Who Put the Genie in the Lamp?


In the Disney story of Aladdin, one of the characters refers to the Genie as “all powerful.” Of course, this is just a fairy tale. But the principle that this delightful story highlights produces this fascinating discussion…

If this fabled Genie is indeed “all powerful,” then who put the Genie in the lamp? Doesn’t his captor obviously have greater power, meaning that the Genie is not “all” powerful!

In a similar way, how often, when the subject of God as the Creator of the universe is discussed, does the question “Who, then, created God?” come up. The question is usually raised by those who adhere to a materialistic, atheistic viewpoint.

Well then, let’s examine this point in detail.

Basically, there are two alternatives: (1) The universe was purposed by an all-powerful Creator, who has always existed, or (2) the universe, along with its entire contents or its equivalent in energy, has always existed. After all, the question of “Where did all the matter in the universe come from?” is at least as challenging as the question “Where did God come from?”

The Bible provides some incite into this question when it says that God is “from everlasting.” (Psalm 90:2) In other words, he has never had a beginning. One consideration that helps in this discussion is the question of time. For God to have had a “beginning” would mean that he is subject to, or dependent on, time. However, no scientist has ever succeeded in fully explaining what time really is. An early edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica offered this definition of time:

“Time is an aspect of the observable universe, metaphorically describable as a one-way flow, providing, together with space, the matrix of events.”

Note though that this is merely “metaphorical” in its description, as the statement itself admits. It fails to get to grips with a fully scientific explanation of what time itself really is. Even the most prominent scientists in the world freely admit that they simply don’t know all of its secrets.

The Wikipedia offers the following explanation:

“Time is a component quantity of various measurements used to sequence events, to compare the duration of events or the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change of quantities in material reality or in the conscious experience.”

The famous theoretical physicist Richard Feynman summed it up this way:

“It is going to be necessary that everything that happens in a finite volume of space and time would have to be analyzable with a finite number of logical operations. The present theory of physics is not that way, apparently. It allows space to go down into infinitesimal distances, wavelengths to get infinitely great, terms to be summed in infinite order, and so forth; and therefore, if this proposition [that physics can be quantified by computer simulation] is right, physical law is wrong.” (International Journal of Theoretical Physics (1982))

To answer the question of “How could God have had no beginning?” we need only turn ultimate1to the premise: “God created time.” He is not dependent on time, nor is he subservient to it; he is its Designer and Creator. Therefore, the word “beginning” has no meaning as far as the nature of God is concerned. He is not subject to a “beginning,” any more than he is subject to an “end.” As the Bible puts it: “From everlasting to everlasting, you are God.”

Finally, we may perhaps summarise this argument with the following statement: God is the ultimate of all existence. No human can fathom the depths of his nature or limit him in any way. The Bible puts it this way: “Who has come to know the mind of Jehovah?” (1 Corinthians 2:16), and “Who has taken the measurements of the spirit of Jehovah, And who can instruct him as his adviser?” — Isaiah 40:13.