It is only God, by virtue of who He is, who is free from the constraints of the space-time continuum. The God who is not so free can never be anything more than a small “g” god. It is simply not possible the one true God can be divided or torn asunder. Anyone who thinks so, no matter what position he takes on the Holy Spirit, is not honoring the God who has revealed Himself in the Scriptures. It is impossible for the omnipresent God to be “scattered… into thousands, perhaps millions, of fully functional, self-contained, independent units, each one the perfect clone of all the others.” In fact, the God who has revealed Himself in the Bible is a God who could make Himself known in a million simultaneous theophanies and still be present to all the rest of creation at the same time. He could indwell a multitude of Christians equally, and all at the same time, without diminishing Himself in the least. He can do all this not because He is a spirit, but because He is God, the uncreated Spirit, “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God” (1 Timothy 1:17; Jude 25).
Christians, particularly those who teach God’s Word, must not transfer to God any of the creaturely limitations. As the Creator, He simply isn’t subject to them. Along these lines, I find it interesting that modern science, which hasn’t always been friendly to the Creator, has started to bow in His direction. Although I believe “big bang” cosmology to be inconsistent with the Biblical account of creation and thus wrong, it is interesting to hear scientists conclude that time and space came into existence at “the beginning” of the universe. The British physicist, Paul Davies, typifies what I’m talking about:
If we extrapolate this prediction to its extreme, we reach a point when all distances in the universe have shrunk to zero. An initial cosmological singularity therefore forms a past temporal extremity to the universe. We cannot continue physical reasoning or even the concept of spacetime, through such an extremity. For this reason most cosmologists think of the initial singularity as the beginning of the universe. On this view the big bang represents the creation event, the creation not only of all the matter and energy of the universe, but also of spacetime itself (“Spacetime Singularities in Cosmology and Black Hole Evaporations,” in The Study of Time III, ed. J.T. Fraser, N. Lawrence, and D. Park, 1978, pages 78-79).
Others, addressing this same thing, assert: “At this singularity, space and time came into existence, literally nothing existed before the singularity, so, if the Universe originated as such a singularity, we would truly have a creation ex nihilo” (John Barrow and Frank Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, 1986, page 442).
This aspect of current cosmological theory is especially troubling for some scientists, particularly those with atheistic/materialistic beliefs. For example, the Russian astrophysicist, Andrei Linde, acknowledges, rather candidly, the problem that such a model poses for him: “The most difficult aspect of this problem is not the existence of the singularity itself, but the question of what was before the singularity…. This problem lies somewhere at the boundary between physics and metaphysics” (“The Inflationary Universe,” Reports on Progress in Physics 47, 1984, page 976).
Sounds to me like Fred Hoyle’s old “steady-state” theory (viz., an eternal universe) with its well-known dictum Exnihilo, nihil fit (“Out of nothing, nothing comes”) has finally bitten the dust. As philosopher William Lane Craig says, “The steady state model has been abandoned by virtually everyone” (Reasonable Faith, page 103).
So, the theory most scientists subscribe to today is the big bang model, especially the inflationary version. Again, I am not arguing for the correctness of this theory. In fact, I totally reject the 15 billion years this theory postulates for the age of the universe. I mention it here only because it argues that the expanding universe necessarily had a beginning. In other words, it did not begin to expand into already existing space, but was space itself—which prior to the big bang had not existed—expanding outwards, with the alleged cosmic expansion creating space as it went along.
Now, if scientists who are limited, in the things they do, to the material creation, although they don’t always act like they are, can understand the universe had a beginning, and that such a creation would have to be created ex nihilo or “out of nothing,” then I should think that modern-day Christians who are, generally speaking, the best educated the world has ever known, should not fail to understand the profound implications of such a creation—namely, that the Creator is over and above time, space, and all finite reality. As such, He can no more be confined to space than He can be measured by time.
The inescapable truth is that if something material exists now, one of three things must be true of it: (1) it is eternal, (2) it was created by something that is eternal, or (3) it is self-created. The first option is ruled out by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, since an eternal universe would have wound down or dissipated a long time ago. The third clashes not only with the First Law of Thermodynamics, but with logic’s Law of Contradiction, because in order to have created itself, the universe would have had to exist before it existed, an idea that is scientifically and philosophically ridiculous. This leaves only the second option, and the God extolled in this series satisfies all the necessary criteria of such a Creator. Natural revelation, when properly interpreted, points at a Being whose existence explains why science can explain anything. At the same time and in the same way, it tells us the reason why science cannot explain everything. As the famous and erudite Mr. Stephen Hawking has said about the big bang theory in his more cogent years, “It would be difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as an act of God who intended to create beings like us” (A Brief History of Time, page 140). Commenting on this, William Lane Craig wrote:
Since everything that began to exist has a cause of its existence, and since the universe began to exist, we conclude, therefore, that the universe has a cause of existence. We ought to ponder long and hard over this truly remarkable conclusion, for it means that transcending the entire universe there exists a cause which brought the universe into being ex nihilo…. This conclusion ought to stagger us, ought to fill us with a sense of awe and wonder at the knowledge that our whole universe was caused to exist by something beyond it and greater than it (The Kalam Cosmological Argument, page 149).
Finally, the now deceased high-profile astronomer, Robert Jastrow, who was Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in an article in the New York Times, asked the question: “Have Astronomers Found God?” His answer was that they had, or had at least come close to doing so. After arguing that the universe had a beginning in time, and after accepting that its creation by an act of God was a reasonable possibility [Jastrow was a professed agnostic], he went on to point out that astronomical evidence points to a theistic view of the world: “The details differ, but the essential elements…are the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy” (June 25, 1978).
His final words in that 1978 article were quite appropriate to our study:
This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians…. We scientists did not expect to find evidence for an abrupt beginning because we have had until recently such extraordinary success in tracing the chain of cause and effect backward in time…. At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries (Ibid.).
Brethren, let us “act like men” (1 Corinthians 16:13) in the midst of a lost and dying world (Philippians 2:15). Let us determine to know and proclaim the Rock who is our salvation (1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 2:7). As we do so, let us forever put away from us the little “g” gods of the religious rabble.