existence before existence?

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rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
Beware, this is my own argument and reasoning, so whoever (I don't know of anybody) made contributions to this topic may have used terms/concepts in a completely different way than I have.

If before the universe existed, there was only vast nothingness, where would God have been? Taking into account that nothingness is not something, it seems rather odd that a being, whether spirit or material, could abide in that which is nothing. The existence of nothing is hard enough to grasp. But to say that something exists even within the realms of nothingness is even harder. Now, assuming that God created space, and that the potential for something to take up that space has a beginning, where would a being, whether spirit or material, be if not in a space?

My answer to that would be that he existed within himself. Saying that he is spirit does not satisfy the question because even a spirit (that which is not material) must exist within a realm of existence. But before anything existed, God was... well, where was he? Within himself- perhaps there is no further explaination.

Possibly, my definition of a spirit is not adequate. A spirit could be something that doesn't take up any space... then that would satisfy the question (possibly). But to say that any spirit being doesn't take up space, would be saying that it must be omnipresent (think about it for a moment). And I think we would agree that angels are not omnipresent.

Now the essence of my question is this: If God is omnipresent from all of eternity, were would he be omnipresent if there was nowhere to be present?

I think my answer to that would be that his omnipresence only manifested when things came into existence. Because though he was always omnipresent, it would have had no way of showing itself until there was something to be present in (unless you say that he was present within himself).

This is really odd, and this particular question/answer could defy logic. But it is a rather peculiar thing that the existence of God even necessitates space. Therefore it seems (according to our logic) that God would have to exist before himself (if he had nowhere to exist). Of course the last sentence was pathetic, but any thoughts on this?

An easy way to get out of all this, would be to say that something has always existed (God). But that goes back to my original question, how could God exist before the capacity of existence itself (space). Then we would have to say that space has always existed. But space is separate from God, therefore it is created. Perhaps, the capacity of existence (space) has always existed within God therefore before time he filled all things in everyway. Therefore space was always co-existent within God. But that is rather odd unless we want to say that God is space.

I know there is a simple answer to all this, but how do we explain God's existence before existence?

Rembrandt
 

Guest

Puritan Board Freshman
We can find the answer in Milton I think:

The womb of nature and perhaps her grave,
Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless the almighty maker them ordain
His [b:75179ec48b]dark materials[/b:75179ec48b] to create more worlds . . .


Paradise Lost - Book II (910 - 918)


There are realities more substantial than the material world we know. "His dark materials" need not be of the same nature we now know as existing [i:75179ec48b]ex nihilo[/i:75179ec48b]. God created out of nothing yes, but not out of nothing nothing . . . . Shaeffer talks about this as well.

[i:75179ec48b]ex nihilo nihil fit[/i:75179ec48b] . . .

[Edited on 2-19-2004 by Visigoth]
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
God is. That's it. He needs no parameters but his own nature. He is a spirit which is infinite, eternal, and unchangable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. He just IS. I think we have to leave it at that until we get to glory. My :wr50:

[Edited on 2-19-2004 by puritansailor]
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
visigoth, interesting, who is Milton?

[quote:e0c79d99ee]He just IS. I think we have to leave it at that until we get to glory.[/quote:e0c79d99ee]

yes. Perhaps I am prying into the hiddeness of God. But this really itches at the human mind. I can't help but to think about it.

[quote:e0c79d99ee]He needs no parameters but his own nature.[/quote:e0c79d99ee]

What is interesting is that before creation (including space) there were no parameters. Therefore there would be no area for him to "fill" or "dwell" except himself. John Piper comes to mind when he talks about God from all eternity delighting in himself in the glorious fellowship of the trinity.

But where would this trinity exist if there was no place of existence. Clearly God's abode (excluding his omnipresense in the universe) or "heaven" is another dimension. Or else we would be able to see the human Jesus floating somewhere in outerspace where the invisible heaven is. However his glorified body is invisible, but still you get my point. But the idea of him dwelling in heaven before time doesn't make sense, since heaven is created also.

Because he is spirit does not mean that he is infinite unless you want to call angels infinite. And angels must take up space or else they would be the omnipresent God.

Somehow he must have had presence within himself. How interesting it is though that only God doesn't need space to dwell but can dwell outside the outer limits of the universe. Afterall, he is everywhere right? But still that doesn't make any sense (perhaps because it is God). Think about this, the universe has an end to it (though it is expanding), but God never has an end, meaning that he goes beyond all existence. And being that he is infinite and eternal, he must go beyond the perameters of the universe into all of eternity. And being that he is beyond time, he must be able to stretch into regions where there are no regions and abide where there is no abode but himself. Where there is no capacity for space, but only within himself.

Is this time deal where some of the open-theists get some of their ideas? I can see the impossibilities of trying to reach this conclusion logically, but perhaps it can be done. Thoughts?
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
You have to take into account what we understand about God -

He is unified, immense, infinite and omnipresent all at the same time in the fullness of his being. Everywhere he is, he is there in the fullness of who he is. My head is in a geographic location in comparrision to my feet. My feet are not my head but my feet are part of "me" as is my head. But I do not look at my feet and say there is my head. They have distinct locations. God does not have this problem of location in this regard. Everywhere where he is, being invisible and spirit, he is there in the fullness of his being and he holds aseity in and of himself. That mean that before he created anything, God exsited where he existed. That is about the best you are going to say. To ask what there was before creation is to simply say that God was. You are trying to think of this in terms of a football field where creation takes up a creation yardage and God takes up a certain yardage. To say that is to misunderstand the invisible spirit. Only God can rightly interpret himself completely, but what we have would be more akin to understanding the universe in God. Not that the universe IS God but IN HIM we live and move and have our being. God is everywhere (a very loose term) that the universe is not, and everywhere the universe is, though the Creator/Creature distinction is still made - the universe is not God, and God is not the universe. He simply upholds it.

Angels are immaterial (spirit) but have properties, as do our souls. They take up a geographic spot. They reside in a certain place. Angels have the ability to appear or manifest themselves. They again, take up a geographic spot - God does not. The quality of "not finite" (whatever that means) is where we stretch our minds. We cannot comprehend "not finite" that is why we call him "infinite."
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:70fc8a17ae]That mean that before he created anything, God exsited where he existed. That is about the best you are going to say. To ask what there was before creation is to simply say that God was.[/quote:70fc8a17ae]

true

[quote:70fc8a17ae]the universe in God.[/quote:70fc8a17ae]

I forgot. Well, this makes things even more complicated.

[quote:70fc8a17ae]To ask what there was before creation is to simply say that God was. You are trying to think of this in terms of a football field where creation takes up a creation yardage and God takes up a certain yardage.[/quote:70fc8a17ae]

But he must take up a certain amount of yardage in a mathematical sense. But this is an infinite measure and therefore cannot be measured. Now I know its improper to equate God into our mathematics, but just for the sake of demonstration. You said he is "everywhere the universe is not." How far does the universe stretch is already impossible to grasp. But how far the outer regions of the universe stretch, is, well, impossible to conceive of. Because, the likeliness is that they don't stretch. Therefore God must go beyond the outer realms of the universe.

So God existed (and still does) in an abyss of nothingness. But nothingness must be created since it is a concept foreign to the eternal existence. So God must be a concept only comparable to himself.

Well, I guess that goes on back to the infinite qualities that we cannot grasp.
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
God has and always will inhabit eternity.

Isaiah 57:15

Just because God created the universe, time, and space "out of nothing" does not necessarily mean that there was nothing there before creation, does it?

Phillip
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:63876b8137][i:63876b8137]Originally posted by pastorway[/i:63876b8137]
God has and always will inhabit eternity.

Isaiah 57:15

Just because God created the universe, time, and space "out of nothing" does not necessarily mean that there was nothing there before creation, does it?

Phillip [/quote:63876b8137]

Are you saying that because God existed before time, there was not nothing?

[Edited on 2-20-2004 by rembrandt]
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
How can there be nothing? There was God!

And then angels.....and then us!

He created the universe out of nothing...but that does not mean then that there was nothing there at all before creation.

Phillip :eureka:
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
okay. thats a given. When speaking of nothingness, I was referring to the impossibility of space etc. before God created it. Of course God does not have a beginning!
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
[quote:0e6175061a]
So God existed (and still does) in an abyss of nothingness.
[/quote:0e6175061a]

No, that is where you have to subtract your "mathmatical" ideas that pertian to a physical, created, tangible universe. God is not a physical "person". For instacne, take some time and meditate on the idea of being a spirit, but being invisible at the same time (1 tim. 1:17). God is spirit. He is an invisble spirit. How does one measure, weigh, etc. an invisible spirit. Does he have substacne? What in the world does that mean? How do you define substance? So, going back to this, we cannot use mathmatical terms (though we like the term infinite <><> ) in pertaining to God. In heaven God is invisible. Heaven is better termed the place where God manifests himself most to us. Its not like we get there and God is sitting down in a white robe on a throne. God does not lose the quality of invisible just because we happen to get to heaven. So wheresoever he is in habiting and eternal state, He simply is, or "be"s. Which is why God does not say, "Hi, I'm Frank. Or Hi, I'm Larry. Rather, His name "Yahweh" refers to his character - "I be." God is.

In terms of physical manifestions, the greatest and best way we will ever understand the physcial, tangible manifestion of God is to go to heaven and look into the face of Jesus Christ. Christ is the answer. It is there that the fulness of the Godhead dwells bodily (amazingly enough.)
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
A spirit must take up a certain amount of space. For instance, angels. And God does take up space, all the space. But what I am saying is, that if there is no space, where would anything, a spirit or material be? So as I said, just because he is spirit, doesn't mean that he is exempt from the question at hand. But because he is God, he would be exempt. I'm just trying to wrap my mind around some things- which is virtually impossible.

I'm not trying to say that God is physical and is bound to the laws of the universe- that is in opposition to Christian theism. I am however, trying to figure out where God would be, (and yes a spirit must exist within a realm of existence, space- heck, space is not physical to begin with, so it really wouldn't matter if it was spirit or material) if there was nowhere to be (no space or possibility of existence except within God).

So if God doesn't need space, but angels do, that puts him in an entirely different class. But if there is no realm of existence (space) for him to be, where would he be? So yes, I think he would exist within a realm of nothingness (though that is a contradiction in terms) if there was nothing but him. But the correct way to put it is that he exists within himself. I am not trying to say that God is nothingness, but that his realm of existence would have to be nothingness (though that is a contradiction in terms) because realms are created.

Rembrandt
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I have been following this a bit. My thoughts are that God cannot be subject to anything, and that includes space. Place has position or entity becuse God gave it position or entity, not because He requires it. All things have being because He gave it being. To require space or place for God is to make God subject to something. Place is something having to do with creation, not with God's abode. And the heavens and the heaven of heavens (space) cannot contain Him.

There is a substantial difference between God and the angels, as they do not share His infinity. In the sense of God's attributes, infinty has nothing to do with going on forever, for there is no past or future as such. But the angels are created; and they do have a past and a future. They too longed to look into the things that were yet to be revealed in the OT.

To ask where God was before creation is the same as asking what He stood on before the rocks were formed. These are things that do not pertain to God's being.

The creation was made out of nothing. This is in reference to the material that the creation was made from. There is no matter or spirituality that is co-existent with God's eternity other than God Himself. Schaeffer used to say, "Whatever is in back of God is God." There is then no substance whatsoever that God requires to be dependent on; but rather all things are dependent on God for existence. And that includes place.
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
good thinking.

[quote:cdcd90c008]I have been following this a bit. My thoughts are that God cannot be subject to anything, and that includes space.[/quote:cdcd90c008]

:eureka: :eureka: :eureka:

[quote:cdcd90c008]To require space or place for God is to make God subject to something. Place is something having to do with creation, not with God's abode. And the heavens and the heaven of heavens (space) cannot contain Him.[/quote:cdcd90c008]

HAHAHA!! Doesn't that really mess with your mind! I mean, this type of theism is the only explanation for existence. But the idea that God surpases the need to be in space. :shocked:

Have ya'll ever thought about the ends of the universe? If its always expanding, it has no end! But yet God goes beyond that which has no end! But yet, God is not expanding, which means that GOD HAS ALREADY REACHED THE END OF ETERNITY/INFINITY!!!! :shocked: But yet eternity has no end, and he is already there!

Now my mind is in a bigger and more complicated loop!
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Rem:
I would think that it's like saying that, on the one hand we like to put God in a box in order to try to explain Him. But the other hand always opens to find that that box too is in Him, and not He in it. If God is spirit, and He requires a place to be, then He is not God. It is rather that place has meaning only because God created a place to be. God is incomprehensible to man's limited being, much less his fallen being.

Go back now and reread Matt's posts. You may find a new interest in it now. There is a lot there to ponder.
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:a5be7e7846]If God is spirit, and He requires a place to be, then He is not God. It is rather that place has meaning only because God created a place to be. God is incomprehensible to man's limited being, much less his fallen being.[/quote:a5be7e7846]

This is what I am thinking about: God does need a place to be. Within himself. He is his own existence.

And the idea that spirits do not need a realm of existence is false (or according to my idea at hand- which could be wrong), because spirits must exist within God. Perhaps also God's Spirit has no way of existing without God (the Father). Same with the Son. That was what I was talking about with God must existence within himself.

I have never done a philosophical study on the necessity of the Trinity. But I would say, based on reason, that each member of the trinity is dependent upon each other for their existence. And thus, without the Trinity, the idea of God would be entirely pointless! Because where would God be?? Being "spirit" doesn't exempt him from needing a realm of existence, so that idea will not work! So how then does God exist and where?? I would say that he does need a place of existence, and that is within himself.

Now, one could say that "place" is a relative concept dependent upon the creation order. But there must be some eternal "spot" or location of existence. And that is located within the Trinity.

I don't think the idea of needing a "place" of existence is only of the created universe. Everything needs a "place" or must have a measure. I would even say God needs both of them. I see nothing wrong with equating God with "infinity," if that is the only way we can describe him. And as far as "place" goes, if there is no "place" (doesn't have to be material), there is no existence. Because existence is dependent upon the capacity for existence. And I would say that God's "place" or "abode" of existence is eternally within himself. Because the idea of him extending beyond "space" is only to say that he extends into an incomprehensible abyss, which is namely, the mystery of the existence of God within the Trinity from all of eternity.

thoughts? To reiterate: If he wasn't in a particular space, then he would not be able to be anywhere. God eternally/infinitely fills himself in the glorious union of the Trinity which in turn engulfs all things. Therefore the only logical reason for existence, is that God exists within himself.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Paul:
You seem to be attaching some kind of contingecy to God when you say,
[quote:0df5627695]Being "spirit" doesn't exempt him from needing a realm of existence, so that idea will not work! So how then does God exist and where?? I would say that he does need a place of existence, and that is within himself. [/quote:0df5627695]It is my belief that place needs God; and that God in no way needs place.

Also, when you think,
[quote:0df5627695]And the idea that spirits do not need a realm of existence is false (or according to my idea at hand- which could be wrong), because spirits must exist within God. Perhaps also God's Spirit has no way of existing without God (the Father). Same with the Son. That was what I was talking about with God must existence within himself. [/quote:0df5627695]
it seems to confuse the separate existences of spirits and God. Spirits are not identical with God, just like we are not identical with God. Spirits are created by God, but are not part of His being. Spirits require God for existence, but if any or all of them lose existence God is not diminished in any way.

The existence of a creature (and spirits are created also ) is not like the existence of God. The creatures are dependants and God is the provider in every respect. All three persons of the Godhead are equally divine in every respect, and yet He is one. The idea of mutual necessity or mutual contingency does not follow from His divine attributes, for it would indicate a wanting of something, or a lack of something, should certain conditions prevail. It would at least suggest the possibility of a lack. But that is not consistent with the eternal deity of God, one in three persons.

The subject of these interesting thoughts we are having must be handled very reverently. Our thinking must be very careful, so as not to impugn His majesty. No matter how great our imaginations allow us to think He is, He is greater still, and not subject to anything at all. I'm not trying to stifle your interest here; but just cautioning both of us.
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:decff3a1f6]The subject of these interesting thoughts we are having must be handled very reverently. Our thinking must be very careful, so as not to impugn His majesty. No matter how great our imaginations allow us to think He is, He is greater still, and not subject to anything at all. I'm not trying to stifle your interest here; but just cautioning both of us.[/quote:decff3a1f6]

Definitly. I am not trying to make it out like God is dependent upon anything. Saying that God is dependent upon himself, I don't think hurts anything. Being that God exists out of necessity, it is the only logical thing to say. Unless, perhaps, I am straying too far from that which has been revealed.

Saying that each member of the Trinity is dependent upon each other, shows the complete sufficiency of the Trinity. I am simply saying, that God could not exist without all the members of the Trinity co-operating with each other. And that God would dislike himself (though that is impossible) if there was no exclusive fellowship within the Trinity.

[quote:decff3a1f6]You seem to be attaching some kind of contingecy to God[/quote:decff3a1f6]

Perhaps. But ultimatly, I think I am showing the need for Divine existence within the Trinity, that it can be nowhere else.

[quote:decff3a1f6]It is my belief that place needs God; and that God in no way needs place.[/quote:decff3a1f6]

I agree, but what if the "place" was God himself. His location must be within himself.

[quote:decff3a1f6]it seems to confuse the separate existences of spirits and God. Spirits are not identical with God, just like we are not identical with God. Spirits are created by God, but are not part of His being. Spirits require God for existence, but if any or all of them lose existence God is not diminished in any way.[/quote:decff3a1f6]

I was saying, that everything, even spirits, must exist "within" God.

[quote:decff3a1f6]The idea of mutual necessity or mutual contingency does not follow from His divine attributes, for it would indicate a wanting of something, or a lack of something, should certain conditions prevail. It would at least suggest the possibility of a lack. But that is not consistent with the eternal deity of God, one in three persons.[/quote:decff3a1f6]

Yes. I agree that it is not God's character that he "needs" a place, for that would make him wanting. But what if he is dependent upon his own attributes and character. Here, I am not speaking of God overall, just examining the philosophical conditions that are necessary for the existence of Divinity.

I don't see anything wrong with saying that God "needs" himself. That is the only possible way of existence for something that is necessary.

Rembrandt
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
If we say that there is no location, space, or place, prior to creation, we are saying that God is located nowhere (unless my explanation is true). If he is existent everywhere, prior to creation, then what are we really saying if there is nowhere to exist? If all that was, was God before creation, and if we insist that he is omnipresent, and if we agree that there is no universe prior to creation, there would be nowhere for him to be but himself. Because if "space" is relative to creation, God could not have filled space because there was no space. So he filled himself from all of eternity. And if space cannot contain God, then where would he overflow to? Within himself in the Trinity.

All of the above hinges on the idea that even invisible spirits need a place of location. That spirit beings would have no way of existence if the heavens have not been created. However, God's Spirit is exempt since it's location is in the Trinity.

Testing my spirit idea on angels: If angels do not need a place of existence, they must be necessary (which is wrong). Angels are spirit. God is spirit. So using the spirit idea to explain God's place before time is inconsistent when tested elsewhere.

Sounds logical to me, but again, perhaps I am prying into the hiddeness of God. And the idea of spirits needing location could be wrong.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Paul:
Have you read [u:73618455b2]City of God[/u:73618455b2] by Augustine? I don't like doing this sort of thing, sending you to read something else when it is personal interaction you are seeking, but I think it will answer some of your thoughts, and likely raise a number of more questions. It's just that I have tried to show how my idea of God is entirely different, in that to place necessity upon God in any way is deceptive and short of His character and deity. God as Creator is spirit, but not at all like spirit of created beings. There is a whole difference in nature, and that is not small matter in comparing them. Augustine, I believe it is Book VIII, describes partly what is meant by "a simple God." What is for us several faculties or several characteristics is for God one and the same. All is one In Him, and not a separate thing which is in Him to have being. Only in creation does this require unlimited ways to even give an indication of His nature to us. But it is unmistakable to all. Every person, each portion of the day, must face moral decisions in all he does, whether he realizes it or not, and so is not ignorant of the moral imperitives placed there by the law of God upon each person's heart. Every person is able to distiguish one from two of the same kind. Each language has a form to indicate plurals. Thus every individual has in him the roots of the unity of truth, which we divide into rules of thought or laws of logic. Every person has in him the common incentive that he not step on another's foot just for fun; that beauty is more desirable than the lack of it; that the good is preferred to the bad, the sweet than the bitter, etc. To man this can turn out to be many different concepts and innumerable desires or hopes.

With God these are all one; and not in the sense that God has a desire for good beauty or righteousness, but that He is all these in one being. We call them attributes or characteristics, but this misses what they truly are, in that they are described as emmanations to us of His being. He is not in need of these, but rather God is one, and they portray to us who He is.

Whatever it is that a being needs for existence, whether in body or spirit, is found in God's being. But God Himself has no such need. To suggest that would be to suggest that God too has a God which provides the need. To think that the Trinity provides this is to suggest that each person is not completely God in Himself, which would then require the three less-than-God together to make God, which is impossible.

Whatever you do in making these contemplations, you should make use of the work of some of our gifted forefathers. I would suggest Augustine, as I mentioned above.
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:115bc51524]To think that the Trinity provides this is to suggest that each person is not completely God in Himself, which would then require the three less-than-God together to make God, which is impossible.[/quote:115bc51524]

:eureka::eureka::eureka: I see!

Now I havn't done excessive study on the Trinity (as you can probably see), but isn't each member still dependent upon the other? The Son to the Father etc.? One could not exist without the other? I am not trying to divide God up to where he is no longer One. Just examining the essential doctrine of the Trinity to the nature of God. It is my understanding that they function together, which would make them dependent. But God as a whole is independent because he is ultimatly One.

Though each member of the Trinity is God in himself, one member cannot function without the other. He is God in nature, character etc., but cannot function without the entire Godhead working together to accomlish the One ultimate purpose.

[quote:115bc51524]It's just that I have tried to show how my idea of God is entirely different, in that to place necessity upon God in any way is deceptive and short of His character and deity.[/quote:115bc51524]

Speaking from logic, isn't saying that he is dependent upon himself, basically saying that he is ultimately independent? Isn't that where logic carries something that exists out of necessity?

[quote:115bc51524]Have you read City of God by Augustine?[/quote:115bc51524] Read alot about it, but havn't read it yet. Will be though in the next 6 months.

Rembrandt
 
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