Is God really separate from his creation? Argument from a pantheist

Discussion in 'Apologetical Methods' started by christianyouth, Dec 3, 2008.

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  1. christianyouth

    christianyouth Puritan Board Senior

    Hey guys. A friend of mine who I used to go to church with posted this argument on his myspace the other day. I'm not smart enough to critique it, so I was hoping maybe some people on here could explain it's flaws.

    Thanks all!

    In Christ,
    - Andy
  2. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    I'm not the brightest bulb in the box either but God by definition is 'wholly other' and therefore is separate from creation. Holiness is to be set apart from everything else, to be absolutely unique.
  3. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    This is an inherently materialistic argument, methinks. The crux of the problem is his presupposition that all things are material, including God. He doesn't seem to be able to get past the idea of creation ex nihilo. He has taken something that is true of men (we cannot create something out of nothing) and wrongly applied it to God.

    If that presupposition can be nailed, then the incoherence of his presentation can be addressed.
  4. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    He's conflating categories. That nothing exists apart from God means just that: without God making it, nothing exists. It does NOT mean that nothing exists without partaking of the substance or "material" of God.

    Creation ex nihilo means just that: out of nothing. God did not use what existed, i.e. Himself, as material to make all that is; rather, he created it out of nothing. "Nothing" became "something."

    Todd, you have some really good timing. This is the second time we were both posting something at the same time, thus making my secondary post superfluous. Good work.
  5. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser


    He denies ex nihilo creation, but I don't think explains why other than asserting that whenever something projects from something in the presence of nothing else, that something must be comprised of that something. This is not necessarily so.
  6. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Good answers above, I'd add that there is a lot of equivocating going on:

    "Origin" morphs into "source." "Source" equated with "piece of."

    It really is a pathetic try.

    For example, even in everyday usage, the source of a river is not a piece of a river. Also, for example, the origin of an idea for something does not make it the physical source (I think "I'll make a chair" in my mind--then I build it--obviously the thought is an origin but not the source of the chair).

    So, even from an empirical standpoint, the premises are wrong.
  7. snap_dragon

    snap_dragon Puritan Board Freshman

    How is God Separate if He is Infinite?

    Let me first state that I am a newbie in Reformed life. I was formerly into Zen Buddhism. I enjoy apologetics but am no Van Til on the subject. I get confused when trying to understand how God can be infinite spiritually and still be separated from us and nature etc. Wouldn't his spirit permeate everything if He is infinite?

    Thanks for your replies.
  8. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Hello, Snap Dragon, and welcome to the Puritan Board! Just as a reminder, please be sure to follow the Board's rules regarding including your signature when you write a post. For the rules, see the bottom of post #7 just above me in this same thread.

    As to God and His creation, the best I can say is that, although God is the creator of everything in the universe, and that He is present everywhere in the universe at once in all His fulness - omnipresence is the theological term - (there are no "parts" to God, so all of Him is everywhere), it is still true that God is separate from His creation. He is not part of His creatures, even though there is no place where He is not. Pantheism is not a biblical concept.
  9. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Does not the doctrine of creation ex nihilo explain this issue. God does not have to be far away to maintain his separateness.

  10. Craig

    Craig Puritan Board Senior

    Dittos to the above...he's arguing from an un-argued materialist perspective and he's doing a lot of equivocating.

    He's obviously a "monist" (all is one). I'd ask him if he also thinks God is is made of substance, and substance comes from God.
  11. snap_dragon

    snap_dragon Puritan Board Freshman

    doctrine of creation ex nihilo

    Where can i read more on this for my own understanding?
  12. Craig

    Craig Puritan Board Senior

    Definitely read Genesis 1.

    God transcends the created order. He did not create with "stuff" already existing...He created by the word of His power. We cannot understand what it is like to be God, because we are dependent and stem from a succession of prior events. God is independent of us.

    I was reading Rushdoony's "By What Standard", and he said Van Til says there are several ways to look at existence...the Christian way is to say that we know the temporal order exists, but we can conceive of it not existing...but we cannot conceive of God not existing. The material order is the created order of existing, but that depends upon God. God does not depend on anything but Himself.

    Either God created from nothing, or the temporal order has always which case, an infinte regress becomes an unassailable problem: if you can go into the past forever (ie with no beginning), how did we get to today? Biblically, God says He created from nothing. Logic bares this out as well. It is impossible that God is equivalent to His creation.
  13. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member


    BY this logic, your friend has just proved that no one exists. After all, we are nothing more than our parents (and they, theirs' etc.)
  14. snap_dragon

    snap_dragon Puritan Board Freshman

    This was helpful, Craig

    Thanks for your posts. I am a new poster so cannot simply click on the thumbs up button to thank you that thank you here.

    and to all others.
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