The conclusion of the atheistic Sāṅkhya philosophy is that because the effects—the phenomena of this material world—are temporary, or illusory, the cause is therefore also illusory. The Sāṅkhya philosophers are in favor of voidism, but the actual fact is that the original cause is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that this cosmic manifestation is the temporary manifestation of His material energy. When this temporary manifestation is annihilated, its cause, the eternal existence of the spiritual world, continues as it is, and therefore the spiritual world is called sanātana-dhāma, the eternal abode. The conclusion of the Sāṅkhya philosophers is therefore invalid.
Then there are the philosophers headed by Gautama and Kaṇāda. They have minutely studied the cause and effect of the material elements and have ultimately come to the conclusion that atomic combination is the original cause of creation. At present the materialistic scientists follow in the footsteps of Gautama and Kaṇāda, who propounded this theory, called Paramāṇuvāda. This theory, however, cannot be supported, for the original cause of everything is not inert atoms. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, as well as in the Vedas, wherein it is stated, eko nārāyaṇa āsīt: “Only Nārāyaṇa existed before the creation.” Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and the Vedānta-sūtra also say that the original cause is sentient and both indirectly and directly cognizant of everything within this creation. In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8), “I am the original cause of everything,” and mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate, “From Me everything comes into existence.” Therefore, atoms may form the basic combinations of material existence, but these atoms are generated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus the philosophy of Gautama and Kaṇāda cannot be supported.
Similarly, impersonalists headed by Aṣṭāvakra and later by Śaṅkarācārya accept the impersonal Brahman effulgence as the cause of everything. According to their theory, the material manifestation is temporary and unreal, whereas the impersonal Brahman effulgence is reality. But this theory cannot be supported either, because the Lord Himself says in the Bhagavad-gītā that the Brahman effulgence rests on His personality. It is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā that the Brahman effulgence is the personal bodily rays of Kṛṣṇa. As such, impersonal Brahman cannot be the original cause of the cosmic manifestation. The original cause is the all-perfect, sentient Personality of Godhead, Govinda.
The most dangerous theory of the impersonalists is that when God comes as an incarnation He accepts a material body created by the three modes of material nature. This Māyāvāda theory has been condemned by Lord Caitanya as most offensive. He has said that anyone who accepts the transcendental body of the Personality of Godhead to be made of material nature commits the greatest offense at the lotus feet of Viṣṇu. Similarly, the Bhagavad-gītā also states that when the Personality of Godhead descends in a human form, only fools and rascals deride Him. This actually occurred when Lord Kṛṣṇa, Lord Rāma and Lord Caitanya moved within human society as human beings.
The personified Vedas condemn the impersonal conception as a gross misrepresentation. In the Brahma-saṁhitā, the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is described as ānanda-cinmaya-rasa. The Supreme Personality of Godhead possesses a spiritual body, not a material body. He can enjoy anything through any part of His body, and therefore He is omnipotent. The limbs of a material body can perform only a particular function; for example, the hands can hold but cannot see or hear. But because the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is made of ānanda-cinmaya-rasa and is thus sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha (BS 5.1), He can enjoy anything and do everything with any of His limbs. Acceptance of the spiritual body of the Lord as material is dictated by the tendency to equate the Supreme Personality of Godhead with the conditioned soul. The conditioned soul has a material body. Therefore, if God also has a material body, then the impersonalistic theory that the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entities are one and the same can be very easily propagated.