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Author Topic: The Universe: Infinite and Eternal?  (Read 1199 times) Average Rating: 0
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Matthew777
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« on: January 27, 2005, 06:06:22 PM »

We are studying Richard Taylor in my Philosophy of Religion class and as a theist, he is contented with the idea of an infinite and eternal universe, assuming that the universe is dependent on God for its existence.

In his book entitled Metaphysics, he explains:

"People tend to think that creation -- for example, the creation of the world by God -- means creation in time, from which it of course logically follows that if the world had no beginning in time, then it cannot be the creation of God. This, however, is erroneous, for creation means essentially dependence, even in Christian theology. If one thing is the creation of another, then it depends for its existence on that other, and this is perfectly consistent with saying that both are eternal, that neither ever came into being, and hence, that neither was ever created at any point of time. Perhaps an analogy will help convey this point. Consider, then, a flame that is casting beams of light. Now there seems to be a clear sense in which the beams of light are dependent for their existence upon the flame, which is their source, while the flame, on the other hand, is not similarly dependent for its existence upon them. The beams of light arise from the flame, but the flame does not arise from them. In this sense, they are the creation of the flame; they derive their existence from it. And none of this has any reference to time; the relationship of dependence in such a case would not be altered in the slightest if we supposed that the flame, and with it the beams of light, had always existed, that neither had ever come into being.

[12] Now if the world is the creation of God, its relationship to God should be thought of in this fashion; namely, that the world depends for its existence upon God, and could not exist independently of God. If God is eternal, as those who believe in God generally assume, then the world may (though it need not) be eternal too, without that altering in the least its dependence upon God for its existence, and hence without altering its being the creation of God. The supposition of God's eternality, on the other hand, does not by itself imply that the world is eternal too; for there is not the least reason why something of finite duration might not depend for its existence upon something of infinite duration -- though the reverse is, of course, impossible."

This material gets me thinking, If the universe need not even have a beginning for God to exist, why are young earth creationists so opposed to the idea that the earth was not created in six days?

Furthermore, what are atheists attempting to prove by stating that the universe is eternal? That still wouldn't give a sufficient explanation for why and how it exists.

« Last Edit: January 27, 2005, 06:14:00 PM by Matthew777 » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2005, 06:52:23 PM »

We are studying Richard Taylor in my Philosophy of Religion class and as a theist, he is contented with the idea of an infinite and eternal universe, assuming that the universe is dependent on God for its existence.

Does this mean that the universe is consubstantial with God? 
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2005, 08:26:54 PM »

This would mean that the universe is eternally dependent on God.

This is not meant to prove that the universe is infinite and eternal, it is just to show that if it were, God would still exist.
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2005, 05:40:36 PM »

This would mean that the universe is eternally dependent on God.

This is not meant to prove that the universe is infinite and eternal, it is just to show that if it were, God would still exist.


I know Im getting into a subject I know nothing about but if the universe was finite what would be bordering it?   Finite assumes borders and edges.

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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2005, 05:42:36 PM »

Well, scientists say the universe is expanding...expanding into what?  Who knows? 
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2005, 07:57:18 PM »

The main bone of contention of this quote I provided is that atheists are wrong in assuming that an eternal universe would rule God out of the equation.
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2005, 08:05:53 PM »

ohhhhh......being a Nuclear Engineer, I can have a field day with this one.

You're right Matthew777....as Thomas Aquinas retorted to Bonaventure, an eternal universe does not necessarily take God out of the equation.

The universe cannot be eternal for the following reasons:

If the universe were eternal, then one of two things would happen:

If the universe had only a given amount of energy, we would have reached heat death an infinitely long time ago.  If the universe had an-ever-added supply of mass/energy (i.e. Einstein's "steady state theory"), then the universe would have an infinite gravitational field.  We would all be crushed to death by this infinite gravitational field....and since I am sitting here writing this, this has obviously not happened.  Also, as Gottfried Leibniz stated, the night sky would be infinitely bright due to the infinite amount of light-giving sources out there.

Plus,  Einstein's "steady state theory" seems suspiciously teleological....in his system, the amount of mass/energy that's added to the system constantly would PRECISELY compensate for the rate of entropy.....so if any system utterly fails at ruling God out of the equation, it would be this one.
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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2005, 08:19:14 PM »

Excellent.
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