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Thread: Absolutes

  1. #1
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    Absolutes

    Hi all,

    Philosophy and related disciplines are of interest to me and I was exposed to some of these at University (College).

    Anyway, while I could understand the various philosophies, it struck me that no matter how much they re-defined our existence in terms of relativism, we cannot exist without reference to absolutes.

    Here are a couple of examples:

    Time: Time doesn't stop and we cannot re-live time.

    Day and Night: Every 24 period is marked by day time and night time.

    Francis Shaeffer tells the story of a cruise he was on. One night they were invited to dine at the captain's table and one of the other guests had an in-depth discussion with Schaeffer on this matter. Schaeffer noticed he adored his wife and asked him "When you are in bed at night, how do you know your wife is really there?". At this question, the man got up and left the table, not able to adequately answer the question by reference to his own theories of existence.

    Mitch

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch View Post
    Hi all,

    Philosophy and related disciplines are of interest to me and I was exposed to some of these at University (College).

    Anyway, while I could understand the various philosophies, it struck me that no matter how much they re-defined our existence in terms of relativism, we cannot exist without reference to absolutes.

    Here are a couple of examples:

    Time: Time doesn't stop and we cannot re-live time.

    Day and Night: Every 24 period is marked by day time and night time.

    Francis Shaeffer tells the story of a cruise he was on. One night they were invited to dine at the captain's table and one of the other guests had an in-depth discussion with Schaeffer on this matter. Schaeffer noticed he adored his wife and asked him "When you are in bed at night, how do you know your wife is really there?". At this question, the man got up and left the table, not able to adequately answer the question by reference to his own theories of existence.

    Mitch
    Hey there Mitch,

    Welcome to our forum!



    I too am interested in philosophy. The issue of "absolutes" is an area of great confusion these days. I think this is largely a reaction by skeptics to the theistic claim that the existence of absolutes implies the existence of God. Many weak-minded skeptics and atheists then feel compelled to throw out the baby with the bathwater by denying absolutes absolutely. It looks like a philosophical farce to me. The fact that our language and thought requires absolutes is self-evident. All we need to do is try to assert the opposite, and we find we have made an absolute statement denying the existence of any absolutes! It would be funny if it weren't so pathetic.

    So where do you stand on this issue? Do you think absolutes imply God?

    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  3. #3
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    Thank you for your warm welcome, Richard! I appreciated your view, too, and like how you summarised what some skeptics have done (ie. the baby with the bath water).

    Science, whether it be genetics or physics, and life in general, teaches us that without outside influence, all things move from order to disorder, complex to simple, more information to less information. A "maker" cannot make something greater than him/her self. In my world view, absolutes do imply something greater than the absolute who made these absolutes, and that something is God.

    Now, before someone points out what I've done, I fully understand I've just lept from one conclusion (something greater than an absolute) to another conclusion (God), which some may falsely believe to be akin to Kierkegaard's leap of faith - but I see the Bible as showing us Who this "something" is and therefore there is no Kierkegaard's leap of faith.

    Whether it be my Christian upbringing or the path I have walked, but I can't really see any other possible answer than the existence of a being existing outside of time, space and matter. So, I'd be curious to hear from others and hear what they have to say.

    Regards,

    Mitch

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    Hi Richard,

    There was another part of your quote I wished to agree wth and comment on:

    Where you point out that some skeptics are . . .
    denying absolutes absolutely. It looks like a philosophical farce to me.
    I couldn't agree more! If absolutes don't exist, then someone cannot say, absolutely they don't exist! They use the very concept they deny to prove it doesn't exist.

    Regards,

    Mitch

  5. #5
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    Mitch,

    In your examples, you mention (1) Time, which as wiki explains is a dimension in which events are ordered from past to present. While most of world can visibly seem a day time and night time, the arctic/antarctic have months of midnight sun, or night and you can't tell if it's noon or midnight. If you put yourself aboard the ISS (space station), you observe approx 16 sunrise/sunset events in a 24 hour period. I'm just saying Time is not so absolute in those respects. While it is true, you cannot go back in time, doesn't mean it cannot be done. It simply has *yet* to be done.

    I've seen the term Absolute (philosophic) describing reality, infinity, God, spirit, truth, transcendence, immanence, etc.. It just seems people use "Absolute" in places where they really don't know of a better term and it's is really ambiguous. Sometimes people use Absolute as an argument for the existence of God, but the term makes more sense when applied to chemistry, math, measurements, and natural phenomena. It seem to me that people throw in the absolute adjective to a statement which they believe to be probable, but *really* it's a red flag.

    Regards,

    Chris S.
    Cordova, TN

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    Thanks for your input, Chris.

    You have misunderstood, I think, the main premise. In your post you combined Time with Day and Night instead of treating them separate. Time, regardless of where you are, moves forward. Even if time travel were possible (and in my world view it is not), time for the individual would be an absolute - he/she could not currently exist as themselves in a former time, as an earlier self, in something they had already experienced.

    The earth rotates, albeit wobbly, giving 24 hour periods - which in most parts of the world appear as day and night. You are right in that I could have re-worded Day and Night more specifically to rotations of the Earth around its axis. Splitting hairs like that doesn't negate the premise that absolutes exist. In hindsight, I should have used Light and (absolute) Darkness.

    There are many other absolutes I could have mentioned such as life, light, darkness, matter, gravity, etc

    Language is another example. No-one could successfully argue that any current language (eg. English) is an absolute in the sense of being fixed, concrete, unchanging; however, lanugage as a concept of communication is an absolute.

    Math is an absolute: 2 x 2 will always equal 4. (I had one guy try to tell me that it all depends on what base is being used; however, his comment was just splitting hairs, too, because if both 2's are base 10, then the answer will always e 4, base 10.)

    Regards,

    Mitch

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch View Post
    I can't really see any other possible answer than the existence of a being existing outside of time, space and matter. So, I'd be curious to hear from others and hear what they have to say.
    See
    With what eye(s)?

    Answer
    Is the answer visible? Is it a word? Outspoken or unspoken? And who is the speaker? And where and when?

    Existence
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existence

    The word "existence" comes from the Latin word existere meaning (...) literally, it means "to stand out" (ex- being the Latin prefix for "out" added to the Latin verb stare, meaning "to stand").
    To stand you need solid ground.

    A being existing outside of time, space and matter.
    Ain't that a contradictio in terminis?


    I'd be curious to hear from others and hear what they have to say.
    My take is that outside of time and space nothing exists.

    A thing (answer) already expressed in the first verse of the bible "B'reishit bara elohim et hashamayim v'et haaarets".

    A thing that needs further explanation, that's true.

    How you would explain?

    I got the "I am the Alpha and the Omega"-sayings in mind,

    Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13.

    Now especially 22:13,
    ἐγὼ τὸ Ἄλφα καὶ τὸ Ὦ, ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος, ἡ ἀρχὴ καὶ τὸ τέλος.

    (I had already a discussion with Richard about Ὦ, that it does not stand for Hebrew "tav", and that "I am the Alpha and the Omega", does not mean "I am the first and the last letter of the Alphabet", like if you could translate it as "I am the A and the Z" - which indeed nobody does).

    It says: I am both "ho protos kai ho eschatos" and "hè archè kai to telos".

    I am both principle of time as first in time.

    Space is Hebrew "makom" , a name of God, "Omnipresent"

    Genesis 28:17,
    "How awesome is this space! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."
    Last edited by sylvius; 10-19-2012 at 01:18 AM.

  8. #8
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    Just to add my two cents worth about the existence of God and time.

    If I say God is outside time, I mean He is outside the time frame of this universe in which the stars and planets and everything are in motion. If we say God has no beginning and no end and can go outside of our universe, this is difficult for our finite minds to grasp.

    Some motions are circular (perpetual) and some motions are linear (never-ending) and both motions define Time as:- distance traveled divided by speed. The faster the speed to cover a set distance, the smaller the amount of time. If you can be at the end and the beginning of the journey at the same instant, then time does not exist.

    Even though God can exist outside this universe and existed before the universe was created, I do not believe God ever goes backward in time. Time always advances. We say that we only have one life and life is not a rehearsal. I believe God created the universe and everything on this planet and from the day things were created time has moved forward.

    God knowing the end from the beginning is not the same as God being at the end and the beginning at the same time. I do not believe God goes into the future and comes back from the future or that the prophets in their visions were taken literally into the future (as some believe). I believe that in vision, some prophets were taken into the future in which the vision was so vivid as to appear to be real, but the prophets remained in their place and at a moment in time while they were given the vision.

    God will bring about His purpose with the earth, but He has only one run at it. This makes it more remarkable that God keeps to His time scales as in prophecies in which periods of time are specified. As a master designer and mathematician, God is working within a set time frame of possibly 7,000 years for God's Glory to fill the earth once again and from that time forward will continue to eternity. After that, time just goes on to infinity, with God perpetually keeping things on the earth in balance. If the sun decays as it is doing, then God must simply replenish it every so often. There is no reason to change all the laws of nature that govern this universe, if the earth is to continue to eternity.



    David
    Last edited by David M; 10-20-2012 at 12:43 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post

    . If you can be at the end and the beginning of the journey at the same instant, then time does not exist
    except for an instant.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    Even though God can exist outside this universe and existed before the universe was created
    "before" and also "after" are notions of time. In eternity there is no before and after.


    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    I do not believe God ever goes backward in time.Time always advances
    Yet Jupiter does some times. Wasn't he "the son of time" and didn't he even kill his father? (Time killer)

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    We say that we only have one life
    some people lead double lives and have double agendas.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    is not a rehearsal.
    There is something called memory.

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    I believe God created the universe and everything on this planet and from the day things were created time has moved forward.
    How can time move? And does it move in a constant speed, or sometimes slower sometimes faster, or maybe even sometimes standing still?

    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    God knowing the end from the beginning is not the same as God being at the end and the beginning at the same time.
    Maybe you should see "the beginning" as a high mountain, from the top of which you can see around over all of history.
    Or, if you think in terms of the seven days, the high mountain being the fourth day, wednesday, from which you can look over the whole week, the three days that have passed and the three days yet to come.
    Or even as the high mountain of Mark 9:2,
    After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.



    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    I do not believe God goes into the future and comes back from the future or that the prophets in their visions were taken literally into the future (as some believe). I believe that in vision, some prophets were taken into the future in which the vision was so vivid as to appear to be real, but the prophets remained in their place and at a moment in time while they were given the vision.
    Future is that which comes, it is related to the here and now, even present.

    "I am the one who is, who was and who is to come" (Revelation 1:8)


    Quote Originally Posted by David M View Post
    God will bring about His purpose with the earth, but He has only one run at it. This makes it more remarkable that God keeps to His time scales as in prophecies in which periods of time are specified. As a master designer and mathematician, God is working within a set time frame of possibly 7,000 years for God's Glory to fill the earth once again and from that time forward will continue to eternity. After that, time just goes on to infinity, with God perpetually keeping things on the earth in balance. If the sun decays as it is doing, then God must simply replenish it every so often. There is no reason to change all the laws of nature that govern this universe, if the earth is to continue to eternity.
    Eternity is not (the same as) endless time.
    Last edited by sylvius; 10-20-2012 at 02:39 AM.

  10. #10
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    test

    God exist- everything has a beginning.
    There is a minimal level of dignity that should be afforded to all.
    No-one is above anyone else.
    No-one cares what you know unless they know that you care.
    Winning an argument and losing a friend is not (in my humble opinion) winning.

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