Re: Questioning the Big Bang

From: Terry M. Gray (
Date: Thu May 02 2002 - 16:45:54 EDT

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    >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
    creation (

    ...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
    phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

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