The question of the origin of God has caused many people to scratch their chins in wonderment. Whether by the curious Christian or the antagonistic atheist, this question has been asked for centuries. To quote atheist Sam Harris, “If God created the universe, who created God?” And what was God doing before creation?
Saint Augustine, as far as we can tell, was the first person to formulate a doctrinal position on this. His answer was that God created time itself while He was creating the universe. The phrase that opens the Bible, “in the beginning,” speaks of the beginning of time. God was not doing anything before He created, because the concept of before didn’t exist. That is a time word, and God operates outside of time.
Thomas Aquinas built on this supposition, writing that every effect must have a cause, and nothing in the universe came into existence on its own. A was caused by B, and B was caused by C, and C was caused by D, ad infinitum. But if we follow this all the way back to the very beginning, there had to be something that caused the fist effect. This is often referred to as an uncaused first cause.
If there is no Higher Power then we have to answer that question of origin somehow. What caused the appearance of the earliest particles? They couldn’t “just so happen” to exist. They need a first cause.
If you believe in a Higher Power then the answer becomes much easier. God is the uncaused first cause. He existed before there was anything, and when He decided to do so, He created the universe. Part of Aquinas’ logic was that everything in a series has a cause, but that God is in a category all by Himself. We do not need to trace anything back further than God. In God we have the origin and source of everything else.
Dinesh D’Souza compared God to the author of a book. If we were to read something like Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, we want to know about the character’s back stories. When we follow Pip, or when we meet Mrs. Haversham, we want to know where they came from. But no one reads the book and demands to know where Dickens came from. As the author of the book, the characters come about as a matter of Dickens’ own will, but we do not need to grapple with the author’s origins.
In a similar way, God, as the author of the universe, has brought about everything we see as a matter of His own will. Which is easier to believe: that a powerful God intentionally and intelligently created the world through His will, or that some unexplained particles accidentally created the world through chaos?
“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and by your will they exist and were created.”