Author Topic: What did God do before the universe was created?  (Read 724 times)

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Offline relativetruth

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What did God do before the universe was created?
« on: February 19, 2014, 09:20:31 PM »
If you are a theist feeling smug with your 'there must have been a first cause' argument, consider this.

To get around infinite regress (as you see it) you have created (in your mind) a being that has always existed.
 
So we now have an entity which has plenty of time to do stuff. This sentient force does not have to be all-powerfull and/or all-knowledgeable or even the slightest bit good but because of 'always being there' there are plenty of opportunities for making things and eventually getting much better at it. (In my view the world still has many flaws and I think absolute perfection is impossible even with infinite time -- but that's for another thread).

It seems likely (to me at least) that a god fitting the above description has always being creating universes. Some fail , some succeed, some times this god monitors, some it does not. In fact every possible universe would have been already  created and all permutations of this god interfering , or not, would have already come into existance. Our exact universe, with the movement of every atom would have already occurred, probably many times.

So how special is each individual soul (on Earth), in this god's view, compared to all the other living beings in all those other universes (and maybe heavens and hells) regardless of if this god has actually being watching over them?

God slept for an infinity of time, then 10,000 years ago he created the universe and the earth and man and animals. Was our universe his first attempt at creation?
If so, maybe, we should give him some slack, this universe is not too bad considering it was created by a novice!! ;)  :D

edit --  to add smilies
« Last Edit: February 19, 2014, 09:28:48 PM by relativetruth »
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Offline bgb

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2014, 10:08:31 PM »
 I always thought it took him trillians of years to figure out how to do it.  He didn't get an instruction manual.
The whole point of science is that most of it is uncertain. That's why science is exciting--because we don't know. Science is all about things we don't understand. The public, of course, imagines science is just a set of facts. But it's not.  Freeman Dyson

Offline lotanddaughters

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2014, 10:41:59 PM »
If you are a theist feeling smug with your 'there must have been a first cause' argument, consider this.

To get around infinite regress (as you see it) you have created (in your mind) a being that has always existed.
 
So we now have an entity which has plenty of time to do stuff. This sentient force does not have to be all-powerfull and/or all-knowledgeable or even the slightest bit good but because of 'always being there' there are plenty of opportunities for making things and eventually getting much better at it. (In my view the world still has many flaws and I think absolute perfection is impossible even with infinite time -- but that's for another thread).

It seems likely (to me at least) that a god fitting the above description has always being creating universes. Some fail , some succeed, some times this god monitors, some it does not. In fact every possible universe would have been already  created and all permutations of this god interfering , or not, would have already come into existance. Our exact universe, with the movement of every atom would have already occurred, probably many times.

So how special is each individual soul (on Earth), in this god's view, compared to all the other living beings in all those other universes (and maybe heavens and hells) regardless of if this god has actually being watching over them?

God slept for an infinity of time, then 10,000 years ago he created the universe and the earth and man and animals. Was our universe his first attempt at creation?
If so, maybe, we should give him some slack, this universe is not too bad considering it was created by a novice!! ;)  :D

edit --  to add smilies

Any Christian who says, "He was always there", but doesn't say, "He immediately(from His 'conception'), in His all-knowing perfectness, set the accounts of the Book of Genesis into play", can be easily dismissed as a fool who never thought past the bullshit he or she gobbled up-- hook, line, and sinker.


Because for an all-knowing, all-powerful being to wait any length of time to act out a perfect plan is a fucking square circle.

I have never heard any Christian say this-- not even William Lane Craig.



If the Christian apologists start migrating towards my assumption, you might have heard it here first.


It all goes back to every single word of the most respected Christian apologists should have been included in 'God's Word' from the start.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2014, 10:43:47 PM by lotanddaughters »
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Offline Tero

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2014, 08:35:12 AM »
It took him so long because he did not go to college. There was no college so he had to start with the chicken egg experiment.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2014, 08:51:16 AM »
Any Christian who says, "He was always there", but doesn't say, "He immediately(from His 'conception'), in His all-knowing perfectness, set the accounts of the Book of Genesis into play", can be easily dismissed as a fool....

Except there was no conception - the plan MUST (as you say) have been in motion from the very beginning.  So at the very, very least, the "god looking around and seeing things were bad" part is nonsense.  God always was, and the plan and creation always were as well.

Seems to get them out of a hole....but it also means two things.

1) God didn't think about his plan at all, not even for the merest fraction of a moment.  This explains why it is so poor in execution in so many ways.
2) More seriously - the plan cannot be said to be HIS.  There was always god, and always the plan, and he was always working on it.  Without that "gap" for him to come up with it, it cannot be said to be his at all - just a plan, in eternla existence, that he happens to always have been putting into operation.  So god is as much a prisoner of this plan as any of us.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Mrjason

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2014, 10:02:31 AM »
What was he doing before the universe was created?

He was busy being perfect except his perfection wasn't perfect so he created the universe in order to become more perfectly perfect.

Offline Logic Noir

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2014, 10:12:49 AM »
My problem with the Genesis account is that it states the earth was formless and void. Christians state that nothing could exist without god. If that's the case, why did he create a formless earth before correcting it?

Offline Tonus

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2014, 03:26:54 PM »
It seems likely (to me at least) that a god fitting the above description has always being creating universes. Some fail , some succeed, some times this god monitors, some it does not.
Yes, and that god actually makes sense, if mankind was truly "created in his image."  Humans have imagination and love to learn and research and experiment and create.  Be it music or drawings or buildings or statistical models or video games, we love to make things.  And we almost never get it right the first time, but that doesn't discourage us, no!  On the contrary, it seems to drive us to improve on our work and make it better and better.

Then again, if such a creator had made us in his image, I think he'd be pretty proud of what the inhabitants of this speck of dust swirling around in his big universe have managed to accomplish so far.  He'd probably stop by and give us a true guide to living, and we'd finally stop printing copies of ancient texts written before people knew better.

Offline SevenPatch

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2014, 03:46:52 PM »
What did God do before the universe was created?

God put on a one man show for every play, movie, and music peice ever.  Eventually God got bored and created the universe to see if humans could do better.

I imagine, that God's best performance was the spoken word version of "Rocket Man" which William Shatner managed to come close to outperforming God.
"Shut him up! We have a lot invested in this ride - SHUT HIM UP! Look at my furrows of worry! Look at my big bank account, and my family! This just HAS to be real!" - Bill Hicks

Offline kcrady

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2014, 06:45:13 PM »
This brings up one of the many things that believers in Abrahamic faiths never seem to think about when it comes to their religions: that a monotheistic god is by definition inherently, metaphysically alone.  It is, and must always be, the only entity of its kind.  Its (super)natural state is to be the only entity in existence.  It must act, try to disrupt the (super)natural order (i.e., create) in order for anything but itself to exist.

Now, imagine this Deity in its default metaphysical state.  Why should it have any perceptual faculties at all?  There is nothing to perceive.  Why should it have any cognitive faculties?  There is nothing for it to think about; no words (because there is nothing for words to refer to), no emotions (nothing to feel anything about), no sensations, no images, no shapes...nothing but the Deity itself. 

Where would such an entity get the ability to create?  It seems awfully convenient that the Deity should just have  the right powers and skills "built in."  That would imply that the Deity was in some sense "made to create," which implies a telos that governs the Deity itself.  Since it is a fundamental premise of theistic argumentation that "purpose" requires somebody to impose it ("design implies a Designer," "morality implies a Moral Lawgiver," etc.) a Deity that is "made to create" would require an uber-Deity to make it for that purpose.  The same principle would apply to the uber-Deity, leading to infinite regress.  Furthermore, monotheism forbids the existence of uber-Deities to begin with. 

So, either the Deity has the faculties required for creation by luck (the Deity "just happened" to have intelligence, abilities to create and shape matter and spacetime, etc.) despite the fact that such attributes contradict its metaphysical solitude, or it acquired those faculties somehow.  If it acquired them, how?  Where would it get the ability to evolve or change itself so that it could gain the powers required for creation?  Where would it even get the idea to try?

Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, why should a being whose default metaphysical state is to be the only one of its kind[1] be social?  Why should it have social needs, such as a need for dominance and authority, for praise and supplication, for love and adoration?  It supposedly existed without such things for eternity.  Why should it come with social faculties, like the ability to talk, mentally model other minds, form relationships, and so forth?  The Deity never needed to be part of a tribe, pack, or herd for protection, cooperation, and survival.  In its (super)natural state of metaphysical solitude, what would its social faculties be for?

The thing about social faculties is, their primary purpose is to relate to one's own kind.  But a monotheistic Deity has no members of its own kind, and even with unlimited creative power at its disposal, cannot ever make any.  It is forever trapped in the state Adam was in before Eve: surrounded by lesser beings, none of whom is capable of being a truly suitable companion.  Unlike Adam, the Deity does not have anyone who can put it to sleep and yank a Goddess out of its side. 

The metaphysical solitude inherent to a monotheistic Deity means that its efforts at "creation" must ultimately be futile despite whatever "unlimited" foresight and powers it might possess.  Its social needs must remain forever unmet.  Even groveling servitude is useless, since an omnimax monotheistic Deity can have no conceivable use for obedient minions.  There's nothing they can do for it that it can't do for itself.  It gains no glory from subjugating them or from winning "battles" (e.g. Armageddon) against them after goading them into rebellion.  The source of its inescapable suffering is its metaphysical nature as a monotheistic Deity.

No wonder the holy books portray "him" as insane.

This is one of the areas in which polytheism makes more sense than monotheism.  If there are numerous Deities then it makes sense for Them to have social faculties and social needs (even if these are vastly different from the mammalian kind we're familiar with).  They would have Their own realms, Their interactions and relationships with each other, Their own plane of activity.  The "created Cosmos" could be a thing They decided to do at some point, but not the only thing or even the most important thing to Them.
 1. Even "creation" does not change this.  According to Abrahamic monotheism, Yahweh/Allah remains sole, unique, the only member of its class; all other entities are of inherently lesser categories of being.
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2014, 08:06:35 PM »
Maybe if science finds out there is a multi-verse.....we may find one that gets it right...I doubt it (a universe where a god got it right)
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Offline relativetruth

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2014, 08:48:11 PM »
This brings up one of the many things that believers in Abrahamic faiths never seem to think about when it comes to their religions: that a monotheistic god is by definition inherently, metaphysically alone.  It is, and must always be, the only entity of its kind.  Its (super)natural state is to be the only entity in existence.  It must act, try to disrupt the (super)natural order (i.e., create) in order for anything but itself to exist.

So all this entity can do is to create subsets of itself. A (sub)(super)natural universe with one possible example being our natural universe.

Quote
Now, imagine this Deity in its default metaphysical state.  Why should it have any perceptual faculties at all?  There is nothing to perceive.  Why should it have any cognitive faculties?  There is nothing for it to think about; no words (because there is nothing for words to refer to), no emotions (nothing to feel anything about), no sensations, no images, no shapes...nothing but the Deity itself.
Words like perception, emotion, sensation, images, shapes are all words that we humans use to describe how we relate to our environment. But, by saying that we imply that there is something outside of every one of us (the environment). This 'first cause' entity would have nothing to interact with. 
Quote
This is one of the areas in which polytheism makes more sense than monotheism.  If there are numerous Deities then it makes sense for Them to have social faculties and social needs (even if these are vastly different from the mammalian kind we're familiar with).  They would have Their own realms, Their interactions and relationships with each other, Their own plane of activity.  The "created Cosmos" could be a thing They decided to do at some point, but not the only thing or even the most important thing to Them.

Human emotions like love, anger, disappointment, jealousy etc (which Yahweh, reportedly, has expressed sometimes) all have an object separate from the subject experiencing them. Of course the object and subject can coincide (if you love yourself). If there is no other entity that is not a part of the 'first causer' then those emotions could not be felt by it. It is, of course, possible that a creator could also create all these emotions to be made available to animals but to what extent would it feel these things in the same way?
« Last Edit: February 21, 2014, 08:50:01 PM by relativetruth »
God(s) exist and are imaginary

Offline Tonus

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2014, 01:00:57 PM »
The metaphysical solitude inherent to a monotheistic Deity means that its efforts at "creation" must ultimately be futile despite whatever "unlimited" foresight and powers it might possess.  Its social needs must remain forever unmet.  Even groveling servitude is useless, since an omnimax monotheistic Deity can have no conceivable use for obedient minions.  There's nothing they can do for it that it can't do for itself.  It gains no glory from subjugating them or from winning "battles" (e.g. Armageddon) against them after goading them into rebellion.  The source of its inescapable suffering is its metaphysical nature as a monotheistic Deity.
I think that this is where our growing understanding of the size of the universe makes such a being seem ridiculous.  When the universe was limited to a flat circle with a dome over it and god lived just above it, then it's not too far-fetched to think that he takes a very keen interest in what is going on right under his feet.  When it turns out that your world is just an infinitesimally tiny speck in a universe whose size is beyond our ability to comprehend, and god is a mega-powerful being who lives in a whole other dimension and spins galaxies off of his fingertips, it's a bit of a stretch to think that he's that concerned about whether you spent your Saturday afternoon collecting twigs for kindling.  How does someone that magnificent and powerful become that incredibly petty?

Offline kcrady

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2014, 12:27:21 AM »
Hey, where do you get off calling God petty?!  He just found me a really nice parking space! ;)
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2014, 12:34:08 AM »
Hey, where do you get off calling God petty?!  He just found me a really nice parking space! ;)

That may have been me.

ParkingPlaces

P.S. I'm petty.

 ;D
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Offline relativetruth

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2014, 06:08:24 AM »
Hey, where do you get off calling God petty?!  He just found me a really nice parking space! ;)

That may have been me.

ParkingPlaces

P.S. I'm petty.

 ;D

I did not realise that you were the God of Parking Places (stupid of me I know).

Can you please let me know how I should pray to you?
Also does your power extend over to here in the the UK?
I cannot afford the fines from the local councils for placing my vehicle inappropriately!
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 06:14:58 AM by relativetruth »
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Offline Backspace

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2014, 11:00:39 AM »
This brings up one of the many things that believers in Abrahamic faiths never seem to think about when it comes to their religions: that a monotheistic god is by definition inherently, metaphysically alone.  It is, and must always be, the only entity of its kind.  Its (super)natural state is to be the only entity in existence.  It must act, try to disrupt the (super)natural order (i.e., create) in order for anything but itself to exist.

The Bible says Yahweh was a "jealous god" -- what could he be jealous of if nothing else existed?
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2014, 12:44:08 PM »
The Bible says Yahweh was a "jealous god" -- what could he be jealous of if nothing else existed?

He was - and is - jealous of the state of nothing.  Of non-existence.

'Non-existence' does not carry all of the baggage that god has to carry.  God is burdened with glorious purpose - to discover purpose.  In all of his omnipotence and omniscience, he is powerless to make himself non-existent[1].  His method of discovering his purpose?  Create lesser, inferior sentient beings and observe how they discover purpose.

But the damndest thing happened - he discovered that his creations derived their purpose from their surroundings[2].  From their state of the world; from their interactions with the other created entities; from some manner of personal fulfillment.  But what personal fulfillment can an omnipotent, omniscient entity find?  He has no meaningful choices to make; whatever he wills will be.  Whatever he does or does not do has no meaningful consequence.  There is no state of reality that he has to work for.  Any purpose that he could possibly derive could and would be instantly fulfilled.  Except ending his torturous, perpetual existence so that he no longer has to endure the taunting face of an unreachable oblivion.

God is jealous of non-existence; his inability to manifest that state of reality makes him petty and vindictive.  This whole 'heaven and hell' business is just a construct for him to get his anger out.  All of his creations will eventually suffer his wrath.  There is no escaping it.  Because if you make it to his perfect heaven, you'll eventually be unable to find any purpose, and you, too, shall become jealous of nothingness.  And your jealousy will 'force' god to send you to hell to suffer.

It is in that way that god can release his pent up rage.  Perhaps when enough souls have suffered for enough time, god will finally have the answer he's looking for - how to cope with a torturous eternal existence that is devoid of purpose.
 1. Because his existence is necessary (because...HEY SQUIRREL!) so even if he poofed himself gone he would just re-exist (damn squirrel).
 2. Well, some of them establish that their purpose is to appease him, their creator.  But since he hasn't got one of those, he can blithely ignore that noise.
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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2014, 03:15:55 AM »
This is what I hear from some Christians, that before the universe was created, god was timeless and once the universe was created, god became temporal.

Can the theists here spot the problem with this?
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Offline penfold

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Re: What did God do before the universe was created?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2014, 04:34:34 AM »
This is what I hear from some Christians, that before the universe was created, god was timeless and once the universe was created, god became temporal.

It is such an interesting tension. I think it comes from the fact that Christianity is the bastard offspring of both the Jewish cult God and Greek philosophy.

The Jewish cult God stuff means that Christians have to believe that God acts within history (not least in the incarnation). Thus God is within time.

The Greek philosophy means that Christians want to give God logical priority over everything else - thus God cannot exist within time (as that would imply time is prior). Thus God is outside of time.

The best Christian book I've read on this, and even as an atheist I think it is among the greatest examples of medieval thinking, is Boethius'  Consolation of Philosophy (which he wrote in prison awaiting execution). What I love about it is that it contains absolutely no reference to scripture. It really is an attempt by a Platonist philosopher to deal with the nature of God, time and free will. There is a great discussion of it found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00g46p0

« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 04:37:15 AM by penfold »
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