Ruminations

Who Created God and What Existed Before Him?

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Occasionally you or someone you know might wonder the quite interesting question, “What existed before God?” Of course the logical place to start is, “Who/What created Him?” However, since we believe God is the source and origin of all things, the “First Principle,” then He’s neither created, nor preceded by anything.

But how can this be? After all, He must’ve come from “somewhere.” Out of nothing? Even Creation which is ex nihilo (out of nothing), technically came from God’s Will. The problem is that not only is the concept of infinity misunderstood, but even the very nature of causality is presumed when it’s probably illogical. Most physicists such as Stephen Hawking will tell you that asking what came before the universe is illogical because time starts (t=0) at the Big Bang.

But clearly an origin of some sort caused the universe to happen, whether natural or not, so we can relatively speaking ask the question legitimately. The problem with presuming that something must have preceded God, however, remains. We can prove this in two ways.

First, if we say a hypothetical force A existed before Him, then what existed before that? If we say another hypothetical force B, then what about before that? Either we keep going or we’ve simply replaced God with some other force/being, for the sake of argument. If we keep going, we can add all of those forces (something like what String Theory does with the forces of nature, even if they are distinct), and say that Set S of forces {A, B, C…} is what preceded God and is unpreceded. Again, we’ve violated our own unofficial rule of “something must’ve been there before this.”

The second way of showing this is actually constructive by explaining exactly how and why our question/objection isn’t more or less comprehensible. If one insists that it’s inconsistent (or dishonest!) to say that some “thing” wasn’t preceded and had no origin/isn’t a creation (God, Force A, etc), then one can easily answer by asking, “What existed before existence?” Nothing, clearly, in the most literal sense of the word. Some philosophers argue that nothing itself is a thing, and only the word illegitimately denotes “no thing,” i.e. the fallacy of language, but many philosophers disagree with this and correctly so in my opinion. For instance, for any finite thing to exist, it has to be contrasted by a point at which it is no longer a thing – nothing.

One can respond that this is just the fallacy of vague/poor definitions, and that there are no “things” but only our universe. However, there are clearly distinctions between various forces in our universe, and so this I think misses the point. And this doesn’t even require for us to truly know something (if in case all of our knowledge is superficial if the world is an illusion, and true reality an unknowable truth), because we’re speaking with respect to what we observe and its reflection is all that matters; its nature is irrelevant as to its its true essence. It’s a little like pain: it’s subjective because only a specific mind or group of minds experience it, but one is looking at it with respect to that mind or minds.

At any rate, to resume our original discussion, it can be argued that to refute, “What came before God,” by asking, “What came before existence,” is to fall into the fallacy of language. “Existence,” is after all, not a thing like a chair or lamp. It’s a relationship to an object and its environment: it gauges and describes its power (to be itself: i.e. to exist). The same is true of other concepts such as love, information, and so on. However, true as this may be, we are not at all abusing logic because we’ve simply substituted “God,” with “Existence” in the question, implying the “Existence of anything.” So just as God is an Existence, so would any other hypothetical force prior or instead of Him. So in my opinion, the concept might be a non-predicate, but in this case it’s a euphemism for one, and so the counter-objection/answer stands. The related question, “Can God make a rock so heavy, not even He can lift?” might be of interest. In a sense, going back to what Stephen Hawking and other physicists think of causality prior to the universe, to ask something like this is perhaps similar to asking, “Who scored a goal before the first soccer team that scored a goal?” Causality prior to the existence of time could be as counter-intuitive and unconventional (and possibly even boring) as a group of people standing in a circle around a train-set: the train starts from somewhere and ends somewhere else, but the people are all just “there” and in a circle.

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2 thoughts on “Who Created God and What Existed Before Him?

  1. Pingback: Nature Is A Reflection Of God – Questiontime – Vragenuurtje

  2. Pingback: Looking for answers on the question Is there a God #4 – Questiontime – Vragenuurtje

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