>If it is of God's essence to be in a loving relationship to a world, then
Where did you get this idea?
Indeed, God is personal. The eternal fellowship within the Trinity is
often spoken of as showing that personal and relational is part of
God's essence. But I've never heard of any one speaking of being in a
loving relationship to a world as being part of God's essence.
William Lane Craig, toward the end of an article from a 1980 JASA
article discusses the relationship between personality and ex nihilo
...But the question then is: how can a first event come to exist if
the cause of that event is always there? Why isn't the effect as
eternal as the cause? It seems to me that there is only one way out
of this dilemma. That is to say that the cause of the universe is
personal and chooses to create the universe in time. In this way God
could exist changelessly from eternity, but choose to create the
world in time. By "choose" I do not mean God changes his mind. I mean
God intends from eternity to create a world in time. Thus, the cause
is eternal, but the effect is not. God chooses from eternity to
create a world with a beginning; therefore, a world with a beginning
comes to exist. Hence, it seems to me that the only way a universe
can come to exist is if a Personal Creator of the universe exists.
And I think we are justified in calling a personal creator of the
universe by the name "God."
I would just like to make a few concluding remarks on God's
relationship to time. Many people say God is outside time. But this
is not what the Bible says. According to James Barr in his book
Biblical Words for Time, the Bible does not make it clear whether God
is eternal in the sense that he is outside time or whether he is
eternal in the sense of being everlasting throughout all time.43
Thus, the issue must be decided philosophically. It seems to me that
prior to creation God is outside time, or rather there is no time at
all, For time cannot exist unless there is change. And prior to
creation God would have to be changeless. Otherwise, you would get an
infinite series of past events in God's life, and we have seen such
an infinite series is impossible. So God would he changeless and,
hence, timeless prior to creation. I think that the doctrine of the
Trinity can help us to understand this. Before creation, the Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit existed in a perfect and changeless love
relationship. God was not lonely before creation. In the tn-unity of
his own being, he had full and perfect personal relationships. So
what was God doing before creation? Someone has said, "He was
preparing hell for those who pry into mysteries." Not at all! He was
enjoying the fullness of divine personal relationships with an
eternal plan for the creation and salvation of human persons. The
Bible says Christ "had been chosen by God before the creation of the
world, and was revealed in these last days for your sake."44 Nor was
this plan decided on several eons ago. It is an eternal plan: The
Bible says, "God did this according to his eternal purpose which he
achieved through Christ Jesus our Lord."45 Why did God do this? Not
because he needed us, but simply out of his grace and love.
Although I think that the part that I quoted is pretty reasonable, I
happen to think that Craig's article is chock-full of natural
theology--and I'm not sure I want to go there. But that appears to be
where you are going--natural theology of the worst kind--disconnected
from any Biblical revelation whatsoever. But I guess that's where you
have to end up when the Bible is no more than the reflection of God's
people on who God is and what He appears to be doing in their lives.
When the Bible ceases to be an authority for who God is and isn't,
what He is like and what He isn't, we are left to our own
speculations and sensibilities. It seems to me that's where Griffin
and other "modern" theologians already are and where you are heading.
There's hardly any common ground with someone who want to take what's
in the Bible (much the way you did in *The Fouth Day*) as the basis
for what God is like and what his interaction with the world is.
-- _________________ Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist Chemistry Department, Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado 80523 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.chm.colostate.edu/~grayt/ phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801
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