Who Made God? An Atheological Argument from Design

An Atheological Argument from Design

God Judges Adam, by William Blake
God Judges Adam, by William Blake. DEA / G. NIMATALLAH/De Agostini Picture Library/Getty

The question “'who made God”' is commonly used to argue against the existence of the sort of god traditionally believed in by Christians, Jews, Muslims, and many other monotheists. Strictly speaking, this isn’t an independent argument because it is not offered on its own. Instead, it is used as a rebuttal to the claim that .

According to this common theological argument, nothing so complex as the universe with all of its accompanying natural laws could possibly have occurred simply due to random chance; ergo, it must have all been designed and created by some being which believers label “god.” This can only establish the existence of a creator god, but that is usually enough of a basis for many to then proceed with further arguments to show that a creator god must be the same god of their religion.

The response “Who made God?” can be used to point out an important flaw in the above argument: if the universe is too complex not to have been designed, then God is also too complex not to have been designed. A creator-god is never portrayed as something simple or, more importantly, something simpler than the universe. If this god is at least as complex as the universe, then it needs a designer and creator at least as much as the universe.


God is Eternal?

Believers will usually respond with one of a couple of common objections. The first is to claim that this creator-god has always existed while the universe has not; because the universe began to exist at some point, it requires a creator in a way that the god does not.

Unfortunately, the assertion that this god always existed is unsupported and apparently unsupportable -— it’'s just an assertion we have no particular reason to believe. The assertion that the universe “began” to exist is also problematic because time itself is a feature of the universe, and therefore the universe does not exist “in” time such that we can talk about a time “before the universe” or a time “after the universe.”


God is Necessary?

Another objection raised by believers is the idea that their god is a “necessary being” and .” Unfortunately, this is also unsupported and unsupportable. There is no basis for such an arbitrary assertion, except to try to excuse their god from the same standards they wish to apply to the universe.

Moreover, both of the above excuses made for this can be equally work for the universe. Why can't the universe be “necessary” or not need a “creator?” Why can'’t we say that the universe has “always” existed because there is no identifiable point in time when the universe did not exist? After all, we really don’t know enough about our universe or universes in general to make such judgments one way or the other.

Of course, we also don’t have enough verifiable data of gods to make such judgments about them, either.


Complexity is a Material Property?

Another possible objection, also ad hoc in nature because it is only brought up in order to explain away this argument, is the idea that the being discussed only applies to material things. God, being immaterial, is not subject to the same standards. This objection falters, however, because the same people offering it also typically believe in immaterial souls, thus leading to the unorthodox belief of our souls existing in parallel with this god rather than being creations of this god. Although someone could hold such a belief, it isn’t one you will likely encounter; as a result, it is unlikely that this objection can be used consistently or successfully with the person’s beliefs.

The question “Who made God?” does not quite suffice to prove that the traditional God believed in by Jews, Christians, Muslims, and others does not exist. It does, however, manage to show that one of the most common and popular reasons used to support belief in such a god is highly problematic at best and probably cannot serve as rational grounds for belief.