Re: God the interactor (was God the tinkerer)

From: Don Winterstein <dfwinterstein@msn.com>
Date: Tue Sep 06 2005 - 07:10:12 EDT

Dave,

I see the big difference between us on this issue as stemming from your view of what God's eternal nature requires. You infer from God's eternal nature that he cannot experience sequence and cannot change. (George Murphy said something similar.) Although I've reviewed all your statements on this (e.g., to George et al.) made in the recent days while I was away, these inferences still seem to me to be non sequiturs.

I visualize two different kinds of time, one that God generates by creating events in sequence, and another that he has created in generating our universe. If God does create events in sequence, as I believe, then he unquestionably experiences his own kind of time. This does not in any way require him to be confined within our space-time, but it would make his interaction with us in our kind of time more understandable, as such interaction would simply represent further creation in sequence on his part. The certainty of his interaction with us therefore makes it likely that he does indeed experience his own kind of time.

If God is eternal, he must have been doing lots of stuff before he created our finite universe. Or can you imagine him sitting there for half an eternity doing nothing? Trying to imagine God before the big bang increases my respect for his greatness.

I agree that "To inject time into timelessness is to produce self-stultifying nonsense," but maybe there's no such thing as timelessness.

Don

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: D. F. Siemens, Jr.<mailto:dfsiemensjr@juno.com>
  To: dfwinterstein@msn.com<mailto:dfwinterstein@msn.com>
  Cc: asa@lists.calvin.edu<mailto:asa@lists.calvin.edu>
  Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 11:11 AM
  Subject: Re: God the interactor (was God the tinkerer)

  Don,
  There is no before and after outside of time. Before equals t-x; after, t+x. To inject time into timelessness is to produce self-stultifying nonsense.
  Dave

  On Fri, 2 Sep 2005 03:25:03 -0700 "Don Winterstein" <dfwinterstein@msn.com<mailto:dfwinterstein@msn.com>> writes:
    Dave,

    I was hoping you were going to tell me why the eternal God was unable to generate events in sequence. That is, why can't there be an "earlier" and a "later," a "before" and an "after," for the eternal God? There's no reason that I can see why this would mean he was confined within our space-time. It would just mean he had the option of doing novel things. And doesn't the finite age of our universe imply that it's just such a novel thing?

    Apparently the explanation is far too sophisticated for my poor brain to absorb. : )

    Don

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: D. F. Siemens, Jr.<mailto:dfsiemensjr@juno.com>
      To: dfwinterstein@msn.com<mailto:dfwinterstein@msn.com>
      Cc: asa@lists.calvin.edu<mailto:asa@lists.calvin.edu>
      Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2005 11:15 AM
      Subject: Re: God the interactor (was God the tinkerer)

      Don,
      Giving things a different label doesn't make it different. Since you don't see the problem, there is nothing more I can say.
      Dave

      On Thu, 1 Sep 2005 01:48:58 -0700 "Don Winterstein" <dfwinterstein@msn.com<mailto:dfwinterstein@msn.com>> writes:
        Dave,

        Not so. What I am saying is that before God created time he created event sequence; and having once created it, he experiences it. Thus, "before" and "after" have meaning for God much as they do for us. (I'm assuming God has done things in addition to our space-time universe--including things prior to 14 billion years ago our time.)

        Event sequence is not the same as time. Time as the measurable quantity we know requires regular periodic oscillations. So time requires space, because such oscillations (at least, as we know them) can occur only in space. The events God creates in general presumably do not require space and, if not, can have sequence but not sequence in time.

        If God can experience event sequence in the absence of space-time, he likely can also experience event sequence in time much as we do. So he is the creator of time, but he is able to experience and interact with his creatures--time, us, etc. George's Latin does not conflict. I'm sure Augustine would not have ruled out God's ability to interact with his creatures; he himself experienced such interaction: "Tolle, lege!"

        What are alternatives to divine "befores" and "afters"? God either 1) does nothing or 2) does everything continuously. If 1), why should anyone care? If 2), all his creatures should be eternal and unchanging as he would be, because he presumably has done everything continuously for all eternity. I offer instead that God can and does create new events after old events. Our universe is an example. And then he participates in the things he creates.

        I claim further that he gets his satisfaction out of his ability to participate. That's what motivates him in the first place.

        Don

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: D. F. Siemens, Jr.<mailto:dfsiemensjr@juno.com>
          To: dfwinterstein@msn.com<mailto:dfwinterstein@msn.com>
          Cc: asa@lists.calvin.edu<mailto:asa@lists.calvin.edu>
          Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 11:14 AM
          Subject: Re: God the interactor (was God the tinkerer)

          Don,
          Without realizing it, you have placed God in time, making it impossible for him to be the creator of time. See George's citation of Augustine.
          Dave

          On Wed, 31 Aug 2005 04:40:59 -0700 "Don Winterstein" <dfwinterstein@msn.com<mailto:dfwinterstein@msn.com>> writes:
            Dave Siemens wrote: "Change requires a before and after, a previous state and a
            succeeding state, requiring time and probably space and matter, with the
            possibility of analogs in the case of finite spirits.... If you can come up
            with a consistent description of a being both outside of time as Creator
            and within time as reactor...I'll acknowledge
            a mutable deity. "

            Any activity whatever requires a before and after, so if God is active apart from our universe, event sequence exists for him even though not measurable in our kind of time. By doing anything whatever he creates event sequence. So event sequence is more fundamental than space-time. God is outside of our kind of time but he acts and so experiences event sequence.

            I see no reason why God should not be able to experience also our kind of event sequence and participate with us in our events. And yes, by interacting with us he permanently changes. The creation is important to him, it's not an idle pastime; and he knew at the outset he would be changed by it.

            Don
Received on Tue Sep 6 07:10:15 2005

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