Infinity eternity dilemma

i am in a discussion where a point was made that i’m not sure how to address. The question was who created God? I said there needs to be one non contingent being to start a series of contingent beings because you can’t have an infinite series of Gods prior to this God because infinity is not achievable.

I also said God is unlimited and eternal with no beginning or end, who is also infinite love, Power etc.

The response was that I have presented a contradiction. If an infinite series of anything is unachievable than how can God have existed for an infinite amount of days prior today. Either your God is unlimited and has lived for an infinite amount of days prior to today, and you can have an infinite series of Gods prior to this God, or your God is limited and there can’t be an infinite series of gods prior to this God. you can’t have it both ways, which is it?

I’m pondering but not sure how to answer or where the flaw in my logic is. Help… Thanks

You’re assuming God’s bound by time. Frankly I wonder if time really exists - it’s never been detected. And our concept of time depends on things happening in an ordered fashion which can then be compared to other events happening in an ordered fashion - the light waves in an atomic clock behave in a concise way, which can be compared to the mechanical movements in an ordinary clock. So many wavelengths of light are emitted as the second hand moves around the clock once.

Sure things happen in sequence, but that may simply be due to order rather than a necessity for time.

If you take time out of the equation, then there’s no problem with infinity or eternity.

One of the defining properties of God is that He is not a created being. As the apologist John Lennox told Richard Dawkins in answer to the question “who created God?” no one believes in created gods. If God were created he would not be God, he would be a creature, more powerful than humans but not all-powerful and therefore not God.

Before God created the universe there was no time, since both time and space came into being when the universe did. So it’s not that he existed for an unlimited number of days because there were no days. He was and is and will be eternally existing outside of time and space. The problem both of you are facing is trying to fit God into limited human understanding. If you think of the universe with its properties of time and space existing inside a bubble and God outside, then you’ll be closer to the truth.

I’m not sure how much help this will be, but consider that logic is not a perfect method. For example, if I am an American and say, “Americans never tell the truth”, would that be a true statement?

God is a non-contingent Being Who always was.

He brought contingency into existence, along with the rest what we see around us.

What others said about time is good to consider. Time seems to me a measure of change. Which is interesting when you think how we describe God as unchanging. As you point out you can not have an actual infinity, only a possible infinity.

I’d point out that our choice is either non-contingent substance eternally (not an infinite number of days) existing or things popping into existence. You have identified the non-contingent substance as a being, which is God. While I believe you are correct, being might be a word folks stumble over. I’m not sure substance is the best philosophically. So maybe there is a still better word. Either something always existed or something popped into existence. That something would, for the materialist, be the universe. So either the universe is eternal (which modern science says can not be so) or the universe popped into existence. The latter belief would require one to believe that things, including whole universes, can pop into existence. If this is so then miracles can and do take place. This might be good to point out to people who struggle with conceiving God as existing an infinite number of days in the past.

What others said about time is good to consider. Time seems to me a measure of change. Which is interesting when you think how we describe God as unchanging. As you point out you can not have an actual infinity, only a possible infinity.

I wan’t to say that by exnihilio beat me to it.

Time is a mental concept to measure change. Time doesn’t substantially exist. To say ‘time exists’ is really to say ‘change exists’. But really, ‘change’ doesn’t substantilly exist either.

God is the Necessary Being. As such, he cannot change but must always be what he is. He is unchanging. Therefore, he is not bound by time. He is outside of time.

If you want to understand it more deeply than that, sorry, I can’t help you.
God’s mode of existence is very different from ours. We can’t understand any more than this until the next life.

thanks folks, lots of great stuff. Pretty much what I’m thinking based on some of the attributes I’ve read belong to God but could never substantially describe God are, God is simple not divisible by parts, non materiel So there is literally nothing to be created. God is unlimited, God is unchanging, God has no potential, God is pure acting power, and God is that greatest thing which can be conceived.

all Possible space and non space is occupied by God. All actions that can be acted have been acted, all thoughts that can be thought have been thought, and so on all at once. So if God can’t change even if you had an infinite series of God’s that created the next God They would all still be the same infinite unlimited being which have acted every thing that can be acted, thought everything that can be thought. It would render the set of Infinite Gods irrelevant because it always comes down to one God, the same God.

Same with an infinite amount of days, There would be no change because every possible thing that could happen in any given span of time happens at all points of time so there would be no distinction between days rendering that irrelevant as well. Days are too relative anyway, they would be different for every body in the universe, and it doesn’t matter anyway since God infinitely transcends time and space and exists in a way that literally can’t be perceived except through faith, the light of reason, and revelation.

I love John Lennox answer to Dawkins, simple and to the point. Lots of good stuff to ponder thanks again everyone.

God did not achieve an infinite existence, because infinite existence is not something to be achieved, it just IS. God never achieved what he has always been, He has always been and always will be-- he does not change, because that is the nature of God, and there can be only one, for how can two infinite things mathematically exist? How can infinity be multiplied or subtracted mathematically? If the finite exists, then the infinite must exist. And if it exists, then one who his infinite cannot exist along side that which is also infinite, because if you multiply infinity it is still infinity. What is infinite is constant and encompasses all things, and is not bound by time, for in order to be infinite in nature, He must be in all, through all, and above all things. He did not come into existence, for how can that by its definition be infinite, but yet be bound by the concepts of space and time which are not infinite? If you go back into time to a point before the beginning, then that is the beginning, for nothing can be before the beginning except for whatever IS. If there was a beginning and there will be an end to all things, then there must logically be that which is infinite. So whatever is infinite is not bound by anything, is all, is through all, is above all, and so possesses all things and is all things. He is, therefore, and must be creator of all things, possessing all knowledge and wisdom. I don’t think your logic is flawed at all, it is theirs, because they do not have a proper concept of infinity: Infinity can not be ‘placed’ in a series, because it cannot be multiplied, divided, subtracted from or added to. Furthermore, logically, if something exists that is finite, possesses a finite amount of knowledge, self awareness, intelligence, love, and wisdom, then whatever is infinite must also posses an infinite amount of all of those attributes. Since hatred is the absence of love, and that which is infinite possess an infinite amount of love, and cannot be absent of anything (again you can not subtract anything from infinity), God is all love.

Contemplating Eternity – by Emo Philips

Ever contemplate the concept of eternity? What is eternity? Since everything on this earth had a beginning and will eventually come to an end, something going on forever and ever and ever is a little hard for us to grasp. Here is a mental experiment to help:

Imagine it is 5:30 pm on a Friday afternoon and you just got paid. On your way home from work, you decide to stop off at the grocery store and do your weekly shopping. As you enter the store, you find out that the whole world just got paid and had the same idea – the store is packed with shoppers, each with at least two carts full of groceries; the checkout lines are many and all snake from the back of the store. You get in a line and notice that they all converge on one checkout clerk; it is her first day on the job; none of the items are price-marked; everyone is old, has a coupon for every item, and needs to pay with a personal check; none of them have ID … and the clerk doesn’t any speak English.

Take away fifteen minutes from that, and you begin to get an idea of what eternity is. :stuck_out_tongue:

Great post.

I agree “God did not achieve an infinite existence, because infinite existence is not something to be achieved, it just IS”, "God never achieved what he has always been ".

Since God is pure actualization with no potential. Achievement can only happen under the condition where there is potential. Pure actuality is all potentiality realized. There exists no possibilities for God because all possibilities are actualized. It’s the nature of being unrestricted. All possible things which could be thought, said, or acted “are” thought, said, and acted. God described this state most eloquently Himself when He replied to Moses when Moses asked God His name. “I AM WHO AM”!

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