I've heard a rule that said every thing has a reason, and the main reason (which is God) hasn't been caused by any other reason. I've heard this at school, in my family, everywhere, but is it actually based on some science, or can it be disputed?

My opinion is that causation is like a circular chain. Everything is both cause and effect, and no reason is independent. Is there any logical argument that proves the figure below isn't true (where 'a' 'b' and 'c' are events and the arrows depict causality)?

causal diagram

a causes b, b causes c, c causes a

  • Thomas Aquinas suggests a way to God that goes: "Everything is caused. An infinite regress of causation is impossible. Therefore there must be an uncaused cause. That is what we call God.". It seems similar to your first sentence. However, there is nothing circular about this, that's the whole point. So, could you flesh out your idea a little bit? As it stands now, your question is a little hard to follow.
    – user2953
    Jan 28 '16 at 17:41
  • @Keelan I dont know how to explain it more , I say yes every caused has reason but there is no reason we said there is first reason at all, maybe multiple caused are the reason of other caused or one caused is reason of other , but there is no start point they are in circulation, Jan 28 '16 at 17:56
  • It may also be an English problem. For example, 'caused' is not a noun. What do you mean by "every caused has reason"? That every object that exists is created? That every thing that is said by someone has a reason? In your question, you write "we are caused and we are reason" - we are caused = something caused us; we are reason doesn't mean anything. "no reason is independent" - independent from what? Are you asking if there is some logic why circular history cannot be true? Or are you asking if Thomas Aquinas was correct (see link in previous comment)? Or something else?
    – user2953
    Jan 28 '16 at 18:01
  • @Keelan every caused=every caused object . every reason= whatever causing object, for example, we are caused and we cause other object , no reason is independent I mean there are objects that caused by other object,and there is no object that created by it self , Sorry for english Jan 28 '16 at 18:08
  • I posted an answer, based on my interpretation. From your diagram, are you questioning the possibility that A-causes-B, B-causes-C, and C-causes-A as an alternative to a universe where there must exist an uncaused-cause to start it all off?
    – Cort Ammon
    Jan 28 '16 at 18:09

The way I learned it is slightly different from how the OP is phrased:

  1. Every material object/event has a cause (one observes this in daily experience).
  2. There must be a beginning to the chain of existence (as a result of the universe beginning with the Big Bang).
  3. Therefore, the initial cause must be a non-material being.

We call the entity from statement (3) above God.

One must also remember that for the most part, the target audience of "proofs" of God's existence are believers so that they may understand some aspect of God better. This is obviously different than a proof in math or science.

  • Big bang is proved? and I think Big bang is caused by something other , Jan 28 '16 at 20:17
  • @James Kingsbery Are you yourself convinced by the argumentation of your answer or are you just referencing a common line of argumentation? - What is a non-material being? The only non-material beings I know are ideas. Do you mean God from (3) is an idea, that's all?
    – Jo Wehler
    Jan 28 '16 at 21:44
  • @JoWehler, I'm convinced that it's right, but I know I'm biased. I doubt it would convince anyone not already predisposed to the conclusion. On the other hand though, if the question is whether there are real non-material beings, starting by assuming there is no such thing other than "ideas" (presumably you have in mind ideas that live in one's head) is begging the question. Jan 28 '16 at 22:30
  • I do not mean God is "an idea" in the sense that a figment of my imagination. I do mean (and this is outside the question's scope) that God is a real abstract entity like Being, Justice, and so on - and, as Aquinas would say, it turns out that God is Being Itself. Jan 28 '16 at 22:31
  • @James Kingsbery "I doubt it would convince anyone not already predisposed to the conclusion." If that's your final word then I doubt the value of the argumentation from your answer: A person who is predisposed, does not need the argumentation. And a person who is not, will not be convinced by the argumentation. - I did not claim that ideas are the only non-material beings. But it is not my burden to argue why other non-material things exist. - What do you mean by "a real abstract entity like Being"? Formally, "Being" is the reification of the verb "to be". But what is the meaning of that?
    – Jo Wehler
    Jan 28 '16 at 23:21

What you describe is a universe typically described by Ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail. It is possible to construct such a system, as you say. However, where it gets difficult is in the handling of causality. The naive version of causality gets muddy very quickly with such a cyclical universe, and philosophers have had a hard time defining alternative definitions of causality which fit with such a world and getting those definitions accepted.

One particular troublesome point is that the physical world, as we know it, is governed by the 2nd law of thermodynamics: entropy always increases (in a closed system). In the past, this was known in intuitive terms, such as "a teacup which falls off the table and shatters never spontaneously arises and becomes the teacup once more." Nowdays it's known in more formal scientific terms. Something would need to return the universe to a previous state before it could cycle, and it has been difficult to explain why this should happen without invoking religion. We simply have not seen any physical mechanism which could cause this to occur. Given that much of our philosophy comes from cultures that believe in God or gods, it is natural that the explanations we see are in line with the deities of that particular culture.

There's nothing fundamentally impossible about it that I have heard of, it simply requires a belief in a behavior which is not found in modern science nor in the most popular of religions in the West, so it is a less popular answer.

There are even some answers which mix Ouroboros with the idea of a creator of the universe, such as this quote attributed to Plato:

The living being had no need of eyes because there was nothing outside of him to be seen; nor of ears because there was nothing to be heard; and there was no surrounding atmosphere to be breathed; nor would there have been any use of organs by the help of which he might receive his food or get rid of what he had already digested, since there was nothing which went from him or came into him: for there was nothing beside him. Of design he created thus; his own waste providing his own food, and all that he did or suffered taking place in and by himself. For the Creator conceived that a being which was self-sufficient would be far more excellent than one which lacked anything; and, as he had no need to take anything or defend himself against any one, the Creator did not think it necessary to bestow upon him hands: nor had he any need of feet, nor of the whole apparatus of walking; but the movement suited to his spherical form which was designed by him, being of all the seven that which is most appropriate to mind and intelligence; and he was made to move in the same manner and on the same spot, within his own limits revolving in a circle. All the other six motions were taken away from him, and he was made not to partake of their deviations. And as this circular movement required no feet, the universe was created without legs and without feet.

  • 1
    If you understand what OP means, please consider editing their question to clarify.
    – user2953
    Jan 28 '16 at 18:06

Your question concerning causality comprises several separate questions which are interesting by themselves.

  1. Every event has a cause.

That's a useful heuristics. If one wants to explain an event, one should always ask for it cause. Possibly one cause alone is not sufficent for an event. Instead a set of combined causes is necessary. In addition, one should distinguish between a sufficient cause - the cause alone creates the event - and a necessary cause - if the event happens at least one certain cause must have happened, but other cause are possibly necessary too.

It is an old heuristics, ascribed to Leibniz, that every event has at least one sufficient cause.

  1. The first cause.

Continuing with the reasoning from paragraph 1) one constructs longer and longer chains of causes. The question comes up for the first cause, necessary as fundament of the whole chain.

As you write, Christian philosophy claims that God, i.e. the Jewish Jahwe, is the first cause of all other causes. In order that nobody raises the question for the cause of God, they claim that God is the cause of himself (Latin: causa sui).

A well-known objection raised against the principle of "causa sui": The principle postulates God as necessary for explanation, but excludes at once God from the chain of reasoning. That's an ad-hoc pseudo-explanation.

  1. Suspending the principle of sufficient cause.

According to the Kopenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics certain single-events on the microscale do not have a sufficent cause, e.g. the decay of a radioactive nucleus.

Hence the principle from paragraph 2) does not hold unrestrictedly.

  1. Circular chains of causality.

The circular possibility from your question is real. A typical example is the Hypercycle (see Manfred Eigen), which combines the creation of nuclein acids with the creation of proteins.


The existence of many different mythologies - with no god, one god and many gods - makes it clear that diversity is the rule, and also the richness of human experiences on Earth.

So, no argument could ever be decisive about any of them, unless probably, the view that in diversity resides the real value.


Let us just remind ourselves of the very important suffix that may she'd light into these matters. Aquinas did not think Everything had a cause but everything WITH A BEGINNING. That is a rather important distinction for a theist to make because the classical ideas of deities are that they are eternal and therefore escape the need of a cause.

No theist would believe everything has a cause because that would mean that either deities have causes or gods are not things. Not a rabbit whole that a defender of religion would like to go down.

I have never known a philosophy character that has had so many straw man's made of his claims than what is the case with Aquinas.

And just BTW the graph you quoted is logically invalid. If A creates B and B creates C than C cannot create A. It would be the same illogical claims as to claim you can be your grand father's father or grand mothers mother.

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