Theists sometimes claim that God exists outside of our universe, and is therefore not bound by its laws or limited to the extent of its finite past. This is not postulated because of any evidence for such an existence, but rather because these characteristics seem to be necessary in order for a being to function as a "first cause" for the universe. So, if not the universe and its laws of physics, what, then, is the context within which God exists? What are the laws that govern what he can and cannot do, and that provide the underlying mechanisms by which he functions? Are there any such laws? Where did they come from? Are any of them discernable to us from within our, presumably more limited, universe?
What do you think? Are there laws that are more than universal? Laws that cannot be anything other than what they are in ANY context? Laws that, if some supernatural realm does exist, apply even there?
Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.
The Book begins with the words 'In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.' If you're like me then you can almost hear the voices of the millions of Sunday school attendees who raised their hands once this passage had been read to them to ask the question, 'but who created God?'
It's fascinating. This supposed compendium of divine knowledge and right here in the very first chapter of the very first book, even the meekest of intellect reaches an impasse.
How is it that all of our philosophers, all the Sartes and sages of old and all the wise men, the Solomons and the mystic prophets of ages past have been unable to glean what the mind of a child so easily perceives?
Of course to the Christian mind it is all very poetic.
'In the beginning, God...'
Completely unapologetic. But more than just so. It is in equal parts a mystery. Most religions I think would point to some eternal state of being, Void or Chaos as a more sensible candidate for a progenitor. At most some vague primordial consciousness, some vast embryo, some mindless giant of the cosmos.
But this is quite different. Right there at the very beginning in every sense possible is God. Not just any god but Yahweh himself, fully formed with all of His jealousy and his madness. He's claimed himself king of the hill and is already going about shouting orders. 'Let there be such and such.'
No philosophical explanations are given, no metaphysical theories put forward. It's important to note is that even the positive assertion of Gods existence is never made. It takes off.
'In the beginning, God created...'
Any scholar or scientist would stumble over it the moment they tried to begin their investigation because no context is given.
The skeptic would fumble at the starting line because it is not given in doubt.
The materialist reading the opening words closes the book. 'This is not for me,' he resigns putting it down.
Then the pantheist. All his esoteric philosophies are thrown aside at the door. Of course, how can God be the world if God created the world.
The pagan spreads his deck but his cards are overturned. His hand is empty, all his might brought low before a King of kings.
'In the beginning, God...' And the argument is over before it began.
All discourse is silenced at the gateway perhaps because the Logus Himself is now present. Either way it becomes clear that there is only one way to proceed.
Submission. To be led in through the door of the sheepfold.
Standing in this new silence at the very threshold of revelation those that listen might begin to hear the voice coming from within, commanding as it did with Moses at the burning bush, when he himself was faced with what his mind could not apprehend, 'Do not come near; put your shoes off your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.' Perhaps even that still small voice asking that the old and the wise be born again before they enter into the kingdom of God.
'In the Beginning, God.'
It changes the way you look at things. In that first verse the mood of the entire book is set. All other lights are dimmed the moment this curtain is drawn.
Once this initial statement, made the way it is, is accepted as truth there is no longer any sensible grounds for rejecting whatever comes next to this line up of scripture. So when the talking snakes and the giants follow up on stage it makes no sense to begin protesting from the stands. 'Wait a minute, hold up a sec!'
A popular minister, I don't recall who, was once quoted as saying, 'I have no trouble believing that Jonah was swallowed by the whale, i would even have believed it if Jonah had swallowed the whale.'
This is not to say that Christians do not nor even should not question the things that they believe. The point is merely that they would approach such a question under an entirely different light than you would as a sceptic. And while it is easy to refer to this as mere gullibility, such misrepresentation does a disservice to the person who makes it.
There are many ways that i could have answered this thread but then most of them involved answers which I myself would find meaningful. They most likely might have appeared simplistic if not completely senseless to you. Again, this would not be as a result of their inferiority.
Quite simply if you are an atheist, any theological answer to your question would appear shallow, perhaps even repulsive. On the other hand a naturalistic answer, even a shoddy, incomplete one by my standards would be preferable to the most exhaustive writings by a theist on the subject. I'm not talking about bias here, just an acclimatization of sorts. Anyway for me the answer is quite simple, it is not however simplistic:
'In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.'
There's your context, right there. Except it is not God being put in context. He is not the dependent but the point of reference. The inalterable and fundamental constant of all worlds and all reality. Through Him all things were made, without Him nothing was made that has been made. The only reason anything exists is because God exists. By faith we see all of reality being framed by the Word of God. And the Word was God.
And so at the very beginning of my universe we reach an impasse because this atheist wants to ask me 'who created God?'