Who made God? How would you answer a child? an adult?

I heard a child ask her mother this recently. It is a question all children seem to ask once they start to reach an age of reasoning and questioning.
How would you recommend answering it to a child?
How would the answer differ if you were asked the same question by a non-believing adult such as an athiest?

hmmmm… Perhaps I would say to a child, “God made Himself” But will need to think about that some more and like to see what others say.

In regards to an adult atheist: I would simply say that God is outside the space-time continuum, therefore, he has always existed.

Because God is simple, I’d answer the same way for both–that God is, uncreated and eternal. If either can accept that is another matter entirely. But it’s usually best to keep answers as plain as possible for the sake of clarity.

It’s simply beyond our understanding

Either the Universe has always existed or, essentially, made itself, or God has lived forever. Both seem impossible…yet one is true :slight_smile:

God is uncreated. It would be inaccurate to say He made himself.

I’d say He always existed to a child or adult.

For the child the old Baltimore Catechism would do nicely…

  1. Q. What is God?
    A. God is a spirit infinitely perfect.
  1. Q. Had God a beginning?
    A. God had no beginning; He always was and He always will be.
  1. Q. Where is God?
    A. God is everywhere.
  1. Q. If God is everywhere, why do we not see Him?
    A. We do not see God, because He is a pure spirit and cannot be seen with bodily eyes.


You’ll have to come up with the answers to the ‘but why?’ followups though. :slight_smile:

We learned this in 1st grade…God always was, always is and always will be…if He was made, He wouldn’t be God. Simple! :thumbsup:

Nobody made God. That s why He is God. :thumbsup: :smiley:

For an adult, take it back to Aquinas. God is the one being which has not been made or caused. Reason can tell us there is such a being:

The operative principle in the Cosmological Argument is that if each cause of A were itself in need of a cause, then no cause of A could exist and hence A itself could not exist. Since A does exist and does need a cause, it follows that not all of A’s causes are in need of a cause. In other words the need for causes must come to an end: there must be or have been a cause that was not itself in need of a cause.

Kai Neilsen and a number of other philosophers such as Paul Edwards and Ronald Hepburn reject this argument. They see no reason why an endless series of caused causes could not do the same job that is done by a series ending with an uncaused cause. But let us hear Neilsen himself:

[quote]Why could there not be an infinite series of caused causes? An infinite series is not a long or even a very, very long finite series. The person arguing for an infinite series is not arguing for something that came from nothing, nor need he be denying that every event has a cause. He is asserting that we need not assume that there is a first cause that started everything. Only if the series were finite would it be impossible for there to be something if there were no first cause or uncaused cause. But if the series were literally infinite, there would be no need for there to be a first cause to get the causal order started, for there would always be a causal order since an infinite series can have no first member . . .

The contention seems to be that if each member is supported by another member, the series will somehow be able to exist on its own. And of course it would have to stand on its own because its very endlessness precludes the intervention of an outside cause.

But it is just as difficult for any supporting member to exist as the member it supports. This brings back the question of how any member can do any causing unless it first exists. B cannot cause A until B exists. C cannot cause B until C exists, and C cannot cause until D bring it into existence. What is true of D is equally true of E and F, without end. Since each condition for the existence of A requires the fulfillment of a prior condition, it follows that none of them can ever be fulfilled. In each case what is offered as part of the solution turns out instead to be part of the problem.

How can Nielsen account for the independence of the series? Since it is a closed system, the independence can come only from the members of the series. By supposition, however, each member is wholly lacking in independence. While in some cases collections have properties that its members, taken individually, do not have, the fact remains that they must be derived from their members. Each member must have something of its own that it can contribute. But in the case we are considering no member has anything of its own: whatever it has is received from another.

No such problem arises in the case of a series whose first member is an uncaused cause. Although all the other members are totally dependent, the series as a whole derives its independence from that one independent being. In the same way we can say that the Universe (in the sense of “all that there is”) is independent because one of the beings that make it up (God) is independent—even though all the other things totally depend on him.2

If we reject the principle of the Cosmological Argument, we have to agree that nothing (including causes) can exist without a cause. But if that makes sense, is not the following equally intelligible: “No one may do anything (including asking for permission) without asking for permission.” Clearly there is no way in which this precept can be observed because there is no legitimate way of asking for permission. The problem in both cases is that no condition can ever be met without the fulfillment of a preceding condition. No permission may be asked for because each asking for permission requires a prior asking for permission. Likewise, no causation can take place because each act of causation requires a prior act of causation.

Gilbert Ryle uses the same tactic to demolish what he calls The Intellectualist Legend. Roughly, the principle that he is attacking amounts to saying: “Never do anything (including thinking) without first thinking about it.” Of this he says:

. . .

Ryle’s point is that if there is to be intellectual planning at all, there must have been at least one act that was not intellectually planned. If all intelligent action required to be intelligently planned, there could be no intelligent action: not everything can be intelligent because something else was intelligent. Does not the same logic force us to say that not everything exists because something else exists? Must we not say that something exists in and of itself?

It seems to be that Nielsen has, perhaps without knowing it, advanced an argument which, if sound, would license any infinite regress. Why not accept the intellectualist legend, for example? All we have to do is postulate an infinity of acts of planning. Pointing out that a theory involves an infinite regress has always been an important weapon in the philosophical armory. The loss of this weapon to the rest of philosophy is too high a price to pay for the rejection of the Cosmological Argument.




Greg…I don’t want to insult you…but your answer is too complicated even for an adult. Jesus would never have explained it like this…no one would have followed Him.

I’d mention two of Allah’s blessed Names and then take it from there. He is Al-Hayy and Al-Qayyum– the Ever Living and the Self-Sustaining. He is, always has been and always will be. Allah azza wa jal did not need to be created because He created the properties that existence itself has. He exists, but His existence is not like our existence. We’re frail, inasmuch as our bodies have weaknesses; they need to be maintained, they break down, we age, etc. He, However, is not subject to that. He feeds, but is not fed, the Qur’an says.

For a child, essentially the same answer. God’s nature is different than ours, so He never had to be born. He existed before all things and He will exist after all things.

I would keep it simple, but not by saying God the Creator was His own creature :D. Surely, I would show that it is ok if the child doesn’t get it fully, because I don’t either. But God being God, He was always there.

I’d point out that even if we came up with something that created God, we’d then need to come up with something that created that thing, and on and on. If you want to stop the infinite regress, you need to propose something that exists by its own nature.

“Something has always existed, if there was nothing there would be nothing. God is that something that always existed, so God was not made.”

If I were to answer a child that’s how I might try to answer them. Get them to focus on what the question they are asking actually means, ie, can there be something that is not made? The answer is yes and the best thing to answer with is God.

I understand God lives. How he sustains himself? And how he feeds?

To a child I would say, God has always existed. Then I would further explain that we have likewise always existed and that if we follow the right course, a long time from now, we will grow to be like him.

A child will recognize the truth of what I just said. But the world will try and muddy the waters. Saying things like, “There is no God”, “God is not like us”, “We can never grow to be like him”, on and on confusing a simple truth.

He’s completely self-reliant. He has no need of anything. “He feeds, but is not fed” means that he feeds others with food, drink, water, oxygen, guidance, grace. He Himself doesn’t need anything.

I know :smiley:
To be honest as a child the answers never satisfied me but eventually I let it go. Endless “but why’s” tend to annoy adults, I learned early on

Simple and honest.

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