“Well, who created God, then?” Many an atheist has lobbed this one, supposing it to be a devastating objection in question form.
In reply, Christian philosopher Paul Copan knocks this one out of the park.
Well played, sir. I would add a few points:
One of the perfections a perfect being is supposed to have is aseity – existing but not because of anything else. God by definition has this. The physical cosmos, it seems, could not. It seems that no physical object could exist independently of anything else (a se – Latin for “through itself”). Any physical object owes its existence to some cause or causes, and will go out of existence if conditions cease to be favorable.
So there is nothing arbitrary in the believer in God demanding to know what caused the physical cosmos to come into existence, while not demanding to know what caused God to exist. Given the sort of being God is supposed to be (perfect, so a se) it is a contradiction to suppose that God is caused to exist. (X caused an essentially uncausable being to exist.) The question/demand/objection I started this post with is based on ignorance of what sophisticated monotheism is. It’s too bad that some well known recent atheist writers have propagated this mistake.
There is trouble here, by the way, for some Trinity theories (hint: eternal generation). See here if you’re interested.