March 1, 2010

Where and When

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , , , at 1:18 PM by E. M.

So here’s where we are – we know that existence exists, and we know that one of the cardinal rules of existence is causality.  We also know through the rules of causality that the finite universe in which we live had to have a First Cause (a cause without a preceding event).  And we know that the First Cause has to be supernatural since there is no natural way to have energy and matter come into existence out of nothing.  What else can causality tell us about the First Cause?

Under the rules of causality, not only must the cause be greater than the effect, but it must also be independent to, or “outside of” the effect.  So the First Cause of the physical universe has to be outside of the universe (the technical term for this is to say that the First Cause is “transcendent”; it transcends the physical universe).

The universe consists of time, space, matter, and energy.  We dealt with matter and energy in the last post, now we need to address time and space. Space is locality.  Space defines “where”.

Ok, so where exactly is “outside the universe”?  Well that’s actually not a valid question because “where” implies that the First Cause occupies some specific location or space…and “space” is a part of the physical universe that the First Cause must be outside of  (if you just said “huh?” you’re probably not alone).

Our perceptions and senses are rooted in the physical universe so it’s tough to wrap our minds around the idea of something that exists without being in a “where”.  We can only conceive of transcendence conceptually.

But wait, it gets worse.

“Time” is also a part of the physical universe, so the First Cause has to also be outside of time.  Time is how we perceive and measure events sequentially (first one thing happens, then another, then another, etc.). We perceive time in a linear way – everything has a beginning, middle, and end.  Think of the time-lines your school teachers would draw on the chalk board during your history lessons (I apologize for any trauma these memories may cause you).  Time defines “when”.

But since the First Cause is outside of time, it does not have a “when”.  From our perspective, it has always been.  It never “wasn’t” and it will never “not be”. It has no beginning, middle, or end.  It simply…is.

The First Cause is eternal.  The “where and when” that the First Cause occupies is referred to as “Eternity”.  Again, this is something that we can only conceptualize. We have no ability to perceive it with our senses.  We can only conceive of eternity in the abstract (or as a cologne I wore in high school that did not make me nearly as popular as I had hoped.  Although it was a significant step up from Old Spice)

So far I have been examining the First Cause as it relates to the physical universe, but all the terms I’ve used to describe it (causeless, eternal, transcendent, supernatural, etc.) are all non-physical.  What if its because the First Cause is non-physical (immaterial)?  If the First Cause of existence is immaterial, what are the implications?  More next week.

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19 Comments »

  1. Ed, what is your definition for time?
    What do you mean when you say ‘outside of time’?
    How would you measure greater?
    Why must the cause be greater than the effect?

    • E. Mabrie said,

      Hi Andrew,

      Thank you for the great questions! Here is my reply:

      Time is the linear progression of events. In spatial terms, time is a “dimension” in which that linear progression is ordered in “past”, “present”, and “future”.

      Being “outside of time” means not being subject to linear progression. Being outside the dimension of time means that you are not confined to experiencing events as past, present, and future.

      “Greater” is a measurement of comparison. If something is “greater”, then it is, or has “more” than the object it is being compare to. It could have “more” either by its nature, or by circumstance. The “more” can either be existential, material, or information based.

      The cause is greater than the effect because the effect is a derivative of the cause. It’s impossible for a derivative to be greater than the source. For example, a puddle is an effect of a rain storm. In order for that puddle to be greater than the rain storm, the storm would have to produce a puddle that contained more water than exists in the entire rain storm, which is physically impossible.

      Ed

      • Does being outside time mean God could know anything before it happens?

        How does God experience things if it is apart from causality?

        Was Mary’s womb greater than Jesus?

      • E. Mabrie said,

        More great questions. Here are my responses:

        1. That’s a difficult question to answer from our perspective since we cannot conceive of a timeless existence. God inhabits “eternity” according to Isaiah 57:15. This is a dimension without the physical property of time. Technically there is no “before” from His perspective. Isaiah 46:9-11 states that God see the beginning from the end and declares things that are not yet done, which seems to imply that he is able to see past, present and future all at once.

        2. God doesn’t see things apart from causality. As the First Cause, He IS causality. As to HOW He sees things, I have no idea. Well, that’s not true. I actually have LOTS of ideas, I’m just not sure if any of them are valid…

        3. Mary’s womb was not the CAUSE of Jesus’ physical incarnation. The Holy Spirit was.

        Ed

      • 1. My thought is that if God is outside time, and experiences the future past and present all at once, then the future is ‘set in stone’, which means we do not have free will. If we have free will then we can surprise God, if he sees the future past and present all at once we cannot surprise God, because he already knows it would happen. Can you rationalize this?
        The only way I can think of to rationalize it is to say that God operates within causality, that seeing the beginning from the end means knowing how all this stuff will end (which would be his plan and be his entire objective he’s working towards), and that God’s dwelling place is eternity, which is spiritual and not physical, meaning it won’t run down as physical things do.

        2. I agree that God does not see apart from causality. I think he sees the spiritual causes clear as a whistle, and that’s how he’s able to give us prophecy, because he understands how all this stuff works.
        Thanks for clearing that one up.

        3. Would Mary’s womb NOT be a cause for Jesus?
        Is your mother’s womb or your father’s sperm greater than you?
        The problem I’m seeing with your definition of greater is that you said the cause is always more than the effect. This means that Good does not exist, because by Good something more is created, which means the effect is greater than the cause, which is how New Jerusulum is going to run, every day the best day of your life and each day after that greater.
        The effect needs to be ABLE to be greater than the cause for Good to exist.

      • E. Mabrie said,

        My thought is that if God is outside time, and experiences the future past and present all at once, then the future is ‘set in stone’, which means we do not have free will.

        EM Response – I’ve seen this argument before. It presents a flaw in the deductive logic that leads to a major contradiction.

        The supposition is
        1. Free will exists
        2. If something is “set in stone”, i.e. immutable, then it precludes free will.

        The problem is we all readily acknowledge, and take for granted the existence of a phenomenon that makes those suppositions mutually exclusive – the “PAST”.

        The past is the only aspect of the time dimension that we can clearly see. The past has already happened. It is “set in stone”. It is immutable. However we have all been in the past, and we all have free will. Hence the contradiction. Let me put it in the form of questions:

        Did yesterday happen? Can you recall (see) what happened yesterday? Can you do anything to change what happened yesterday? Did you have free will yesterday?

        If you answered “yes”, “yes”, “no”, “yes”, then you acknowledge that it is possible to see an aspect of time that is immutable, but in which free will exists. Your ability to see the past does not mean that you denied yourself, or anyone else the free will to MAKE all the decisions that were made yesterday – you just SAW them.

        For someone outside of time, they have they ability to see ALL of time, not just the portions that we can clearly see from our perspective (the past). As Einstein said, past, present, and future are all “stubbornly persistent illusions” that we have due to our perspective in time.

        We make a mistake in assuming that God has the same dimensional limitations that we have. Just because WE can’t see “the future”, and cannot conceive of a “timeless” existence, doesn’t mean that God is similarly limited. Moreover, seeing someone do something, or even knowing that they are going to do it doesn’t mean they were not free to do it. It just means you see it and know it.

        All that said, let me be clear – While I believe THAT God sees all of time, I’m not exactly sure HOW He sees all of time. My explanations are a crude attempt to understand dimensions that are beyond my full comprehension. “Outside of time” and “eternity” are only things we can conceptualize from our pespectives.

        If we have free will then we can surprise God, if he sees the future past and present all at once we cannot surprise God, because he already knows it would happen. Can you rationalize this?

        EM Response – Do you have evidence that God has ever been surprised?

        I agree that God does not see apart from causality. I think he sees the spiritual causes clear as a whistle, and that’s how he’s able to give us prophecy, because he understands how all this stuff works.

        EM Response – This is another argument I’ve heard before, but it also has some problems. Knowing all the causes can be a satisfactory explanation for general prophesies, however there are some very specific prophesies in the Bible that I don’t think can be full explained by knowing the spiritual causes. One glaring example is Daniel 9:25. If you do the math, this verse give the EXACT day that Jesus presents Himself as Messiah in Israel (Palm Sunday). This prophesy was fulfilled nearly 500 years later but it had a 24 hour margin of error! If ANYTHING happened in the subsequent 500 years that caused the date to be off by one day, God would have been wrong. During that 500 years, millions of people were born and died, hundreds of battles were fought, trillions of decisions were made in that time. Any one of these events may have been the “butterfly effect” that would have changed that date if they didn’t happen exactly the way they did. I don’t see how just knowing spiritual causes could provide a satisfactory explanation for the precision of the date.

        How could you know the spiritual causes for people who would be born 100, 200, 300 years from the day the prophesy was given? If people have free will in a future that God cannot see, or are not “set in stone”, then how could spiritual causes predict their births? What if the parents of Augustus Julius Caesar decided through their un-seeable free will not to have sex the night he was conceived? Then Caesar would not have been born. Rome may not have conquered Judea in the same way (or at all), all of these things would have had a dramatic chain reaction through history that could have easily caused the date of Palm Sunday to be off.

        The only logical explanation I can see is either that God MADE it all happen (which WOULD have to preclude free will), or He SAW it happen and told the angel, who told Daniel.

        Would Mary’s womb NOT be a cause for Jesus?

        EM Response – No. Mary’s womb could not CAUSE the birth of the Son of God without the Holy Spirit. However the Holy Spirit could cause the birth without Mary (He could have chosen another suitable woman). Therefore the Holy Spirit is the cause, not Mary’s womb.

        Is your mother’s womb (I’m going to assume you mean her EGG) or your father’s sperm greater than you?

        EM Response – Not necessarily, however my parents’ genetic material was NOT the cause of my birth, they were the blueprint used in my design. Just like the blueprint of a building is not the cause of the building, the architect is. An architect can design many building, so he is greater than the blueprint. Likewise, my blueprint is one of many combinations that my parents were capable of producing (as they produce many sperm and eggs over their lifetime). In order for my blueprint (effect) to be greater, I’d have to have ALL the genetic materials my parents were ever capable of producing from ALL the chromosomes in ALL their cells. This is impossible. Moreover, I could argue that God is my ultimate architect – He implies in Jeremiah that HE is the one who “forms us” in our mothers’ wombs. And I’m certainly not greater than Him.

        The problem I’m seeing with your definition of greater is that you said the cause is always more than the effect. This means that Good does not exist, because by Good something more is created,

        EM Response – I think we have a different definition of what “more” is. You definition seems to be volumetric while mine is also based on an object’s nature. Using my parental example above, while my parents could producer a greater VOLUME of life (children) that their two lives, those children will still be derivatives of the parents and never have all or more of the genetic materials than the parents.

        which means the effect is greater than the cause, which is how New Jerusalem is going to run, every day the best day of your life and each day after that greater.

        EM Response – What is the cause of the New Jerusalem? I would say ultimately it is God. And while in the New Jerusalem we will be “like” God, we will not be greater than Him.

        Thanks again for the questions. They are challenging me and forcing me to bring clarity and resolution to what I believe

      • Ed,
        1.are you willing to consider that God is subject to causality?
        2.What would show you that he is?
        3.How do you define causality specifically?
        4.What is a cause and what is an effect, specifically?
        5. What is your measure for more? What would the example need to look like to show that an effect can be MORE than the cause?

        I recall reading in the gospels that there were multiple times when Jesus was almost taken and either killed or made king, and he escaped because it was ‘not his time’. That might help you figure out the answer to that question.
        There are only a few spiritual causes that would need to be known for God to make this prophecy.

        The Jewish people would react with violence to the Son of God. Pride makes this possible. Jesus could have probably come at almost any point between judges and Matthew and had a similar effect.

        Jesus listening to God.

        As long as both of those things were in place, Jesus only needed to start his ministry and walk into Jerusalem on the right day to fulfill God’s word.

        Jeremiah 7:31 God says himself he did not think they would do something. How could God say this if he already knew it would happen?

      • E. Mabrie said,

        1.are you willing to consider that God is subject to causality?

        That depends on what you mean by “subject to”.

        2.What would show you that he is?

        Again, that will depend on your answer to the above. God is the First Cause of the universe. He ultimately IS causality. To me, your question is like asking if water is subject to being wet. How you define “subject to” will help me understand the point you are trying to make.

        3.How do you define causality specifically?
        4.What is a cause and what is an effect, specifically?

        The previous post (Why ask Why?) gives my explanation of causality. If there is something there that is not clear, let me know and I will try to clarify

        5. What is your measure for more?

        I gave explanations of “greater” and “more” in relation to causality in my previous responses. If there is something there that is not clear, let me know and I will try to clarify

        What would the example need to look like to show that an effect can be MORE than the cause?

        I don’t believe that it is possible for an effect to be greater/more than its cause. You are asking me to provide an example to prove something which I believe is impossible. I don’t know how to do that.

        I recall reading in the gospels that there were multiple times when Jesus was almost taken and either killed or made king, and he escaped because it was ‘not his time’. That might help you figure out the answer to that question.
        There are only a few spiritual causes that would need to be known for God to make this prophecy.

        The Jewish people would react with violence to the Son of God. Pride makes this possible. Jesus could have probably come at almost any point between judges and Matthew and had a similar effect.

        Jesus listening to God.

        As long as both of those things were in place, Jesus only needed to start his ministry and walk into Jerusalem on the right day to fulfill God’s word.

        I accept that that explanation could work if confined to the first 30 – 40 years of the first century when Jesus was alive, but it does not account for the vast number of variables that could have occurred during the previous 400+ years that could have had a dramatic effect on the precision of the prophesy. And that is just one example of precise prophesy in the book of Daniel alone. There are also very precise prophecies of the 300 year imperial histories and conquests of Persia, Greece, and Rome that have to be accounted for. Histories that rely on precise predictions about people/leaders who would not be born for many years after the prophesy was given.

        Jeremiah 7:31 God says himself he did not think they would do something. How could God say this if he already knew it would happen?
        I haven’t studied this passage in depth. I’d need to do so before I could answer.

        Do you believe that God is confined to the dimension of time?

        The general theory of relativity proves that time only affects and is affected by things with physical mass. Do you believe that God has physical mass?

        If so, what is the origin/cause of this mass (the laws of thermodynamics states that mass is not causeless)

        If God does not have mass, how is He confined to the time dimension?

        If He is not confined to the time dimension, how do you rationalize that he cannot see all of time, including the future?

        Ed

  2. Jacob Rehberg said,

    Ed, you defined time as “A linear progression of events.” You also said time is experienced as “first one thing happens, then another, then another, etc.”

    You summed up causality by saying this: “This rule states that for every effect, there is a preceding cause, and that cause is independent of, and greater than the effect”

    I’m going to focus on the first part, that effects have preceding causes.
    So, to say that causality means effects have preceding causes, is essentially to say that, a thing happened, and before that, another thing happened, and before that, another thing happened, and before that, the FIRST thing happened.

    Causality says that the FIRST thing happened, then its effect, then the effect of that effect, and then more effects.
    Causality could also be stated as “First one thing happens, then another, then another, etc.”
    Which means that causality is linear, just like time.

    To say that God is OUTSIDE of the LINEAR progression of events, is to say that He is OUTSIDE of CAUSALITY.

    Do you see the contradiction?

    If causality can PROVE that God exists, how can He be outside of it?
    Do you not think that things happen in a specific order to God?

    Mathematics says that a line is infinite in both directions. Only a line SEGMENT has a beginning, middle, and end.
    I would say that our physical universe would be a Line Segment. It has a beginning, middle, and end. I believe that God is outside of it, in that He existed before and He will exist after.

    • E. Mabrie said,

      Hello Jacob,

      The contradiction you see is not in MY definition of causality, but rather in YOU taking my definition of time and erroneously applying it to causality.

      In my definition, causality is a principle (for every effect, there is a cause). Your explanation of causality is that first one thing happens, then another. But again, that is not MY definition of causality (that is actually closer to my definition of time). Time is a physical property, causality is a principle. Principles are not physical, so it is an error to mix them. In fact mixing them is how you ended up with a contradiction.

      God is the First Cause. One of the first effects of the First Cause is “time”. The third word in the first verse of the first chapter of the first book in the Bible references the creation of time. Every other effect seems to occur IN the time, but that doesn’t preclude the First Cause being outside of time.

      Moreover, my rationale that God is outside of time is not based on causality. It’s based on physics. Only objects with physical mass are subject to time. God is spirit. Spirit has no mass. Therefore God is not subject to time.

      EM

  3. Jacob Rehberg said,

    Are you defining causality as “For every effect, there is a cause”?

    I believe I used your definition, and I want to be corrected if I was wrong.

    If so, to say the every effect has a cause, is also to say that every cause has an effect. I would say the APPLICATION of causality says that “one thing happens, then another, then another, etc.” Which sounds to me exactly like your explanation of time.

    I do not see anything in your definition of time that says anything about it being a physical property.

    I believe we are discussing two different definitions for time.
    It sounds to me like I am using your definition of “a linear progression of events” and you are using something along the lines of “the physical measurement of the segmented linear progression of events.”

    I would say that God IS outside our physical measurement, and the “In the Beginning” references THAT physical measurement. The BEGINNING of our line segment.

    “Moreover, my rationale that God is outside of time is not based on causality. It’s based on physics. Only objects with physical mass are subject to time. God is spirit. Spirit has no mass. Therefore God is not subject to time.”
    I would agree that God is not subject to time as our physical measurement, but to me, God not being subject to a linear progression of events, as I stated before, sounds like the application of causality.

    I do not see that your premise of time being a physical property is included in your definition.
    You have stated that it is, but you left it out of your definition, and I feel like it would help your definition be more specific, and better explain what you mean by it.

    • E. Mabrie said,

      If so, to say the every effect has a cause, is also to say that every cause has an effect.

      Not necessarily. God could have decided not to create the universe. My parents could have decided not to have children. I suppose that if I gave a definition of what a “cause” is, I’d have to include the word “potential”. However I did not give a definition of WHAT a cause is. I gave a definition of the PRINCIPLE of causality.

      I believe we are discussing two different definitions for time.
      It sounds to me like I am using your definition of “a linear progression of events” and you are using something along the lines of “the physical measurement of the segmented linear progression of events.”

      Both are aspects of the definition of time. Time is a sequence of events, and that sequence is measurable. The fact that the sequence can be measured does not affect the definition.

      I would say that God IS outside our physical measurement, and the “In the Beginning” references THAT physical measurement. The BEGINNING of our line segment.

      If you believe that God exists in a dimension where things happen in a linear sequence, but that sequence is not measurable and not physical, then you are right, that does not conform to my definition of time. In fact, I’ve never heard of nor have any concept of such a dimension.

      I would agree that God is not subject to time as our physical measurement, but to me, God not being subject to a linear progression of events, as I stated before, sounds like the application of causality.

      I don’t understand how God not being subject to a linear progression of events sounds like your previous example of the application of causality. It sounds like the opposite in fact.

      I do not see that your premise of time being a physical property is included in your definition. You have stated that it is, but you left it out of your definition, and I feel like it would help your definition be more specific, and better explain what you mean by it.

      You need to keep reading the blog. I address the physicality of time in the very next post.

      EM

      • Ed, are you willing to consider that you could be wrong?
        If so, what would it take to prove you wrong?

      • E. Mabrie said,

        Ed, are you willing to consider that you could be wrong?

        Absolutely. I consider it every time I think about this kind of stuff.

        If so, what would it take to prove you wrong?

        A better explanation. An explanation that is more complete and conclusive than mine or any that I’ve heard thus far. In fact, I look forward to finding a better explanation because it would result in me understanding the subject matter better.

        Are you willing to consider that YOU could be wrong also?

        EM

  4. Jacob Rehberg said,

    Ed,

    you said, “God could have decided not to create the universe.”
    To say that is to say that God chooses to be right and just, and that he is capable of being wrong. I believe that contradicts the bible. I believe it would be saying that contradictions are possible. I do not believe its possible for contradictions to exist.

    Do you believe its possible for contradictions to exist?

    JR- “I would agree that God is not subject to time as our physical measurement, but to me, God not being subject to a linear progression of events, as I stated before, sounds like the application of causality.”

    EM- “I don’t understand how God not being subject to a linear progression of events sounds like your previous example of the application of causality. It sounds like the opposite in fact.”
    In this, I misspoke. I would say that God IS subject to a linear progression of events, which sounds like my application of causality. Thank you for helping me see that.

    I believe that, to say that Causality does not occur in a linear fashion (A thing happened, then another thing, then another, etc), means that the effects could happen before the causes. I believe that contradicts causality.

    Do you believe that the effect of a cause could happen before the cause?

    Can you explain how causality is NOT linear?

    Do you think your thoughts happen in a linear sequence?
    Do you think they are physical and measurable?

    Also, my questions from before that you did not answer:

    If causality can PROVE that God exists, how can He be outside of it?
    Do you think that things happen in a specific order to God?

    I am also willing to consider I’m wrong.
    I would need to see how causality is not linear, or how the linear progression of events is strictly physical.

    Linear meaning in order, one after another.

    • E. Mabrie said,

      you said, “God could have decided not to create the universe.”
      To say that is to say that God chooses to be right and just, and that he is capable of being wrong. I believe that contradicts the bible. I believe it would be saying that contradictions are possible. I do not believe its possible for contradictions to exist.

      EM -I don’t follow your logic. Right and Just are causeless principles. As such, why would God need to cause something (the creation of the universe) in order to be right and just in your mind?

      I would theorize that a possible reason for creating a physical universe would be to see the APPLICATION of those principles play out. But the EXISTENCE of a principle is not predicated on whether or not it is applied.

      I believe that, to say that Causality does not occur in a linear fashion (A thing happened, then another thing, then another, etc), means that the effects could happen before the causes. I believe that contradicts causality.

      EM – Again, you’ve jumped to a contradictory conclusion based on an erroneous understanding of my definition of causality. Please see my next response.

      Can you explain how causality is NOT linear?

      EM – Causality is a principle. A principle isn’t subject to time. The APPLICATION of the principle of causality is a linear sequence INSIDE our time dimension.

      Do you think your thoughts happen in a linear sequence?

      EM – Some do, some don’t. For example, when I remember something, my mind is going back to “observe” something that occurred in the past. Remember that my definition of time from my first response in this thread was that time is a linear sequence, AND that sequence is defined as “past”, “present”, and “future”. If you leave that part out, you are not actually addressing my definition of time

      Furthermore, many aspects of right-brain thinking do not occur in a linear fashion. Abstract thought and dreams are two examples that immediately come to mind.

      Do you think they are physical and measurable?

      EM – No I don’t. But how does that affect any part of my argument?

      Also, my questions from before that you did not answer:

      If causality can PROVE that God exists, how can He be outside of it?

      EM – When did I ever state that God is “outside of causality”? (For that matter, I don’t even know how someone can be “outside” of a principle). I’ve stated that God is outside of TIME. You equate the definition of the principle of causality with the definition of time. I do not.

      Why are you continually trying to hold me accountable to a definition that I don’t have and don’t agree with? Do you think that is fair?

      Do you think that things happen in a specific order to God?

      EM – As I stated in a previous comment, while I believe THAT God sees all of time, I’m not exactly sure HOW He sees all of time. My explanations are a crude attempt to understand dimensions that are beyond my full comprehension. “Outside of time” and “eternity” are only things we can conceptualize from our perspectives.

      I am also willing to consider I’m wrong.
      I would need to see how causality is not linear,

      EM – Causality is a principle. A principle isn’t subject to time.

      or how the linear progression of events is strictly physical.

      EM – Please make sure that you are addressing my FULL definition of time (see my note above). Time is a physical property. If you have information that refutes Mr. Einstein’s General Relativity, I would be happy to hear it.

      Now I have a question: Are you pursing AGREEMENT or UNDERSTANDING in this conversation?

      Are you trying to convince me to reject my position and adopt yours, or are you genuinely trying to understand my position without regard to whether it can or does conform to your own?

      EM

      • Ed,
        Thanks for sticking through this, man. I’m having a hard time with it, and I think maybe you are too. So I am thankful for your answers to all these questions. AND thank you for your questions. This has been a challenge, as the only people I have ever debated with who believe God is outside time are calvanists, and the argument runs down quickly. I see that you use a lot more logic than that, and I’m glad for this.
        Thank you for this debate, and if you want to be done, I’m willing to call it quits any time.

        I am willing to consider that I could be wrong.
        I would still like you to show me that relativity as it relates to time, as I asked before.

        Are you saying that God is outside of how you define time because your definition applies ONLY to the physical?

        do you agree that truth is a fact that creates and has a Right what with a right why and a right how?

        Are you saying that causality is not a linear sequence?
        If so, is it possible for an effect to occur before a cause?

        I am trying to understand you Ed, I apologize if it looks any different.

      • E. Mabrie said,

        Thanks for sticking through this, man. I’m having a hard time with it, and I think maybe you are too.

        EM – Understanding the dimension of time is extraordinarily difficult because as creatures who are bound by time, we can only conceptualize an existence that is NOT bound by time. I heard a teacher once explain that when trying to understand something beyond our perception, it’s often helpful to go “a level down” to get perspective.

        For example, we live in (or rather we experience) a three dimensional world. We experience width, length, and depth. Now imagine a creature who only lived in two dimensions – length and width. How would he see the world? He’d basically see everything as flat lines! He can only move in his flat plane of existence. His whole world is nothing but a series of lines. His existence to us would be like being confined to a piece of paper. Imagine trying to explain a three dimensional world to him. How would you explain depth to him? How would you make him understand a box or a sphere? How could you explain one thing being behind another? How could you explain running though hills, or flying or wrapping your arms around the person you love? He has no point of reference for any of this. In truth, he can’t truly understand an extra dimension.

        The best you could do is try to help him conceptualize another dimension, but since his imagination is severely limited by his perspective, at best you could only help him understand the most rudimentary aspects of a 3-D world. He’ll never understand 99.9% of what we experience unless we could make him like us.

        I think that from God’s perspective, we are a lot like the 2-D guy. If God can perceive (or exist in) additional dimensions (and current science infers that there are at least 10 dimensions (!)), then God’s perspective of existence is so far beyond our comprehension, that we need to accept the fact that at best, like 2-D guy, we will only conceptualize the most rudimentary aspects of eternity. What we know – what God has revealed to us is probably infinitesimally small compared to what we will understand in Eternity.

        That is why I think it is a mistake to superimpose the limitations of our perspective on God, and say that He can’t do or experience certain things because WE cannot. The only limitations that we know about God are what He has revealed to us about His nature (always and completely Right and Just, etc). We can only make educated guesses about what we don’t completely know as it relates to the dimensions we cannot experience.

        This has been a challenge, as the only people I have ever debated with who believe God is outside time are Calvinists, and the argument runs down quickly. I see that you use a lot more logic than that, and I’m glad for this.

        EM – I think this is where some of the misunderstanding stems from. I’m not a Calvinist. I don’t believe in predestination. I believe that we have free will, and as I said before, I see no conflict between having a free will, and God seeing all of time, because I don’t believe that God seeing all of time necessarily precludes us from making the choices we make.

        Are you saying that God is outside of how you define time because your definition applies ONLY to the physical?

        EM- Yes! Time is a physical property. It only affects and is affected by things with mass.

        do you agree that truth is a fact that creates and has a Right what with a right why and a right how?

        EM- Yes. I think that Calvinists are correct in their WHAT (God is outside of time), but incorrect in their HOW/WHY (predestination)

        Are you saying that causality is not a linear sequence?
        If so, is it possible for an effect to occur before a cause?

        EM – Again, causality is a principle, and therefore timeless. The application of that principle (cause and effect) is sequential in our time dimension – which is the only dimension in which we have any experience with the application of cause and effect. If the application of cause and effect as we understand it occurs outside of time, I have no concept of how.

        I am trying to understand you Ed, I apologize if it looks any different.

        EM – And I want to help you understand my position as best I can. As for understanding ME – that could take a while…

      • Thanks for the answers ed.
        I think I understand what you’re saying now.
        I still disagree with some of it, but would you be alright with letting God show either of us where we are wrong?

        This has been a challenge, thank you.
        P.S. I look forward to understanding YOU more in the future, haha.


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