A while back I did a post on God being Infinite and the many contradictory problems with calling God infinite. And when doing that post, in the comments section the post turned to issue of God being Eternal. So I decided to revisit that topic. But let’s first start with defining it:
- existing through all time: lasting for all time without beginning or end
- unchanging: unaffected by the passage of time
- seemingly everlasting: seeming to go on forever or recur incessantly
- beyond limits of experience: in Kant’s philosophical system, exceeding the limits of experience and therefore unknowable except hypothetically
- beyond categories: above or outside all known categories
I decided to do this both on God being both Eternal (being Timeless, Non-Temporal, Everlasting) and Transcendent (Outside Space and Time and Unknowable). Because they overlap so much when comes to describing an eternal timeless infinite God. I like the way Christian philosopher Richard Swinburne so elegantly put it.
God is eternal. But this has been understood in two different senses: either as the claim that God is timeless (he does not exist in time, or at any rate in our time) or as the claim that God is everlasting (he existed at every moment of past time, exists now, and will exist at every moment of future time). In my opinion the timeless view is incompatible with everything else that religious believers have wanted to say about God. For example, it does seem strongly that God being omniscient entails that he hears the prayers of humans at the same time as they utter them; yet on the timeless view God does not exist at the same time as (simultaneously with) any moment in our timescale. For this and other reasons I shall in future understand God being eternal as God being everlasting…. (Richard Swinburne and God’s Timelessness, p. 12)
Is an Eternal Transcendent God the Cause of Everything?
The traditional argument for an eternal transcendent god is the argument for Causation as follows:
1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause
2. The universe began to exist
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause
i. And that cause must be eternal existing before the universe and transcendent existing outside the universe.
And of course the theist says this cause is God.
And the second part of that argument is the transcendental argument for the existence of God.
- If there is no god (most often the entity God, defined as the god of the Christian Bible, Yahweh), knowledge is not possible.
- Knowledge is possible (or some other statement pertaining to logic or morality).
- Therefore a god exists.
The traditional counter apologetic response to this, “If God cause and created everything, What caused God?” But I want to add one more tidbit to that argument.
What came first: The God or the Egg?
If God is the creator or the cause of everything, then it is safe to say that nothing existed before God. But then that causes another problem –knowledge, intuition, and reasoning. If nothing existed before God, then this presents the theist with a huge logical fallacy for the existence of knowledge, intuition and reasoning.
- · If logic did not exist, what logical steps did God use to create the universe?
- · If knowledge did not exist, then what knowledge did God use to make it exist and create it?
- · If reasoning did not exist, what reason did God have to create anything?
- · If critical thinking did not exist, what critical thinking skills did god use determine that he needed to create a universe?
- · If perfection did not exist before, what made him perfect?
There is a huge logical fallacy that exist when we say nothing existed before God; if all the things God needed to use to create the world (knowledge, logic, and reasoning) did not exist either? What did God use?
Can Freewill exist if God already knows what you are doing?
With God being Eternal Omniscient and Immutable how could the ideology of freewill survive if God already knows what your decision is, and have influenced everything for you to make that decision the way he so wills and desires….
God is commonly portrayed as being eternal; —-however, there is more than one way to understand the concept of “eternal.” On the one hand, God may be thought of as “everlasting,” which means that God has existed through all of time. On the other hand, God may be thought of as “timeless,” which means that God exists outside of time, unconstrained by the process of cause and effect.
The idea that God should be eternal in the sense of timeless is partially derived from the characteristic of God being omniscient even though we retain free will. If God exists outside of time, then God can observe all events throughout the course of our history as if they were simultaneous. Thus, God knows what our future holds without also affecting our present — or our free will.
An analogy of how this might be so was offered by Thomas Aquinas, who wrote that “He who goes along the road does not see those who come after him; whereas he who sees the whole road from a height sees at once all those traveling it.” A timeless god is, then, thought to observe the entire course of history at once, just as a person might observe the events along the entire course of a road at once.
A more important basis for defining “eternal” as “timeless” is the ancient Greek idea that a perfect god must also be an immutable god. Perfection does not allow for change, but change is a necessary consequence of any person who experiences the changing circumstances of the historical process. (Timeless Vs. Everlasting, By Austin Cline)
The secondary problem of this is if God is Omniscient knowing everything outside space and time, then there is no such thing as free-will. Because the state of freewill requires a state of uncertainty were the being has a choice to choose not knowing the outcome of the choice. That neither the person nor God could know. This God could exist, but it would not be a God of freewill.
Transcendent God vs. Immanent God
One of the other characteristics of God that gets thrown around is God being described as Immanent, (meaning: Within or dwelling within the limits of time, space and knowledge), which means the exact opposite of transcendent. These two attributes are really odd ways to describe God, not just cause they are so contradictory to each. But because they describe God so vaguely and unnaturally.
A God that is Everlasting and transcendent has no cause to do anything. Because God is a non-tangible non-temporal being, all actions by God are completely irrelevant. God would have no need nor purpose. But once the characteristic of immanent is attached to God, God becomes no longer majestic.
A transcendent omniscience eternal God would not need to answer prayers or even listen to them cause he already knows the prayer, knows what led up to prayer. And knows if he will or will not answer the prayer. This type of God makes no common sense because the Supreme Being would have no cause nor reason for care, to get involved, change his mind, or to do anything.
Unknown and Unknowable God
One of the final arguments I usually hear from theistic proponents of God is that God is unknowable. That in order for someone to say that God does not exist, they would have to know everything, because God is Unknown and Unknowable. For no one can’t know the mind of God.
I find this to be a very obtuse description of a Transcendent-Eternal God, because this argument only makes sense if a theist openly admits in the beginning of an argument, that they themselves could absolutely be wrong about all concepts of God, because God is unknowable.
This is really the most inconsistent argument I have ever heard. It is really odd that a theist or a Christian will say that God is unknown/unknowable and claim that nobody can know the mind of God; But still make religious claims about the character and will of God. It’s just really out-of-place that a religion or a church will say that god is incomprehensible to man but believe with certainty and knowledge that they know and worship the one true God, but all others not have no knowledge of God and worship the wrong god. Is it not contradictory that a person can say they know God and have a personal relationship with God, but in the same breath say God is Unknown and Unknowable?
God Vs. Reality: A Conceptual Existence
When describing God as being Transcendence and Eternal, we are also describe God as being intangible, nontemporal, timeless, invisible and spiritual. When reading this description of god I can’t help but conclude: What’s the difference between that and non-existing? Wouldn’t it just be easier to call God, a concept or a feeling?
As on blogger on Ex-Christian.net put it: If God’s attributes are such that we understand them to be non-spatial and non-temporal, then how do we distinguish that from merely not existing?
I will present another argument in this format: 1) Anything that exists occupies space and time. 2) God does not occupy space and time. 3) Therefore God does not exist.
When we describe God as such, we reduce the existence of a transcendent eternal God to an inconsistent and incoherent concept. That God is really an incoherent explanation of nothing.