Wednesday, March 18, 2015

God the Creator of TA PANTA

We've been discussing universal origins in the light of scripture, science, and reason. That word "universe" can be ambiguous. Scientists talk about "the universe" presumably referring to all that exists, whereas the Greeks called it KOSMOS or wrote about TA PANTA.

According to what we read in scripture, the universe had a beginning. God creates "all things" in heaven and on earth, the things visible and the things invisible (Colossians 1:15-17; Rev 4:10-11). See Acts 17:24ff.

God is transcendent which is to say, he is prior to and above, or other than, the universe which he made. God is spirit or the spirit (John 4:24). Many writers have professed that Almighty God is incorporeal. While that's not the position taken by Jehovah's Witnesses, we do believe that Jehovah existed before he made the universe. Witnesses also speak of the "material universe" (not that we're alone in this respect) to distinguish the world of space-time and matter from God's transcendent dwelling in the heavens.

How could the creator of heaven and earth, and all therein, himself be part of the universe?

God is infinite, which can mean that the deity is not limited by space or time: he is boundless in that sense. Scotus also views infinity as qualitative when applied to God (i.e., intensive), whereas Aquinas places emphasis on its "negative" feature.


Edgar Foster said...

A point I was trying to make with this most recent blog entry is that God is not part of the universe if he created it. Colossians 1:15-17 refers to the universe (with the exclusion of the Son) as TA PANTA, things both invisible and visible. The Greek NP, TA PANTA, became a handy (ancient) reference for the cosmos. For the language of governments, compare Ephesians 6:12.

The creation language of Colossians 1:15-17 has to be understood contextually, and in comparison with similar texts (John 1:3; Heb 1:2-3). To say that God created TA PANTA through the Son elevates rather than lowers the Son. It adds to his eminence.

My purpose in quoting Acts 17:24 was not to show that God made heaven (his place of dwelling), but to demonstrate that he made the KOSMOS--the universe. Hence, Jehovah transcends the universe or he is not part of it.

Duncan said...

having >become< superior to the angels.

Duncan said...

Kosmos - Ephesians 1:4?

Edgar Foster said...

Duncan, I'm not sure why you reference Heb 1:4--I was pointing you towards 1:2-3. But I agree that the Son became superior to the angels although the verse (1:4) has to be read within the context of the Son becoming man also. But I'd rather stick to the original subject as opposed to starting other lines of inquiry.

A form of KOSMOS does appear in Eph 1:4. That expression "foundation of the world" is also important. The WT literature has much to say about it.

From what I remember, KOSMOS probably does not mean universe in Eph 1:4.