Last night after his bedtime story, my 6 year-old son asked me how God came about. He seemed old enough to be bewildered by something not being caused by something else and totally mystified by imagining how the world was before mom and dad, before trees, before the sky, before everything, and then asking how God appeared. He kept on re-articulating the question, each time with much excitement and astonishment… at this so mysterious question, then he concluded that the only way he could think of is that God created himself. He is still too young to understand the contradiction of that solution. He wasn’t satisfied with the negative statement that God is not created or begotten, and he was not able to grasp the positive statement of God being al-Ahad and as-Samad.
After much back and forth, I told him that I used to ask the same question when I was young. “What did they tell you??!” he wondered. They taught me that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him ….
– “Prophet Muhammad created God???” he interjected.
– No, no no… I was going to say that they taught me that Prophet Muhammad said, “Before there was anything, there was God and that he created everything” … then they taught me that he also said that such questions are from Satan, and that you shouldn’t think about them … shake your head and think about something else.
I knew what was going on in his mind, and how he would think of that answer, being ever-so-curious. So I followed, “However, there are people who just can’t stop thinking about a question until they answer it …”
“Yes! I’m like that!”
“In that case,” I said, “every time you grow you will find another answer. For now, if God creating himself satisfies you then fine, but as you grow, you will find other answers.”
He fell asleep and I kept thinking … for a better way to answer his question next time it comes around. For me, the question has never really been one of how did God come about or if God exists. “How do you live with God?” that … that is the question.