(From a debate many years ago)
Who Made God?
Another “category error” blog I did is called Can God Make a Rock So Big That He Can’t Lift It.
John, you are basically saying that,
“if everything needs a cause, then so does God, in which case he would not be God. And if God does not need a cause, then neither does the world. But if the world needs no cause then there is no God. Hence, whether everything needs a cause or does not need a cause, there is no God.”
Did I sum up the “gist” of the matter? (Who made God, in other words.)
The criticism, “if everything needs a cause, then there must be an infinite regress” is built on a misconception of the principle of causality. Or better, it is a confusion of the principle of existential causality and the principle of sufficient reason. The latter affirms that everything needs a cause. That it would seem, as atheists observe, leads to a contradiction of God being his own cause.
Aquinas dealt with this long ago. He held that only finite, changing, dependent beings need a cause. This does not lead to a contradictory self-caused being but to a non-contradictory un-caused Being. For if only finite beings need a cause then one arrives at a nonfinite (i.e. infinite) being that does not need a cause. Hence, from Aquinas’ principle of causality the series would legitimately stop at the first, un-caused Cause of all finite beings.
The following is excerpted from Philosophy for Dummies, by Tom Morris, p.253 (emphasis added).