Finite past proves God exists


#1

The universe could not have existed through an infinite past. Therefore, God had to start it.

Did any event happen an infinitely long time ago? Obviously not.

Now the atheists will try to talk about "non-linear time" or "imaginary time" or some nonsense like that. What they can't do is say how this takes the place of the linear time we experience. In fact it's nonsense.

The atheists will try to say there was some other cause of the universe. But another cause would in fact be part of the universe. Perhaps before the Big Bang there was something else. What? We can't imagine. And before that there may have been something else. And so on. But we can't go back to infinity. At some point we must arrive at a time when there was absolutely no universe in whatever form we want to think of it.

Therefore, there had to be a God to start it all.

Notice that Aquinas's Summa Theologica,
after discussing the nature of theology and why it's worth studying,
BEGINS BY DISCUSSING GOD'S EXISTENCE. :thumbsup:

sacred-texts.com/chr/aquinas/summa/sum005.htm

*Later, *
he discusses other subjects such as the nature of evil and all those things.

But the athesits jump over the question of God's existence and try to confuse you with tons and tons of deceiving verbiage about the other issues such as the existence of evil, and things like that that understandably bother people.

We should follow Aquinas's example. First determine if God exists. Then work out the later problems later.


#2

We can't ask the unbelievers to play by our rules, they won't do it. Just like we won't play by theirs. I understand your frustration, but people are always going to believe what they're going to. When I was an atheist I looked for all the problems of Christianity and refused to see what was right with it. I realise they aren't all like that, just the sorts of ones we attract. In my dealings with unbelievers I have found that pointing out the religious roots to the theories they appropriate will often make them pause. I agree with you, though, it is somewhat irritating when the unbeliever purposely obscures theology to slant a point or so ignorantly butcher it that it loses all meaning.


#3

[quote="empther, post:1, topic:274988"]
The universe could not have existed through an infinite past. Therefore, God had to start it.

Did any event happen an infinitely long time ago? Obviously not.

Now the atheists will try to talk about "non-linear time" or "imaginary time" or some nonsense like that. What they can't do is say how this takes the place of the linear time we experience. In fact it's nonsense.

The atheists will try to say there was some other cause of the universe. But another cause would in fact be part of the universe. Perhaps before the Big Bang there was something else. What? We can't imagine. And before that there may have been something else. And so on. But we can't go back to infinity. At some point we must arrive at a time when there was absolutely no universe in whatever form we want to think of it.

Therefore, there had to be a God to start it all.

Notice that Aquinas's Summa Theologica,
after discussing the nature of theology and why it's worth studying,
BEGINS BY DISCUSSING GOD'S EXISTENCE. :thumbsup:

sacred-texts.com/chr/aquinas/summa/sum005.htm

*Later, *
he discusses other subjects such as the nature of evil and all those things.

But the athesits jump over the question of God's existence and try to confuse you with tons and tons of deceiving verbiage about the other issues such as the existence of evil, and things like that that understandably bother people.

We should follow Aquinas's example. First determine if God exists. Then work out the later problems later.

[/quote]

I have discussed that before and I accept this answer: "The universe could be infinite as long as it was created by God".

Nevertheless, I believe in a finite Universe, from the logic of the Universe: birth, life, death.


#4

St. Thomas thinks that is false, and I tend to agree. The universe could have had an infinite past. That there was a beginning of time is something revealed by Revelation, but not known through reason alone. When St. Thomas makes an argument proving God’s eixstence through causality, it is important to understand that not all causes are temporal causes (i.e. not all causes occur within time).


#5

St. Thomas thinks that is false, and I tend to agree.

So far so good. :cool: I think. It's hard to know what you're saying.

The universe could have had an infinite past.

It could not. I'm really surprised you said that. :eek: How could any event have happened an infinite time ago?

That there was a beginning of time is something revealed by Revelation, but not known through reason alone.

Even Aristotle said you can't go back to infinity and he did not have Revelation.

When St. Thomas makes an argument proving God's eixstence through causality, it is important to understand that not all causes are temporal causes (i.e. not all causes occur within time).

I think you mean effect, or cause and effect. Anyway, can you give an example of a cause and effect that does not occur within time?


#6

I have discussed that before and I accept this answer: "The universe could be infinite as long as it was created by God".

Do you mean infinite in duration through time or infinite in size?
God could not create an infinite universe in either sense. This truth tells us that he did create the universe and he exists.


#7

Have we any idea of when it’s scheduled to be later? These “problems” you speak of are, in fact, the whole ballgame, and I want to make sure I get good seats for when they get worked out.


#8

[quote="Katholish, post:4, topic:274988"]
St. Thomas thinks that is false, and I tend to agree. The universe could have had an infinite past. That there was a beginning of time is something revealed by Revelation, but not known through reason alone. When St. Thomas makes an argument proving God's eixstence through causality, it is important to understand that not all causes are temporal causes (i.e. not all causes occur within time).

[/quote]

Science seems to have proven that the universe had a beginning in the Big Bang.

One must also consider that given sufficient time a system will pass through all possible states of change. Two of these states are 1. Perfection after which it no longer changes and 2. Annihilation after which it no longer exists. Given infinite time the universe would have reached one or the other long ago. Since it exists and is still changing, it must have experienced only a finite time.


#9

Quote:

[quote]
Originally Posted by empther

forums.catholic.com/images/buttons_khaki/viewpost.gif
We should follow Aquinas’s example. First determine if God exists. Then work out the later problems later.

Have we any idea of when it’s scheduled to be later? These “problems” you speak of are, in fact, the whole ballgame, and I want to make sure I get good seats for when they get worked out.

[/quote]

How could a good God allow evil? Does God have omniscience? Omnipotence? Goodness?

First, you have to settle that God exists. Then you can work out these problems. Actually, Aquinas and other writers have already done it. :thumbsup:

One of the primary strategities of atheists is to concentrate on one of these later problems, try to make you believe that nobody has the solution, ( although Aquinas does ! :mad: )
and therefore make you wonder if there’s a God at all
since they haven’t pointed to the point of this thread,
that an infinite past is impossible and God had to start the universe.

But they’re not going to get away with that on this thread. :smiley:


#10

Science seems to have proven that the universe had a beginning in the Big Bang.

I agree with you, Joe. I don't see why God would have created some universe before the Big Bang, since there would now be no trace of it.

However, the atheist might say there was something before the Big Bang, implying that there was some kind of universe through infinite time. I contend this is impossible and there had to be a point in time for the "Big Begin".


#11

[quote="empther, post:9, topic:274988"]
Quote:

How could a good God allow evil? Does God have omniscience? Omnipotence? Goodness?

First, you have to settle that God exists. Then you can work out these problems. Actually, Aquinas and other writers have already done it. :thumbsup:

One of the primary strategities of atheists is to concentrate on one of these later problems, try to make you believe that nobody has the solution, ( although Aquinas does ! :mad: )
and therefore make you wonder if there's a God at all
since they haven't pointed to the point of this thread,
that an infinite past is impossible and God had to start the universe.

But they're not going to get away with that on this thread. :D

[/quote]

Your strategy is to focus on a solution that doesn't actually solve anything, and deal with the rest of it "later."

Your mistake is the assumption that atheists are necessarily more dogmatic than theists. It's not true, nor does it need to be. If Deism is true, my life goes on just as it has all long. But Christianity is instantly demolished.


#12

[quote="empther, post:5, topic:274988"]
So far so good. :cool: I think. It's hard to know what you're saying.

It could not. I'm really surprised you said that. :eek: How could any event have happened an infinite time ago?

Even Aristotle said you can't go back to infinity and he did not have Revelation.

[/quote]

Actually, Aristotle is extremely well-known for his belief that the world is eternal. You seem to have that wrong.

St. Thomas addresses this question in Question 46 of the Prima Pars. Article 2 is especially helpful. In it, he says quite clearly, "I answer that, By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist..." St. Thomas was influenced very heavily on Aristotle's argument for the eternity of the world.

Aristotle presents his arguments in the Physics, and one of his more important points can be found in section 1,7:

"Everything that comes into existence does so from a substratum. If the underlying matter of the universe came into existence, it would come into existence from a substratum. But the nature of matter is precisely to be the substratum from which other things arise. Consequently, the underlying matter of the universe could have come into evidence only from an already existing matter exactly like itself; to assume that the underlying matter of the universe came into existence would require assuming that an underlying matter already existed. The assumption is thus self-contradictory, and matter must be eternal."

I think you mean effect, or cause and effect. Anyway, can you give an example of a cause and effect that does not occur within time?

No, I did not mean to say effect. Anyway, I can provide an example of an effect without a beginning in time. Actually, St. Thomas talks about this in the Reply to the First objection in Article 2, so I will just quote him:

Reply to Objection 1. As Augustine says (De Civ. Dei xi, 4), the opinion of philosophers who asserted the eternity of the world was twofold. For some said that the substance of the world was not from God, which is an intolerable error; and therefore it is refuted by proofs that are cogent. Some, however, said that the world was eternal, although made by God. For they hold that the world has a beginning, not of time, but of creation, so that in a certain hardly intelligible way it was always made. "And they try to explain their meaning thus (De Civ. Dei x, 31): for as, if the foot were always in the dust from eternity, there would always be a footprint which without doubt was caused by him who trod on it, so also the world always was, because its Maker always existed." To understand this we must consider that the efficient cause, which acts by motion, of necessity precedes its effect in time; because the effect is only in the end of the action, and every agent must be the principle of action. But if the action is instantaneous and not successive, it is not necessary for the maker to be prior to the thing made in duration as appears in the case of illumination. Hence they say that it does not follow necessarily if God is the active cause of the world, that He should be prior to the world in duration; because creation, by which He produced the world, is not a successive change, as was said above (Question 45, Article 2).


#13

[quote="Joe_Kelley, post:8, topic:274988"]
Science seems to have proven that the universe had a beginning in the Big Bang.

One must also consider that given sufficient time a system will pass through all possible states of change. Two of these states are 1. Perfection after which it no longer changes and 2. Annihilation after which it no longer exists. Given infinite time the universe would have reached one or the other long ago. Since it exists and is still changing, it must have experienced only a finite time.

[/quote]

Is there such a thing as a state of perfection for all matter? Even if there were, that would not necessarily imply a lack of subsequent change. Even if temporarily in a state of perfection, the potential to atrophy would still exist.

Annihilation would not be possible if you accept a theory like the conservation of matter and energy.


#14

[quote="empther, post:1, topic:274988"]
The universe could not have existed through an infinite past. Therefore, God had to start it.

Did any event happen an infinitely long time ago? Obviously not.

Now the atheists will try to talk about "non-linear time" or "imaginary time" or some nonsense like that. What they can't do is say how this takes the place of the linear time we experience. In fact it's nonsense.

The atheists will try to say there was some other cause of the universe. But another cause would in fact be part of the universe. Perhaps before the Big Bang there was something else. What? We can't imagine. And before that there may have been something else. And so on. But we can't go back to infinity. At some point we must arrive at a time when there was absolutely no universe in whatever form we want to think of it.

Therefore, there had to be a God to start it all.

Notice that Aquinas's Summa Theologica,
after discussing the nature of theology and why it's worth studying,
BEGINS BY DISCUSSING GOD'S EXISTENCE. :thumbsup:

sacred-texts.com/chr/aquinas/summa/sum005.htm

*Later, *
he discusses other subjects such as the nature of evil and all those things.

But the athesits jump over the question of God's existence and try to confuse you with tons and tons of deceiving verbiage about the other issues such as the existence of evil, and things like that that understandably bother people.

We should follow Aquinas's example. First determine if God exists. Then work out the later problems later.

[/quote]

Problem: Existence instead of non-existence
Solution: Existence has always existed

You have decided to call the always existing existence God, but you have not considered any other possibilities.


#15

Observe, friends, the shallow arguments of an atheist:

ASimon wrote:
Your strategy is to focus on a solution that doesn't actually solve anything, and deal with the rest of it "later."

Do you all see the deception?
He’s hinting that my saying using Aquinas’s demonstration of God from the fact that we can’t go back to infinity is not a solution to any of the later problems, such as why there is evil etc etc.

What he doesn’t tell you,……………………

On second thought,
He doesn’t tell you two things.

The first is this: there’s no use tackling the later problems until you’ve settled that God does exist. Then you can talk about what God is doing or not doing.

As I’ve already said, the atheists want to do things in reverse. They will concentrate on the later problems, offer no solution, and lead you to think there is no God.

The second thing he doesn’t tell you is that one thread, a dozen threads, or this entire philosophy section couldn’t take care of all the later problems. This Amazon webpage offers Aquinas’s complete Summary of Theology:
[size=2]http://www.amazon.com/Summa-Theologica-Thomas-Aquinas-Volumes/dp/0870610635/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1330265167&sr=1-2[/size]

Divided into three parts, the work consists of 38 tracts, 631 questions, about 3000 articles, 10,000 objections and their answers. This complete edition of the work, published in five volumes,

 
10,0000 objections and their answeres. Do you think they’ll be settled on this forum?
Dream on!


#16

Katholish,

Interesting that you mentioned Question 46, Article 2.……………..

St. Thomas addresses this question in Question 46 of the Prima Pars. Article 2 is especially helpful. In it, he says quite clearly, "I answer that, By faith alone do we hold, and by no demonstration can it be proved, that the world did not always exist..." St. Thomas was influenced very heavily on Aristotle's argument for the eternity of the world.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1046.htm#article1

***[size=2]Article 1. Whether the universe of creatures always existed?[/size]*

*[size=2]Objection 1.*[/size] It would seem that the universeof creatures, called the world, had no beginning, but existed from eternity. For everything which begins to exist, is a possible being before it exists: otherwise it would be impossible for it to exist. If therefore the world began to exist, it was a possible being before it began to exist. But possible being is matter, which is in potentiality to existence, which results from a form, and to non-existence, which results from privation of form. If therefore the world began to exist, matter must have existed before the world. But matter cannot exist without form: while the matter of the world with its form is the world. Therefore the world existed before it began to exist: which is impossible.

[size=2] [/size]
*I answer that,* Nothing except God can be eternal. And this statement is far from impossible to uphold: for it has been shown above (Question 19, Article 4) that the will of God is the cause of things. Therefore things are necessary, according as it is necessary for God to will them, since the necessity of the effect depends on the necessity of the cause (Metaph. v, text 6). Now it was shown above (Question 19, Article 3), that, absolutely speaking, it is not necessary that God should will anything except Himself. It is not therefore necessary for God to will that the world should always exist; but the world exists forasmuch as God wills it to exist, since the being of the world depends on the will of God, as on its cause. It is not therefore necessary for the world to be always; and hence it cannot be proved by demonstration.
 

*Reply to Objection 1.* Before the world existed it was possible for the world to be, not, indeed, according to a passive power which is matter, but according to the active power of God; and also, according as a thing is called absolutely possible, not in relation to any power, but from the sole habitude of the terms which are not repugnant to each other; in which sense possible is opposed to impossible, as appears from the Philosopher (Metaph. v, text 17).

 

Why did you skip Question 46, Article 1 ? :blush: :shrug:

Article 2 is about whether the finite existence of the world can be demonstrated from the world itself. It can't be.

But God's existence can be demonstrated from the impossiblility of motion going back to infinity, so that God must have started it all, including the existence of matter upon which motion depends.


#17

empther,

Article 2 is about whether the finite existence of the world can be demonstrated from the world itself. It can't be.
But God's existence can be demonstrated from the impossiblility of motion going back to infinity, so that God must have started it all, including the existence of matter upon which motion depends.

Demonstrated means whether it can be proven from reason alone. A demonstration for Thomas is simply a rational proof. In Article 2, St. Thomas is arguing that it is impossible to know the earth had a beginning naturally. That if that knowledge had not been revealed by God, we would not know it.

Article 1 approaches the topic absolutely taking revelation into consideration, and even in Article 1, Thomas says that we cannot know the earth is not eternal by reason alone, but we do not it is not eternal by necessity and would have had to be caused. He is basically on the defensive in Article 1 trying to explain that reason cannot disprove creation ex nihilo as an article of faith. His assertion that the world is not eternal in Article 1 is based on revelation as should be clear from the use of Scripture in the sed contra. Thus, I "skipped" Article 1 because it did not address our question directly as does Article 2.


#18

No. That is not the point. The problem is “the impossiblility of motion going back to infinity” and your solution is “a mover which goes back to infinity, which is called God.” However, that the mover is God does not follow. All you can actually conclude is that there must exist some mover infinitely far back. Maybe that mover is the devil. Maybe the mover is Fred. Maybe the mover is not even a sentient being, just some constant natural force. It doesn’t even resolve the problem that you started by assuming motion couldn’t go back to infinity and ended by concluding that it could.

In other words, ascribing the name “God” to this perpetual existence does not solve any problems or answer any questions. It is like scientists, they have ascribed the name “dark matter” to a phenomenon they don’t fully understand. Just giving it a name doesn’t help them understand or measure it, all it does is make talking about it easier.


#19

Katholish,

To anybody who reads Question 46, Article 1
it should be crystal clear that Aquinas is saying the universe did not exist from eternity, but it had a beginning.

Reply to Objection 1. Before the world existed it was possible for the world to be,

There’s no possibility of misunderstanding that.
It’'s the basis of this thread’s point.

This is at least the third time I’ve seen you make conclusions that are obviously wrong or negligent of critical pieces of the subject.
At this point I have to be suspicious about motive. :mad:


#20

[quote="empther, post:15, topic:274988"]
Observe, friends, the shallow arguments of an atheist:

Do you all see the deception?
He’s hinting that my saying using Aquinas’s demonstration of God from the fact that we can’t go back to infinity is not a solution to any of the later problems, such as why there is evil etc etc.

What he doesn’t tell you,……………………

On second thought,
He doesn’t tell you two things.

The first is this: there’s no use tackling the later problems until you’ve settled that God does exist. Then you can talk about what God is doing or not doing.

As I’ve already said, the atheists want to do things in reverse. They will concentrate on the later problems, offer no solution, and lead you to think there is no God.

[/quote]

Nope - once again - I've offered (for the sake of this argument) to concede your initial point: That the Universe has a finite past. Therefore, it had a cause. Therefore, this cause must be God. I believe the first two points in any event - and the third I'm happy to give you, just to see you stop spinning your wheels.

So now that we've established (for the sake of this argument) that there is a God, why not take a swing at some of those later problems, eh?

The second thing he doesn’t tell you is that one thread, a dozen threads, or this entire philosophy section couldn’t take care of all the later problems. This Amazon webpage offers Aquinas’s complete Summary of Theology:
[size=2]http://www.amazon.com/Summa-Theologica-Thomas-Aquinas-Volumes/dp/0870610635/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1330265167&sr=1-2[/size]

 
10,0000 objections and their answeres. Do you think they’ll be settled on this forum?
Dream on!

Oh, I see - now, that I've called your bluff, it's suddenly all too complicated to address on a message board. Forget that I never suggested we tackle all the objections - you seem disinclined to even attempt tackling any of them.

It's rare that we see somebody go out of their way to start a conversation that's designed, by its own to nature, to stalemate indefinitely, but here we are. Well done.


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