I happen to believe that the universe can not exist separate from God as God is omni-present and holds the universe together. I do not believe that the universe is all there is to God but I also do not believe it can be something other than a part of God. The philosophical reasoning behind this is that there can be nothing outside the infinite as by definition the infinite encompasses all that could be. The infinite must contain infinite attributes and so there can be no attribute that is not a part of the infinite. I also have a theological argument behind this.

 

Let's start with God's name, Jehovah, or Yod Hay Vav Hay. God was not known by that name by Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob (Exodus 6:3). The first time God gave His name was to Moses in Exodus 3:14. The name He gave was a repetition of the Hebrew word Hayah, or Hay Yod Hay, which literally means to exist, separated by the Hebrew word Sar, or Shin Resh, which is defined as a head person, captain, chief, general, governor, keeper, lord, master, prince, ruler, steward. It is a derivative of Sarar or Shin Resh Resh which means to have dominion, make self a prince, bear rule. So loosely translated, the name God gave to Moses was I am the existence that rules existence.

God's name was not shortened to Yod Hay Vav Hay until Exodus 6:3. The Hebrew word Yehovah means self existent or eternal. For short they used the Hebrew word Yahh, or Yod Hay. What's the primitive root of Yod Hay Vav Hay? Well, wouldn't you know?, it's Hay Yod Hay; the very name, in an expanded form, God originally gave to Moses (Exodus 3:14). Let's go one step further. What Hebrew word is Hay Yod Hay comparable to? It's the Hebrew word Havah, or Hay Vav Hay, which happens to mean to breathe and to be or to exist. Why is that important? Because it ties it right back to the Hebrew word Ruwach, or Resh Vav Hay, meaning to breathe but also meaning Spirit.

 

How was the heaven and earth created? God "spoke" it into existence. Another way of saying this is that God "breathed" it into existence. Hebrews 1:3 states that God continues "upholding all things by the word of his power." So God IS breath, or the existence behind existence itself. His breath created the universe and continues to sustain it. If He withdrew His breath the universe would cease to exist. The universe can not exist separately from God nor is it separate from God. Let's go a step further.

 

In Genesis 2:7 it states: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." Ecclesiastes 12:7 says "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." This indicates our existence comes from God's breath and when we die His breath returns to him. So even we are a part of God and not separate.

 

I don't believe this is pantheism but am open to being shown otherwise. In so doing, is there scriptural evidence to indicate that the creation itself is separate from God or that anything which exists is separate from God? I look forward to the discussion.

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Hrm. Interesting ponderance. I will have to ponder some before I can respond...
A few things, just as I know where this thread originated from: Infinity with another infinity....mathematical reference.

A ray is a line originating at a point that extends then to infinity. Thus, the character of a ray is infinite.

A line is infinite in both directions, but would be more than a ray (which has a point of origin). A line is also infinite. A line can overlay a ray, and be seen to encompass all of the ray (which is infinite) but also have more (a greater infinite?).

A plane is infinite in two dimensions, and can incorporate rays and lines, again a greater infinite.

Add the third dimension and we have another infinite that is greater than now 3 lesser infinites.

Fourth dimension?

Thus, something being infinite does not preclude a greater infinite.

God is the ultimate infinite, encompassing every everything, I am not trying to justify or indicate something greater than God, but that an infinite universe would not be impossible or preclude a greater infinite, being God.
Another scripture that comes to mind that I forgot to post is in Acts 17:24, 28; "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;" "for in him we live, and move, and have our being."
Good point Brian, but those "infinites" have qualifiers. These qualifiers might be considered infinite ray, infinite line, infinite one dimension, two dimensions, and three dimensions. None of them incorporate infinite existence which would encompass everything without qualifiers. I don't believe the universe itself is infinite, although I have argued in the past that it is not outside of the realm of possibility for an infinite creator to have created an infinite universe. Just because it's a logical possibility doesn't mean I believe it's a logical necessity.

Given that, how could infinite existence (God) have anything less than infinite attributes and therefore incorporate every attribute of our created universe?


Brian Guiley said:
A few things, just as I know where this thread originated from: Infinity with another infinity....mathematical reference.

A ray is a line originating at a point that extends then to infinity. Thus, the character of a ray is infinite.

A line is infinite in both directions, but would be more than a ray (which has a point of origin). A line is also infinite. A line can overlay a ray, and be seen to encompass all of the ray (which is infinite) but also have more (a greater infinite?).

A plane is infinite in two dimensions, and can incorporate rays and lines, again a greater infinite.

Add the third dimension and we have another infinite that is greater than now 3 lesser infinites.

Fourth dimension?

Thus, something being infinite does not preclude a greater infinite.
Back to your analogy of a line or ray. You would still have to say that any points or line segments that exist on that line or ray are still a part of that line or ray and can not be separate from it.
Hello again Alexander,

You pose some interesting philosophies in this question, and I may attempt to address some of them in future posts; but for the time being I would only comment on a couple of small, as it were, items:

Perhaps you simply slid past the meaning(s) / pronounciations unawares, but the name commonly pronounced "Jehovah" is little more than the anglicized form of the Hebrew--"YAH-WEH", a word comprised of your "yod hay vav hay" ; those four characters being part of the Hebrew aleph-beit (alphabet). I'm sure you knew and meant that though. And unless I simply missed it, or misunderstood your meaning, (and if I did forgive me), the word/name "YAH-WEH, so pronounced, as was given to Moshe (Moses), means literally "I AM".

As you may well be aware, from the time the children of Israel were given this "Name", 'til now, they consider the Name of God to be so Holy and sacred (and it is), that they, being wholly unworthy to even speak it from their unclean lips, have long referred to Him simply as "The NAME".

Because of this, the early scribes and priests' agreed to assemble this "Word" from four 'consonant's" if you will, that taken together are wholly unpronounceable. It is referred to as the Tetragrammiton.(don't know if I spelled that right).

That is also why the Pharisee's, when disputing with Jesus as recorded in John 8:58--59, were ready to pick up stones to stone Him when He said "Most assuredly, I say to you,'before Abraham was, 'I AM'.".

The very word Jesus used there was "YAH-WEH"; indicating to them that He was indeed claiming to be the voice in the burning bush. Hence their outrage at His "blasphemy", and their wanting to stone Him.

That's all for now my friend. Hope to hear more soon, Ron C.





















A
Great points as always Ron!
Another scripture that bears relevance to this issue is Romans 1:25; "who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator."

I certainly believe this is at the heart of Pantheism. Is this what I'm doing? I certainly don't believe that the creation IS God in His fullness and shouldn't be worshipped as such and yet I still can't see a way to separate creation FROM God.

I also don't see this scripture as providing scriptural evidence that the "creature" is separate from the creator although it certainly distinguishes that the creature is NOT the creator. After all, the universe did not bring itself into being. Although the distinguishment is subtle, it does not provide grounds for the independence of the two; only the independence of the One. Without the creation being independent from God it can not be other than Him either.
Good point Brian, but those "infinites" have qualifiers. These qualifiers might be considered infinite ray, infinite line, infinite one dimension, two dimensions, and three dimensions. None of them incorporate infinite existence which would encompass everything without qualifiers. I don't believe the universe itself is infinite, although I have argued in the past that it is not outside of the realm of possibility for an infinite creator to have created an infinite universe. Just because it's a logical possibility doesn't mean I believe it's a logical necessity.

Given that, how could infinite existence (God) have anything less than infinite attributes and therefore incorporate every attribute of our created universe?

Alexander,

Agreed, I know you don't promote an infinite universe, but, as it was inferred that there cannot be two infinites without them being equal, I wanted to present the case that something being infinite doesn't preclude a greater infinite. Indeed, it can be argued that men are like unto a ray, for we have a point of origin, but exist infinitely thereafter (in heaven, or hell). However, man being infinite in no means makes us equal to or equivalent to God.

So far as God having infinite attibures (encompassing everything possible) - I would say him being Omnipotent and Omnipresent makes him everywhere and capable of anything, but he does not necessarily have all traits, for God is not "all-evil" or "all-malicious". How his omnipresence speaks to us being part of him I don't know. It sounds too much like the Hindu belief in Brahmin (sp?) to me. But, as I said, I am still pondering.
Ah, and this is where it gets interesting. I don't believe evil exists in and of itself. Evil is a degradation of Good. God is existence and all things that exist exist in Him. However, there are lesser and greater qualities of existence. An example of this would be the difference between light and darkness. Darkness doesn't exist as an independent substance but light is composed of photons. The greater the amount of photons the greater the quality of light. The lesser the photons the lesser the quality of light. The absence of photons the absence of light but... there is nothing present to compose the darkness. The same goes with temperature. Coldness doesn't exist as an independent entity. The measurement of heat is the measurement of molecular movement. The absence of molecular movement is the absence of heat but there is nothing present to compose coldness. It simply doesn't exist as in independent entity.

I believe the same could be said of good and evil. What is being measured is the quality of human behavior. The more you lack good behavior the less of the quality of good you are. If you lack all quality of good you're dead as can be seen by the saying "the wages of sin is death." You can exist with greater quality or lesser quality. The absence of all quality is non-existence. However, all quality exists in God who's quality is of an infinite nature. So the little acts we view as evil in the world and in people are composed of degraded acts of good. What little quality exists in the acts can be found in God but the limitations of the quality composed in the evil act can not as God is infinite quality and lacks nothing. After all, "God is light and in Him is no darkness (limitation on quality) at all."

Brian Guiley said:
Good point Brian, but those "infinites" have qualifiers. These qualifiers might be considered infinite ray, infinite line, infinite one dimension, two dimensions, and three dimensions. None of them incorporate infinite existence which would encompass everything without qualifiers. I don't believe the universe itself is infinite, although I have argued in the past that it is not outside of the realm of possibility for an infinite creator to have created an infinite universe. Just because it's a logical possibility doesn't mean I believe it's a logical necessity.

Given that, how could infinite existence (God) have anything less than infinite attributes and therefore incorporate every attribute of our created universe?

Alexander,

Agreed, I know you don't promote an infinite universe, but, as it was inferred that there cannot be two infinites without them being equal, I wanted to present the case that something being infinite doesn't preclude a greater infinite. Indeed, it can be argued that men are like unto a ray, for we have a point of origin, but exist infinitely thereafter (in heaven, or hell). However, man being infinite in no means makes us equal to or equivalent to God.

So far as God having infinite attibures (encompassing everything possible) - I would say him being Omnipotent and Omnipresent makes him everywhere and capable of anything, but he does not necessarily have all traits, for God is not "all-evil" or "all-malicious". How his omnipresence speaks to us being part of him I don't know. It sounds too much like the Hindu belief in Brahmin (sp?) to me. But, as I said, I am still pondering.
Alexander,

Methinks you are making this 'way too complicated. God is Spirit. The physical universe is not. Thus, even if the universe is infinite, it is qualitatively of a different substance from God. So God and the universe cannot be one and the same. So, no, you are not a pantheist.

Most of the things you mention regarding God's interaction with His creation are via His Spirit. His breath, the upholding power of His Word, and so-on are manifestations of God, but they are not God's essence. The spirits He created to inhabit our bodies are similar in essence but separate from Him, and certainly are not infinite.
Awesome response Terrance! Thanks for your imput.

Terrance Egolf said:
Alexander,

Methinks you are making this 'way too complicated. God is Spirit. The physical universe is not. Thus, even if the universe is infinite, it is qualitatively of a different substance from God. So God and the universe cannot be one and the same. So, no, you are not a pantheist.

Most of the things you mention regarding God's interaction with His creation are via His Spirit. His breath, the upholding power of His Word, and so-on are manifestations of God, but they are not God's essence. The spirits He created to inhabit our bodies are similar in essence but separate from Him, and certainly are not infinite.

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