If God Made Everything, Who Made God?

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My kids always want to know: If God made everything, who made God?

No one made God. God always is, always has been, and always will be. Time itself is part of God’s creation, so there cannot be anything or anyone before God. Though posed innocently by children, this question challenges the most sophisticated philosophers and theologians. Humans are finite creatures, so bound by time that we cannot grasp the idea of something outside of time. The Catechism of the Catholic Church acknowledges this difficulty:

“Since our knowledge of God is limited, our language about him is equally so. We can name God only by taking creatures as our starting point, and in accordance with our limited human ways of knowing and thinking. … Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God” (paragraphs 40-42).

The key word here is mystery. Human beings have a capacity for mystery. We can appreciate the wonder of something not because it is confusing but because it surpasses our understanding. Children have a natural tendency to embrace mystery. You don’t need to spin out a philosophical treatise to answer the question. Something like, “No one made God, because God is so much greater than absolutely everything we can imagine. Amazing, isn’t it?” Then take the time together to appreciate how amazing that really is.

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Neela Kale

Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.