Who made God? The "Law of Causality"

In the podcast below, RC Sproul addresses first cause.  Atheists often use the infinite regress problem in an attempt to argue against God as the first cause.  Simply, they ask the question that children often ask, “Who made God?” Sproul presents an effective refutation of the infinite regress problem and discusses how the law of causality relates to the existence of God.

Law of Causality

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11 Responses

  1. Sproul makes a great point, but it will fall on deaf ears if the person can’t hear what the Spirit is saying!

    What if the “cause” of all things (God), in man’s limited awareness of that which can be seen and that which cannot be seen, created “cause” just as He also created everything else (He spoke everything into existence!). It is always amazing to me how, in their supposed “enlightened” brilliance, the atheists cannot see past their own short-sightedness long enough to sense that the Creator (“cause”) of all things can do as He pleases. His power to create is not hindered or limited by His created beings less-than-adequate ability to discern beyond their weak five senses!

    What I have come to is this: atheists, unless they were foreknown and predestined, will never be convinced by the word of God nor theological/intellectual arguments. As a brother said many years ago, when dealing with God deniers and haters, “If they refuse to believe, then let them go to hell!” I didn’t agree with him then, but I have found myself more in line, over the past few years. This change is based on this scripture:

    And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

    (Romans 8: 28-30)

    Calvin wasn’t all wrong! If you’re foreknown and predestined to be conformed, then you will be, otherwise…. Bye Bye!

    If they love this world and their life the way it is now, then they are in their own little heaven right now: they’ve had their reward!

  2. Calvin may have a point, but clearly it can be taken too far so that one denies free will. It would seem that if there’s no free will, then there’s no basis for assigning blame. So if someone has been fashioned by God in such a way that she is simply unable to attend to God’s presence — that is, if her inability to do is a consequence of how she was made — then she’s hardly doing anything blameworthy. Whereas God, it would seem, has created a soul that cannot not be damned.

    Granted, I’m not a theologian, and I’m sure that there are many subtleties here that I’m missing, but it sure seems like a pretty little pickle for anyone who pushes too hard on divine transcendence.

  3. I’ve listened to the Sproul lecture. This by you is “effective”? Oy!

  4. Granted, I’m not a theologian, and I’m sure that there are many subtleties here that I’m missing, but it sure seems like a pretty little pickle for anyone who pushes too hard on divine transcendence.

    No you’re not! You’re also not a believer, which is more essential than being a “theologian”! There are more “subtleties” than you can ever imagine, so your conclusion above is correct! Thus, stick with what you know!

  5. Thus, stick with what you know!

    Thanks, I intend to. Which, granted, is not a heck of a lot!

  6. Well, Carl, we have that in common! 😉

  7. Carl raises a good point that drove Calvinists nuts! In order to get around the (very biblical, as DB points out) problem of predestination, “free-will” was essentially made into a theology. In other words, now I can save myself by just “believing”, rather than depending on God’s grace for my salvation. It’s essentially making man into his own savior! This was a result of another theological problem with predestination – that of hell. After all, who wants to believe in a God that predestines some of his children to burn in eternal hellfire, with nothing they can do about it. “Free-will” gives them a way to escape that. Thus Calvinist preaching becomes one of “Fire Insurance”, rather than “Life Assurance”.

    But the gospel is that “as all men die in Adam, all are raised in Christ”. Now, that’s good news! That’s the message Christians were entrusted with. Maybe some are raised to eternal life and some to eternal hell (if it exists), or maybe all are saved. That’s not for us to know. We have no choice but to depend on God’s infinite grace.

    I think one of the keys to the emergence of the Enlightenment was probably this very obvious copout on the part of the Church, and elevation of the various theological doctrines of hell to the Gospel itself. So, rather than than tell a non-believer he had eternal life in Christ, they told him he was condemned to hell, unless he exercised his “free will” and “believed” (essentially joining the pantheon of little Christian gods who had figured out how to trump God’s power). No wonder so many rejected that message, and rather turned to a Humanistic faith.

    Another thing that drove Calvinists nuts was the problem of evil. If God created everything and predeternines everything, then God is surely responsible for the existence of evil. It’s built into the creation! “There didn’t have to be a snake in the garden, did there?” So it was easier to blame man for the existence of evil, rather than God. “Free-will” lets God off the hook for that. It was easier to make a theology around “Adam chose by his own free will to disobey God”, rather than “Adam was predestined to disobey God”.

    My feeling about the existence of evil is that there is no other way faith and knowledge of God could ever be known otherwise. And God wants to make himself known to us. Imagine if nothing bad ever happened; if we were in some sort of automatic utopia. There would be no need for prophets, messiahs, revelation, grace or faith. Man would not desire any of those things. And confronted with them, he would laugh them off (“ha! I’m doing pretty well here already, thankyou!”). There could be no desiring of the Creator without the existence of evil. Man is only interested in himself if left to his own devices. Because that’s how he was made, after all.

  8. Good stuff, Mike! As with you, I firmly believe that the nominal, or institutionalized, “church” is primarily responsible for many of the views and spiritual confusion of atheism/agnosticism/new-age, etc. Of course, this will not be an excuse on that coming day, but the “church’ will also be held accountable for its miserable, apostate failure!

    You said,

    Man is only interested in himself if left to his own devices. Because that’s how he was made, after all.

    By this you mean, man, since Adam, has been made this way (self-absorbed)! Before the fall, of course, Adam was in perfect union with and dependent upon God!

    Off the subject, I also wanted to clarify my original comment, here, by stating that any atheist/agnostic who would seek the Lord, in truth and Spirit (in honesty), would find me very open to sharing my life and experiences. Like the Lord, I wish for no man to perish (however “perishing” comes about)!

  9. Calvin may have a point, but clearly it can be taken too far so that one denies free will. It would seem that if there’s no free will, then there’s no basis for assigning blame.

    That depends on what you mean by free will. What most people seem to mean is a metaphoric collection of billiard balls which are set in motion by a ghost in the machine, a supposedly free “mind” or will. Thus we trace back a chain of cause and effect and assign “blame”/cause based on this thing called will. But if a more appropriate metaphor for reality from our limited perspective is a work of art having to do with good and evil then who is to blame for one billiard ball/atom hitting another need not be our main focus, instead the whole picture is the main issue. In fact, it all may simply be out of necessity if God is good. Given that perspective we might also recognize that reality may not revolve around man and his supposed will. But it seems to me that for the most part we would have to admit that we do not know, although we would at least know that a reductionist view supposedly leading back in time to “gaps” of free will view is myopic if the whole picture is already willed as a work of art at present as we know it and for all time as well.

    It seems odd to me that some Christians treat the existence of evil as a problem with respect to predestination when Jesus himself claimed that His Crucifixion was predestined. From the Christian perspective that is the most evil act to have ever happened, yet it was predestined if we believe what He often said. As I recall at one point Jesus basically said, “This is predestined but woe to the generation that is destined to do this evil anyway.” In other words He knew predestined evil doesn’t make sense from our perspective but implied that a work of art and a story having to do with redemption and grace may not revolve around our perceptions of it. It seems to me that He was interested in our perspective and went to the trouble of seeing things from our perspective but ultimately rejected our free “will” based perspective (Not my will but thy will be done, etc.).

  10. My feeling about the existence of evil is that there is no other way faith and knowledge of God could ever be known otherwise.

    I do not know if free will exists, whatever freedom and will may mean. But that is my feeling as well, although we live in a culture where people want mercy without law, grace without judgment and repentance without knowledge of sin it may be that it is all necessary due to the nature of God. In the age of the Comforter we have grown comfortable but how can mercy exist without “intolerant” justice which defines it in the first place?

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