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I recently came across this webpage, in which I read the following:

You say everything needs a cause, right? So what caused the 1st cause? Why is the 1st cause the exception to the rule? Maybe the universe itself is the exception to the rule?

It makes it easier if you read the whole back-and-forth to understand what is happening here, but, in essence the question is: If everything needs a cause, then what caused God?

  • Read Emunas Vedeios – sam Mar 22 '15 at 1:18
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it does not appear to be about Judaism. You can edit it to be if you want. If you do so, please ping me. – Double AA Mar 22 '15 at 1:30
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    @DoubleAA I think it's a fair assumption that a MY asker who refers to "God" means God (i.e. the one, true god), and questions about Him (or this one, at least) are certainly about Judaism and on-topic. Consider this my vote to reopen. – msh210 Mar 22 '15 at 3:40
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    I agree with @msh210 that it seems to be Judaism-related, but as it stands, it's also unclear, so i'm not voting to reopen. – Scimonster Mar 22 '15 at 7:54
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    @DoubleAA "Moses didn't eat (cite to Deut or wherever). Secular scientist X says one cannot live forty days and nights without food or water. If everything needs food, what fed Moses on the mountain?" The only difference AFAICT between the closed Q here and the one I just penned is that the latter cites Deut whereas the former doesn't cite that nothing caused God. But I think that's a reasonable assumption even sans cite. (But, yes, it should be made explicit in the Q.) – msh210 Mar 22 '15 at 17:59
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here is a quote of the Manoach Halevavos commentary on the Shaar Yichud ch.5

That which a thing cannot make itself applies only to something created but that which is Kadmon (eternal, without beginning) and infinite, behold, in truth, it did not make itself. This is the reason why the question of "how did G-d make Himself?" is not relevant.

i.e. only the non-eternal needs a cause.

The next question is can the universe be eternal?

The Shaar Yichud discusses the conditions which disqualify something from being possibly eternal. ex.not composite, no boundaries, no "properties", ex. natural laws, etc.

(best not to get too much involved in rational investigation though, as this inherently leads to doubts. be simple with God)

  • Isn't the only condition for something to be eternal that it exists eternally? – Double AA Mar 22 '15 at 19:17
  • @DoubleAA no.... – ray Mar 22 '15 at 21:02
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    Please provide a counterexample then, ie something that exists eternally but is not eternal. – Double AA Mar 22 '15 at 22:52
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    @DoubleAA not everything can be eternal. according to the shaar yichud only one thing can be eternal and he lists the criteria there – ray Mar 23 '15 at 7:42
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    What criteria is needed then other than existing eternally? – Double AA Mar 23 '15 at 14:24
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The definition of G0d is the "Primal cause", which means that there can be nothing before it. If a "creator" had to have a creator itself, then it is a creation which was used as a method by the creator. This is known as the "Turtles all the way down" argument. That is the problem with the attempt to claim that everything requires a creator. At some point, one must realize that there is a primal cause which is outside the rules of the Universe, because by definition, anything inside the Universe , subject to "natural law" is a creation.

That is why the question as asked is meaningless. It is similar to arguments as to "how old is the Universe" or "What happened before creation", or any similar question.

That is, if a "creator" is assumed to be within the Universe and subject to the "laws of Nature", then it will automatically lead to infinite regression. Once the infinite regression occurs, there is no way of determining how this chain began. However, according to the logic of the argument, the Universe requires a starting point for the chain of "creators". Thus the original creator (or G0d) must be outside the Universe and not subject to its "laws of Nature".

Also note that this states that the existence of an original creator or Primal Cause is treated as an axiom. If one wants to assume that the universe never had a beginning, then that is a different (and false) argument. The reason that I say that it is a false argument is because the physical laws of nature show that there had to be a beginning (which we currently identify as the Big bang). Even if something existed before the Big Bang, then we have to see what caused that to come into existence.

The actual point is that no matter how or when the Universe is assumed to have developed, it says nothing about creation. G0d could have created it with this message on your computer screen while you are reading these words. Similarly G0d could have created the universe 5 seconds, minutes, hours, months, years, decades, centuries, millenia, eons, ago. Those who argue against the existence of G0d because of fossils are just as wrong as those who argue against the existence of evolution because of creation from nothing. This says nothing about the “G0d in the gaps”, it just says that in order to allow us to have free will, G0d deliberately allows ambiguities.

A famous example is the splitting of the Reed Sea during the exodus from Egypt. The bible explicitly states that G0d caused a wind the entire night before in order to open up the path. Modern science has discovered a reef in the sea at the point that they think the exodus occurred that a 60 mile per hour wind blowing all night would uncover and allow people to cross. Some of them them said that this “proves” that G0d does not exist. After all, if G0d existed, then it would have been done like Cecil B. DeMille showed it and not by a “natural wind”. They ignore the fact that this wind occurred exactly at the right time and place to let the Israelites escape and that it stopped blowing just in time to drown the Egyptian army.

Here is a site that makes that claim

For example see my post at Creationism and Evolutionism

  • since when can a 60mph wind split the sea? – ray Mar 22 '15 at 11:57
  • @ray I added a site that makes that claim. It says that there was a land bridge closer to the surface at that time. You can google for other sites that make that claim. – sabbahillel Mar 22 '15 at 12:50
  • How is turtles all the way down a paradox? – Double AA Mar 22 '15 at 19:02
  • @DoubleAA It is an attempt to prove a primal cause by an argument that denies the possibility of a primal cause. – sabbahillel Mar 23 '15 at 2:54
  • @sabbahillel Where does it attempt to prove a primal cause? The page you link to does not call it a paradox, because it isn't. It's just a claim. – Double AA Mar 23 '15 at 3:14
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When people ask what brought God they are playing with words. When we say that everything has to have a cause, that is because we are discussing 'created items'. By this I mean that we are looking at something that is a composite, so we know that its pieces are brought together from outside of itself. In other words, most items we look at are products. A product, by definition, is a product of something else.

When we talk about Hashem being Kadmon we are introducing the concept of מחויב המציאות, a required existence. The current working assumption of science and all other disciplines is that the natural state of existence is null (law of entropy). Anything that exists is a disturbance of the natural state of null. This leads to the question of what would cause anything to come about.

On the other hand, we say that the natural state is the opposite of nothing — everything. Not a product or a composite, but a wholesome All. This is what, or rather who, we are calling The Creator. There too there is no room for any creations, since they are only a negative in this setting. However, once we understand that this Natural, Wholesome, All is conscious, this too can be understood. The only question left is why, indeed were we created? This is addressed many times over.

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