Dr Aw Swee-Eng, M.B., B.S., Ph.D. (London), FRC Path., MIBiol. (London) was Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Singapore until 1978. He is now head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Director of Clinical Research at Singapore General Hospital. Author of around 30 technical papers in his field of biochemistry and nuclear medicine, he has authored a critique of origin-of-life theories entitled Chemical Evolution—An Examination of Current Ideas.
He has kindly allowed us to reprint the first chapter of his popular book ( with Four Reprints)
He discussed the serious question of: IF THERE IS GOD, WHO MADE HIM?
Chats with Uncle Loh First Aid in Theology
IF THERE IS GOD, WHO MADE HIM?
Mei-li asked the question at Sunday tea-time, just as Uncle Loh popped a last kueh onde-onde into his mouth.
“Uncle Loh, who made God? One of my friends at Junior College asked me today. All I could say was ‘Nobody – He made Himself, I think!!’”
“That doesn’t sound right,” said her cousin Teck Khim.
“And why not?” Uncle Loh mumbled, having just got the sticky kueh out of the way. When he saw Teck Khim hesitate he went on: “You are right to be cautious. When the Bible says that God made the world, it also says, ‘In the beginning God…’ (Genesis 1:1) So God existed before the world He made. If we say God made Himself we must assume that He existed before making Himself, which is a logical impossibility.”
“If He existed before He made Himself it would be unnecessary to make Himself”, chimed in Teck Khim, “See, I told you it doesn’t sound right to me!”
“I can see that,” Mei-li said, “but what about my friend’s question? If God did not make Himself, then who did?”
Uncle Loh jiggled his tea-bag and looked intently at his cup before replying. “People have the idea that God is a thing, like other things we know such as a watch, or car, or house. The truth is we do not know what He is made of. The Bible says that God is Spirit (John 4:24), hinting that we should not think of God as a very big Somebody made of a special kind of celestial vapour.”
He paused and turned to his niece. “Let me ask you, Mei-li, who is greater in every way – I mean in power and intelligence – the thing made or the one who makes it?”
“The one who makes it, of course,” Mei-li replied.
“Good. Now let us suppose that the God your friend has in mind was made by another Being. This other Being would have to be more powerful, more intelligent, more of everything than the God He makes. Would you agree?”
“Well, the next question is ‘Who made this other Being?’ The answer will be ‘A still more powerful, more intelligent Being.” We then ask, ‘And who made that Being?’ This process of reasoning can go on forever which is really unnecessary. We can jump to the logical end of the process to a Being so powerful, so intelligent, so wonderful in every way that He would have to exist without being made by anyone else because there is no one else with the power and qualities He alone has. No one else is needed to make Him. What name would you give such an intelligent, absolutely great and self-existent Being?”
Mei-li’s eyes brightened. “I would call Him ‘God’!”
“So you see,” Uncle Loh continued, “the problem of who made God disappears when you realised that a perfect Being is not made, He just exists. ‘I AM WHO I AM’, God said to Moses (Exodus 3:14). The Bible also says, ‘Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.’ (Hebrews 11:6)”
Just then Teck Whatt peered into the dining room. “I heard that,” he said. “Last week in my philosophy tutorial we had an interesting discussion about whether God exists. What Uncle Loh said sounds like the cosmological argument for God’s existence.”
Everyone responded by waving him in to join them.
“We are not really into the cosmological argument of which there are several varieties, but we are not far away either,” Uncle Loh said. He offered Teck Whatt the last piece of kueh.
“Teck Whatt, you had better explain what you mean by the cosmological argument,” Mei-li said.
He thought a bit. “Cosmology,” he began, “comes from two Greek words ‘cosmos’ which means ‘world’ and ‘logos’ which means ‘reason, word, knowledge.’ The term means the scientific study of the origin and structure of the Universe. The question is, ‘Why is there a Universe?’ One answer is ‘God made the Universe.’”
“And that is a rational and reasonable answer. Unless we say that the universe made itself! We are talking about who made God,” Uncle Loh said, “so it is related to the cosmological argument. Some find the argument convincing, some don’t. What do you think?”
Teck Whatt’s reply was quick. “It sounds reasonable to me. There are other reasons why I believe God exists. The cosmological argument is only one of these. But there was this classmate who made an interesting point. He asked why we must think the Universe has a beginning. Why can’t the Universe just exist without any need for further explanation? Why do we need a Creator?”
Uncle Loh waited and when nobody else spoke up he said, “A scientist does not say that the sun just exists and has always existed as far as we know and that no further explanation is needed. He goes ahead to think of the origin of the Universe. A doctor does not say that AIDS is a mysterious disease of unknown origin. He goes ahead to look for the cause. It goes against the spirit of science to say that we just accept the existence of something and proceed no further. It is opting out from thinking things through.”
“Maybe people are more worried by AIDS than by the existence of God”, Mei-li ventured.
“Maybe,” Uncle Loh replied, “but the Universe just cannot have existed from eternity. There has to be a beginning. And an end. Our sun is burning up even as it shines. One day, all the energy in the Universe will be used up and we will have a dead Universe. If God is – the logical thing is to live in right relationship with Him. For we must ultimately be answerable to this Maker of the Universe.”
There was silence broken finally by Auntie Li who reminded them to clear the table as she was getting dinner ready. END
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