I was in the middle of having a really fun conversation with my four-year-old son. He was pointing out different things that we could see as we were driving and then asking me questions about the things.
“Look at those trees! They’re so tall, aren’t they?” I agreed. “Who made the trees?” my son asked inquisitively. “Jesus made them!” I responded with the standard Bible class answer. My son happily accepted that.
“Look at the horses!” my son pointed out the other window a few moments later. “They’re very strong!” I agreed and started to recount some of my own childhood dreams of having my very own horse. “Who made the horses?” my son interrupted. “Jesus made the horses!” I responded with the same Bible class accuracy.
I started to smile. I was on a roll now. There was no question about the origins of things that I couldn’t handle.
“Wow! Look at the fountain!” my son’s enthusiasm continued unabated. “Can you see the rainbow right in the middle of it?” His wonder was contagious. “Who made all the water in the fountain and the rainbow?” I had the response even before he had asked the question. “Jesus made the water and the rainbow. Isn’t He amazing?” I was truly enjoying my moment of glory and intellectual invincibility—a heroic dad in full command of all the mysteries of life.
My son stopped to think for a moment. I felt completely prepared for any further questions he might throw at me.
“Daddy, who made Jesus?”
Checkmate. I had to smile at his cheeky ability to get behind my standard answer. You’re a smart little boy, I thought to myself as I considered the right words to explain the answer to his question.
My four-year-old son is not the only person who has identified this dilemma. I remember walking into a classroom of primary school students to do a Q&A session with them about God and the Bible. As soon as I said I was open to questions, a hand shot up and the student confidently asked me, “Who made God?”
English atheist Bertrand Russell began his famous essay Why I Am Not a Christian by saying that “Who made God?” was the first question that led him to give up his belief in the supernatural. More recently, the outspoken Richard Dawkins made the question, “Who designed God?” the central issue in his best-selling book The God Delusion.
Both Russell and Dawkins have suggested that “Who made God?” is an unanswerable trump card; clear evidence that God does not and cannot exist. However, before we accept their argument, let’s stop and put a bit more tthought into the problem.
The first thing we need to do before we ask the question, “Who made God?” is to unpack some more basic, foundational issues: “Who are we actually talking about when we refer to God? And what is this Person we call God really like?”
When Christians talk about God, they are talking about the intelligent Being who, according to the Bible, created the universe. But awesome creative ability is not the only characteristic of the biblical God. Here are six more:
1. One and only God
The biblical prophet Isaiah spoke an oracle aimed at the military conqueror and empire-builder of his day, Cyrus the Great. The Persian people worshipped many gods of Persia and their political ruler, Cyrus, took grandiose, even divine, titles for himself: Great King, King of Kings, King of the Four Corners of the World. But, in the face of these loyalties and claims, God, through Isaiah, was crystal clear about His uniqueness and ultimate supremacy: “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God” (Isaiah 45:5). It sounds arrogant. Unless it’s actually true.
2. Unlimited power
Through the prophet Jerem-iah, God asks us the question, “Is anything too hard for me?” (Jerem-iah 32:37, NLT). It’s a rhetorical question; the answer is considered obvious. There’s nothing too hard for God—His power is unlimited.
Once again in the book of Jerem-iah, God asks, “Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:24, NLT). Again, God is asking rhetorical questions. The answer, that God is everywhere, is implied in the questions themselves.
One of the songwriters of the Bible wrote that God’s understanding has no limit. In the same collection of lyrics—the Psalms—King David wrote that God knows everything about us: “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely” (Psalm 139:1-4).
5. Without beginning or end
Moses knew God fairly well too. The Bible tells us that God would speak with Moses face to face, like a friend. When Moses composed a prayer about what his relationship with God meant to him, he wrote, “from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2). Moses understood that God has existed forever and will exist forever, too.
6. Morally perfect and loving
Moses also came to understand that God is morally perfect. He wrote that “his works are perfect and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4). This perfection is ultimately expressed in His love for us. The Bible plainly states: “God is love” (1 John 4:16).
The more we discover about the biblical picture of God, the more we realise how above and beyond the material universe, and our own experience, this Person really is. But there is one more remarkable thing that we need to know: the Bible actually teaches that no-one made God. This characteristic becomes really clear in the New Testament when we meet Jesus.
Jesus’ close friend, John, wrote one of the four biographies about Jesus in the New Testament. At the very beginning of his life sketch, John described Jesus in this way: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:1–3).
The direct implication of this is that no-one made God, whether in the Person of Jesus, or otherwise.
Logic confirms this. Consider: if someone or something else made God, then God is not really the Supreme Being after all; the power that made God would be greater than God.
But then you are forced to ask the next question: “Who made the power that made God?” You have to follow a chain of questions and dependent causes which goes on and on, and never ends. You see, if everything depends on something else to exist, ultimately nothing would be able to exist. Bertrand Russell’s assumption that everything, including God, must have a cause is simply wrong.
In order for us to actually exist, the chain of causation has to start at some point with an uncaused cause that’s outside of space-time and has both the power and the desire to bring something out of nothing. The word the Bible uses for that uncaused cause is “God”.
Both Bertrand Russell and Richard Dawkins were right: a created, dependent God does not make logical sense. However, the Bible teaches us that no-one made God, which, once we look at it carefully, does make logical sense.
As the Oxford mathematician John Lennox has pointed out, we can agree with Bertrand Russell and Richard Dawkins in rejecting the idea of a created God. At the same time, Lennox has confirmed that we can accept the God of the Bible who was not made by anyone or anything.
There’s a simple answer to the question “Who made God?”: No-one. This means that everything else depends on Him to exist. And because God knows everything about us, has unlimited power and truly loves us, we can depend on Him for everything, too.