All religions

okay first off i am new and i am sure i am posting in the wrong section lol but i was just wondering

how does the church explain on how God has always been? i was just seeing if someone could try their best and explain because most priest just tell me in “belief” but thats hard to do in times like this with new scientific knowledge being discovered.

Science is irrelevant to this kind of question - valuable as it is for many other questions; but here, it has nothing to say, because only some kinds of truth are accessible to science. Questions about God’s Eternity - which is what you’re asking about - are valid questions, but not scientific questions.

God has not “always been” - “always” is a loaded word; it implies that time is relevant to eternity. But it is not: eternity is not a “bigger and better” time - it is not time at all. God is not “time-bound” - we are, so our thinking is, and our words, & our ideas; if fish thought about God, they might think of Him as surrounded by water :slight_smile: What we are - human beings, with all that this implies - influences how we think. As we are limited, no full answer to your question is possible; at most, we can have true but very incomplete ideas about God - “we see in part, and we know in part” (1 Corinthians 13).

One idea I find helpful - if you don’t, just ignore it :slight_smile: - is to think of God as a bit like an author, and us as like the characters in the author’s story. An author’s time in his real life is not necessarily connected with the time experienced by his characters: the fact that a story may cover 50 or 5,000 years, is no reason to think that the author takes 50 or 5,000 years to write it. A book may take 10 years of the author’s life to write - this does not tell us anything about the length of time covered by the story: it may be 10 or 100 years, or a million years or just one day. “Finnegan’s Wake” takes in the action of a single day in Dublin - it does not follow that it was written in a single day, or in Dublin.

IOW, there is no continuity between the length of time spanned in the story, and the length of time lived by its author from starting it to finishing it. And to complicate things even more, the author will do other things than write: he has to get up in the morning - for the characters, what their author does when not writing about them may leave no trace in the story at all: that he gets up in reality, does not mean that he gets up in the story; because the reality he lives in, is not the reality of the world of his story. He may sleep for eight hours in the Primary World, the so-called “real world” - it does not follow that his eight-hour sleep is an event in his book, which is a Secondary World.

All created things are in a sort of Divinely-invented Secondary World - God is the only Real Reality; compared with God, all else is fiction :slight_smile: We are in the very odd position of having a foot in both worlds - we are fictions who are conscious of our unreality, who can be in conscious contact with our Author. We meant to become like our Author - & this is possible, because the Author is the Hero of the story, & has become one of us.

Any use ?

I can tell you that different Catholics believe differently concerning exactly who God really is. To me, once you gain that definitional understanding, then how long God has been around becomes pretty obvious.

As I am not Catholic, I will leave the explanation up to them even though I agree with many of them on the issue. :smiley:

Gabriel of 12;
Interesting thought; I believe a little more clarification is needed here;

What probably is closer to the Truth is; The Catholic Church (body of Christ) has many members from every tribe, nation, tongue and people who may be at different levels in their spirituality and revelation of God. The Truth is; The Catholic Church knows only One Lord, in One baptism in One faith, which she professes in Life and in death, which she teaches, feeds, and tends the flock of Jesus (John 21:15-17) under the leadership of Peter (Pope Benedict XVI).

For the OP, God told Moses “IAM”. Now define “IAM”?

Of course, not Atheist has yet to explain where one micron came from. If that is your question, pose that to any questioner. Yet at the same time, why do Atheists turn to God when they are on their death bed? I might assume they just want to run their mouth while they have an audience and have nothing constructive to say?

##Gottle## has an interesting perspective. You can answer the question yourself, despite the new found scientific knowledge,………how does the Atheist answer the primary question,….they don’t!

Belief is fundamental,…but maybe your Priest came from some different dimension,…just kidding. Ask you Priest these issues!

God is outside of time.

We are constrained by time.

Time is a function of our universe, which was created by God.

In the Beginning, God said “Let there be Light”, and there was light, and of course, this made a big bang, putting the wheels of time in motion.

I’m glad this isn’t CC doctrine. I’d have to hurt someone. :frowning:

No one knows where the universe came from.

how does the Atheist answer the primary question,….they don’t!

Of course we don’t. No one knows.

When no one knows an answer, the only correct answer to the question is “we don’t know.”

There is evidence.

Do you believe thinking matter can come from non thinking matter?

Atheists say yes.

I think the evidence supports no.

“No one” is an AWFUL lot of people. The presumption is that if Science hasn’t announced it (through its psuedo-science preachers), “no one” knows it.

The Church doesn’t explain on God’s eternity as if God is an invention of the Church; rather, the Church teaches that God is eternal - or, as He Himself said, “I Am who Am.” God is eternal because He is Existence Itself. Existence is self-existent, of course.

Funny, I ran across an article of a priest who is also a philosopher and physicists who said that the more we discover, the more it points to the necessity that there is a God. I linked to the article on my website:
rosarymeds.com/news/in-the-news-astrophysical-discoveries-point-to-a-creator

No matter how you try, we can’t produce something from nothing, from our very words. Then, if you think about it, how did you get here if not produced from something/ The farther you go back to the first ‘something’ you still have to go back farther.

And that is why God said “I Am that I Am”

When God created man from clay, and the clay did not have life until God breathed into the nostrils of the man molded from clay.

It stands to reason then; that what needs defining is the “substance” which gave the living life to the man made from clay in the breathe from God.

St. Paul labels this mystery “zoe”= life, the Catholic Church agrees with St. Paul from her description of “substance”. The Word of God spoke creation into existence, yet the life giving force behind every living creature in creation contains the “substance” from the divine which gives creation “zoe”= life.

So solve the mystery from the “substance” of God which gives life? then maybe we can see why the heart of man beats and blood sustains him in life.

Another mystery to add to the equation is how God became man? There in lays the answers in Jesus Christ.

food for thought;

No one claims that non-thinking matter suddenly began thinking. The claim is that the process of natural selection gave rise to brains that are capable of thought – over time, these brains became capable of greater amounts of abstraction and complexity.

And it’s not just atheists who say that. It’s everyone – religious or not – who honestly examines biological evolution.

Whether or not you think that man has a “soul,” it’s unquestionable that our large brains, which are responsible for consciousness and higher thought, are the result of a process of natural selection.

That’s what the evidence supports.

James:

“No one” is an AWFUL lot of people.

Yep. Upwards of six or seven billion these days, isn’t it?

The presumption is that if Science hasn’t announced it (through its psuedo-science preachers), “no one” knows it.

Huh? “Pseudo-science preachers”? What are you talking about?

I’m talking about what humans have discovered about the universe. We’ve discovered quite a bit through the process of science. We’ve discovered, for example, that the earth is an oblique spheroid, that it orbits the sun, that a process of natural selection is responsible for the diversity of life on this planet, that the universe is expanding, etc. I could go on and on.

None of these discoveries rest on one single observation or the pronouncement of decrees from on high. They’re the result of peer-reviewed work of a body of experts, measuring, checking, confirming, and replicating the results of others.

As I said, we know a surprising amount about the universe. We don’t currently know what happened before the Big Bang. If you think you can demonstrate otherwise, please contact someone about collecting the Nobel Prize you will win for such a demonstration.

How does natural selection work for non thinking matter?

if science was to eventually one day come and say how the universe is created and blah blah, lets say it was light particles forcing themselves together to create JUST AN EXAMPLE NOT A SCIENTIST SO RELAX lol would the church somehow have to relate that to God creating? i dont know how to word this because this ONE question is the soul reason i dont attend church . . .

Ask yourself where did that light particle come from? Then, without all the scientific assumptions,…your answer might begin your journey to the answer to the question. There is a God for you and me. :slight_smile:

I get the feeling you’re conflating two things.

When you said “non-thinking matter,” I was assuming that you were talking about the development of brains (and consciousness and abstract thought). It now seems to me that it sounds like you are talking about abiogenesis (the hypothesis that life might have come from non-life).

They’re two different issues, and while I’m happy to discuss both, I’d like to know which one you mean here.

If you’re talking about abiogenesis, well, we’re not totally sure that life actually did come from non-life. It seems like we’re on the right track, as there have been some promising experiments: for example, we’ve been able to generate organic molecules from inorganic molecules, using elements that we know were present in the atmosphere of the early earth. Recently, scientists managed to manufacture RNA in a similar way. We’re getting closer. It seems like the likely answer will be that inorganic molecules, under just the right conditions, can give rise to a self-replicating molecule. If this is the case, then it only has to happen once to get the evolutionary ball rolling. And from there, that self-replicating molecule can give rise to the diversity of life.

None of this is conclusively proven – the way that evolution is conclusively proven, for example – but we’re getting closer.

Note that abiogenesis is an entirely different topic than evolution and lies outside of that subject.

if science was to eventually one day come and say how the universe is created and blah blah, lets say it was light particles forcing themselves together to create JUST AN EXAMPLE NOT A SCIENTIST SO RELAX lol would the church somehow have to relate that to God creating?

Theists use their god of the gaps to explain things that humans don’t currently understand. As human knowledge expands, the power of the gods correspondingly shrinks.

If/when scientists figure out how life arose or how the universe began, then theists will simply say that god is behind whatever process we discover. And if we ever discover something behind the process, theists will say that god is behind the process that’s behind the process. And so on and so on forever.

When you accuse people of believing in a God of the gaps you are assuming that we only see God in the gaps when, in fact, we see Him throughout Creation, not just in the unknowable. If anything I think your subjective point of view is demonstrative of an Atheism of the Gaps. You’ve maintained you do not believe in any morality so I assume you believe yourself an amoral animal as we all probably are in your view.

“The Atheism of the Gaps” by Stephen M. Barr in the journal First Things:

Many atheists imagine that religion is based on ignorance. Religion supplies irrational explanations where rational ones are lacking; as lightning, for example, is still thought by primitive people to be the raging of the gods. In this view, religion has been fighting a long rear-guard action against the advance of knowledge, taking refuge in the unknown and the obscure by positing a “God of the gaps,” and, as the gaps in our rational explanation of the universe disappear, God will be driven out. This is indeed one of the main motivations for a certain kind of scientist who supposes that when the job of Science is done there will be no room left for the “superstition” of religious belief.

Penrose shows that materialism itself is now the faith of the “gaps.” It is in the gaps of undiscovered and unprecedented “non-computational” laws of physics and of uninvented and so-far unimaginable non-computational thinking machines that the “missing science of consciousness” is forced to lurk. But what will happen if the gaps in our knowledge of physics are closed? What will happen if the laws of physics are known in their entirety and turn out not to have the characteristics that Penrose shows they must if they are to explain the mind of man? Then indeed will superstition be overthrown, the superstition of materialism.

Penrose is all the more effective in overthrowing materialism because that is not his aim. He obviously does not take seriously what he calls “mentalism,” the view that there is something about mind not reducible to physical description or explanation. In Penrose’s understanding, the nonmaterialist holds a view that “regards the mind as something that is entirely inexplicable in scientific terms.” He calls it the “viewpoint of the mystic,” for it involves a “negation of scientific criteria for the furtherance of knowledge.” Moreover, he asks, “if mentality is something quite separate from physicality, then why do our mental selves seem to need our physical brains at all?” “It is quite clear,” he goes on, “that differences in mental states can come about from changes in the physical states of the associated brains.”

There are several misconceptions here. Materialism does not follow from accepting the scientific method; that something can be studied using the scientific method implies nothing a priori about how it is constituted. We can study both whales and neutrinos using the scientific method, but this implies neither that whales are made up of neutrinos nor neutrinos of whales. That we can study both matter and mind by scientific methods does not imply that the mind is entirely material. And neither do all “mentalists” aver that the mind is “entirely inexplicable in scientific terms.” Rather, they say that it is “not entirely explicable in scientific terms”-not the same thing. Moreover, the issue is not whether the brain is necessary to our “mental selves,” but whether it is sufficient. Finally, not all mentalists regard mentality as “quite separate from physicality.” “The unity of soul and body is so profound,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church declares, “that one has to consider the soul to be the ‘form’ of the body. . . . Spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.”

firstthings.com/article/2008/09/006-the-atheism-of-the-gaps-20

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.