“From everlasting to everlasting, you are God” (Psalm 90:2 ESV)
On a summer mission trip almost two decades ago, one of the children in my kids club group asked me the age old question, “Where did God come from? How old is he?”
I honestly can’t remember the answer I gave at the time, though I do remember asking similar questions when I was his age. I presume my answer involved affirming that God was eternal and the usual conceptions of time don’t always apply. I have a nasty feeling that I may have also tried to bamboozle him with some gumph about possibilities of multi-dimensional time, but my memory of the details is quite hazy.
The kid would have been 10 years old. He’s no doubt finished uni now! I wonder what he’s up to?
The question is so breathtakingly unsophisticated and child-like that it’s easy to think that it’s a bad question. But it’s actually a perfectly valid question that deserves a reasonable response.
Thankfully, I don’t think I said any gumph about the Kalam cosmological argument for the existence of Allah YHWH.
I just went to the wikipedia page on the Kalam cosmological argument to remind myself of it, and found that it says that the apologist William Lane Craig has added some extra levels to the argument. The first of his additions (apparently) is “An actual infinite cannot exist.”
Umm, whose side is he on? Doesn’t that assumption effectively lead to denying the actuality of the infinite God?
Anyway, the argument itself falls down quickly enough, and even if it’s assumed to follow logically it proves next to nothing.
The argument in its essence is:
1. Everything that has a beginning of its existence has a cause of its existence;
2. The universe has a beginning of its existence;
3. The universe has a cause of its existence
It falls down because of the possibility of genuinely random quantum fluctuations. These don’t even need to be definitively proven to undercut the first and/or second premise. They are uncaused events that are certainly plausible (at the very least) and so the premise fails.
It proves next to nothing in any case because even if it holds, it simply proves that the universe had a cause.
It doesn’t require a genuinely supernatural cause.
It certainly doesn’t require a personal agent, interventionist supernatural cause.
It really certainly doesn’t require a triune, acting-in-history, incarnated, personal-agent, interventionist supernatural cause.
Merely a cause.
A wide variety of contenders can fill that slot, including multiverse theories, big crunch rebounds and so on. Again, the possibility of plausible natural causes strips away the hoped-for force of the argument as somehow a proof for God.
Ultimately, the ten year old’s question is left hanging uncomfortably in the air like the child’s cry from the tale: “But the emperor has no clothes!”.
How old is God? Perhaps he’s not so old after all.
Another wikipedia page, on the history of the canaanite god El makes telling reading.