God is Simple and Does Not Need A Cause

One objection to Christian theism is that if the universe is so complex that it requires a creator, then God would have to be more complex than the world. Since God would therefore be complex, He would need a creator, who would in turn be more complex than God, and so forth to infinity, which is absurd. Therefore this objection says that the argument that the universe needs a creator is false because the cause would be absurd.

The objection misunderstands the nature of causality and the nature of God. First, the law of causality says that the effect must resemble the cause, but does not say it is reflects the exact same attributes. Humans are mechanical and therefore can make mechanical machines, but this does not mean humans have to have the same number of parts as the machines they make. God could make a complex world because He is intelligent and powerful enough to do so. He does not have to have more parts in Himself than the universe.

Second, the nature of God is that He is simple. By simple we mean not compound, not made of parts or components. God is simple in the sense that He is unified, of one essence that is not composed of parts. The simplicity of God is shown from several reasons. First, God is not caused, for He is the first cause. Denying a first cause is absurd, for then nothing would be currently caused (infinite series of current causality being absurd). Since God is not caused, then He is not composed of parts, for things caused are always composed. Second, God is a spirit, and does not have a corporeal body, as is shown in many places in the Bible. Third, God is infinite, and nothing infinite can have parts, for actual infinites are impossible. We can have theoretical infinites, such as will fit into a math formula, but actualized infinites are impossible, since you can always add one more. Fourth, in every composite there is potential and actual. Since God has no potential, but is fully actual, He cannot be composite.

Thomas Aquinas answered this objection almost 800 years ago in his Summa Theologica (1.3.8). Perhaps the modern critics should read Thomas’ answer before they claim such an absurd objection against God. In reality, the universe needs a cause, and God does not, since He is uncomposed.



About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
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