Bertrand Russel (1872-1970) in his work, Why I Am Not A Christian writes:Quote:
I may say that when I was a young man and was debating these questions very seriously in my mind, I for a long time accepted the argument of the First Cause, until one day, at the age of eighteen, I read John Stuart Mill's autobiography and there I found this sentence: "My father taught me that the question, 'Who made me?' cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question, 'Who made God?' That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause.
Many have raised this as an argument against believing in God, however we would respond that asking, "Who made God?" is based on an unsound and even fallacious premise. This premise is, "Everything that exists has a cause for its existence." The burden of proof for accepting such reasoning would tend to lie with those who use it as an objection against a belief in God. To this burden some have asserted that everything that exists in the world around us has a beginning, and therefore it is contrary against everything we know to say something would not have a beginning. As such, the burden of proof gets shifted onto those who would challenge the assumption of everything having a cause.
Firstly, it is perhaps important to recognise that those who point to the physical world for proof of everything having a cause, push their argument into a strawman. This is because if a person points to the physical world for evidence of their claim that everything has a cause, then they have to arbitrarily equate God to the order of a created and finite thing to say He also has a cause. Such a "God" is certainly not the one proclaimed by Christianity, and nor does it appear to be the one advocated by other major theistic religions such as Judaism and Islam. Rather the Christian conception of God is one who is beyond the physical realm, and beyond the beginning of time. So a skeptic who points to the physical world for proof that everything has a cause (including 'God'
, simply refutes and dismisses a god of their own devising.
Yet, there are further problems than this. The assumption that "Everything has a cause for its existence," either leads to absurdities or to a conclusion that refutes itself (depending on which way you look at it). For example, if something causes something else to exist, which causes something else to exist, which in turn causes something else to exist, and so on—this suggests a passage of time exists. Yet if time exists, then according to this assumption time must have a cause for its existence. However, if time had a cause for its existence, and that cause had a cause and so on, then time gets pushed beyond its existence to an earlier time. Such reasoning simply leads to absurdities, and so ought to be rejected. On the other hand, if it is claimed that time itself is eternal and so doesn't need a cause, then one has to agree that the assumption of everything having a cause is wrong and so should be rejected.
In order to avoid the fallacies inherent in such an assumption, we believe the most one can logically assume about causation is that "Everything which begins to exist, has a cause for its existence." Once this premise is accepted, the argument that God must have a cause disappears. It only follows that God may have a cause. Yet, God within Christianity is believed to have no beginning, and as we have logically deduced, God does not necessarily need a cause in order to exist. This doctrine surrounding God and the logic involved is not new, but has been around for centuries. This is evidenced by the fact a Latin word was designated to represent the very property of absolute independence and self-existence (Aseity), a quality Christians assign only to God.