Why Is the Question, “Who Designed the Designer?” Logical AND Absurd?

A common question when talking to children about God being the creator of all things is, “Who created God?” The question is logical enough, but absurd. Many atheists and agnostics, who often think like children, often ask the same question:

Amazingly, it’s the chief objection raised to religious belief by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion. It’s also a complaint you hear all the time in response to intelligent design. Regarding the “natural temptation…to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself,” Dawkins replies:

“The temptation is a false one because the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the designer.”

The piece from whence this comes has a link to a short video debunking this question from an Intelligent Design perspective, which is good as far as it goes, but there is another, I think, better way to answer such a challenge.

First, let’s address how a question can be both logical and absurd by identifying two assumptions behind  the question, who designed the designer (as I’ve told me kids all their lives, always question the assumptions).

  1. If we assume God is like us, only a bit more powerful, then it’s logical to ask who created him. The idea of creation then becomes an infinite regression, which leads to the second assumption:
  2. The universe is eternal

Addressing the latter first, from the time of Aristotle everyone who was not a Jew, Muslim, or Christian thought that the universe was eternal (called in modern times, the Steady Sate Theory). Big Bang cosmology and the Second Law of Thermodynamics prove that is not possible. The monotheistic religions got this right. Atheists like Richard Dawkins have a big problem because the universe clearly had a beginning, and that leads us to something called the cosmological argument. It can be stated this way:

The Cosmological Argument or First Cause Argument is a philosophical argument for the existence of God which explains that everything has a cause, that there must have been a first cause, and that this first cause was itself uncaused.

So just from a scientific and logical perspective the answer to the, “Who designed the designer” question is he could not have been designed because he is the first cause of all that exists. Existence requires a cause.

But I think number 1 is a more fruitful way to address the question. Is God anything like us? In some ways yes because we are created in his image, but in other ways he is completely other. This is known as the doctrine of the aseity of God, something you won’t be hearing at your local church anytime soon. I found this quote from Norman Geisler defining the term:

’Aseity’ comes from the Latin aseite, meaning literally “of oneself.” Used by God, it denotes that He exists in and of Himself, independent of anything else. He is self-existent… The biblical basis for God’s aseity is found in the fact that 1) He existed prior to and independent of creation and that 2) He brought into and sustains in existence everything else that is.

The Scriptures affirm from beginning to end that Almighty God is the eternal Creator of all that exists. He can have no creator himself. So to ask the question, “Who designed the designer,” is to ask something that is absurd by definition because it confuses categories. An eternal, self-existent being can have no designer! Dawkins, and other children, don’t get to redefine categories to make their point.