God had to have acted to create within time, so how can he be eternal?

(Bra Krox Effectx) #1

Hi everyone,
A friend shared an image of some claims made by an atheist on social media. I want help with how to address it. Thank you

(christopher van zyl) #5

The way I would address it is to appeal to the naturalists belief about creation, and then move on to the Christian belief.
The naturalists believe that at the big bang, the laws of nature broke down. They call it a singularity, and are perfectly happy with this explanation. So they say there are certain events, that don’t work inside nature, and seem to go contrary to what we expect in those laws. Sure sounds miraculous to me. :wink: If they gave it a moments thought, they would start to question their own worldviews. Not even they can explain the origins without invoking a miracle.

So for the creation event (in naturalism), they allow for a miracle. But when the Christian talks about the creation event, they spew out things like what you’ve stated above. How can God do something that requires time, and yet He himself is outside of time? I have no idea. But that’s exactly the definition of a miracle. Something outside of nature, the supernatural. (what I’m getting at is that if they are content with the miraculous in their explanation they must allow it in yours).

Another thing is that if the thing that does the creating needs to constantly be in the time frame, and you are trying to explain the origins, there will be an infinite regress. What this means is that there has to be a first cause, itself uncaused, outside of time, otherwise whatever you are positing for the creation can be subject to the same critism that you stated above.

This is just the beginnings of my thought process, and by no means a comprehensive answer. But I do hope that it does help you!

(SeanO) #6

@Bra_Krox_Effectx @c3vanzyl made some good points. In my opinion, this argument falls apart in multiple ways.

  • First, it assumes that the time frame within our universe is the only one that exists. God could reside in a different time frame outside of our universe - an eternal one. Or maybe He can move between time frames. Lots of alternative possibilities.
  • Second, time is not actually a thing (see article below for a physicist who is making the same claim). So simply because we describe action in terms of time - a(t) - does not mean that action requires time. It simply means that we find the concept of time a useful means of describing actions. Time is a concept that allows humans to make sense of their continuous experience of the present - the Now. So I think this argument is built on a flimsy premise - it is non-obvious that an action requires time - especially since we do not understand the realm where God resides… Even if we assume our present understanding of space-time is accurate, the physics in God’s realm could be entirely different.

“The only evidence you have of last week is your memory. But memory comes from a stable structure of neurons in your brain now. The only evidence we have of the Earth’s past is rocks and fossils. But these are just stable structures in the form of an arrangement of minerals we examine in the present. The point is, all we have are these records and you only have them in this Now.”


(Andrew Bulin) #7

Agreed. When you consider quantum mechanics, we are already stepping outside of the laws of space time as we understand them in our universe. For multiverse theories, there needs to be something outside of our known laws of physics to pump out universes of different variations. I think even from a materialistic/naturalist worldview, the argument is unsound.

(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #8

someone else had a similar question here that I think will be helpful:

(chandra kishore sardar) #9

Wow!! Thanks for your incredible response. It helps a lot.

(chandra kishore sardar) #10

:ok_hand::ok_hand::ok_hand:very profound !!

(Adam Leis) #11

This could be useful to the conversation. Dr. William Lane Craig covers God’s Relationship to Time in his Defenders class and has done extensive work on the topic.

(Earnest Nadeem) #12

It’s very simple,
Just as by drinking or using water, we do not become water.
Association with time or anything does not reduce God to the limitations of that thing.
Even when Jesus touched a leper, he did not get leporasy but the leper was cleanser and healed

(Sarah Abigail Kuriakos) #13

You’ve presented some interesting ideas here, but just so you know, God doesn’t need anything. It’s says in the book of Acts,

He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. ~ Acts 17:24-25, NLT.

So when He created the universe and time, He did it miraculously, outside the constraints of time. And no one knows how He did it. That’s one of the great mysteries that we may be able to ask Him about once we get to Heaven.

I hope this helps! I love thinking about interesting and deep ideas like this!

(Mark Gilliam) #14

The logic in Narendra’s statement is faulty and confusing. I am going to attempt to explain using the assumption that Narendra is posting about the Christian God.

First, does action have to be a function of time? Does what God did before time (creation) not constitute an action? Would God the Father loving God the Son and loving God the Holy Spirit not constitute action? The Bible seems to be silent about what specific things occurred before creation, but we can deduce that the Persons were active in relationship before creation. I think the Godhead was active.

Second, why is it valid to limit God to being only a part of time Himself in order to create anything? If God is God He can pretty much do anything He wants, when He wants, etc. with the exception that God cannot do anything against His holy nature. Who are we to tell God in what condition He must be in to create?

Third, for God not to be eternal then He must be caused. Who then caused Him and wouldn’t who ever caused Him be God and start the whole argument over? It gets a little crazy here.

Fourth, there is no contradiction with God acting in time and being an eternal Being.

The fact that we can’t grasp or reconcile a concept or an idea does not make the concept or idea false.

God does not fit into a box.

Therefore, I reject both the parts and the whole of the post.

What about this. Time is a subset of eternity. Then you have no problem with God existing in both.