That's a Good Question
A serious-minded 7 year old asked me "How could God make everything out of nothing?", and also "Who made God?".
I gave him my best answer on the spot, but thought I could perhaps do better, so wrote this for him and others. Hopefully it is not too confusing, and there are not too many new words without their definitions. Time will tell.
That of course is what the Bible says - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1. The Bible tells us Who made everything, but it does not tell us how God did it. In the Bible God did not give us a school-book about science, but rather a guide-book to show us the way back to Himself. One of the very first scientists, about 400 years ago, said something like this "There are two books that stop us from making a mistake; first, the Bible, which shows us the will of God; then the book of Nature, which shows us His power." (Sir Francis Bacon). Science is the study of this second "book", of the world of Nature that God created. It is good to learn from both. The first does tell us Who made everything, and the second gives us a lot of clues about the how. Science is a good thing and can give us clues about how God might have made everything.
The whole universe, with its galaxies and stars , our Sun, the Earth, with its plants, animals and people; what are they made of? God gives men and woman brains to study His universe, and our scientists have discovered that everything is made of just four things:-
1. Matter that is, anything you can see or touch (or imagine seeing or touching) and anything that has weight. Stars, trees, rocks, air, water, metal, planets, and us!
2. Energy which makes things warm and makes things move, like sunlight and wind. Everything that is alive and everything that moves has energy stored up inside it.
3. Time for everything has a yesterday, a today and a tomorrow, in which to change and grow.
4. A Plan that is, what we call 'information', a bit like the plans for a new building. Everything contains some information (lots of it!). That is why a fish is different from a rock, why a star is different from a sand grain, why we have different hair and eye colours, and why no one's fingerprints are the same as anyone else's.
What does science tell us? Many scientists once thought the universe had no beginning, that it has always been there, but discoveries in the last 100 years show that it did have a beginning. This was many millions of years ago, when all the matter, energy and time were squashed into a single thing smaller and heavier than you can ever imagine. It had no length, width or height. Smaller even than this dot:
Not even light came out of it. There was nothing in it you could say was matter, or energy or time. Rather it was the seed of all three. It is something that no one can really describe or discover.
Then, and science cannot tell us why, it exploded. This gigantic explosion began time itself, and scattered matter and energy in all directions to make galaxies, stars, planets, and everything else. The galaxies are still rushing away from each other at enormous speeds, and our space satellites can even now pick up the echoes of that huge explosion, which scientists call "The Big Bang". If it really did happen this way (and scientific ideas do change as new things are discovered) then that tiny seed was as close to nothing as can be imagined. Who made this seed? There was only God. No one else, and nothing else, was there. Who made the plan? Only God could. It was God who spread out the galaxies, and formed the Sun and the Earth, and every living thing. It is not at all silly to believe what the Bible says:-"By faith (that is, by trusting God) we understand that the universe was formed at God's command" Hebrews 11:3
The Bible says He has always been there. He is not inside time the way we are. "The King eternal (outside time), immortal (lives forever), invisible, the only God" 1 Timothy 1:17.
Just think, if there was someone (call him "A") who made God, then "A" would be greater than "God", which would make "A" God instead. If we ask "is there someone 'B' who made person 'A'?", then "B" would be God. There is no end to asking this question.
There has to be someone who made everything, but was never made Himself, Someone behind Everything Else.
Our minds are too small to understand everything. Think about electricity. Scientists and engineers can tell us how it works, and we can all use it by turning on the lights, but who knows what it is, and why it exists?
The Bible does not even talk about "Who made God?". It just tells us that He has always been, and what He is like, that He loves us and all of His creation, and what He has done to rescue us. We trust that God is Who He says He is, Who He has always been, and Who He promises He will always be, and that He created everything else.
"The heavens declare the glory of God" Psalm 19:1
Lastly, we look at Jesus, the Man who said he was God, walked on Earth, did wonderful things, brought hope to this sad world, died once to rescue us from evil, and rose to life again to be our great King. He said "I and my Father are one." (John 10:30). It was Jesus that John spoke of in his Gospel, when he wrote "Through him all things were made" John 1:3.
All things are made up of atoms. These are so small that we can only see them with the strongest microscopes. There are about 100 different atoms, including oxygen (which we breath), carbon (in all plants and animals - our bones, muscles, skin and every other part of us are made using carbon) iron (used to make cars, ships and trains) and silicon (in our computers). Diamonds are made from carbon too.
These atoms are put together in millions of patterns (called molecules) to make the things we see. Water is made of hydrogen and oxygen. Petrol for our cars, diesel fuel for trucks and buses, jet-fuel for aeroplanes, and all our plastics are made from carbon and hydrogen.
There are millions of different molecules in us, in the animals, in the plants, in the rocks and even in the dust.
Energy comes in many different forms. Heat is a type of energy. So is electricity. Light and radio signals are a form of energy. The waves on the sea have a lot of movement energy (called "kinetic" energy); get in the way at the beach and all that energy can easily knock you over (but the still water in a swimming pool can't knock you over - it does not have this movement/kinetic energy).
Trees and all the plants are solar energy machines. Sunlight energy on the green leaves is used by the plants to get carbon out of air (from carbon-dioxide, a molecule made of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms) and turn it into more leaves and twigs and branches, and to fill fruits (like apples) with sugar, or grains like wheat with starch to make our bread. Sugar and starch are really stored-up sunlight!
We all must eat, and the fruits, vegetables and grains are a big part of our food. So we are also solar-powered! When we eat the stored-up sunlight in the food is turned into heat, to keep us warm enough, into electricity to run our brains, and into movement ("kinetic") energy in our muscles.
Coal and oil were made long ago from dead plants and animals, and contain a lot of stored-up sunlight. When coal is burned in our power-stations it gives back its energy as heat, which is then turned into electricity for our homes, schools and factories. Nearly all our electricity in Australia is made this way, from stored-up sunlight. The rest comes directly from the sun from solar panels (your house may have some on its roof) or from the winds using big wind-mill generators.
Oil is turned into petrol, diesel fuel and jet-fuel, which are burned in our cars, trucks and planes to make them move. The stored-up sunlight becomes kinetic energy, that is, moving energy.
It is not just books and computers that store information. Everything has information stored in it, a plan that decides what it will be.
Why is a snake different from an elephant? They are both made of the same atoms and molecules. It is the information, the instructions, stored inside all the parts of their bodies that makes them different. Scientists call this animal instruction information "DNA", which is a very, very complicated and large molecule. The DNA of a snake is different from the DNA of an elephant. Even two elephants do not have the exact same DNA, though they are both very different from the snake's DNA.
Your DNA is a bit different from your friend's DNA. That is why our police force can use DNA patterns to find a criminal. No two of us have exactly the same DNA.
These are examples of all the wonderful plans that God put into everything there is.
Did you know that trees breathe out oxygen, which we need to keep us alive? Just as wonderful is the fact that we breathe out carbon-dioxide, which the trees need to keep them alive! The trees need us. We need the trees!
God's plans are not separate bits, but all fit together like a huge jigsaw puzzle. No one is as great, wonderful, strong and wise as God.
(All images are in the public domain, mostly from www.openclipart.org, and some by me.)
This page http://tardus.net/outOfNothing.html Last published: 27 October 2014