A great question for both Christians/Muslims and atheists to ponder: What do you tell Christians when they say “God is outside of space and time.”
A very interesting thread:
Three responses in particular are worth quoting:
“One reader of an early draft of this chapter complained at this point, saying that by treating the hypothesis of God as just one more scientific hypothesis, to be evaluated by the standards of science in particular and rational thought in general, Dawkins and I are ignoring the very widespread claim by believers in God that their faith is quite beyond reason, not a matter to which such mundane methods of testing applies. It is not just unsympathetic, he claimed, but strictly unwarranted for me simply to assume that the scientific method continues to apply with full force in this domain of truth.
Very well, let’s consider the objection. I doubt that the defender of religion will find it attractive, once we explore it carefully.
The philosopher Ronaldo de Souza once memorably described philosophical theology as “intellectual tennis without a net,” and I readily allow that I have indeed been assuming without comment or question up to now that the net of rational judgement was up. But we can lower it if you really want to.
It’s your serve.
Whatever you serve, suppose I return service rudely as follows: “What you say implies that God is a ham sandwich wrapped in tin foil. That’s not much of a God to worship!”. If you then volley back, demanding to know how I can logically justify my claim that your serve has such a preposterous implication, I will reply: “oh, do you want the net up for my returns, but not for your serves?
Either way the net stays up, or it stays down. If the net is down there are no rules and anybody can say anything, a mug’s game if there ever was one. I have been giving you the benefit of the assumption that you would not waste your own time or mine by playing with the net down.”
— Daniel C. Dennett (Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life)
“If God exists outside of space and time, then how do you know anything about him?”
The problem is that even if that argument could somehow be true, God would have to step into space and time at some point in order to have an impact on things that exist entirely within spacetime (i.e. us). It is at that point that we can measure the impact God has on the universe and pretty much anything the theist gains form the whole “outside spacetime” argument is lost. If god exists outside of space and time he can’t answer prayers, because prayers originate within space and time. If he exists outside of space and time Jesus (or vishnu or whoever) coming to earth as a man-god makes no sense, and it makes no sense for people like Abraham or Mohammad to be able to talk to God.
TL;DR If someone wants to say that God exists outside of spacetime they can’t say God has an impact within spacetime.
About two years ago I had a debate in a Q&A session with Dr. Frank Turek, a professional apologist. A main part of his argument was that, “God is timeless, spaceless, and immaterial.”
I pointed out to him, “Do you know what else is timeless, spaceless, and immaterial? Nothing. That’s right, nothing. In fact, that’s pretty much a dictionary-perfect definition of ‘Nothing.’ If you were doing a crossword puzzle and asked a scientist, ‘Hey Doc, what’s a seven letter word for something timeless, spaceless, and immaterial?’ He’d say, ‘Nothing,’ not ‘Creator.”