Nature of God

Eternity

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Atheist in Louisiana

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Always an eternity
« on: March 25, 2016, 02:45:31 am »
What does always mean?  I know that seems like a stupid question, but hear me out.  The way I understand it, "always" is a temporal word, essentially meaning "for all time".  That would necessitate that time always existed and will always exist because the idea of there being a time when time does not exist is self contradictory.  Since time always has and always will exist, time would be eternal.

We know that time is just a part of spacetime so wouldn't that also lead to the conclusion that spacetime is eternal?  It seems to me that if spacetime is eternal, that the universe, which contains spacetime, is also eternal.  How can the universe be created if it is eternal?
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Bill McEnaney

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Re: Always an eternity
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2016, 12:56:39 pm »
Time measures change. "Eternal time" is a self-contradiction because someone or something eternal is timeless.  Someone or something is timeless when there's no succession in him or it, no before and no after. If there's a changeable god, he may always have existed.  But he's not eternal.  Don't ask me to explain the incarnation, though, since I'm way too dumb to do that. :)

Many may believe that God created the universe when the big bang happened.  But even if  the universe had always existed, it would still need a creator, someone who makes everything but himself exist, period.  A creator explains why there's anything at all.  And only God can create anything out of nothing.
Quote from: St. Thomas Aquinas
I answer that, As we attain to the knowledge of simple things by way of compound things, so must we reach to the knowledge of eternity by means of time, which is nothing but the numbering of movement by "before" and "after." For since succession occurs in every movement, and one part comes after another, the fact that we reckon before and after in movement, makes us apprehend time, which is nothing else but the measure of before and after in movement. Now in a thing bereft of movement, which is always the same, there is no before or after. As therefore the idea of time consists in the numbering of before and after in movement; so likewise in the apprehension of the uniformity of what is outside of movement, consists the idea of eternity.

Further, those things are said to be measured by time which have a beginning and an end in time, because in everything which is moved there is a beginning, and there is an end. But as whatever is wholly immutable can have no succession, so it has no beginning, and no end.

Thus eternity is known from two sources: first, because what is eternal is interminable--that is, has no beginning nor end (that is, no term either way); secondly, because eternity has no succession, being simultaneously whole.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1010.htm

« Last Edit: June 17, 2016, 01:25:44 pm by Bill McEnaney »

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Atheist in Louisiana

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Re: Always an eternity
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2016, 08:21:37 pm »
What does timeless mean?  That's a concept that I don't understand.
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Bill McEnaney

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Re: Always an eternity
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2016, 08:57:02 am »
What does timeless mean?  That's a concept that I don't understand.
I'm searching for a simple, concrete answer to your question.  Meanwhile, my New Oxford American Dictionary defines time as "the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole: travel through space and time | one of the greatest wits of all time."  Something is timeless when it has no past and no future, only the present.  It doesn't change in any way, since it can't do that.