The argument from contingency summarized by St. Thomas illustrates that in order for existence to be a reality there must be an "Uncaused Cause" that possesses existence in and of Himself. Everything else that exist does so by way of created contingency.


According to Mormon theology, God the Father is a physical being of "flesh and bones." Mormons identify him as the Biblical god Elohim. Latter-day Saint leaders have also taught that God the Father was once a mortal man who has completed the process of becoming an exalted being. According to Joseph Smith, God "once was a man like one of us and…once dwelled on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did in the flesh and like us."

According to Mormon scripture, "the elements are eternal". This means, according to Smith, that the elements are co-existent with God, and "they may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed. They had not beginning, and can have no end." This was elaborated by Brigham Young, who said, "God never made something out of nothing; it is not in the economy or law of which the worlds were, are, or will exist."
Thus, Mormons deny ex nihilo creation and instead believe that God created or "organized" the universe out of pre-existing elements.


How does LDS cosmology address or reason with St. Thomas' contingency proof? In other words, according to the LDS, who or what causes existence to exist?

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    Mind rephrasing this in laymens terms? My best guess at what you're essentially asking is as follows: If God was once like man, who created or "organized" God? Am I misunderstanding you? If that is your question, I believe it falls under the category of doctrine which is not yet revealed. Personally, I do not believe the answer is important.
    – Daniel
    Aug 20, 2013 at 20:07
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    @DanielCook Yes I believe my question could essentially be reworded that way, as long as its understood that I personally do not believe that God was created. Im wanting to know what the official LDS answer would be to that question.
    – user5286
    Aug 20, 2013 at 20:42
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    I don't have sources for right now, but the answer would simply be something like: "That hasn't been revealed, and our minds can't comprehend it anyway."
    – Matt
    Aug 20, 2013 at 21:51
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    I asked the LDS elders I was conversing with something like this question, and they responded that it is a deep matter but that YHWH has a God himself (IIRC, they gave me a photocopy of a Mormon theology book that explained it). I asked why we don't worship YHWH's God instead, and they replied that he is not our world's creator and former and we are not in that God's image, or something to that effect. Don't quote me. :-)
    – metal
    Aug 21, 2013 at 20:29
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    @kutschkem There has to be a "being" (God) that is eternally outside of "existence" as we know it that "jump started" existence.
    – user5286
    Dec 12, 2013 at 0:47

3 Answers 3


The comments are quite right about an LDS viewpoint being that it hasn't been revealed yet as doctrine.

However your question is asking how God exists or when the beginning of everything was.

The problem is you are asking an infinite question with only the capability of a finite mind. Joseph Smith attempted to help our finite minds understand that of eternal or infinite aspects.

"I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man-the immortal part, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man." - Joseph Smith, Teachings of Joseph Smith.

Another way to think of it is that there are levels of science that we don't understand, elements of physics yet to be discovered that is above our physical capabilities in this current state. I know that doesn't give you a concrete answer but hopefully it helps.


I don't believe LDS Cosmology addresses St. Thomas specifically, but your quote suggests that the LDS reject his argument: "Mormons deny ex nihilo creation." In other words, the LDS believe that everything that exists has always existed (in some form)--it needn't have a first cause. Now let me address St. Thomas Aquinas' argument:

St. Thomas used an argument of a causality which I will illustrate: suppose a chain is dangling in the air. The bottom link hangs because it is supported by the link above it, which, in turn is supported by the link above it--all the way up the chain. St. Thomas would argue that there must be a first cause (e.g. a hook on the ceiling) because an infinite regress of links would mean that the whole chain was held up by nothing, an impossibility. This is the weakness in this argument.

A dangling chain that stretches infinity into the sky is, quite literally, held up by itself. Ignoring cosmic factors like earth rotation and orbit, if the chain is to fall, the gravity of the earth must cause it to accelerate toward the ground. Because the chain stretches away from the earth an infinite distance, its rate of acceleration would be infinitesimally slow (acceleration due to gravity decreases with altitude). Hence the chain would never reach the ground.

In other words, an infinite chain of causes without a first cause is not theoretically impossible.


Simple: Existence itself is uncaused. All material, as all intelligence, is eternal and cannot be created or destroyed.

Organization and progression are caused. They are caused by the Creator, who is God. The Hebrew word at the beginning of Genesis does not mean ex nihilo creation. It means to organize, form, shape, "call forth" and assemble by priesthood power, by the word of power and by intelligence.

Existence cannot be caused. That would be a contradiction in terms, and a creed nearly as superstitious and silly as the so-called Big Bang Theory, which postulates that nothing created something. Nothing can be created out of nothing. Neither we nor God can create something out of nothing. It is a contradiction in terms. To that extent Aquinas' thought experiment is rooted in a fallacy.

The Scriptures identify ultimate causes as separate from effects caused, by calling them "things to act, and things to be acted upon", respectively.

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