This post is a follow-up to my article Omnipresence and Free Will. If you have not read that post already, I encourage you to start there before continuing below.
In my previous post, I addressed the argument that omnipresence eliminates any possibility of free will. The argument contended that God’s presence encompasses every physical particle in the universe. In other words, every physical particle is a part of God’s being. Because God is in complete control of his being, he naturally controls every aspect of his creation completely. Therefore, free will cannot exist. Free will would require the existence of a point where God’s being ends, and freedom from God begins.
In this post, I will elaborate on the being of God and His relationship with the physical universe and time.
The question that I will address is this: is it possible for God to transcend time and for the physical universe to be a part of God?
To address this question, we will look at the smallest known particles in the universe; quarks.
What is a quark?
A quark is any of a group of subatomic particles believed to be among the fundamental constituents of matter.1
Quarks come in different varieties and do not remain in a constant state throughout their life span
Physicists refer to the different types of quark as flavors: up, down, strange, charm, bottom, and top. The biggest differentiation between the flavors is their mass, but some also differ by charge and by spin. For instance, while all quarks have the same spin of 1/2, three of them (up, charm and top) have charge 2/3, and the other three (down, strange and bottom) have charge minus 1/3. And just because a quark starts out as a flavor doesn’t mean it will stay that way; down quarks can easily transform into up quarks, and charm quarks can change into strange quarks. 2
So what does this have to do with God and transcendence of time?
Consider the following argument.
- Every quark is a part of God.
- A quark does not necessarily exhibit constant, consistent makeup and processes during the entirety of its existence.
- Therefore, parts of God’s being change over time.
- A being that transcends time is constant and does not change over time in any way.
- Therefore, God does not transcend time.
The implications of this conclusion are enormous. If God’s being can change over time, He is not constant and unchanging. He is also unable to transcend time. Because the Bible describes God as timeless and unchanging, the inability of God to transcend time falsifies any biblical truth claims in that regard. Evidence of biblical error raises doubt over divine inspiration.
If God is not constant and unchanging, to transcend time requires that a constituent part of God must exist simultaneously in multiple states as a part of God’s being. For instance, if a particular quark exists as an up quark at one date and time and a down quark at a later date and God exists outside of time, a part of God exists as an up quark and a down quark simultaneously, which is logically impossible. A quark cannot logically have two different masses or two different charges at the same time.
Therefore, God is either not timeless and unchanging, or the physical universe is not a part of God. It is not logically possible to have it both ways.
Either God is not changeless and is constrained by time, limited to experiencing and working in the present moment to incrementally establish His purpose, or He is a constant, changeless being outside of time and space and separate from the changing physical universe.
The Bible teaches that God is perfect and unchanging. So if scripture is true, it is impossible for the physical universe to be a part of God. He is not limited in any way in His interaction with His creation. He does exist everywhere, but that does not mean that everything is a part of God.
Elements in the physical dimension and spiritual dimension can interact and simultaneously occupy a single point in space, because the spiritual dimension has no physical aspect whatsoever.
In conclusion, the Bible is the inspired Word of God and is, therefore, truth. In it, God describes Himself as being timeless and changeless.
It is not possible for God to both transcend time and for the physical universe to be a part of God. Because God transcends time, the physical universe is not a part of His being.
God created the world out of nothing, not out of part of Himself. What is spiritual cannot be equated with what is physical in any way except in the person of Jesus, who is the physical manifestation of the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, in whom all the fullness of deity dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9 ESV). Even then, however, the atoms, molecules, and quarks that make up the physical body of Jesus are only deified by the association of and union with the soul of Jesus, not because they, themselves, are a part of God.
Of course, if you don’t accept the Bible as truth, you are free to imagine and define God as being anything that you want. For me, I am convinced that the Bible is God’s Word and is trustworthy in all matters.
If the Bible is true, arguments that equate the entirety of the physical universe with a part of God don’t stand up to reason.
Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.