You cannot ask the question “How old is time?” without contradicting time itself. Therefore, the question cannot be answered. And what this means is that time with respect to itself, is meaningless; without a specific context to define it, it is “not”, so to speak. In other words, time is purely an abstraction.
A Physicist Finally Engages Argo: The notion of “time”
Many thanks to Wartburg Watch’s resident physicist, a commenter who goes by the moniker of “Old John J”. The thread in question concerned the ongoing debate between Old Earth and Young Earth proponents; clearly, Old John J, being a professional physicist, sides with mainstream science (as do I, in the strict terms of the debate). However, that is merely because Young Earth proponents want to concede the same scientific presumptions on what constitutes the agreed upon definitions. In other words, in both camps, a second is a second, a minute a minute, a year a year…and so on. For me, as one who denies the concept of time as nothing more than a product of a mind which can conceptualize his environment, I believe that the whole debate is moot from the start. The only relevant question in any school of that is what constitutes actual value; the source of truth…or, that which all ideas are in service to as the plumb line for their TRUTH. That is the place from which all ideas should proceed. Otherwise, it’s merely academics quibbling about relative terms which don’t actually mean anything.
Since time is not absolute, because both schools of thought, Old Earth and Young Earth (scientific and religious), concede that time was created, “in the beginning”, then time by definition did not have a time from which it started (a contradiction in terms anyway). And if time itself has no beginning time, it is impossible then to say that any time which we ascribe at all to any motion of any object regardless of the reference we use (a calender or clock or moon or sun) has any sort of actual, non-subjective, value. Thus, the debate actually boils down to a quibbling about definitions. What I am trying to say to Old John J in this dialog, and having little success it seems for whatever reason (I chalk it up to the stubbornness of physicists in general; they will concede an argument about as readily as a Calvinist will, so…you get the point), is that all Young Earth proponents need to do to reasonably reject Old Earth science is redefine time in such a way that it “proves” that the age of the earth is relatively young, as opposed to relatively old (and really, they don’t even need to go to that trouble…they just need to rightly point out that since science doesn’t have an absolute reference for time, then age is relative; they can just as rationally call the Earth young as they call it old; a billion years can become a thousand years and there is no absolute standard by which to refute their claim). Since time is indeed relative to whatever abstract reference we choose, “old” and “young” can mean whatever we want it to mean.
This of course is a notion that anyone who believes in a “force” which “determines/governs” the universe simply cannot suffer. Mystic, or scientist…they love excluding man from the equation. And that is the crux of my problem with science, and why I love going after the assumptions of Old Earthers (scientists/physicists). In the end, their “Standard Model” is as subjective as Calvin’s standard model of the Institutes of the Christian Religion. Both break down, collapsing under the weight of their own capricious definitions, as soon as we realize that the SELF (a physical body) is the source of itself, by itself, and that it simply cannot be any other way. Both physics standard models and religious models (and all models for that matter) inevitably arrive at the only place they can really go: utter contradiction of themselves and, if forced upon the masses anyway, the destruction of mankind in favor of their abstract absolute “truth” which “controls” absolutely.
People think I’m nuts…but I have seen the end of all “laws” (determining forces described in various schools of thought), and they end either in the affirmation of mankind’s singular and perfect value/truth, or mankind’s utter ruin in service to a “truth” which lay perpetually beyond him. And the belief that this truth “controls/determines” is simply more proof that man cannot really be valued in the equation, and thus, cannot be known to exist. There is no middle ground.
Incidentally, if you really want to get their—that is, the physicist’s—goat (they are fun to poke at), tell them that the universe is not, in fact, expanding. Watch the nerds fly into a rage. Tell them that since the “big bang” created space and time, thus making space and time and of course the universe itself as having an origin of NOWHERE and NO-WHEN, it is impossible to deduce that the universe is in fact expanding because by definition (their own!) there is no actual place the universe could be expanding from. Space began in NO space. And time began at NO time. And that being the case, there can be no location to the start of the “expansion”. Therefore, the universe is where it is now in the same place it was then…and where it is, is nothing more than itself.
Again, if the universe doesn’t have a starting point, then it cannot be going anywhere. For how can anything be going anywhere if it came from nowhere? It is an irrational notion. Movement, and thus expansion, by extension, is simply another way man qualifies the relative motions (which can be of a variety of sorts, not just “movement”, but “time” and “distance” and “direction” and “energy”, etc.) between two bodies. In reality, since there is no actual value to space or time, because in the physics model both were created, and thus are direct functions of NO space or time, there is no such thing as expansion. Expansion is relative between two bodies. The location of those bodies can thus only be themselves in literal fact.
To me, it seems that the logical fallacies of physics are the only things actually expanding.
Finally…before we get on to the dialog between myself and Old John J…
Why is this important? Why do I spend so much time going after these false notions of time and space as entities which, though they are direct functions of the utter contradictions of themselves (of no space and no time) even according to physics itself, are deemed as somehow non-relative and actually causal?
I do it to show the insidiousness of the philosophy of the Primacy of Consciousness. I do it to show just how quickly abstract truth can pass for CAUSAL truth. These “laws” are always thought to carry the epistemological and existential day. ALL notions of absolute truth outside of man–like the Jewish “law” as James Jordan argues it, like the Gnosticism of post-Augustinian Christianity, like the Standard Model of physics–must eventually push man into a place of utter irrelevance. If we do not concede that all truth is a direct function of the physical bodies which actually exist, observed by a man’s conscious mind, then man must become an affront and an enemy of truth. Once that happens, man must be destroyed. There is no living with an absolute truth that does not include YOU. There. Is. No. Living. Period. Either YOU are VALUE, or you are the enemy of value (and another word for “value” is “morality”).
If physics places truth outside of man, then physics becomes the destroyer of worlds like any old despotic religion does. Man dies in the service of truth. That is why this is important. And physics and math and science are the gold standard for impenetrable abstract “truth” in the world. To me, if I can declare and reveal the contradictory assumptions and the false logic of these schools of thought, then the rest of the despotic ideas which rule the world will be easy fodder. One can easily show how individual man is outside of the “collective”, and thus, the collective itself must be nothing more than an abstract concept meant to enslave individuals to a “truth” which MUST destroy them in service to itself. That isn’t too hard. But declaring that you or your mind are NOT a product of physical laws which determine or govern, which we can observe to be efficacious in many tangential-to-man’s-self ways, such as industry and technology…well, that is hard.
But we must ask ourselves: Does efficacy in these areas make the laws of physics “true”? What is “truth”… meaning, if truth is in service to areas outside of man’s self, then what does that make “truth”? Is a science-based technology used to kill men and women and children (Syria?) in mass quantities “true”? And if so, true according to what? Not to man, obviously…thus, the truth is revealed by what the science is used in service to, not In the science actually “working”, I submit. For if what “works” is what removes mankind from the face of the Earth, then “works” is actually NOT working at all. And so in this sense, the laws of physics are not any different than the laws of government, or art, or language, or economics. All of these schools of thought have their ways of organizing the world. Science is no different. In all cases, there are ideas—there are “laws”—and yet, the truth can only be measured one way: the affirmation of that which is the only thing which can be objectively known as TRUTH: human beings.
Here is the dialog between Old John J and myself. John J bailed I would say pretty early…but maybe you don’t think so. That’s fine. For me, well, like I said…a physicist is simply a priest of sorts. They are the ones divinely given grace to perceive the truth. When Old John J declares he has nothing more to add to the discussion, this is the same thing as a Calvinist saying “Well, I know it’s true; you don’t have to accept it”. In other words, agreement with them is the only way you can have truth. You have to agree before you understand. [sigh] Notice in the discussion with Old John J his presumption that the consistency of ideas is not relevant. That is, truth can be known in spite of its foundational assumptions being utterly mutually exclusive to reason. Notice how time does not need to have any actual absolute value in order to be completely able to consistently and accurately describe reality.
This is not a rational idea. The notion of a NON-absolute ruling absolutely is insanity. This is merely mysticism in a white lab coat instead of a miter.
Here is me and Old John J talking time. The couple of comments in brackets are mine, added during the writing of this post:
The answer is simple [to the question of “how old is the universe”] : there is no actual “age” of the earth or universe since time is, according to GR, relative. In both YE and scientific claims, time is “created”. This means that time itself begins, by definition, at “zero time”…or, better said, time is created at the location of NO time. This makes time itself a direct function of zero. Which means that the age of the universe and earth cannot really be known since the birthdate of anything which exists is 0/0/0.
Old John J said:
Argo, sorry I missed this yesterday.
I think there is considerable confusion here. Time is not an absolute measure. It is always the difference between two times taken with respect to the same reference: our calendars and clocks. Relativity as in General Relativity defines how perceived times are to be compared over large distances, large gravitational field differences, large speed differences. It’s computations are precise, not relative as in the colloquial sense of the word. Your age is not arbitrary: at the minimum I assume you know it’s date. Official accounting of time here on Earth is done by counting seconds. The second is defined in terms of a reproducible property of the Cesium atom. The inability to establish an absolute time does not in any way call into question time keeping.
Many physical properties have been shown to take place extremely regularly. Radioactive decay is one of them. OE proponents count on the long term reproducibility of many different radioactive decay sequences, measured quantities that are falsifiable by direct observations to make their age estimates. All measurements are subject to certain amounts of uncertainty. Statistics was invented to deal with such measurement problems. No statistical uncertainties in the current OE age of Earth estimates are large enough to encompass the YE preferred age.
Old John J,
I am fully aware of how the YE crowd attempts to “prove” its “science” by appealing to the usual scientific assumptions regarding what constitutes a “day”, or an “hour”, or the “math” or whatever. I am being a little facetious when I suggest that YE crowd simply needs to redefine a “second” according to their own consensus. Since time, as you admit, is not absolute, really, it boils down to what we label (how we choose to quantify) the relative movement (relative to us) of whatever object we are tracking as the reference.
You rightly point out the use of atomic clocks for time keeping. Sure…it’s a great system, as long as we all agree that a motion from A to B (or whatever interaction we choose to measure) constitutes a second (strange…no one asked me). Since time is not absolute, then what if we make the same motion from A to B two hours? Do that enough, get the math to work out, and you have “proven” YE. My point is that time is merely a measurement of what physical objects do…it is not a “law” that governs the motion of those objects. Time is a term. Human beings give it meaning. As with everything then, truth is a function of man, not a function of abstract measurements.
I understand it may seem like semantics. However, I submit that truth gets clouded when we lose sight of ideas like relative time (not absolute). We begin to subjugate man to “forms” which are beyond him. This can only lead to man’s destruction. In addition, I submit that science would be more evolved if it dropped its Platonist facade. Ideas like “numbers don’t lie” must hinder any scientific endeavor, I assume. One has to ask, if we began with the proper assumption, that the SELF is what actually exists and acts (and even more so, that truth is ultimately derived from the conscious observer), might we have advanced our understanding?
Old John J said:
Time is a well defined concept. There is no absolute time but since all given times are actually the difference between two measurements the lack of an absolute reference is immaterial. Time differences can probably be measured more accurately than any other physical quantity. There is sufficient accuracy to see even the minuscule variations due to General Relativity effects on our planet. There is nothing in the physics of time that can bridge the gap between OE and YE age estimates for the Earth.
“Time is a well defined concept.”
Defined by who? Time does not define itself. Man defines time. So if I don’t accept your concept, you have no way to prove me wrong. Time has no reference. Itself has no value.
“There is no absolute time but since all given times are actually the difference between two measurements the lack of an absolute reference is immaterial.”
On the contrary. Since there is no actual reference for time (an absolute reference) then time cannot be defined absolutely. All values of time then are both relative and a matter of consensus. You cannot PROVE an age based on a reference which you admit does not exist.
“Time differences can probably be measured more accurately than any other physical quantity.”
Differences based on a reference number that is merely theoretical. Change the number, change the measurement.
“There is sufficient accuracy to see even the minuscule variations due to General Relativity effects on our planet.”
Variations in what? Time is a concept. Variations in time are variations only insofar as the abstract reference is agreed upon. The only ultimately non- subjective measurement of time is OBJECT (self). Every object is where and when it is. Any other description is theoretical only. A theoretical measurement between the relative movement between two or more objects. Remove objects, remove time.
“There is nothing in the physics of time that can bridge the gap between OE and YE age estimates for the Earth.”
Time does not have physics because it is a product of cognition. It, itself, is an absolute idea (infinite ). It can have no measurements apart from objects; thus, it has no physics. Physics itself is theoretical only. If you change the definitions, you change the age of the earth. You claim the earth is old. I might claim it is young. Outside accepted definitions, neither argument is right. Because there is no reference for time ITSELF.
Old John J said:
Time is fundamental to all of physics [oh…I know, heh, heh]. It is in no way undefined or arbitrary. Time is measured by reproducible periodic astronomic or atomic phenomena. An agreed on reference time and date and choice of measurement units is all that is needed to compare the times of different events. The small gravitational and velocity effects that occur in measuring time are well understood as shown by the functioning of the Global Positioning System.
There is nothing that allows for the YE 6000 year estimate of the age of the Earth to be taken seriously compared to the accepted OE estimate of 4.5 billion years (4,500,000,000). This the only absolute in dealing with time that I accept.
Educationally, I am an old experimental physicist. Theologically only Genesis 1:1 appears to be a useful science reference point. The remainder of the first 11 Genesis chapters speak to the relationship God expects from his chosen people: no idols, polytheism and an expected moral righteousness. Genesis should not be interpreted in the light of contemporary science.
Beyond this I don’t believe I have anything that I contribute to a deeper discussion of time.
Old John J,
I am not trying to be argumentative. But seems to me that physicists have as hard a time letting go of their assumptions about reality as anyone else. They think that because they have models which do a good job of organizing the environment, that they get to claim somehow that these models are causal. (Maybe not you…but the idea that physical laws “govern” I have heard all my life; it is a lie…because that which is purely theoretical cannot govern, because it cannot exist.) So, the real question is WHY do we decide that the way physics models and uses the concept of time is “better” than one who would choose to disregard those models, such as a YEC proponent?
What is the thing which the models are in service to? If you say “truth”, fine…but what is truth in service to? True in what way? All truth must boil down to the affirmation of what EXITS, which is not physics itself, but the relative relationship between the objects physics describes. Objects are the cause of themselves…the physics is simply a paradigm we use to organize what we observe. And what exists as a function of the VALUE that physics is in service to is MAN. Anytime the model becomes causal (time becomes “objective”), then truth is outside of humanity. And this is the Platonism in science. This will eventually lead to abuse. Physics, like any other idea, must serve the affirmation of MAN, or it cannot be proven as true. We can argue against YEC…but if we argue it by making physics the new primary consciousness, instead of the “biblical inerrancy” like the Young Earthers declare, then we are hypocrites.
And I am right. Age is relative. By definition. If time is a function of “no time”, then any value of time is NOT actual. Your appeal to physical phenomenon as the source of time is concession of this argument. I am forty years old. Relative to the age of the earth. Relative to the age of the universe. Relative to the big bang (or creation) which occurred at NO time. All age stems then from a reference which is zero. Age is relative. The only actual age is ME. I am when I am. You are when you are. Age is merely a brand of relatively quantifying our difference with respect to an agreed upon theoretical reference.
I asked: At what time did time begin? There is no answer to this question that doesn’t ultimately prove that time does not exist. It has no absolute reference itself, so any value of time is going to relative to whatever objects we are observing. If we put all objects into a physics model, then time certainly can seem “non-arbitrary”. But the fact is as one time, some PERSON had to decide how to define a day. An hour. A minute. The definition itself doesn’t really matter…consensus matters. Why does consensus matter between human beings…what is the value they are trying to perpetuate? Existence of MAN.
The only truth then is LIFE. Human life. Life(man’s SELF) then is the objective source of truth from which all ideas (even physics) stems. Physics is not causal. It is descriptive. It is man’s attempt to organize his universe in a way that affirms himself.
Here is a perfect example of the favoritism and hypocrisy which exists at Wartburg Watch. This is precisely why I reject all of the arguments Dee has made for placing me in permanent moderation on her blog. In this way, she plays the part of a hypocrite perfectly. This is a good example of the kind of reasoning she used to moderate me into oblivion there in the first place:
Bennett Willis said:
The uncertainty in time is such that even over 4.5 billion years it does not amount to your age. Please select something that matters to discuss.
Something that matters? The insinuation of an abstract, theoretical construct as the source (cause) of truth doesn’t matter? In the context of a blog meant to deal with abuse, I would say you need to rethink what matters.
You and I have different notions of what constitutes relevance. I do not agree that you are the arbiter of what is truly relevant.
Could you take it down a notch? Thanks.
So…yes, I am accused of discussing something wholly irrelevant, while none of my claims are refuted, and when I respond to the accusation, I’m the one who has to tone it down.
The Marxism of the mind. The Haves are to be sacrificed to the Have Nots.
The tyranny which so easily seduces is seen in so many little fits and starts. It is big in some places, and small in others. But it is there, always and inexorably. People think that can never fall prey to the devil’s schemes. That’s because we don’t fall…we waltz right in.
I commented on SpiritualSoundingBoard.com today, and it was so long and I enjoyed it so much that I thought it prudent to post it as a new article. It concerns one of my all time favorite topics, which is “time”; more precisely, expressing rationally why time is nothing more than a human abstraction used to organize his environment. This is important, because as soon as we elevate abstract concepts to the place of existential reality, and even worse, causal power, we have destroyed the very self of man and God. Existence becomes an illusion, and understanding impossible. There can be no God or man or Jesus or salvation unless we determine that only what physically IS can ACTUALLY exist, and drive action.
Here is my post:
“Lydia – I do not believe that God forced Adam and Eve to sin. You admit that the fallen world was not a surprise to him. So He knew about it in advance, right? Could He have decided, then, to not create the world? I think the answer is yes. But He created it anyway, knowing about the fall. Forget for the moment about whether or not He ordained it. He had the knowledge that it would happen. Wouldn’t you say then that he was cruel to have created it? I think that if you are consistent, you would have to say yes. The bottom line is that a world was created that would undergo a fall, and that God knew it would happen.”
Jeff Brown said this to Lydia…and, you see, this is another one of those ideas that somehow we get about God and it never seems to shake loose, even though the idea changes the entire nature of God and man, even contrary to the biblical notion of God and man in a relationship.
Where do we get the idea, and why do we assume that God, in order to be a perfect God, must someone “know the future”? Jeff’s very comment illustrates the rational force fields which prevent forming a coherent understanding between God’s knowledge of things, His ordaining of things, and thus His moral culpability in such things. There is no way God cannot ultimately be responsible for “evil” that He knows before it happens but does nothing to prevent. Impossible. This is directly because we have a false understanding of time, and we make the false assumption that God functions in a way in which He always understands what “will happen” to some kind of infinite point.
Where in the bible, or in even common sense is this idea manifest as an absolute truth? Not only is God’s perfect wisdom and knowledge NOT predicated on any sort of absolute knowledge of the future, it is a rank logical fallacy to accept this. It destroys the concept of BOTH man and God as any sort of definable “selves” completely.
Listen, if God knows the future, and His knowledge is perfect, then everything that happens MUST be determined. Everything you do now is nothing more than an act that was already “seen” by God BEFORE it happened (and here is that logical fallacy again says that something can exists before it exists). And since God is the Creator of everything, then He must be directly responsible for whatever acts He sees you doing in the future, which you have not yet done. And if His knowledge is perfect and He sees you acting in the future, then you MUST act in the way God sees. Your actions are determined. Morality cannot exist. There can be no just reward and no just condemnation. Morality is a lie.
But worse than that is the blasphemy inherent in this idea of God absolutely knowing the future.
God cannot act FREELY in a future He already knows. This means that if He sees the future, and the future must include Him, then whatever actions He sees HIMSELF doing in the future are determined. God not only sees man absolutely in the future, but He also sees Himself, too. God, Himself, is determined.
But what determines God? It is a logical impossibility to say that God freely determines Himself. That makes no sense. Free will cannot choose to determine itself at the EXPENSE of that will. If you freely decided to determine your actions, you have utterly destroyed YOURSELF. If God determines Himself, then it is no longer He who is in control of His actions, but DETERMINISM. And God cannot cannot abdicate Himself in favor of another force. That is blasphemous.
Determinism is an absolute, period. It has no end to it. If man’s future is known then God’s must be, too. Both man and God exist at the mercy of actions that they both must inexorably must engage apart from any self volition. So, the problem with God knowing the future is that He condemns Himself to the same determined action man is condemned to. If God is said to have His own will, then He cannot know the future, cannot know what “will happen”, because what will happen must inexorably include His own actions.
So, no…God did not know the fall and yet create anyway. That is not rationally possible. The fall was NOT supposed to happen according to God’s purpose. It happened because individuals, act always in accordance with their own free and unfettered WILL.
Remember, if God knows the future, He is in no more control of His actions than man is of man’s actions. And this is why this concept is an insult to God’s very self. We MUST be more careful before ascribing what WE assume to be “perfection”. We are blaspheming God in doing this.
Here is the comment I left at Wartburg Watch, which went unanswered.
“If time and space were created at the Big Bang, then it would be impossible to assign a “where” and a “when” to that event, right? Therefore, how do you define its beginning? You can’t really say it happened however many billions of years ago, because, by definition there can be no WHEN (and by extension no WHERE) to its “beginning” since time and space didn’t exist until AFTER the big bang. And so, it is impossible to tell ultimately then how old the universe is…indeed, you cannot even say it had a beginning, because something that is absent a time or place cannot be said to have a beginning.”
I suspect it won’t be the last time this question will go unanswered. Physicists are extremely reticent to admit the Platonism inherent in their science; because at the end of it all is a great big fat shrug. At the core of science, I have come to realize–at least as it pertains to the foundational mathematics–is nothing more than Gnosticism in quantifiable form. And this is to say that this is the scientific definition of TRUTH: that what cannot be proven, because it cannot be shown to be actual (like numbers and constants and “laws” which govern), because it cannot be observed, is really the cause of all which exists.
And for the experimental physicists this must be doubly frustrating. I mean, as those who claim that empirical evidence is THE evidence of choice for TRUTH, it must be awfully hard to acknowledge that at the root of the presumption is that what cannot be actually observed is the “objective” standard for how we gauge the veracity our empirical–that is observed–evidence. In other words, we prove observational evidence as a direct function what cannot at all be observed, which is of course how the math reconciles.
Math is nothing more than the abstract quantification of the action of an object (or objects) after it has already happened. Seems a little too convenient to me to be the gold standard for TRUTH. You set your constants by the actions of objects you can only observe after the fact, and then you claim laws which govern…which implies, coming BEFORE. And so you what you are trying to get past the logical smell test is to declare that all which is said to govern is a direct function of purely object-derived actions which I submit can never be rationally proven to have been caused by these laws at all because you can never observe a law before it acts upon an object. Which means that all you can possibly know unless you are declaring some kind of mystic “revelation” or “divine insight” is that objects act FIRST; which means all actions are a direct function of the object’s ability to act; which means that the object, not the math or the “law” is the source of its being.
Does this not raise the eyebrows of a single rational soul? How can we claim truth when by our very standards we can never actually SEE it.
Hmmm…I see a contradiction in terms on the road ahead.
It isn’t then curious why the experimental physicist on the Wartburg Watch, Old John J saw the road..and turned around.
So then, having said all of that, it seems to me that the problem with Young Earth Creationism as touted by the gnostic mystics of pseudo-Christianity and Old Earth Creationism as touted by the gnostic mystics of pseudo-empiricist standards is the exact same problem: the impossibility of actually defining the terms “old” and “young”. For if time is purely relative (and it is) and is nothing more than an abstraction which is derivative of a man’s ability to cognitively abstract (which it is), then it is impossible to declare that old is actually old or that young is actually young because there is no actual reference point. For by definition time is nothing more than a qualification/quantification of the relative movement between two (or more objects)…a different conceptual idea of movement, as opposed to “distance”, or “length”, or even “gravity”.
So the problem then is that there is no other ACTUAL reference (but only a man-contrived abstract reference) by which to gauge the “time” of the universe in order that the universe may be determined to be either young or old. Since the “beginning” of Creation is a singularity, then what is the other reference point by which we measure its time? There is no Y to Creation’s X; no B to Creation’s A. How do you have a measurement of any temporal kind unless you can know the start TIME…that is, you cannot have an AGE unless you know WHEN whatever it is you are temporally defining BEGAN. If there is no WHEN to its beginning, then it cannot have an AGE. And what I am submitting is that since Creation had a beginning literally in a vacuum according to both young and old earthers, as well as agnostic or atheist scientists, it is categorically impossible to declare when Creation began. And if you cannot know when Creation began (further compounded by the fact that it is often said-without any sense of irony by either the Young Earth or Old Earth advocates-that space and time were likewise Created in the beginning…which has a temporal value of ZERO, making time a direct function of NO TIME )…so, again, if you cannot know when Creation began then it is by definition impossible to say just how old or young Creation actually is.
And further, how do you have a beginning from NOTHING at all? How does NOTHING (because both camps assume that God made Creation from nothing) spawn a thing which does not exist? What value can be given to Creation if the material from which it sprang forth is zero? Anything derived from zero is zero…even the mathematicians have to give me that one. That’s just common mathematical sense. A four year old knows that if you start with zero bananas and add a banana you haven’t added ONE banana to zero, you have merely replaced the empty spot on the table with a banana. You can add another banana to get two bananas, but you can’t add one of anything to nothing-to NO banana; to the absence of banana–to make that nothing become ONE banana. Because the absence of banana is understandably infinite. The absence of banana cannot become, by definition, banana.
And the same is true for the universe. The absence of anything cannot produce something by definition because then it becomes a contradiction in terms. The absence of universe cannot ever be created into “universe” without utterly destroying the concept of “nothing”. And if that is destroyed, then so is the idea that God is “first cause”. Because God could not have created something from nothing if nothing did not exist. Except that in order for nothing to exist; for nothing to remain truly nothing, then something by definition could never have been derived from it.
It is a logical sinkhole from which there is no escape no matter how hard one tries. It is not possible. James Jordan tried in the comments thread of the previous post on this topic and failed to bridge the gap of the bottomless, gaping chasm of logical madness. In the end, if you concede NOTHING then you cannot claim that anything can be created out of it. It just doesn’t work. At. All.
But getting back to the notion of time.
As I was saying, you simply cannot determine old or young if you cannot define the “when” of Creation’s start. And it doesn’t matter that the physicists or Old Earth creationists speak of events happening “ten seconds after the big bang” or “one minute after the big bang”. If you cannot say WHEN the big bang was (or WHERE, by extension) then you cannot define what in the hell ten seconds or one minute actually is.
Ten seconds from what? Is my wholly rational question.
Ten seconds after the big bang.
Yes, but when was the big bang?
We cannot say, because our reference time and place for the big bang is “nothing’; or at best is merely “the big bang”. The big bang IS the beginning.
Then how do you know ten seconds passed if there is no start time? If the start time is the big bang…well, that’s not a time. Ten seconds then is merely arbitrary. There is no way to prove that ten seconds is actually ten seconds.
The big bang didn’t have a time, it was “beginning”.
Yes, but how do you define beginning?
How do you define time?
What is ten seconds?
Then how can we know that ten seconds is ten seconds if it impossible to make a distinction between the passage of “time” and the thing from which it sprang?
I tell you readers…this is Looney Tunes.
Aaaaaaand the same argument can be used on the intelligent design folks.
God created the heavens and the earth in six days.
Six days from when?
From when He started.
Yes, but when was that…what time did He start?
When He did. He didn’t start at a time; He created time.
So time had a beginning AFTER God BEGAN to create. Okay…I’ll make it easy on you: Just tell me then when God created time (because, it doesn’t say in the Bible that God created time); that is, how soon after he began to create did He make time? Was it a minute after He began creating? An hour after He began creating?
He began it when He began it.
So the “time” he created time is indefinite?
Yes. Because He just did.
Okay…when was it finished being created? How long did it take God to create time.
I’m not sure…let’s say, an hour after.
So an hour beginning at indefinite time?
Do you not see how that is completely contradictory and logically insane? How can you start to count sixty minutes beginning with an indefinite “moment”? If the beginning moment itself is completely excluded from the time construct, how can it possibly the be the beginning of a sixty-minute cycle of time?
Because I can make the time anything I wa…er, it is a matter of Biblical truth. Time is real, because it’s in the Bible.
No, the Bible says nothing about God creating time. Because that would not make a damn bit of sense.
So let me get this straight. Time has no “time” of its beginning. And therefore Creation itself has no “time” of its beginning. Then how can you show that six days is actually six days? If a day has no beginning (because beginning must be a function of time) then how can you measure it out so that a day is shown to be an actual day. Twenty-four hours from NO TIME cannot possibly be shown to be twenty four hours. Unless you concede that time is merely an arbitrary abstraction devised by man as a means of organizing his observable environment. Do you concede?
No, because “six days” is in the Bible. And the Bible is infallible.
Yes, readers…feel free to scream now. I know I want to.
And so this is the insurmountable problem. “Young” and “Old” are predicated on the idea of a beginning TIME which cannot ever be provided. Since time was either created with the rest of Creation, or it was Created out of nothing, giving the start time as ZERO–as nothing–then there can be, by definition, no actual beginning to Creation.
And if you can’t say WHEN it began, it is impossible to declare how old, or young, the universe is.
So as not to draw any more attention to a site which no longer is fertile ground for actually producing any real change in the abuse/authority structure of the Calvinist juggernaut in the church today, I will be speaking in this post of the blog site, TWW. Which stands for…The West Wing “survivor” blog.
The blogging queens who moderate it are Dolly and Dotty.
Their e-pastor is a “reformed” (i.e. “loving and kind”) Calvinist known as Wayne.
Recently, I was banished to The West Wing’s solitary confinement over in the Perpetual Moderated Comment Corner for Bad Little Boys with Smart Mouths Who Obviously Did Not Spend Enough Time On the Urinal Cake Cleaning Committee Learning Submission to Pastor Wayne.
But, in spit of this, I did not allow myself to concede that I’m dealing now not with those who seek truth but with the Ministry of Defense for Pastoral Authority. So, like an idiot, I continued to comment anyway. Like a fool. Oh yes, all but admitting that I am the very slobbering barbarian who must be compelled by the “altruistic” dictators of sound doctrine like Wayne…much like the fools neo-Calvinist gnostic “authorities” take most laity for, even after my banishment into perpetual moderation bad-little-boy time-out for daring to question the divine knowledge of the “great one”, Wayne, I attempted to be the humble and prostrate one–showing indeed that I was one of the precious “elect”–before the gnostic divines.
All because I wanted to help other people think about truth. But I didn’t actually know that I had a fat chance in hell of that happening.
You don’t question the pastors. No matter how nice the are, in the end, you NEVER question the pastor. Wayne will not suffer confrontation; how dare I demand he defend his ideas.
Yes…I am bitter.
I’m sorry. Does that offend someone’s poor little sound doctrinal sensibilities? Awwww. Well, truly, how wonderfully convenient for them. It is convenient to engage in hypocrisy and unwarranted vengeance and then decide that when the inevitable reaction occurs by the other party you can merely appeal to the pretentious platitude “You know, a goooood Christian wouldn’t be bitter. He would thank God for the privilege of being “corrected” by the perpetually morally superior. And didn’t even Jesus “turn the other” cheek? Now, now…is that a piece of wood I see sticking out of your eye?”
By the way, which cheek was Jesus turning when He declared the Pharisees a brood of vipers and the Sadducees utterly ignorant of God’s truth?
I’m not saying Christ was a hypocrite. I’m saying that, as always, context is everything…and is also everything denied by those who run blocker for doctrinal tyranny. Turning the other cheek is not quite the best option when confronted with rank despotism under the guise of “sound doctrine” and the “enlightened traditions of men”.
That’s the point.
Anyway…in the midst of trying to play nice and wear my dunce cap all neat and straight and tidy in the corner, and with all the humility and navel gazing one would expect from a good little lay person trying to play nice in the neo-Calvinist sandbox (which they fill with broken glass)…yes, it was then I notice that mommy and mommy and daddy have a very convenient way of dealing with little boys that they’d quite rather ship off to a foster home.
You see, getting the left boot of fellowship from a site like West Wing must be done with all due deference to the subliminal. It can’t be quite that overt, what with the standing on ceremony and waxing eloquent about all the unjust excommunication of people from neo-Calvinist dictatorial collectives for daring to question the “sound doctrine” of the ecclesiastical Marxists.
And…in case you don’t’ remember, this is, in my opinion, precisely what got me put in the corner there. Yes, under the red herring and hypocritical guise of “tone”–which is just about as broad, vague and nebulous as one can make an excuse for essentially getting rid of someone questioning the “authority” of the Pastor–I was sent away to think about the evil I had done by making some grown-up bloggers cry (who post freely of their own volition, and who are obligated to defend the ideas that they willingly offer) and for being a big meanie to Wayne, who ALSO is frankly on the hook for defending his publicly stated doctrinal beliefs, like Total Depravity, and who apparently is only trying to help people see that the violence which is Calvinism isn’t always so blatantly violent; that there is in fact a nice way of bludgeoning people with sound doctrine.
I guess I got the nice bludgeoning. That was fun!!
And I submit this is just what happened. The beginning of the end for me was when I finally decided that Wayne was simply another Calvinist “authority” in Mr. Rodgers clothing. And I began to demand he answer for his irreconcilable rational larceny.
So what happened? Simple. As promised, I was put into “immediate moderation”. Okay…that’s fine; I can take my Blog Queen spanking like a big boy. I’m not gonna run from it. Their blog; their rules. It’s a free country and I’m all for private property rights. I made nice with my “tone” and understood I’d have to wait a bit to see my name in “lights” over there.
But what they didn’t mention was that my comments would be put in moderation for hours and hours and hours and hours on end. Whether on purpose or not I cannot say, but I suspect that Dolly and Dotty are seasoned enough bloggers to recognize the outcome of such a maneuver. Leaving my comments in moderation for six, seven, eight hours on end, even when I noticed that they were online and blogging and commenting, is certainly long enough for the thread to have moved a million miles from my comment, to where my questions or comments were no longer relevant, and/or were so far away from the actual time I made them that they couldn’t be seen. This of course had the convenient effect of neutralizing me, without actually having to say: yes, we BANNED him because we didn’t like what he had to say.
No…they couldn’t quite do that without making the hypocrisy as glaring as the morning sunrise on Mercury. Plus, that would have required a LOT of cardiovascular stamina for all the backpedaling required to cover up their long history of decrying other blogs for doing that very thing.
The whole point of my little diatribe here is to simply say that once again that wise and rascally metaphysician, John Immel, proves himself right and much more experienced than I. Whenever someone “warns” you about your “tone”, you must deny it. They are liars. Tone is nothing. Words matter. Anyone blogging comes there of their own free will. They are on the hook for defending their ideas; and you are NOT on the hook for conceding, through “tone” that they could be right. That is ridiculous.
For “tone” is the last desperate death cry of a neo-reformed shill who has come face to face with one whom cannot and will not be bludgeoned with ludicrous, false, and destructive pretenses of “sound doctrine” or “orthodoxy”, no matter how great the appeal is to delicate sensibilities. It is the Calvinist’s version of unleashing of the Kracken of egregious false gnostic and moral superiority upon the barbarian masses in order to maintain control and power over them. If they can’t get you on the logic, they’ll get you on your “tone”. And that’s what they got me on. Sentenced to banishment for “improper tone”.
Now, if that doesn’t sound like good old fashioned Calvinist tyranny and thought-control, I don’t know what does.
My opinion is that someone runs that blog over there at West Wing, and I don’t think its Dolly and Dotty any longer. Rather, it is merely the same “sound doctrine” which runs unopposed ever more and more in Christendom these days, and pushed by overtly despotic and “altruistic” Calvinists alike. The false humility of appeals like “we just need to love and understand everyone” has lead Dolly and Dotty straight back to the vomit which they, for a while, were so commendably trying to flee. But approach a Calvinist pastor, nice-guy or not, with “yes, we just need to love one another”, and that stuff is like catnip to these pastors’ remarkable skills of doctrinal manipulation. And wiz-bang-shazamm!!!…the next thing you know you are conceding that “tone” is the real problem in church today. Ahaaahaaaahaaaa! LOLOLOLOROTFLMAO!!!!!. See…we have a NICE Calvinist here with us. All is well. And finally it has been revealed: your ATTITUDE is the problem.
Yes…I’ve time-warped back into Sovereign Grace Ministries hell.
Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.
Oh, Dolly and Dotty. It was all for naught. How quickly we surrender to oppressive ideas when they are presented as angels of light. How quickly and easily we fall in our hubris: we just need the right men forcing the rest of us in our depravity.
Oh, how quickly we forget that men kill IN THE NAME OF ideas, not in the name of themselves. It is the doctrine which is the pit. No matter how nice the guy is who is pushing you into it, if he concedes that the pit is where God says you must go, that is where you will go.
Well, recently at TWW there was a post on Extra Terrestrial life submitted by a guest blogger, who is a self-described “old experimental physicist”, and who uploaded his article and then proceeded to engage the comments section with about as little enthusiasm and time as my children spend eating cold oatmeal.
But hey! One useful thing I learned was that, as an experimental physicist, you can choose not to answer questions you deem “theoretical”. And since, by definition, any question of physics is “theoretical” because the whole science is pretty much founded on theoretical concepts, it makes not answering really easy when confronted with questions you can’t answer without actually having to admit that you can’t answer them. And which I submit is exactly the same reason NO physicist has ever entertained my questions.
One such example of one such question being this here, submitted on TWW blog, and, seeing as how it showed up three hours later (which was comparatively short, with respect to the norm) was never answered because no one saw it. But anyway, this question forms the basis of my next post; a post which will show you how to have fun messing around with both Young and Old Earth apologists by dismantling BOTH arguments as arrogant presumption when aligned with philosophical belief systems such as Christianity.
Here it is:
“If time and space were created at the Big Bang, then it would be impossible to assign a “where” and a “when” to that event, right? Therefore, how do you define its beginning? You can’t really say it happened however many billions of years ago, because, by definition there can be no WHEN (and by extension no WHERE) to its “beginning” since time and space didn’t exist until AFTER the big bang. And so, it is impossible to tell ultimately then how old the universe is…indeed, you cannot even say it had a beginning, because something that is absent a time or place cannot be said to have a beginning.”
Thanks for your thoughtful response!
“It doesn’t exist in a physical way. It “exists” as a concept, but as a necessary concept.”
Right…I would agree with this statement; I think for man to effectively organize his environment, “time” is extremely important. It allows for the exceptionally effective interaction among people. Dividing the “day” into “points” of contact has obvious positive implications. Definitely. But the fact that it isn’t “physical” has HUGE implications. If we can correctly identify it as an abstract concept that exists as a function of man’s mind, then we will stop rooting our understanding of God and physics and metaphysics on the assumption that it not only is helpful to man, but that God, and the Universe are actually a direct FUNCTION of it. That they are FORCED to submit to it as a matter of course. If we can understand it is a concept, and nothing more, then we can begin to look beyond it for proper TRUTH.
“Time is real but not physical. The now is the set of positions of all physical objects and thoughts as the exist now. The past is the set of all physical objects and thoughts as they existed then. You can’t go back to the past, because this isn’t finite state machine. Nor can you go to the future. You are always in the now, but the now is not always the same now.”
From my perspective, it seems as though you rightly proclaim time as “not real” (which I describe as not “actual”), but then you proceed to argue as to why it is, in fact, real. My posit is that if something is not physical, then it cannot be real (there is simply no evidence, physical or metaphysical, to defend the idea that the non-physical actually exists). It is a concept…a concept is only real in that it occupies an area of biological brain space. But the things the concept “denotes” still exist regardless of whether the concept is formulated in man’s mind or not. The “concept” doesn’t create anything or destroy anything. It merely describes it. It cannot EFFECT anything. It can only describe it, because it is only theoretical. It has NO actual power. Because it is not a real, physical thing.
“I don’t believe it is possible to live in a timeless moment where everything past, present, and future is the Now.”
James, by your own concession of time as “not real/not physical”, this is precisely what you must believe. If time doesn’t actually exist, then as I said, it cannot effect the physical. And as such, then, we must acknowledge that the reality of everything does, indeed, exist “now”. The reason you struggle to accept my argument, I submit, is because you have spent your whole life assuming that the timeline actually has some kind of POWER to effect your world. As you said, “denoting, something real”. But again, time denotes nothing except in your MIND…because it isn’t actual. And so, the real argument is that MAN denotes, not TIME. Time is purely a conceptual tool. So the reality of existence then MUST be that both WHERE and WHEN are purely the abstraction of time being extended cognitively to objects. So, if YOU, the object, are the constant, and you are always WHERE and WHEN you are, then by definition, literally speaking, all must be NOW.
And further, movement does NOT imply time. Because you see yourself move, and other things move, does not mean that time is REAL. You are quantifying this RELATIVE movement by “time”. The same way you do it by “speed”, or “distance”, or “dimension” or any other purely cognitive, theoretical abstraction.
“For one thing, if God had no sense of time, if everything was now to him, I don’t think he would have created anything, nor perhaps could he create anything if that were the case. If everything is now to God, in the sense you seem to be suggesting, then God can’t do anything. God becomes a prisoner of the future he foresees. He can only do in the now what he foresaw he would do, which means there must be some all-powerful fate determining God’s actions, and that all-powerful fate would then be God. So you end up with an infinite regress.”
Yes…I see what you are saying here. You are clearly using excellent discursive argument and inductive reasoning. I LOVE to see this in people. Occasionally I see this on the blogs…but usually these are the people who get booted pretty quick, because once they start thinking like this, it becomes increasingly easier to see the logical flaws in the arguments, even when the arguments are from “nice” Calvinists, like Wade Burleson. And this really pisses people off, and they tell you that you are full of pride and want to force your ideas on others. But the truth is that people don’t like having their long-held assumptions sacrificed up to rational scrutiny when they know they lack the tools to defend it. And this has very little to do with intellect, and almost everything to do with two things: they are lackadaisical and complacent thinkers, and the ideas are just plain bad.
But I digress.
James, the problem I see in your perspective is that you are still conceding that time is actual…in effect, anyway. You are proclaiming that God is beholden to a “future” He sees, but the point is that since time is not actual, then He cannot, by definition, SEE a FUTURE. He may be able to conceptualize a “future” in a theoretical sense, like man does, but that does not mean that He can create a future, because that would mean creating time, and then, you are right, HE would indeed be beholden to TIME. HIS actions would be as determined and thus as obsolete as anyone else’s. Which is precisely why I DENY that God can “know” the future, because if He knows a future then He MUST have determined it, and then time becomes the all determining Force and we wind up with the self-destructing metaphysical conclusions which doom the whole darn thing, as you rightly point out. But since everything is, in fact, NOW, and all movement relative, then there is NO future for God to “foreknow”. He operates as man operates in man’s existential reality…using conceptual tools within the machinations of RELATIVE movement “like time and space and distance and love and hate, etc., etc.” in order to truly RELATE to man.
So IF we acknowledge that time is merely a concept, then we can actually concede a REAL and truly free-willed relationship with God without inexorably running into the impossibly irreconcilable determinism where ACTUAL time MUST eventually arrive.
By the way, I applaud you and everyone else that comes here to talk about this stuff. Make no mistake, WE are the only ones doing it. NO ONE else wants anything to do with this stuff. I have engaged physicists, philosophers, etc., etc…they don’t touch it. Time and Space are sacred cows. I have brought up these questions on physics sites several times…it is surreal. They don’t answer my observations about the subject, but they run me out of town on a rocket propelled rail.
Because they have no answer. And their curse is that they are smart enough to KNOW they have no answer. They aren’t merely lazy thinkers clinging to long-held assumptions because they just don’t feel like moving their minds. They understand that the entire science hangs on ideas that are ultimately impossible to reconcile rationally (which is why so many, like Hawking, hate philosophers…philosophy, at least GOOD philosophy, like Aristotelian-type thinking, is their kryptonite). I promise you, they have NO way to ever mathematically “prove” that nothing equals something.
For example, they laud the “big bang” and yet they understand that according to their own centuries of physics they cannot describe “where” or “when” it occurred, because, by definition, it can have NO time or space…because it “created them”. Their silence is a mask for their “intellect”. They love being the smartest people in the room…they will not suffer questions from philosopher types like us. As such, I have begun to question a LOT of what I assume.
Oh…one final thing: There is NO beginning, for the very reason that a beginning for the “big bang” can never be concluded (there is no where or when, because space and time were “created” then). “Beginning’ is a function of “time”. Thus, even beginning is simply relative.
Think about that. 🙂
Here at Unreformingtheology.com we have been having a tedious conversation regarding the issues of space and time, attempting to discern just which category (actual or abstract) they should be deposited in, existentially, in order to get the metaphysical presumptions right.
I am truly fortunate to have intelligent commenters (though my group is small) whose interesting insights, disagreements, and elucidations on such matters provide a seemingly endless supply of material for posts.
Today’s post is no exception. This one springs from a comment by James Jordan with respect to my last post “I’m Laughing at the Superior Intellect”.
Oh…by the way, if you can name the movie and the character which said those words “I’m laughing at the superior intellect”, you…get a cookie.
I think that this post is sort of a putting of the cart before the horse. Before we can really discuss consciousness, either man or God’s, we need to find a way to actually define it. And this, believe me, is not easily done. In fact, of all the ideas that I have been thinking on since starting this pilgrimage towards TRUTH as a function of purely that which can be explained reasonably (for I do not concede that truth exists apart from this; that is, all truth is reasonable (i.e. non-contradictory) truth), defining consciousness so that it is, indeed, truly conscious, instead of merely an illusory entity subservient to some other “law” or rote mechanical process has been…hmm, well, if not by far the most difficult it has been at least beyond-question observably the most difficult.
Nevertheless, I do believe I have a workable definition that still conforms to my premise that all truth is derivative of what actually IS; that is, the physical, observable, universe. Which certainly excludes that which cannot be known or seen apart from physical, actual objects. Like “spacetime” or the “void” or “laws” of nature and physics. (I’m not saying that we observe everything, but that everything that is, IS someTHING which is ACTUAL…not a law, or process, or “spirit world” or theoretical abstraction. For example, I believe in God, and I believe that God is physically real. He is real in the same way that we are real; that everything is real; for all is real in the same way. Our existence “there” may be relative, but our REALITY is the same: physical. Not law, not abstraction, not theory, not idea, not different “dimensions”.)
At any rate, the point is that I am going to plod on and discuss the nature of how a consciousness actually does something—in this case predict things—before I define what consciousness is. It is a little ass-backwards, I know, but I think it is important to discuss this now; for more than defining consciousness, the importance of continuing to bludgeon to death all notions of determinism, whether physical or metaphysical, is of life-saving importance.
In general, I believe that God’s consciousness functions pretty much like man’s if you want my honest opinion. It, that is, consciousness is likewise a product of God’s ability to be self-aware; that is, to see Himself as an “other” in a holistic sense…and a perpetual sense; as an “other” from everything including Himself. Like man, He can predict the “future” (as an abstraction, not as an actuality) in Creation in a sense, I suppose, according to cognitive quantification of how things move (do, act, be). And God’s predictive ability is perfect, of course. But this is not actually that profound, for so is man’s in many cases…man is able to use abstract mathematical laws to describe movement and thus predict perfectly, or nearly perfectly, how objects will move…that is, what they will do in the “future”. The real difference is that God’s predictive ability must also be comprehensive …complete in regards to ALL of the physical universe at any given moment IF He so chooses. Meaning God will not choose to predict something if that thing is irrelevant to His perfection, which would make Him redundant. He predicts only what is necessary/reasonable to predict, that is. And not every choice of His will need to be based on prediction. Prediction has limited usefulness for the free consciousness of God because His omnipotence–that is, perfect power to ACT–precludes the necessity of prediction in most cases, I would argue.
Now, God’s comprehensive predictive power, I assure you, does NOT mean that the “future” is REAL before it comes to pass. That is nonsense; a logical impossibility. Nothing can exist before it exists. Which is why I deny the doctrine of election; for you cannot elect something that does not exist. You cannot do anything with something that does not exist. Go ahead…try to make a pizza with ingredients that do not exist. I’ll wait. Forever. Incidentally, this is also why the concept of inevitability is purely abstract. There is no such real thing; for nothing is “inevitable”…this is merely another way to qualify movement of objects. A thing either is or it is NOT. Both is and is NOT are absolutes which cannot be mitigated by anything…and this is according to their infinite nature as abstract qualifiers. As I said, a thing cannot exist before IT does, and when it does, its existence is ultimately infinite on the physical level because it will always be a function of something physical, and whatever the physical thing in question is, it cannot be a function of is NOT. You see, “being” itself is actually an abstraction. In reality, there are only objects and relative movement. Everything else is abstraction.
The fact is that ALL quantification of movement, whether mathematical or otherwise, is a function of the object itself, not a function of the abstract idea which is quantifying. This is purely how it is described, and thus not a function of prediction, which is purely rooted in a free consciousness’s ability to cognitively organize its environment according to theoretical, abstract constructs . And thus, because of this, regardless of how precise and perfect the prediction is, even to describing the object’s “future” movement 100%, the object itself must first ACT according to its own ability (in order that IT is doing the act, not something else) to do so BEFORE the predicted/declared movement occurs. And so the object, regardless of how accurately the object’s actions are quantified—including “prediction”, is still utterly culpable for making the action actual; for bringing it to pass. Remember, prediction, like everything else, is always a function of the “present”, the “now”; it does not occur in the “future”. Nothing, by definition, actually occurs in the future. For if it did, the future would not be the future, it would be the “present”. And there are no degrees of present; degrees of now. There is no such thing as an earlier “now”, a present “now” and a future “now”. Thus, prediction is merely assumptions about what can only ever be not yet. When it comes to pass, that is the predicted action becomes a function of the present, then prediction itself is dead. Moot. And irrelevant. And you cannot ascribe TRUTH to that which is always irrelevant to what is happening now, in the real present. In this sense, prediction itself is wholly meaningless in reality. Since everything is always a real and actual function of now, prediction is moot and irrelevant in describing REALITY (which makes declaring “laws of physics” what “guides” and “directs” the universe impossible). It is merely theoretical; a way to qualify/quantify. It has no actual bearing on NOW. Ever. As I said, you only have objects and relative movement. Anything else is pure abstraction.
The actions of an object, no matter how well predicted, DO NOT exist UNTIL the object engages them ITSELF. There is a functional difference then–and more importantly a moral difference–between what is assumed to be true based on perfect prediction, and what ACTUALLY occurs as a function of the object actively doing. You cannot judge someone or something for acting BEFORE they act, no matter how well you may predict it. Because, really, though you may predict the action the object has to DO IT before it can be known as real. And reality is the only true knowledge.
The difference is not slight, nor a matter of semantics. The difference is seminal. The difference is between what is ACTUAL, that is real, and what is theoretical, that is, NOT real. And one cannot be judged on what he WILL do, because WILL do is not the same as actual DOING. The existential reality of creation is that there is only doing. “Not doing” is an existential impossibility. And prediction is an abstraction rooted in assumed actions verses assumed non-actions; but in the end, all that is real is the object and what it does, there is no NOT doing which gives definition to the doing. There is the object doing, period, which is merely then this: objects. Doing is merely the object quantified and/or qualified as movement by an “observer” (another object; preferably conscious and self-aware) . Which is why all movement of objects with mass is relative movement. Don’t argue with me on that one, you can take it up with Doc Einstein.
One cannot be judged for NOT doing something, no matter how accurate the prediction is. Because prediction is not reality, there is nothing real to judge, and nothing real to KNOW, and you cannot KNOW what does NOT exist, by definition (for knowledge can only be a function of what actually IS; if it isn’t actually there, then it isn’t truly KNOWING, it is assuming or presuming). There is no true knowing unless and until an action becomes observably ACTUAL as a function of the object, not a function of the cognitive abstractions of the consciousness, which is what prediction is.
WAIT! Don’t leave yet. Hear me out. This is not me being a polemic (not that I have a problem with that).
Caution: What follows requires thinking! This is not easy stuff, but again, hear me out. You see, the heresy is hidden in the humble platitude. This is an effective tool of the Enemy. His “light”. Do not be deceived. As usual with neo-Reformed theology, the Devil is in the details. Literally.
God is in control.
That makes sense, right?
Or does it?
God is in control. Hmm. Something about this has just never sit well with me.
We hear this a lot, and usually it is qualified on the basis of what He “allows” or does not “allow”. And what does He allow or not allow? Well…we are not given the grace to perceive these things…of course. Like so much of what is taught in church these days, you must merely accept that the contradictions in such notions are merely that which God has somehow decided we don’t need to know. See, logical and existential contradictions aren’t really contradictions in the new reformation sweeping like a contagion throughout our churches. They are the pure “truth”. What we can actually see and know to be true as a function of humanity’s existential reality, based on a right and quantifiable understanding of our environment, based on our ability to reason, is merely a shadow of reality, if that. This of course is quite convenient. If the human beings which fill the pews and the burgundy chairs by definition cannot know anything, then they are easily manipulated by those who, somehow, do. And even if those who are specially dispensed to somehow rule concede that they don’t know either, what they can concede is that God put them in charge at any rate; and so if you don’t know and your ecclesiastical “authority” doesn’t know, well, its basically a zero sum game. You might as well sit down and submit, because YOU have not been divinely appointed to explain what to do with the knowledge that is…er, unknowable, because it is contradictory, because it is divine “truth”. And because you are totally depraved.
But God is in control…that just makes sense, right? I mean, this is not even a neo-Calvinist thing. Everyone says this; almost every Christian is wholly committed to the idea that God, as a direct function of his omnipotence, must of course actually BE in CONTROL of EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE. For that, after all is our definition of perfect power, no?
Well, I suppose I could accept that. Except for one small thing.
The idea that “God is in control” is completely irrational.
Wait. Don’t leave. Let me qualify. It is not irrational if by “God is in control” we mean that God is in control of Himself. It IS, however, irrational, and untenable if by “God is in control” we mean that He is in control of Himself AND everything else. For this cannot be reconciled to sense or reason. It is wholly unworkable in organized reality, and thus, should be dismissed as an appeal to rank fantasy and mysticism. Further, I submit that in almost all cases, this is exactly what is meant. God’s control is NOT limited merely to Himself, but to everything else as well. Again, this notion should be summarily dismissed as rationally untenable.
The very idea of God’s “control” over Creation is purely a theoretical, infinite absolute. Since the control is of God, and God Himself is an infinite absolute, the control of which we speak must be absolute as well. But, since the control itself is NOT God, and it is NOT Creation (or man), then control cannot be actual; that is, it cannot be viscerally, physically real. Therefore and again, control must be purely theoretical. It is not an actual thing. Yes, like God, it is infinite. Yes, like God it is absolute. But, unlike God, it doesn’t actually exist. It is merely a way that MAN is able to qualify some observable action which is a function of something real. Like God, for example.
So, God is real, but “control” is not, as such. And in such a case, “control” being absolute AND theoretical cannot be applied to man’s contextual physical reality, because man’s physical reality is not absolute and not theoretical, and does not actually exist in a way that can be consistent with the idea of infinite absolute “control”.
Have I lost you? I thought so. I know…this is tough stuff. Forgive me. You gotta think about this a while. Believe me, I have.
Take a breath. Hang on. Stay with me. This is going someplace.
“Control” cannot be applied to man’s contextual, physical reality without some form of quantifiable limitation. For example, a coordinate system such as mathematical spacetime; or linguistic concepts (e.g. run, sky, black, car, stop, etc.) which are buffeted by actual physical reality; that is, observable physical boundaries between separate objects within that reality.
But if God’s absolute control (for God’s control must, again, be absolute, as anything which IS a direct function of God MUST be absolute also, by extension) is limited by the observable limitations of Creation’s physical boundaries between objects within it and with God, then God’s control cannot be absolute control, it can only be limited control. And limited control as a function of God’s absolute power over his Creation absolutely is, obviously, a contradiction in terms. So what this means then is that God’s control cannot be absolute over Creation unless Creation is an extension of God himself…again, because ABSOLUTE control cannot by definition be exerted over what is ultimately LIMITED, without being a contradiction in terms.
Listen again: Absolute control cannot be LIMITED by the actual SELF of the thing over which it exerts its absolute control–in this case, Creation. If we concede that Creation is indeed limited, then absolute control cannot be exerted because absolute control cannot possibly be exerted over what is NOT absolute because this creates a contradiction whereby the infinite, limitless absolute control must be, by definition, limited in its application precisely because the context of where it is occurring (Creation), is limited. And absolute-ness cannot be a function of both infinity and limitation.
Okay. Maybe this has not gotten easier. Go take a smoke break. Maybe hit the bathroom. Perhaps a sandwich and a glass of your favorite adult beverage (if your are an adult, or over 21,which are not necessarily the same thing). Regroup, and come back.
Okay. Let’s go back a bit.
God is absolute, Creation is observably limited–qualified, for example, by the mathematical, theoretical constructs of space and time–between objects. ALL theoretical abstractions then, whether linguistic or mathematical, must be qualified by the context in which they are applied, either by “pictures” in our minds of the object or objects which the language is describing, or by set numerical values within the theoretical framework of the mathematical “system”. In other words, observable reality, apprehended by the senses, is what actually allows these theoretical concepts to be practically applied. Reality…that is, our physical universe, provides the observable limitations to man’s infinite (in and of themselves) cognitive theoretical abstractions he uses to organize it. Without physical reality as the anchor for ALL of man’s understanding, there can be NO measurable and thus knowable efficacious truth.
But, according to our neo-reformed Christian foundations, man’s physical reality cannot limit God’s absolute…well, anything. Including His control. So, again, God’s control cannot be absolute unless Creation is actually like God. And, since the only thing “like” God in its absolute-ness is God…you can easily see where this must mean that Creation IS God. This is the only context where God’s control can be absolute over Creation. Creation IS God, metaphysically and, moreover, physically. This makes Creation infinite, and so God’s control can be likewise infinite. Thus producing a situation where God’s absolute control is not a contradiction limited by the setting of His control. Namely, Creation.
Now, among other very serious and certainly blasphemous (and worse) problems with this notion is that it means that, really, control then cannot be exerted at all over Creation, much less absolutely, because it is contradictory to say that God controls Himself within the absolute One-ness which is Himself. This is an untenable, unworkable redundancy.
So what conclusion are we left at the end of this dicey and cumbersome excursion into logical metaphysics? It is namely this: that God’s control cannot be limited in Creation at ALL; what we are really speaking of when we speak of God’s control can only be God’s control over HIMSELF, within the context of an independent, self-abled Creation, which then must, by definition, include man.
God’s control then, cannot logically be a function of “allowing” or “not allowing”…for the idea of absolute control over Creation does not grant the possibility of this kind of distinction whatsoever. Because in the context of absolute control by God over Creation, “allowing” things in Creation to happen towards a given end is the very same thing as “NOT allowing” to a given end. They are both direct functions of God’s singular absolute divine control. Which I have already shown is impossible unless Creation is God.
Again, if God’s control is limited it is not absolute. And we have seen that IF God “controls”—employs “control” of some kind in His interactions with Creation, which I submit He does—then this control must be limited; and what defines this limitation of His control must be demarcated, and quantified so that the “control” can be declared a separate thing, in order to be workable within the context of God interacting with Creation. The demarcation must be a very stark, very real, quantifiable and thus physical boundary.
What is this boundary? Well, I submit that what it is, and what it can only be, is the inherent and wholly separate mutually exclusive (i.e. God cannot be Creation and Creation cannot be God) abilities of Creation and God to BE what they are and to DO what they do, wholly apart from one another. In short, and as I said before, if God is in control then He is only in control of Himself. Because He cannot be in control of Creation without making Creation Himself, which is metaphysically and rationally impossible. And, conversely then, Creation (and more importantly, man) is in control of itself, apart from God. Creation and man is the sole determiner of ITSELF/HIMSELF. God cannot determine man or Creation unless they are Himself. And I’m not sure anyone, not even a Calvinist, will accept this.
How God controls things in Creation must then be similar to how man controls things in his environment. If I pick up a glass of water, I am in “control”, but only in a limited sense, of the glass of water. The glass of water moves where I take it…to the table, to my mouth, tilted over your head. But what is clear is that I do not become the glass of water. My control is limited by notion and reality of self; that is myself, and the self that is the glass of water. Any control I have cannot go beyond that boundary; it can only take advantage of the glass of water insofar as the glass of water is able to be moved and manipulated and still be declared a separate thing. My moving the glass of water does not mean I possess it…it is wholly a function of my free consciousness and volition taking advantage of the innate ABILITY of the glass of water to BE what it is, separate from me. My control cannot exceed its ability to be what it is…made of glass, full of water, able to be picked up, tilted, poured over your head…all of this is a direct function first and foremost of the glass of water’s innate ability to BE and DO, not a function of my control. The ability of the glass of water to BE and DO constrains my control of it. Therefore, my control is NOT absolute.
The same is true of God. His control is NOT absolute, but MUST first and foremost be constrained by the innate and self-generated ability of Creation and Man to BE and DO. Even if God is performing a miracle, such as turning water into wine, or parting the Red Sea (I have this water theme on my mind, apparently), all miracles occur within the confines of the SELF which is the water, which becomes wine, which is also its SELF. The root of which is always inexorably and categorically the external, separate thing.
Now, it may seem as though I am hyper-rationalizing the argument…God can do anything with anything at all, even changing its physical reality (water becomes wine; Lazarus who died becomes Lazarus who lives). And that is true, but the germane point is recognizing that there is always an inherent self in the Created thing which cannot be undone, or usurped, in order that there may be a constant boundary between God (who is absolute and cannot be anything other than what He is, by definition; He cannot be Creation) and the other object (whether wine, or water, or a glass, or MAN) so that God does not become existentially redundant. Where this argument becomes supremely important is in regards to other living consciousnesses…namely man. Man must always be himself, of himself, by himself, regardless of how God interacts with him. Any other construct is hypocrisy and a divine impossibility.
So, what this all means, once again, is that any sort of idea of divine determinism is rationally untenable. “God controls all things” put simply, cannot be true.
God Allows/Does Not Allow: Encore and expansion
In the context of the Divine, the Perfect, and the Absolute Sum and Fullness of Itself, who is named by the only rational name—I AM; yes, in this context the control of Creation, which is to say of anything NOT God, must also then be perfect and absolute.
This being the case, when directly applied to the notion of divine control over Creation there can be no logical difference between God allowing or not allowing certain and/or specific events, circumstances, etc. They are both functionally the exact same thing. Since God’s control is absolute, He is wholly and categorically responsible and culpable for the outcome of the event or circumstance, regardless of whether He “allows” it or not. The event is directly caused by God’s absolute control, and thus, there can be no real distinction between allowing and not allowing. In both cases, each are a function of God’s perfect control, and the outcomes thus are anchored and tethered, uninterrupted, to the exact same source.
For if A=B=C means that A=C; and also we accept that A=X=C means likewise that A=C, then the argument for this specific example, where we substitute A, B, C, and X with values from my argument, looks like this:
Divine Control = Allowing = Event Comes to Pass; and
Divine Control = NOT Allowing = Event Which Comes to Pass
Thus it follows that in both cases, the outcome is identical:
Divine Control = Event Which Comes to Pass, regardless of whether it is allowed or not.
The equation is undeniable. All events are directly a function of God’s control. If the car accident happens because God caused it or allowed it to happen, God is–because He is unable to appeal to ANY outside influence over the events by definition because He and His control are ABSOLUTE–completely culpable in both cases. Attempting to somehow make a distinction about what caused the accident—between what God DID do and DID NOT do; which are functions of the same absolute: God—is redundant, confusing, and contradictory; and even worse, I submit that this idea is specifically designed to camouflage the real message which is implicit in the theology. It is merely a further facet of a neo-Reformed/Calvinist construct designed to remove humanity from itself and to place it under the ownership and exploitation of tyrannical mystics masquerading as today’s Christian “leadership”.
My argument concerning what is the evil root of this theology then inexorably concludes with the logical (and my oft-stated) assumption that God is all that Creation and Man is and does. Which either makes God the direct author of evil or destroys the concept of evil entirely, replacing it with what amounts to moral relativism; there is no such thing, in this construct, as good or evil. For all that happens—both the event and its moral implications—is by and of God, absolutely.
Which is the greater apostasy of the two options I will leave you to decide. For me, they are both equal parts abuse, exploitation, oppression, violent suppression, and ultimately, utter destruction of humanity.