Philosophical problems with God and Time



Yes I’ve heard of it too. It occurs once a person attains the Mystical Marriage. God essentially swoops in and takes over. It’s funny because the saints who’ve experienced it note that they would be in contemplation for hours without noticing that any time had passed at all.

St. Theresa of Avila once commented that she once began meditating on the words “Our Father…” and by the time she came to, what she thought had been only 45 minutes was actually 4 hours.

Yes, exactly. Such prayer has been called, “the prelude to the Beatific Vision”. Such insights of the saints, in their mystical union with God the Holy Trinity, can give us insights into the “new heavens and the new earth” that await mankind after the battle and constraints of this earthly life are completed.


It certainly is a prelude! I’ve heard (from Fr. Chad Ripperger) that St. Thomas taught that once in Heaven, God impresses himself totally upon your intellect so that you’re able to contemplate Him and “see Him as He is.”

The mystical marriage definitely sounds like that to me. God is impressing Himself upon that soul to the degree that’s possible this side of the veil.

When you take a look at all the lives of the saints, you start to realize all of them experienced the mystical marriage before their death. It’s incredible.

All Saints, Pray for us!


That sounds super interesting :o If I ever get the money I might buy the book, now I want to read more about that. Thanks ! I am still not sure how can the future be predicted, if it is just a physical reality and not this “arrow” type system

I would recommend, before theoretical physics, you look into the wisdom of the saints, and the life of prayer. Truth is in God - not in theoretical physics. Prayer is communion with Him, who is all wisdom and truth. In prayer you can meet Him, in ever-growing closeness and intensity, if you persevere, and grow in the life of grace.

Here’s a (free) book that can help you begin - you can read it on-line or download it:


When you take a look at all the lives of the saints, you start to realize all of them experienced the mystical marriage before their death. It’s incredible.

All Saints, Pray for us!

ALL are called to holiness and to the perfection of charity. In that teaching of the Church, it follows that ALL are called to that perfection of prayer. We need to trust God, and pursue Him on the path laid out for us in the teachings of the Church, by holy grace in the sacraments, by the power of His Truth in Holy Scripture, and in the earnest embrace of Him, more and more, in prayer.

There is a path of growth in prayer - from well-prayed vocal prayer, to stages of mental prayer or “mediation”, and then on to stages or levels of infused contemplation. The path is walked one step at a time - but it can be walked, with perseverance and sincerity.


They probably did exist since the start, when God created all from nothing. The start was their beginning. But I don’t think you meant that.

What is the alternative to atoms having a beginning? Atoms that always existed? If they existed before time, did they have space then? How did they enter time?

Is this proposed as a model for a universe without the need for God? If so, what moved the atoms from outside spacetime to inside spacetime, and where did spacetime itself come from? If they eternally existed outside of time and space—which they can’t because by definition they take up space (are matter)—wouldn’t they require an agent to change their eternal position?

What things that we observe do not have a beginning? You said most…

If there were atoms that always existed, does it change that everything that begins has to have a cause? We know there are things that begin. What began them?

I just want to clarify what you are proposing before I wrestle with it too much…


St. Thomas Aquinas didn’t think you could prove philosophically that there could not have been an infinite path. Therefore, his belief in a creation event was based on Revelation.

As far as can we know that atoms didn’t always exist? According to Aquinas we can not know. However, Aquinas`5 Ways arguments for God are irrespective of time. His First Cause argument for instance is an argument for an uncaused First Cause of a series of causes that are not temporally ordered but are of a type of sequence in which all causes, especially the First Cause, must always be in existence in order to have the final cause be in existence.

Having said that I find it intuitive that there is not an infinite past. Most arguments against an infinite past appeal to the impossibility of having an infinite number of anything. If you can say that you have had an infinite number of something that means you could add anything else to it already. But since we continue to add time then we must not have reached infinite. In fact infinity is a theoretical limit that is never actually reached because you could also add more to any number.


Amen. It’s a struggling, and at times daunting task. But it cannot be denied that this is definitely not reserved for the saintly among us. The mystical contemplation, or infused contemplation, is God’s will for all of us! By His grace we can attain it.

I about to by a book titled, The Ways of Mental Prayer by Vital Lehodey. I hear it’s an excellent aid for the prayer life.


Exactly. For Aquinas, it didn’t very much matter if the universe always existed. The very fact that it exists here and now proves the First Uncaused Cause.


I recommend people interested in this topic watch a two-part cable documentary titled, “Everything and Nothing.” It is excellent. Basically, some of the things science can now prove beyond a doubt are:

  • Atomic particles can spontaneously generate out of nothing. In fact, it can only happen in “nothing,” a pure vacuum.
  • We do know how the universe started. In fact, it has been possible to re-create a picture of it several hours after the “big bang” with a high degree of certainty that it is accurate.

This does not rule out the role of God. The big bang was surely caused by Him and the spontaneously generating particles are certainly gifts from Him. But our old views are clearly out of date.


This has been scientifically proven and demonstrated?

A pure vacuum is not nothing. It is decidedly something.

How does several hours after it started prove how it started?


There are a number of sort of interlocking propositions that Aquinas constructed, and I think you have to look at them together in order to evaluate his argument in toto.

I can’t remember the full argument…but there are various “ways to” come to this knowledge of God.

One is by way of perfection…we can observe that in both the material and immaterial world there are “degrees” of this or that…brightness, size, speed (all material) and on the immaterial side there are also things that have degrees…love, desire, happiness, etc.

Each of these can be viewed as a point along a continuum…something else can be found to be brighter, larger, faster…and we know that we can love one thing more than we love another thing, we can desire one thing more than another thing…and so forth.

So I think Aquinas argued in his way of “perfection” that these states of imperfection if you will, argue for a state of perfection. If something can always be found to be “more” of one thing than other…then it argues that there is a perfection, that perfection is God, all truth, beauty and goodness converge on this God of Perfection.

Another way to the knowledge of God is by way of causation.
Everything has a cause
No effect can precede its cause
Nothing can cause itself
Nothing can be the effect of an infinite causal chain. (this is the key premise).
Therefore there must be something which itself was not caused.
That first mover is God.


A pure vacuum is not nothing. It is decidedly something. Yep, that’s one of the main points of the documentary.

You should watch the documentary. It’s pretty interesting how they figured it out. I am not a science buff. I would probably get the explanation wrong. But if you are interested in the topic, check it out.


A metaphysical impossibility. You can’t get something coming from absolutely nothing. The so-called nothing that these scientists talk about is not really nothing.


Aquinas’ 5 Ways - The unmoved mover, the First Cause, the argument from contingency, the degrees of being, and the design argument all point to a First Cause. Aquinas then goes on to demonstrate what that first cause looks like for several pages before he calls it God.


Well done. Thank you


Thanks! I’m sorry, I know you recommended the documentary. I haven’t had time to check it out and I still replied to you. Thanks for your patience!


I will give it a look thanks !


Well, I have seen atheists decline that everything that beings to exsist has a cause because they don’t believe it to be “proven” that that is the case and I never know how to answer. By this, they try to refer to the universe always existing, which we can’t say is true or false, so I believe apologists should use this argument less, (Looking at you William Lane Craig :stuck_out_tongue: ) If you got a way of responding I would like to hear so.
Also, I had a trouble with the argument of perfection because it implies that goodness is necessarily a thing. But how do we know something is actually good and not good because we think its good. It presupposes objective goodness, which for atheists don’t exist (Unless they talk about what makes a species stay more alive in evolution). Another problem is that comparisons can be made among things without presupposing maximum values to those things. Simply because things exist in degrees, it does not follow that something exists in the maximum or minimum of degree. :confused:


Well if those atheists that you mention were actually smart enough, they’d realize that they assume that they themselves exist; otherwise, there’d be no “rejection” possible. The actor (that exists) rejects a proposition.

Was there a moment when they didn’t exist?

So you can begin there and help them realize that they exist within time and that there is an ordering in both space and time.

No effect can precede its cause.

With respect to “degrees of things”, these people, if they were smart (and not just practicing to be “clever”) would realize that no comparison would be possible if there were not “a vanishing point”. For them to evaluate even good or bad arguments (supporting or refuting God, for instance) presupposes an objective of truth.

So again, if they were actually people using their intellect well, they’d understand that their own ability to “reject” arguments requires an objective truth.

If I were you…I wouldn’t spend any more time with these “atheists”, at least on this topic.

Instead, we should become simply better friends to our friends…go out with them for a burger, a coke or a beer, and listen to them about their day and help them in ordinary affairs.


Well the things inside certaintly didn’t have a beginning, but who says space itself never exsisted? And there is potential theorys that explain how the universe always exsisted

I wouldn’t say it necessarily follows from that there needs to exist a vanishing point. I think we can say something is good in comparison how good something is. We don’t determine if someone is tall based on maximum objective tallness, but a norm, a general tallness among the people. I would also preffer if you would not call people dumb :

People can be just misled, or think the wrong way.

Yeah I would agree that this has gone out of topic to some extent.

Regarding the friends part, trust me, I am doing my best. 75 % of my friends are non believers,atheists,or just non practicing catholics. And my best friends are all non believers except one person , but I still try my best to be a good friend.

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