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Chris Gore: Christianity: Who Made God?

One of the first questions people who think about it for a while when people say that God created everything is, who made God then? He couldn't have made himself, could he? That seems sort of odd, and couldn't be true. The simple answer is, God didn't create everything, but instead that He created all things which are created. God himself is an uncreated entity, and therefore nobody created God, not even God.

God isn't the only example of an uncreated entity: there are many, infinite in fact. All things that are created have a beginning, the point in time in which they were created, defining the beginning of existance. There was a point in time when my car didn't exist: it had to be created, in this case by a bunch of Ford employees up in Canada; after they created it, then it existed. In the case of the car, there will come a point in time when it will no longer exist: it will either be recycled into a new car or some other thing, or it will just sit and rust away somewhere, but eventually it will be no more.

The same situation applies to my physical body. At some point in time, I will die and then my body will be buried, and slowly my body will decompose and decay away until there is nothing left of it. That is the way of things. My body had a beginning and it will have an end.

But there are a lot of things that were not created. Consider the integers, that is, numbers like 12 or -44. They were around yesterday, they are around today, and they will remain tomorrow. They exist outside of time, and in fact we can't even really express the concept of time without them. They are uncreated. There is no point in time when there weren't any integers, nor is there a point in time when they will cease to be. They just are. God is like that. God always was, God is, and God will forever be.

The question that follows from this answer is a little bit more involved. If God is uncreated, but so are a lot of other things, how do they relate, if at all? Do integers need God? Can we have logic and mathematics without the concept of God?

The answer is no, they need God as well. Not to create them, since they always were, but instead as what is known as a logical dependency. The plain English way to describe a "logical dependency" is that it is something that you must believe in order to believe another thing. Take subtraction for example: you can't have subtraction without addition, because it is defined in terms relative to it. Therefore, if you allow subtraction then you must allow addition. This is one-way: addition doesn't need subtraction, but subtraction needs addition. God is the root logical dependency: if we were to draw all dependencies as one big tree on a piece of paper, God has to be at the root of the tree. Thus, all created and uncreated things are from God.

How can we demonstrate that God is the root dependency? Can't we have mathematics and logic without God? The answer goes as such: all of mathematics requires logic: statements about truth and falsehood; without logic, specifically formal logic, there can be no mathematics. This is pretty easy to see since all of the formal definitions of mathematics implicitely use formal logic: without it there would be no such definitions. The whole of formal logic rests on the idea of truth, and deciding what is truth. There can be no formal logic without the concept of truth. But, the problem arises when we try to find two things: an antecedent to the concept of truth itself (an antecedent is the thing upon which a dependent thing depends upon), and more curiously a reason for our ability to know truth even if it is present. That is, I am claiming that we can't argue that there is such a thing as truth without the concept of God, and I am also arguing that we can't argue that we could even know truth without a personal God.

The first, that there can be no truth without God, at least no objective truth, has a large cadre of unlikely supporters: postmodern philosophers, who are typically atheists. Postmodernism is the philosophy that is post- of the philosophy termed as modern. Modern philosophy was the philosophy of the great scientific awakening of the 1700s and 1800s, started by René Descartes in the 1600s, characterized best by the views of the rationalists such as Descartes and others, that states that reason itself is the primary source of knowledge, and finds its apex in humamism. In modernism, we can know truth, all truth, and without error, if we are only willing to make sufficient effort; how much is sufficient is a matter of debate, but the point is that we can know things, and we can discover things which we don't yet know. Postmodernism rejects all of this.

The postmodernists realize that there can be no objective truth at all: how can I really trust my senses? How can you really trust your senses? How can you or I trust our reasoning? We can't. If our brain is the product of random processes, there is no reason to believe that it is truly capable of logical thought: if everything I think is merely the by-product of chemical or possibly quantum interactions, there is no reason to believe that it is capable of producing meaningful, useful, or truthful results. None at all.

In postmodernism all societies are equal: a tribe of fifty hunter-gatherers stuck on some island somewhere that can't read or write deserves as much (or, in a more accurate sense to postmodernism, as little) respect as all the ancient Greeks ever accomplished. There is no absolute moral right or wrong: in a modernist viewpoint we can at least argue if a thing is useful or not, but we can't do that since we can't really know one way or the other. There is no way to declare one art style as better or worse than another: there are only preferences, yours or mine or somebody else's, and beauty is only in the eye of the beholder. Lots of people would actually like these results, or at least they think that they would, but this is where it becomes problematic: we can't make any scientific or mathematical claims of truth either, this subjectivity isn't limited to just the less rigorous fields. The prime example of this comes from George Orwell's book Nineteen Eighty-Four, when during Winston Smith's torture O'Brien insisted that 2+2=4 is a true statement only as long as INGSOC declared it to be so. In the postmodernist viewpoint, this is a perfectly valid statement. While I believe the hunter-gatherers themselves as valuable as anyone from a modern society on a personal level, their society in whole is not.

Postmodernism can be summed up in a simple one-line statement: There is no absolute truth, none at all, not even this one.

Most people who debate the existence of God don't hold to a postmodernist viewpoint, but rather a (mostly) modernist one, typically some variant of scientific naturalism or logical positivism. They typically will only allow for relative thinking when it comes to morality, and possibly art, but not science or mathematics, in which case they must have and even demand absolutes. But we can't really have truth, real objective truth, without a source of that truth, and the only reasonable explanation is a rational God. And even if we allow for only that, giving us Deism, while we have a sufficient explanation for the existence of objective truth, we still don't have a firm enough position to explain why we should be capable of discovering it: we need a personal, caring, interacting God who actively chose to provide us with rational capabilities through some means, or else we can trust our conceptions of reality just as much as that of a tree or a rock, that is, not at all. Only with a rational God can we have truth, and only with a personal God can we know that truth.

In short, I can't actually prove that God exists, but either you confirm God's existence and therefore you can allow for true knowledge, true science, true mathematics, and true logic; or you deny God's existence and get forced into postmodernism whether you like it or not.