Si Vales, Valeo
That is one heck of a question.
If everything has a cause other than itself, then god must have a cause other than himself. But if god has a cause other than himself, he cannot be the first cause. So if the first premise is true, the conclusion must be false.
If you adopt the premise that allows for the existence of uncaused things (i.e. God), why not just admit that the universe is uncaused and be done with it? In other words, if we assume that the universe has always existed, we don’t need to identify its cause, right?
Aquinas1 says that God is “all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good.” But if we observe our universe (as you have suggested) we can’t help but to fail to find any of those properties. And if we carry this argument even further, a universe created by an “all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good” being should be perfect. But the universe we know is clearly goofed up and not particularly friendly for humans. Certainly you agree that this place could be better, no? The fact is that earth is more hospitable to insects, which can survive in almost any environment, than it is for humans. We are a minority and bugs thrive better than we.
The universe could create itself, and collapse on itself, ad nauseam. According to Einstein (a theist, I might add), if you could travel into the big bang, the universe would shrink until all of its contents were concentrated to a point so small that it is in effect a single infinitesimally small, infinitesimally dense black hole. You can’t get to a time before the big-bang because there was no time before it. It doesn’t have a cause because there was no time for a cause to exist in.
That said, I recommend you read the Sepher Yetzirah (The Book of Creation)2 because it explains the creation of the universe in some ways that agrees with science… and it was written a long time ago.
Welcome to the world Quantum physics, Quantum mechanics and Qabalah. Look at all those Q’s.
1. Quaestiones Disputatae de Potentia Dei. 1259-1268
2. Aryeh Kaplan, Weiser Books, March 15, 2004