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The "Beyond God" questions

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posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 05:05 PM
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This is an exercise in Christian, or at least Biblical, philosophy.

The “Beyond God” questions are questions prompted by the Biblical understanding that God is the Creator of the world.
On this understanding, there’s a distinction between God and the created world; God is not the world and the world is not God.
So this is necessarily different from the understanding (the Monist approach) that God and the world are the same thing.
On the latter view, the statement that God created the world would have no meaning, so a Monist doesn’t need to examine the concept.

Apart from the bare statement that “God made the world”, we’ve developed other ways of referring to the relation between them.
People have described God as “above” or “beyond” the world, as existing “before the world began”, and so forth.
Then speculation looks at these descriptions and asks why they can’t be extended beyond God, and that’s how the “Beyond God” questions arise.

Related in space

So, for example, people found it natural to describe God as “above” the world in which we live.
In the Middle Ages, this would have been understood in a naively literal way.
The location of God had a place in their astronomy beyond the spheres in which the sun, the moon, and the other planets were revolving.
If someone had asked “What is beyond God, in space?”, their answer would probably have been that the question was meaningless because God is infinite.

In modern times, we’ve abandoned the literal understanding of God being “above”, in terms of space.
In fact God has been taken out of space.
Space can be understood as one of the features of the created world.
Therefore the relation of “space” can’t be applied to the relation between God and the world, except in a metaphorical way, by analogy.

But the question “What lies beyond?” is the kind of question that belongs to a universe defined by the dimensions of space.
If God is not contained within a spatial universe, then the question “What lies beyond God?” has no meaning.
This is a different way of coming to the same conclusion.

Related in time

We often speak of God as preceding the world in time.
This kind of language can be found in the Bible, as in the declaration that Christians were chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world”.
If the Bible writers were asked “What was before God, in time?”, their answer would have been that the question was meaningless because God is eternal.

But there’s also another way of dealing with the question.
This involves recognising (as taught by Einstein) that time is to be counted as one of the dimensions of the physical world.
In other words, “time”, like space, is one of the features of the created world.
Therefore the relation of “time” can’t be applied to the relation between God and the world.

But the question “What was there before?” is the kind of question that belongs to a universe defined by the dimensions of space and time.
So if God is not contained within a spatial universe, then the question “What was before God?” has no more meaning than the question “What’s on the other side of God?”

The cause-and-effect relation

In the philosophy of Aquinas (for example), God is identified as the cause of the created world.
This gives rise to the question “Does God himself have a cause?”, commonly expressed in the form “Who made God?”
Aquinas would have answered that there must be a first cause in the series, making “First Cause” part of the definition of God.
But can a God who “has no cause” find a place in the chain of “cause-and-effect”?
Many philosophers would contest the claim.

You may be able to see where this is heading.
I’ll be putting forward a different way of dealing with this question.

I propose that the “cause-and-effect” relationship is another of the features of the physical world, like the dimensions of time and space.
If that is the case, then the “cause-and-effect” relation cannot strictly be applied to the relation between God and the world.

It would also mean that the question “What caused this?” should be understood, once again, as the kind of question that belongs to the physical universe, defined by the dimensions of space and time.
So if God is not contained within this physical universe, then the question “What caused God?”, or “Who made God?”, has no more meaning than the question “What is on the other side of God, in space or time?”

The problem is that we are creatures of the physical world ourselves.
Therefore we use the language of the physical world, talking in terms of “time” and “space” and “cause-and-effect”, because these are the only concepts that we can frame and understand.
When it’s applied to the way that God relates to the world, and even more so when it’s applied to God himself, this language is inaccurate.
Its terms can’t entirely be taken at face value.
If we don’t remember those limitations, and allow for them, that’s when we’re tempted into framing the misleading “Beyond God” questions.




posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 05:23 PM
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and also, then, would "beginning" and "end" be irrelevant?

I had two thoughts while reading your post.

1- mobius strip
2- in the vast swirling sea of particles in the universe, a single non-moving point.

do you find that either of these concepts are relevant to your hypothesis?



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 05:26 PM
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In fact God has been taken out of space.


Unfortunately, it seems God is being taken out of everything.
edit on 28-7-2013 by will615 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 05:30 PM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 

Yes, "beginning and end" would be irrelevant as applied to God, because they are time-related concepts.
So it would have to be said that God has no beginning and ending.

I think the Mobius strip could be a workable image. I would have to think about it more.
The "non-moving particle" image would work less well, because such a particle would still be in the same world as the other particles.



edit on 28-7-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 05:33 PM
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reply to post by will615
 

Yes, modern thinking is tending to "de-throne" God.
But regarding him as not contained by space is not about de-throning him.



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 05:45 PM
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reply to post by will615
 


this thread appears not to be about taking him out of everything, but rather, giving (the speculative) him a proper place. I think we all feel fairly certain that god is not chillin up in the "celestial spheres".

or do you



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 05:49 PM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 

No, that post was something of a play on words, but it wasn't really meant as direct criticism of the OP.
It was just an aside.



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 06:10 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 



In modern times, we’ve abandoned the literal understanding of God being “above”...

This is true in the case of academia and those who have come to an understanding of omnipresence, but in the broader sense, the concept of god among most Christians is still one of above. I have often wondered if the idea of god being everywhere present, is a little too personal for some Christians. Keeping God in the clouds, in heaven, or indeed, relegating him to the mountain, gives them the ability to keep him at arms distance. Kind of like the Jews didn't want to hear him speak. It terrified them.

Just an observation. S&F.



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 06:15 PM
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reply to post by Klassified
 

Fair comment.
We are all creatures of the physical universe, and attached to the concepts that we can easily understand.
So this shows what a great mental effort we have to make before we can free ourselves from the "Beyond God" questions.



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 06:30 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


These are great thoughts.

But if we are to remove God from the chain of cause and effect, out of space and time, we also remove God's capacity to cause and effect anything in space and time.



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 06:39 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


what if god can effect your mind, which is also not a thing, and in turn effect space and time?



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 06:42 PM
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reply to post by tgidkp
 





what if god can effect your mind, which is also not a thing, and in turn effect space and time?


How?



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 06:42 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

Yes, that could be a difficulty, because I don't want to withdraw God into the isolation of Deism.
My line of approach suggests that Creation, bringing the world into existence, is outside the "cause-and-effect" category.
So perhaps there is still scope for God to be interjecting other events, in this more "direct" way, bypassing (as it were) the cause-and-effect sequence.
From the Christian viewpoint, the Incarnation would have to be one such event.



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 06:47 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


.....spooky....



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 06:52 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 





My line of approach suggests that Creation, bringing the world into existence, is outside the "cause-and-effect" category


If Creation brought the world into existence, then it is safe to say it caused "cause-and-effect". If it caused "cause-and-effect", and "cause-and-effect" is it's effect, then we must say Creation is "cause-and-effect" itself. Likewise with space and time, and physical existence.

If God is outside of physical existence, physical existence must be inside God. Meaning physical existence is a constituent of God. They cannot be separated without taking physical existence outside of God, leading to too many paradoxes.

Mind-bender.



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 07:08 PM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
If God is outside of physical existence, physical existence must be inside God. Meaning physical existence is a constituent of God. They cannot be separated without taking physical existence outside of God, leading to too many paradoxes

No, because "inside" and "outside" are also categories of the physical world, so in the same way it would not be strictly accurate to use them about the relation between God and the world.
This thread is operating on the presumption of Creation doctrine, which involves a distinction between God and the created world, and the detachment of God from space and time traditionally follows on from that presumption.
All I'm doing is extending the same line of thought, by analogy, to the cause-and-effect relationship.
So in all three cases the line is that language about space, time, or even "cause", is not strictly valid about the relation between God and the world, but used as a concession to the limitations of the human mind.
Whereas the real relation between them is something we would find quite unimaginable.


edit on 28-7-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 07:18 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 





So in all three cases the line is that language about space, time, or even "cause", is not strictly valid about the relation between God and the world, but used as a concession to the limitations of the human mind.


Then it would also hold that the language about God is not strictly valid.



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 07:26 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 

Yes, that is a true conclusion.
But whereas some philosophers, like "the Areopagite", would say, "We have no valid language about God, so we can't say anything", my preferred approach would be "We have no valid language about God, so we must do the best we can with what we've got, while recognising its limitations".



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 08:02 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 


When 1 reads this text DISRAELI your saying that the descriptions and questions related to the LORD / GOD / CREATOR are time space associated with physical EA*RTH as the physical essence of MAN or other CREATOR Creations tries to interpret and understand those HIGHER BEINGS.

Makes a lot of sense for how can any Created accurately describe something CREATING them in this Created time space zone. The questions basically if answered with descriptions from the Created perspective can be somewhat unexplainable.

There is however potential though to perceive or understand if a more physical relation existed or is already existing between time space the Created exist within and CREATOR / GOD / LORD and Existence..

Time CAN be made, how? Pull a planetoid in orbit around ENERGY SOURCE hypothesized to generate the needed amounts of Growth energy, examples for FLORA /FAUNA. Teach them of location so LORD / CREATOR / GOD to Created physical link and potential descriptions of time space cosmos obtained/shared. And now a physical to metaphysical connection is established once they learn of their Souls and so if they have eternal souls shouldn't THE? And further they could of advanced beyond this realms understanding of time space here associated with planetoid rotations around said energy STAR. Man can move asteroids is it really hard to consider advanced beings moving moons larger moons planets?

I guess subjectively what 1 is sharing is somewhere there may be ways the Created can describe postulate and even describe certain relations to time space with the CREATOR / GOD / LORD. It is said many ancients had STAR Cosmic DATA maybe there was some REAL teaching direct at points , when the species was receptive less fearful open minded.

SnF for the interesting read DISRAELI
edit on 7/28/13 by Ophiuchus 13 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 28 2013 @ 11:25 PM
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I think I've grasped the problem you are questioning in the thread.

Perhaps it is incorrect to even say that it is true that there is a distinction between Creator and Creation, because how is such a distinction applicable to the Creator in the first place? Is the concept of duality the only thing which relates to the Creator? What is there to separate both Creator and Creation if there is no understanding of either?






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