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Asimov
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Ok....

 

In any discussion regarding God as an abstract, there are attributes that God MUST have in order to be defined as God.

 

God = A Maximal Being.

 

He must have the following attributes:

 

Omnipotence = Maximal Power

Omniscience = Maximal Knowledge

Eternality = Uncreated

Immutability/Incorruptibility = Can't not be a maximal being.

 

Why must he have the following attributes? Because they are necessary attributes as a maximal being.

 

If we were to bring in deities like the Greek Gods or some such, then we would have to define God in a different way. In any abstract discussion of God regarding philosophy....God is defined as a maximal being.

 

Now, onto my question:

 

What do you mean by infinite? What do you mean by incomprehensible?

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infinity can be difined several different ways. the general usage is for space, calculations and time. but in pertaining to religion, it is looked upon as the ultimate or absolute authority.

 

as far as incomprehensible. we know what has been revealed to us in religous scriptures, past that it would only be speculation to describe his nature. since none of us have ever had God describe himself to us.

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Asimov, usually benevolent is included too, right?

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infinity can be difined several different ways. the general usage is for space, calculations and time. but in pertaining to religion, it is looked upon as the ultimate or absolute authority.

 

He's only the ultimate authority if he establishes himself as such.

 

as far as incomprehensible. we know what has been revealed to us in religous scriptures, past that it would only be speculation to describe his nature. since none of us have ever had God describe himself to us.

 

Meaningless.

 

Asimov, usually benevolent is included too, right?

 

Sometimes the term omnibenevolent is included, but it's not a necessary trait.

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I'm surprised soule hasn't seen this thread yet, since it was decidedly veering towards him/her.

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Asimov, usually benevolent is included too, right?

 

Sometimes the term omnibenevolent is included, but it's not a necessary trait.

True, but there are God-images that are without the traits of omniscience and omnipotence too. Like last year, one of the Christians we had here and discussed with didn't believe God to be omnipotent for instance. And the term omniscience are sometimes not defined as knowing the future, but only knowing the current now. Which would make the conflicts and contradictions to disappear.

 

But I guess it has to do with your baseline of the argument that God must be The Ultimate Being, above, beyond and transfinite to all existence. I'm not sure if omniscience is a must for such a being though, at least not in the sense of knowing the future. I guess it would make sense to say that all existing energy (supposedly infinte, if brane model is true) would be this being.

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I wonder how one could determine what maximal is to an all powerful being? How does one measure it? If I buy an air conditioner and its rated at 10,000 btu, I know what I am getting in terms of how maximally (fast) it can cool down too. But if a being is all powerful, than the term or the very act of trying to define what the "maxium" is meaningless. Perhaps not irrelevant, but you have no way of knowing what "maximal" is.

 

That being the case, I am a maximal being and to use lazy reasoning, I'm omnipotent.

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Asimov, usually benevolent is included too, right?

 

Sometimes the term omnibenevolent is included, but it's not a necessary trait.

True, but there are God-images that are without the traits of omniscience and omnipotence too. Like last year, one of the Christians we had here and discussed with didn't believe God to be omnipotent for instance. And the term omniscience are sometimes not defined as knowing the future, but only knowing the current now. Which would make the conflicts and contradictions to disappear.

 

Well, Han, you should read "The Divine Attributes" then.

 

Omnipotence does not mean "can do anything" in philosophical cases.

Omniscience does not mean "knows everything" in philosophical cases.

 

For instance, God cannot know first-person mentalities. He can't know what it's like to be me, because then he would have to assume my identity, and thus he would cease to be God.

He can't know uncaused future events.

 

God cannot do the logically impossible, like create square circles, or be God and not God at the same time.

 

Anyways, people who apply the ideas that God is not omnipotent are then redefining God and that must be talked about explicitly. God as an abstract has specific attributes that allow him to be divine, and changing those then change the nature of discussion.

 

 

But I guess it has to do with your baseline of the argument that God must be The Ultimate Being, above, beyond and transfinite to all existence.

 

What does that mean?

 

I'm not sure if omniscience is a must for such a being though, at least not in the sense of knowing the future. I guess it would make sense to say that all existing energy (supposedly infinte, if brane model is true) would be this being.

 

If he didn't know the future, that would mean there are no causal relationships, which would thus refute the idea of creation of the universe by God.

 

Oh, and God has to be temporal, Han, so he can't transcend extistence.

 

I wonder how one could determine what maximal is to an all powerful being? How does one measure it? If I buy an air conditioner and its rated at 10,000 btu, I know what I am getting in terms of how maximally (fast) it can cool down too. But if a being is all powerful, than the term or the very act of trying to define what the "maxium" is meaningless. Perhaps not irrelevant, but you have no way of knowing what "maximal" is.

 

That being the case, I am a maximal being and to use lazy reasoning, I'm omnipotent.

 

That's a different philosophical question. In this case, this is where God become incomprehensible, quicksand. We can comprehend God and understand that he has attributes like omnipotence, but we cannot comprehend the scope of his attributes.

 

In such cases, we would have to default that God is a maximal being and at the very least contains more knowledge than everything in the universe, is more powerful than everything in the universe and is uncreated and incorruptible.

 

You can't be a maximal being, you're corporeal and finite in existence (created).

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According to the Catholic Encyclopedia God is supposed to be "beyond temporal and eternal". That is part of the philosophical definition of God too.

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In any discussion regarding God as an abstract, there are attributes that God MUST have in order to be defined as God.
Hello Asimov... I'm not sure I agree with that statement. :scratch:

 

God = A Maximal Being.
  • If something is infinite - then "maximal" is mute. What would the maximum of infinite be?
  • I believe in God - I don't believe God is a "being" - many people who believe in God do not believe God is a being or beings.

He must have the following attributes:

 

Omnipotence = Maximal Power

Omniscience = Maximal Knowledge

Eternality = Uncreated

Immutability/Incorruptibility = Can't not be a maximal being.

 

Why must he have the following attributes? Because they are necessary attributes as a maximal being.

As I said - I don't believe God is a "being" - therefore God is neither "He" nor "She".

 

If God is ominpotent - it only means that the infinite Oneness contains all power.

 

If God is Omnscient - it only means that the infinite Oneness contains all knowledge.

 

If God is Eternality - uncreated - it only means that the infinite Oneness is uncreated.

 

As I mentioned before - "maximal being" (to me) is mute because what can the "maximum" of infinite ONENESS be? Also, I don't believe God is a "being".

 

In any abstract discussion of God regarding philosophy....God is defined as a maximal being.
WHY? :shrug:

 

What do you mean by infinite? What do you mean by incomprehensible?
Infinite - without beginning and without end

Incomprehensible - I agree with your statement regarding "incomprehensible":

 

If it is incomprehensible then you can't say anything about it, even that it is a higher being, you're immediately applying an identity to it by even applying a word to it.

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But I guess it has to do with your baseline of the argument that God must be The Ultimate Being, above, beyond and transfinite to all existence.

 

What does that mean?

Just to clarify, I can see why you say that the definition of God must be that he is omnipotent because you say "God is the maximal being".

 

But I still don't understand why that means omniscience.

 

 

 

 

Omnipotence does not mean "can do anything" in philosophical cases.

Omniscience does not mean "knows everything" in philosophical cases.

 

For instance, God cannot know first-person mentalities. He can't know what it's like to be me, because then he would have to assume my identity, and thus he would cease to be God.

He can't know uncaused future events.

 

God cannot do the logically impossible, like create square circles, or be God and not God at the same time.

 

Anyways, people who apply the ideas that God is not omnipotent are then redefining God and that must be talked about explicitly. God as an abstract has specific attributes that allow him to be divine, and changing those then change the nature of discussion.[/b]

 

Actually, this person used the word "omnipotent", but used in the same way as you just did, that God can not create logically impossible things. For instance, if God gave the rulership of Earth to Humans, then he can't take it back, because he can't break his own word.

 

God = A Maximal Being.

    [*]If something is infinite - then "maximal" is mute. What would the maximum of infinite be?

Good point. There's no maximum beyond infinite. Wouldn't the Infinite be the Maximum... or?

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I can recomend a couple of books:

 

For divine attributes in "Classical Theism": Charles Hartshorne's Omnipotence and other Theological Mistakes is a goodie, as well as his The Logic of Perfection. He was a famous "process theologian" and assistant of the great mathematician Alfred North Whitehead, who started process theology in the West. Edmund Husserl's The Origins of Geometry is also awesome. Jacques Derrida wrote his doctoral dissertation about it, now published as the introduction of the book.

 

Personally, I think that God is sometimes conceived as an "infinite" or "perfect" being as a consequence of rudimentary geometry/math. For instance, for a triangle to be a triangle by definition, it must contain three angles that sum 180 degrees. If a triangle doesn't meet these prereqs, it's not considered a triangle. "Planes" and "lines" extend infinitely through ideal space. So rudimentary geometry gives us the idea of defining these "perfect," "abstract" planes and polygons that don't really exist in the "real," material world. It's a perfect foil for the idea of "God." I might also add that the so-called "omni's" aren't really in the Bible. This concept of God as a "most perfect being" didn't appear historically until the Middle Ages, when monks in monasteries all over Europe were reading the Muslims philosopher Ibn Sina's (Avicenna) readings of Plato and Aristotle. Anselm and Aquinas ganked his ideas and passed them off as a scholastically "logical" theism which has become the "Classical" expression of God.

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Very true. The Omni's are later additions in history. The word "God" is just a symbol, and we attach whatever we want to it, especially things we can't explain or don't understand. The God in the Bible (OT) was most likely (looking at the sources and the history behind El, Jahweh etc) a pantheon of very fallible gods.

 

If we go to India and ask the Hindus what they believe about God, and give us a very complex structure of different gods in the pantheon. Do we tell them they are wrong, because we have a couple of hundred years of philosophical studies that conclude that God must be the "omni" and in the next sentence we say that those omni-s are impossible so God doesn't exist. Then the Hindu can say, "that's all good, because my gods still do exist."

 

So if we are so in love with the traditional western definitions of God, that we have proven to be incorrect, then if that particular kind of God doesn't exist, maybe the definition is wrong?

 

---edit---

 

And Asimov, don't take my arguments the wrong way. I always find it very intriguing and interesting to discuss with you, and I always learn bunches of stuff. So it's in no way my intention of "me attacking you", okay? :grin:

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According to the Catholic Encyclopedia God is supposed to be "beyond temporal and eternal". That is part of the philosophical definition of God too.

 

God can't be beyond temporality. He couldn't have created anything if he wasn't temporal.

 

If something is infinite - then "maximal" is mute. What would the maximum of infinite be?

 

What do you mean by infinite?

 

I believe in God - I don't believe God is a "being" - many people who believe in God do not believe God is a being or beings.

 

Everything that exists is a being, are you an atheist?

 

If God is ominpotent - it only means that the infinite Oneness contains all power.

 

If God is Omnscient - it only means that the infinite Oneness contains all knowledge.

 

If God is Eternality - uncreated - it only means that the infinite Oneness is uncreated.

 

As I mentioned before - "maximal being" (to me) is mute because what can the "maximum" of infinite ONENESS be? Also, I don't believe God is a "being".

 

Yea, but you're not clarifying what infinite means, this isn't a discussion of what maximal means, because that's beyond comprehension. And I assume you mean "moot".

 

WHY(is god defined as a maximal being)?

 

Because, he's the most powerful, knowledgeable thing, uncreated and incorruptible. It establishes a baseline that God must be at least more powerful and knowledgable than any other being or concept in the universe or he's not God.

 

Infinite - without beginning and without end

Incomprehensible - I agree with your statement regarding "incomprehensible":

 

Ok, but that's calling him eternal...we've already established that he is eternal.

And you took my statement regarding incomprehensibility out of context. We can comprehend God, we can comprehend that he has attributes, and that these attributes are necessary in order for him to be called God.

 

We cannot comprehend the scope of his attributes.

 

If I were to speak of an abstract "the tallest mountain"....I can comprehend a mountain taller than anything else, but I cannot comprehend the scope of that tallness, because it's an abstract.

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Hans: "So if we are so in love with the traditional western definitions of God, that we have proven to be incorrect, then if that particular kind of God doesn't exist, maybe the definition is wrong?"

 

That's exactly what "process theologians" suggest about doing theology, that the definition of God must be redone. Whitehead, Hartshorne and David Ray Griffin all end up suggesting a form of Pantheism, but alot of other process thinkers try to throw in some hippie Jesus nonsense. Whitehead wrote in Process and Reality that any metaphysical system is only as good as its exceptions, so he wanted to integrate "God" into his process system... redefining God as some weird, omnipresent "database" like entity that some how experiences everything in the universe vicariously. Silly, if you ask me, but a step in a somewhat scientific direction.

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Oh, a question, could the "square circle" be done in a non-euclid geometry?

 

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia God is supposed to be "beyond temporal and eternal". That is part of the philosophical definition of God too.

 

God can't be beyond temporality. He couldn't have created anything if he wasn't temporal.

I agree, but the eternal attribute is given to God by the traditional philosophers. Which is one of the reasons why the Cosmological Argument for God is conflicting. But we can't pick and choose the attributes we like or don't like because we want to prove or disprove God. We have to gove with what the believer thinks. The definition of God is only understood within the framework of a religion, and is not understood by the outsider. So if we want to argue a specific God, it can be done, but currently we are discussing the God that Asimov have defined, and others won't agree to the definition. And this is part of the "incomprehensible" part. We can't make out a common working model of a supreme God.

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Just to clarify, I can see why you say that the definition of God must be that he is omnipotent because you say "God is the maximal being".

But I still don't understand why that means omniscience.

 

The idea of omniscience has some interesting discussions in and of itself. At the very least, we are talking about a monotheistic God, more popularly characterized as the Western idea of God. This is all germane to Western Philosophy.

 

Omniscience implies that God has maximal knowledge. This means that no other being is capable of having more knowledge than God.

 

What does this mean? It means that God is incapable of having a false belief. It ties in with incorruptibility and omnipotence.

 

Actually, this person used the word "omnipotent", but used in the same way as you just did, that God can not create logically impossible things. For instance, if God gave the rulership of Earth to Humans, then he can't take it back, because he can't break his own word.

 

Why not?

 

Good point. There's no maximum beyond infinite. Wouldn't the Infinite be the Maximum... or?

 

What do you mean by infinite?

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Ok, but that's calling him eternal...we've already established that he is eternal.

Now I'm confused. I thought you just said God had to be temporal?

 

And you took my statement regarding incomprehensibility out of context. We can comprehend God, we can comprehend that he has attributes, and that these attributes are necessary in order for him to be called God.

Well, I think that is the problem. When we can define God, then we can comprehend him/she/it, and then we can't disprove him/she/it. But God is incomprehensible, so all the definitions are invalid whatever definition we give him/she/it.

 

Like I said before, God is the ultimate paradox, or the "perfect circle". It's just a symbol of the things beyond of what we understand. God is the symbol of the not-explained.

 

We cannot comprehend the scope of his attributes.

Now I'm confused again. Please elaborate here.

 

Do you mean we can comprehend the attributes of God, but we can't comprehend the scope of the same attributes?

 

If I were to speak of an abstract "the tallest mountain"....I can comprehend a mountain taller than anything else, but I cannot comprehend the scope of that tallness, because it's an abstract.

Same things as my "perfect circle"? That we can envision a circle that has an exact circumference of pi when diameter is d=1, but there's no way to make one in reality. So the perfect circle only exists as an abstract, but never in reality.

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So if we are so in love with the traditional western definitions of God, that we have proven to be incorrect, then if that particular kind of God doesn't exist, maybe the definition is wrong?

 

Maybe, but who knows...now get back to the discussion.

 

And Asimov, don't take my arguments the wrong way. I always find it very intriguing and interesting to discuss with you, and I always learn bunches of stuff. So it's in no way my intention of "me attacking you", okay? :grin:

 

:P I know.

 

Oh, a question, could the "square circle" be done in a non-euclid geometry?

 

:lmao: No!

 

It means God can't make A = !A

 

I agree, but the eternal attribute is given to God by the traditional philosophers. Which is one of the reasons why the Cosmological Argument for God is conflicting. But we can't pick and choose the attributes we like or don't like because we want to prove or disprove God. We have to gove with what the believer thinks. The definition of God is only understood within the framework of a religion, and is not understood by the outsider. So if we want to argue a specific God, it can be done, but currently we are discussing the God that Asimov have defined, and others won't agree to the definition. And this is part of the "incomprehensible" part. We can't make out a common working model of a supreme God.

 

We can, you guys are just being asses about it. :HaHa:

 

This isn't "my" definition, Han. I tell you, read the Divine Attributes..it's a pretty freakin interesting book.

 

The definition of God can be understood without the framework of a religion. We are doing it right now. You guys are trying to snap it into the framework of religion. Religion is moot, what people "believe" is moot.

 

Usually with a few minor differences, most Western thought contains a being who is omniscient, omnipotent, eternal and immutable.

 

In order to trim the fat, so to speak, we dumb it down to those main 4 attributes that philosophers have deemed to be necessary.

 

Eternal doesn't mean atemporal, Han.

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That's exactly what "process theologians" suggest about doing theology, that the definition of God must be redone. Whitehead, Hartshorne and David Ray Griffin all end up suggesting a form of Pantheism, but alot of other process thinkers try to throw in some hippie Jesus nonsense. Whitehead wrote in Process and Reality that any metaphysical system is only as good as its exceptions, so he wanted to integrate "God" into his process system... redefining God as some weird, omnipresent "database" like entity that some how experiences everything in the universe vicariously. Silly, if you ask me, but a step in a somewhat scientific direction.

It isn't so silly as you may think. Some scientists are looking at the universe as a big giant quantum computer.

 

If God knows the future, maybe he ran a simulation first?

 

And seing God as a big receptor of experience is a thought I've had too. A God that doesn't interact with the universe, but is constantly downloading (or receiving) the status of it. I was thinking that argument from the possibility of a "divine" energy or "will" that wanted to experience and live a finite life. Just like a huge experiment to gain more understanding.

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Now I'm confused. I thought you just said God had to be temporal?

 

Eternal means uncreated. In order to create the universe, God has to be temporal. Never heard of the idea of temporal eternality?

 

If God exists, then he performs actions.

Necessarily, any action is an event.

Necessarily, any event occurs in time.

Necessarily, if God's actions occur in time, then he is in time.

 

Well, I think that is the problem. When we can define God, then we can comprehend him/she/it, and then we can't disprove him/she/it. But God is incomprehensible, so all the definitions are invalid whatever definition we give him/she/it.

 

No, because that depends on what part of him is incomprehensible. If you are arguing for total incomprehensibility, then I submit that you cannot even apply infinite to God. Even using the label God would imply SOME kind of identity...and that is irrational.

 

Like I said before, God is the ultimate paradox, or the "perfect circle". It's just a symbol of the things beyond of what we understand. God is the symbol of the not-explained.

 

Yes, but that doesn't mean we can't philosophize about him.

 

Now I'm confused again. Please elaborate here.

 

Do you mean we can comprehend the attributes of God, but we can't comprehend the scope of the same attributes?

 

Same things as my "perfect circle"? That we can envision a circle that has an exact circumference of pi when diameter is d=1, but there's no way to make one in reality. So the perfect circle only exists as an abstract, but never in reality.

 

Exactly...God only exists as an abstract, insofar as we can determine.

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Actually, this person used the word "omnipotent", but used in the same way as you just did, that God can not create logically impossible things. For instance, if God gave the rulership of Earth to Humans, then he can't take it back, because he can't break his own word.

 

Why not?

Well, you said that "omnipotence" didn't mean God could do impossible things, like the square circle. So can an omnipotenet God do that or not?

 

I was only referring to this person (I can't remember who), after argument that God couldn't be omnipotent while omni-benevolent etc... same old contradictions... he said that he didn't believe God to be omnipotent in the sence that God could act against his own will of giving humans a free will. If God's will was to give humans freedom, then God could not act against his own will, even if he's omnipotent, simply because God would have to will against his own will. It would be the square circle, or GodsWill = Not(GodsWill).

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Actually, this person used the word "omnipotent", but used in the same way as you just did, that God can not create logically impossible things. For instance, if God gave the rulership of Earth to Humans, then he can't take it back, because he can't break his own word.

 

Why not?

Well, you said that "omnipotence" didn't mean God could do impossible things, like the square circle. So can an omnipotenet God do that or not?

 

I was only referring to this person (I can't remember who), after argument that God couldn't be omnipotent while omni-benevolent etc... same old contradictions... he said that he didn't believe God to be omnipotent in the sence that God could act against his own will of giving humans a free will. If God's will was to give humans freedom, then God could not act against his own will, even if he's omnipotent, simply because God would have to will against his own will. It would be the square circle, or GodsWill = Not(GodsWill).

 

That would depend, if you define God as intrinsically immutable...then he can't do anything.

 

But if God acts on his desires, and his desires change, then he certainly could go against his previous desires.

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This isn't "my" definition, Han. I tell you, read the Divine Attributes..it's a pretty freakin interesting book.

AAAH! Heck, I didn't get that it actually was a BOOK!!! Okay, sorry mate. Then you can keep on diggin into the arguments as best as only you can. Peace out.

 

The definition of God can be understood without the framework of a religion. We are doing it right now. You guys are trying to snap it into the framework of religion. Religion is moot, what people "believe" is moot.

Not moot, but symbolic. Humans are symbolic and pattern oriented computers. We see things in symbols.

 

For instance, in quantum mechanics they use terms as "up", "down", "left" and "right" on quarks, even though they are not really going those directions. Or, if I understand this correctly, Quantum Chromodynamics doesn't really meant he quarks have colors, but they're just identified with the colors red, green and blue. So the colors codings are used as symbols to explain differences between something.

 

Usually with a few minor differences, most Western thought contains a being who is omniscient, omnipotent, eternal and immutable.

Okay.

 

In order to trim the fat, so to speak, we dumb it down to those main 4 attributes that philosophers have deemed to be necessary.

 

Eternal doesn't mean atemporal, Han.[/b]

Okay, but they're darn close. Eternal means no beginning, no end, and existing outside of time, while atemporal means independent of time or timeless. So I see them as dependent on each other. Time exists in our universe, God is outside our universe, he might have his own "virtual" or "imaginary" time, but he doesn't have our time.

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Not moot, but symbolic. Humans are symbolic and pattern oriented computers. We see things in symbols.

 

Ok, understandable.

 

Okay, but they're darn close. Eternal means no beginning, no end, and existing outside of time, while atemporal means independent of time or timeless. So I see them as dependent on each other. Time exists in our universe, God is outside our universe, he might have his own "virtual" or "imaginary" time, but he doesn't have our time.

 

Eternal doesn't always have to mean existing outside of time.

 

To assert that God created the universe, you are implying a causal relationship. If God is atemporal, he cannot have causal relationships...he can't do anything. There is no "our" time, in this case.

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