By Elias Ayala (MDiv & M.A.T.)
Christians affirm that God brought the universe into existence ex nihilo (out of nothing). According to the biblical narrative, God did not create the universe out of pre-existing stuff. As the creator of the universe, God is not a being who exists within the universe, that is to say that God transcends the universe. He does not take up space within the universe. He must transcend the universe because He created the universe. As creator of the universe God is not composed of anything within the universe. The universe constitutes all space, time, matter and energy. God is beyond space, time, and matter and energy because He created space, time, matter and energy.
As the creator and cause of the universe, which itself constitutes all space, time, matter/energy, God is himself not composed of nor limited by space, time, matter/energy. Hence, God as the creator and cause of the universe is eternal, spaceless, and non-material because he created space, time, matter/energy. This being said, how might we respond to the skeptic who suggests that God need not be the necessary cause of the universe, for all we know a magical fairy brought the universe into existence. Believe it or not, it is often the atheist who brings up the topic of fairies. This is because many skeptics think of God as something just as fictional as magical fairies. However, I think thoughtful and reflective skeptics understand the superficiality of such a notion.
If we understand “fairy” in the traditional sense we are then dealing with a being defined thusly: a small imaginary being of human form that has magical powers, especially a female one. Now if we remove for the sake of our example, the idea that this fairy is not imaginary but real, we can then evaluate whether it is a coherent concept for a fairy to be the transcendent cause of the universe.
The reason why a fairy cannot be the transcendent cause of the universe is because fairies have bodies. Bodies take up space, they have mass. However, if this fairy is the cause of all of space, time, matter, and energy, there is a problem; since the fairy would exist as taking up space, while at the same time being the creator and cause of space. Space would exist prior to the existence of space, which is a contradiction; unless one posits a sort of space beyond our space or a multiverse of sorts. Perhaps this magical fairy has the capacity to create other universes outside of its own or something like that. However, if this is the case, then the fairy thusly defined ceases to be equivalent to the God idea, which at least within the Christian conception, God is the creator of all things even the multi-verse if there is one.
Now suppose one suggests that this fairy does NOT take up space. This fairy is immaterial, spaceless, timeless and eternal, changeless, etc. thus being an adequate transcendent cause of the universe (and the multi-verse if there is one). The problem here is that the one who posits such a conception of fairy is merely applying all of the traditional attributes of God onto this redefined version of a fairy and calling it a fairy. However, I hope it is clear that such a person is implicitly putting forth a God as the cause of the universe, but not calling him God, but a fairy.
This just won’t work. It is an illegitimate move to think that any old thing can replace the concept of a creator God and be an adequate explanation of equal worth to the concept of a transcendent creator of the universe. Of course, so much more can be said in regards to what it means to be a transcendent cause of the universe, but I think enough has been said to see that a fairy doesn’t make the cut.