Tonight I heard a debate between a Christian, John Mark Reynolds, and an atheist, Dan Barker. The question was “Does God Exist?”
Dan Barker is an intelligent man who routinely speaks against religion and has similar debates. Midway through the debate, Barker used the tired old statement, ‘Who made God?’ I am amazed that such a statement is still being used by intelligent atheists. That Richard Dawkins would make it a central point of one of his books is surprising. That Bertrand Russell used it a couple of generations ago is astounding, since Russell is far superior to Dawkins.
The question Who made God? is trotted out by popular atheists as if it is some sort of profound statement that theists and philosophers have never thought of. Atheists seem to think they’ve used a nuclear weapon to end the argument. That such a tired line of reasoning is still being used demonstrates that these atheists either do not care to learn the answers, or know the flaw and use the argument anyway.
The statement Who made God? usually comes up after theists have given a statement about there being design in the universe or that the universe is caused. Atheists respond by saying that if complexity requires a designer, or existence of the universe requires a cause, then God would be subject to the same principles, and God would require a designer or a creator.
The primary problem with this is that no theist, especially no theist trained in philosophy, makes the claim that everything needs a cause. Further, most theists claim that God is not composed, not made of parts, and did not have a beginning. The proofs for God claim that composed things that have a beginning need a cause, and that designed things need a designer.
Theists argue that there is a first cause, and this first cause is God. No one that I know of has made the claim that a first cause is not first, or that a being not made of parts was put together. Such a claim is absurd.
It is amazing that otherwise intelligent atheists are still using a line of reason that is so different than what theists argue. Atheists must have had an opportunity to hear the correct form of the argument for God, for Aquinas explained the theistic position 750 years ago, and Christian apologists are continually re-explaining the concept: first causes are first, and uncomposed things do not need a composer.