. So, if a God existed before time, it would have no effect on the present universe.

God exists in multiple dimension of time[edit]

The second interpretation is that God exists in more than one dimension of time. Things that exist in one dimension of time are restricted to time's arrow and are confined to cause and effect. However, two dimensions of time form a plane of time, which has no beginning and no end and is not restricted to any single direction. A being that exists in at least two dimension of time can travel anywhere in time and yet never had a beginning, since a plane of time has no starting point. Either interpretation leads one to the conclusion that God has no need of having been created.

 

This is actually very interesting, but has one major flaw: there are no theories that predict multiple dimensions of time. Time is separate from the other spatial dimensions, and while there has been work with producing theories with more dimensions in space, no work has seemed to go into theorizing about extra dimensions in time. This means that we have no idea how multiple temporal dimensions work. It might work like a spatial plan, but we have no evidence for this. In fact, saying that time only flows forwards only because they exist in one dimension of time is completely fallacious. There is some debate about what the underlying cause of the arrow of time is, but most agree it is, at least, in part due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Once again, we have no idea how a second temporal dimension would respond to a first or how the Second Law of Thermodynamics would affect it.

Why can't the universe be eternal?[edit]

The idea that God can be eternal leads us to the idea that maybe the universe is eternal, and, therefore, God doesn't need to exist at all. Actually, this was the prevalent belief of atheists before the observational data of the 20th century strongly refuted the idea that the universe was eternal. This fact presented a big dilemma for atheists, since a non-eternal universe implied that it must have been caused. Maybe Genesis 1:1 was correct! Not to be dismayed by the facts, atheists have invented some metaphysical "science" that attempt to explain away the existence of God. Hence, most atheistic cosmologists believe that we see only the visible part of a much larger "multiverse" that randomly spews out universes with different physical parameters.[2] Since there is no evidence supporting this idea (nor can there be, according to the laws of the universe), it is really just a substitute "god" for atheists. And, since this "god" is non-intelligent by definition, it requires a complex hypothesis, which would be ruled out if we use Occam's razor, which states that one should use the simplest logical explanation for any phenomenon. Purposeful intelligent design of the universe makes much more sense, especially based upon what we know about the design of the universe.

 

This section has multiple flaws. First, he states that a non-eternal universe needs to be caused, that is a temporal statement. If time began with the Big Bang, than nothing needs to have happened before it. Nothing needs to cause it. God does not need to have caused it. Second, it is just lovely how the person who believes that God created all the life forms on this planet is calling a scientific explanation metaphysical. Now, the multiverse explanation has not been proven, although the many worlds interpretation has gained quite a bit of support. Most scientists agree that what happened before one Planck time will remain speculation, so while it is possible that God did create the universe, it is equally as possible that God did not. Now, he seems to be claiming that a multiverse is more complex than God, for some reason. I must wonder how an intelligent entity is simpler than a non-intelligent entity. For an intelligent entity one has to postulate how said came into existence, effected the universe/laws of physics. If this entity is the Christian God than one must determine how it is capable of interfering with the existing world. One must postulate quite a bit. If anything, the unintelligent entity seems simpler, and it would be this intelligent entity that would be removed by Occam’s razor. Third, the current four-level system to classify multiverses does not state that the multiverse is eternal. Levels one and two are affects of cosmic inflation, and require the Big Bang. Level theory is an effect of Quantum Mechanics and requires the Big Bang. Level four states that any mathematical universe is possible, so some may be eternal, but not all. So, the “multiverse is just the way for atheist to not accept God” statement is invalid. If he had done any research he would have known that.

What does science say about time?[edit]

When Stephen Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose extended the equations for general relativity to include space and time, the results showed that time has a beginning - at the moment of creation (i.e., the Big Bang).[3] In fact, if you examine university websites, you will find that many professors make such a claim - that the universe had a beginning and that this beginning marked the beginning of time (see The Universe is Not Eternal, But Had A Beginning). Such assertions support the Bible's claim that time began at the creation of the universe.

 

Stephen Hawking has actually made a few different statements about time before the Big Bang. The first was: "Since events before the Big Bang have no observational consequences, one may as well cut them out of the theory, and say that time began at the Big Bang. Events before the Big Bang, are simply not defined, because there's no way one could measure what happened at them. This kind of beginning to the universe, and of time itself, is very different to the beginnings that had been considered earlier." The second (in the same speech): "The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago.” He has also consistently said that asking what happened before the Big Bang is meaningless, just as asking what is North of the North Pole. I would also like to note that the assertions of many physicists do not support the Christian concept of creation. Again, if time and space came into existence with the Big Bang, than there is no need for them to have been caused, for cause and effect only exist within time.

CONCLUSION[edit]

God has no need to have been created, since He exists either outside time (where cause and effect do not operate) or within multiple dimensions of time (such that there is no beginning of God's plane of time). Hence God is eternal, having never been created. Although it is possible that the universe itself is eternal, eliminating the need for its creation, observational evidence contradicts this hypothesis, since the universe began to exist a finite ~13.7 billion years ago. The only possible escape for the atheist is the invention of a kind of super universe, which can never be confirmed experimentally (hence it is metaphysical in nature, and not scientific).

 

The universe has no need to have been created for time is an artifact of the universe, ergo there is no before the universe. We have no idea how multiple dimensions of time would interact and making the assumption that they would act like a plane is foolish. The statement that the universe needs to be eternal for God not to exist is foolish. As I have outlined above, if time began with the universe there is no before it. There would not be any need for a creator. We do not need a super-universe, unlike the author's need for a super-being.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Justin Martyr. Hortatory Address to the Greeks, Chapter 33. Quoted from Plato's Timaeus Part 1.
  2. "Uncomfortable with the idea that physical parameters like lambda [cosmological constant] are simply lucky accidents, some cosmologists, including Hawking, have suggested that there have been an infinite number of big bangs going off in a larger 'multiverse,' each with different values for these parameters. Only those values that are compatible with life could be observed by beings such as ourselves." Glanz, J. 1999. AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY MEETING: Hawking Blesses the Accelerating Universe. Science 284: 34-35.
  3. "The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago." Stephen Hawking The Beginning of Time. Penrose, R. 1966. An analysis of the structure of space-time. Adams Prize Essay, Cambridge University. Hawking, S.W. 1966. Singularities and the Geometry of space-time. Adams Prize Essay, Cambridge University. Hawking, S.W. and G.F.R. Ellis. 1968. The cosmic black-body radiation and the existence of singularities in our universe. Astrophysical Journal 152: 25-36. Hawking, S.W. and R. Penrose. 1970. The singularities of gravitational collapse and cosmology. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series A: 529-548.