Before we give a specific answer, it should be understood that in order for anything to exist at all, there must be something eternal. If there was ever a time in which nothing existed, there would still be nothing. Out of nothing, nothing comes. Science and the Bible agree on this point.
Bertrand Russell said if it is true that all things need a cause, then God must also need a cause. And if God needed a cause then God was not God, therefore there is no God. Russell’s argument is a grown-up version of every child’s question, “where did God come from?” However, Russell appeals to an incorrect understanding of the principle of causality. The principle of causality does not state that everything must have a cause; it states that everything that is finite and limited must have a cause.
The question of who made God confuses the category of the finite with the infinite. Everything we see, including ourselves, must have a cause. We are contingent beings—something else has caused our existence. But God is not in this category. By definition, God is infinite. He is a non-contingent being—nothing caused his existence. He has always existed and he is the cause of all that exists.
It’s important to understand that God does not exist in time and space as we do. Before God created the universe, there was no matter, time, or space; matter must have space in order to have size. To move from point A to point B in space there must be a succession of moments (time). Matter, time, and space were all created by God. They are all necessary for our existence, but are not necessary for God’s existence.
This is not just philosophical speculation; this is also the witness of Scripture. Psalm 90:2 says, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Revelation 1:8 says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
When Moses was being sent to Egypt, Moses, in a roundabout way, asked God for his name. God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you’ ” (Exodus 3:14). The name “I am” (YHWH) suggests an eternal and continual present existence.
Since the deity of Christ has come into question lately, it should be noted that the above verses (along with many others) also help us to identify Jesus as Emmanuel—God with us. In Revelation 21:6 Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” In John 8:58 Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus was clearly making a reference to Exodus 3:14 and identifying himself as God.
God is the creator of all things. He is eternal and uncreated. If one really thinks about God’s eternality, it explains why there is something rather than nothing.
Billy Elkins is the pastor of Trinity Church. He is a graduate of Chickasha High School, has a B.A. in Fine Art from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, and a Master of Divinity with Biblical Languages from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, FT. Worth, TX. He is currently in the final dissertation phase of a Ph.D. in Apologetics and Philosophy from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY.