Monday, April 14, 2014

"Who Created God?"

          Anyone of the slightest interest in the God debate has most likely heard of or used the counterargument of "Who created God?" in response to any formal or informal version of the Cosmological Argument for God's existence. To some people, this is actually a compelling counteraction to the most popular argument for the existence of God. The problem, however, is that it is actually not in fact a response to the Cosmological Argument at all, but a response to a contradictory caricature of the argument. It fails to grasp the most basic, essential logic behind the argument itself. The argument has been distorted and twisted into the most transparently incoherent drivel that takes less than 10 seconds to refute, most of those seconds being pure confusion over the incoherency (how convenient). But much to the disappointment of the atheists who raise this silly objection, most theists would not be so stupid as to submit such a monstrosity of illogic. The only one guilty of illogic is the one who somehow managed to assemble such incoherency from such elementarily comprehensible syllogistic logic.

           Before I explain why putting God's origin into question in response to the Cosmological Argument is a red herring, I should probably briefly present the most popular version of the argument itself. From natural observation, a fundamental reality of our world can be derived. Existing things and events in the here and now owe their existence to a preceding, external cause that brought the here and now phenomenon into existence. Hence the premise: "Everything that begins to exist has a cause." Objects in themselves do not have the built-in capability to produce change but rather rely on an external phenomena to bring about that change which owes its causal capabilities to another external cause, ad infinitum. Or is it? This is the essential point of the Cosmological Argument. It argues that there cannot in principle be an infinite regress of causes because caused objects are necessary to explain their existence. If the sequence goes on to infinity, there would be no explanation of what exists in the here and now at all. Therefore, the argument concludes, it is necessary to posit an uncaused cause who exists by necessity of its own nature. It is a necessary being because without it the world would have no explanation of its here and now coming to be.

           So why, then, is the atheist unjustified in calling God's existence into question by requiring an explanation of HIS existence? Because he is presupposing the rejection of the logic behind the very argument he is trying to refute. To say that the argument contradicts its own logic is to egregiously misunderstand what the argument is trying to say. It is not saying that God is somehow magically exempt from the principle of sufficient reason but that he is necessary to make sense of causal experience itself. Causality is incoherent without a presupposed reference to a first, uncaused cause because an infinite regress of causes would imply by the very nature of the principle of sufficient reason that the world would have no explanation of its existence and would render the here and now simply impossible. The argument's sole concern is to mitigate the problem of this infinite regress by postulating a self-sufficient explanation which exists through the power of its own essence such that his essence and existence are indistinguishable.

           Therefore, to ask who created God is to presuppose the insolubility of the problem the argument is trying to solve. A proper response would be to justify, logically, the possibility of this infinite regress, not to just impose upon the argument without support the problem it is trying to solve.

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