analogies, and models of God (was tinkering God

From: Don Nield <>
Date: Thu Aug 25 2005 - 21:01:37 EDT

Dave , Jim and other folk:
I think that I understand the triple point of water. It is just the case
that for a container containing H2O at a certain special temperature and
pressure, some of the stuff may be solid, some may be liquid, and some
may be gas, and some may be in transition from one state to another. In
a sense, the 3 states co-exist in the one container.

Whether this is a good analogy for theological purposes is another
matter. In fact, I would be very cautious.
I am reminded of a story which I picked up from one of my mathematics
colleagues -- I have not verified it. The story goes that the famous
mathematician Leibnitz (also spelt Leibniz) (1646-1716) suggested to
Jesuit missionaries to China that they might use the analogy of
imaginary numbers to aid the explanation of the Holy Spirit to educated
Chinese people. To me this is ludicrous, but for some people it might
not be ludicrous.

I am quite happy to adopt a model of God as one having both temporal and
non-temporal aspects if that is the best way of understanding reality
in the light of the Bible and what we know about nature.

Jim Armstrong wrote:

> Yuh! Ask me something easy to explain!!
> Actually, I don't think the change of state per se and its
> temporalness is particularly germane to this parallel. I wasn't
> talking about either/or here.
> I was thinking more of existing simultaneously in two different
> "states", as does water in the specific "expressions" of vapor and
> ice. The vapor is not shape/volume constrained, but the ice is. Yet
> the two forms are essentially the same substance, and in the same
> domain of existence. I'm just thinking out loud here, looking for a
> way to suggest that God might "reasonably" exist simultaneously in
> and outside of time. Isn't that sort of what is implicit with taking
> Jesus to be incarnate time-constrained deity? [This gets very
> complicated for me where the time-constrained diety speaks to himself
> in the form of the non-constrained self - very confusing]. I'm just
> poking at the idea that the time-constrained existence is just a
> special case (subset?) of the greater reality that God "inhabits". JimA
> D. F. Siemens, Jr. wrote:
>> Jim,
>> Now if you will just explain the change of state in eternal spirit.
>> Note that change involves time, which means that the previous state
>> is temporal, truly before.
>> Consider the possibilities with a deity. God is either eternal or not
>> eternal. In the latter case, as in Neoplatonic emanationism,
>> the world deity came into being from a greater source. This, in the
>> long run, requires either an infinite regress of deities or one of
>> the two next possibilities. (1) God is eternal in the sense of being
>> endlessly existent in infinite time. This is the province of
>> pantheism and panentheism. Hindu pantheism has an endless cycle,
>> eternal recurrence, with the deity being one with the world. I
>> haven't seen that panentheism has actually addressed the problem,
>> keeping to the current universe. (2) God is eternal in the sense of
>> being timeless, totally outside of time. Only under this can he be
>> the creator of time, mass-energy, change--the total intertwined
>> reality of which we are aware.
>> Dave
>> On Wed, 24 Aug 2005 14:00:07 -0700 "Jim Armstrong"
>> < <>> writes:
>> Water remains H20 whether it is water vapor or ice. Vapor and ice
>> are two different manifestations of the same substance, separated
>> (usually) by two state changes. Same stuff, different expression.
>> Why cannot this be an analogy for the God state, in the one case
>> expressed in temporal form, in another exempt? JimA
Received on Thu Aug 25 21:04:17 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Aug 25 2005 - 21:04:17 EDT