You are assigning human constraints to God’s abilities. “Therefore God cannot” is applying limitations to God.
The atheist often submits to science and vast human knowledge for answers. And this makes perfect sense for the natural world. However it doesn’t work when the atheist attempts to take this to it’s conclusion. Science cannot explain “first cause”.
I’ll submit a hypothesis on the way the atheist explains this and the way the theist explains this.
Atheist - There is/was a first cause. We just have not found the answer yet. Eventually humans, via scientific means will obtain an answer.
Theist.- The first cause cannot be knowable by human beings. It is contradictory by nature (much like the argument of this thread posed by the OP). i.e.“what was the cause of the first cause”?
My opinion of the difference:
The Theist believes that there was in fact a first cause and this first cause is God. The theist (and the atheist) cannot and never will be able to answer this. The theist humbles himself to this reality and through it, gains more faith. I happen to believe that by God’s design this unknowable. We do not have the capacity to know it. The theist, realizing and admitting that humans are powerless to ever be able to fully understand this uses that lack of understanding to more adore, love and cherish this God he does not, in this life yet fully understand. We are children.
The Atheist believes he can and will obtain all knowledge; or at least perpetually advance towards all knowledge leaving nothing unknown. The atheist doesn’t submit to a higher power, only to a higher intellect.
I was digging a hole for a new walkway in my front yard this past weekend. As I came across particularly annoying rock I had to unearth. I found myself thinking that God knows this rock is there. The rock exists and the placement of the rock exists, therefore the knowledge of the rock must exist (I’d argue). Otherwise it becomes a “if a tree falls in a forest” argument. God, by definition is all knowledge, there is nothing he does not know. There is nothing he forgets.
Although it is fun to think about this, the theist knows he will never find the answer to puzzles such as this. The atheist insists he will.
I think the topic of this thread is similar in nature to the question - “Can God create a rock too heavy for Him to lift:”?
It comes down to humility vs. pride…
Perhaps I am wrong and CNN will be broadcasting “Science has conclusively discovered the cause of the universe”.
while leaving no question of what caused the cause. But I doubt it.