The J-Bone Argument (Official)
'The J-Bone Argument" is a formal argument developed in late 2014 by Christian apologist Chad A. Elliott (widely known as the Atheist Killa or AK ). Mr. Elliott notes [[William Lane Craig]], [[Alvin Plantinga]], [[Thomas Aquinas]], [[Al-Ghazali]] and other well known [[Christian apologists]] as his inspiration for developing this argument. He also claims that his argument has never been defeated and will take on any challengers who wish to try and defeat him.
The formal argument
P1. Existence cannot be eternal, come from Pure Nothingness, or be the product a non-personal mindless cause.
P2. A personal mind who brings existence into being is called God
C. God brought existence into being
What is EXISTENCE? The fact that things exist, the first thing that began to exist, existence came into being at that moment.
Defending the premises:
[[Infinite/Infinity]] - Freedictionary.com defines ''infinite'' as 1.) Having no boundaries or limits and 2.) Immeasurably great or large; boundless. Wikipedia defines ''infinity'' as "without any limit." [[David Hilbert]], considered by some to be the greatest mathematician of the twentieth century, stated in“[http://www.math.dartmouth.edu/~matc/Readers/HowManyAngels/Philosophy/
Other well known and highly respected philosophers such as [[Al-Ghazali]] write, "it is impossible that the universe be beginningless. If the universe never ''began to exist'', then the number of past events in the history of the universe is infinite. But this is impossible, because an actual infinite number of events cannot exist." [The Incoherence of the Philosophers].
Also [[William Lane Craig]] tells us that, "If you can't have an actual infinite number of things, then you can't have an actual infinite number of past events. That means that the number of past events must be finite." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrFwGvWlJnc).
''Mr. Elliott'' follows suit here when he says, "Space and time would have to had started somewhere or we wouldn't be having this discussion at all." Another key scientific discovery to point out here is the The [http://creationwiki.org/Borde-Guth-Vilenkin_singularity_theorem Borde-Vilenkin-Guth Theorem].The BVG Theorem states that, "Any universe which is on average expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite in the past, but must have a finite beginning and space time [[boundary]]. Even if the universe is just a part of a wider [[multiverse]], then that multiverse itself must have had an absolute beginning."[[Vilenkin]] then goes on to say, "It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men, and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the [[proof]] now in place, cosmologists can no long hide behind the possibility of a past eternal universe." (http://youtu.be/4KgpHx8JZR8)
[[Time|''Time'']] - Time according to ''Wikipedia'', is a dimension in which [[events]] can be ordered from the past through the present into the future, and also the measure of durations of ''events'' and the intervals between them. Also one must remember that space and time are woven together as one. If there is space there is time, and if there is time there is space. This is known as the space-time continuum. Also it is important for one to remember that conscious observers need not be present for the concept of ''time'' to still be in play. For example if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to witness it does that mean that time stopped? Clearly not. There was a ''before'' (tree standing), and an ''after'' (tree down) which proves [[events]] were occurring and time was still passing. Also there had to be some form of space for the tree to have the potential to exist and fall.
[[True Beginning]] - This is defined as a single ultimate beginning or [[true beginning]]. A true beginning would be different than many successive beginnings of the same thing.
For example: Imagine a pencil exists. If that pencil was on some kind of eternal cycle or loop where it begins to exists, then ceases to exist, begins to exist, then ceases to exist infinitely into the past, then we can say that it has demonstrated different beginnings, but it never had a single True Beginning or ultimate beginning which kick started the process. If however a person claims there was a single pencil which began this cycle, and that was the first time a pencil ever existed, then it could be said that pencils had a True Beginning. The same can be said for spacetime in accordance to STE.
Imagine if you will our universe (spacetime) exists, then dies. Then our universe (spacetime) starts over again, then dies. Now imagine this cycle is eternal in the past without a true beginning. This would fall under the acronym STE, as spacetime would not possess a single true beginning, and there was never a point at which one could say "further beyond this point there was no spacetime." Spacetime would have existed eternally into the past without an initial spacetime to kick start the process. A demonstration of this is for a person to imagine the Universe where they exist. If that eternal spacetime cycle which produced their Universe has no True Beginning, then the persons existence never becomes actualized.
If you are at the Drs. office and there is an infinite amount of people in front of you, do you ever get a chance to see the Dr.?? No!! Because there is no first person or no beginning to the line. Even if you cut forward in the line a zillion people, there is still and infinite amount ahead of you. So your time to see the Dr. never becomes actualized. In this hypothetical situation, each person in the line is represented by a new universe (spacetime), part of the eternal cycle, which began to exist (see the Dr. for themselves). The problem is you cannot get to the front of a line that has no true beginning, the same way you cannot traverse an infinite amount of past events. To suggest that there have been an infinite regress of past events is to suggest that we would have had to come to an end of an infinite series. An infinite series however is by definition is a series with no end. This is logically incoherent.
In other words if there is no True Beginning to the cycle, then no point in the cycle ever becomes actualized.
Remember STE is defined as [[Space Time Eternal in the past without a TRUE beginning; not limited or confined to our known universe, but any other voids, dimensions, multiverses, etc.]]
[[PURE-Nothingness]] - The concept of literal non-being. No space, time, energy, matter, laws, constants, structure, life, supernatural beings, minds, etc. The concept of pure literal nothingness. In mathematics this concept can be represented as [[zero]]. Philosopher [[William Lane Craig]] is noted as saying such things as, "from nothing, nothing comes. It is as certain as anything in philosophy and that no rational person sincerely doubts it." [http://www.reasonablefaith.org/causal-premise-of-the-kalam-argument Reasonable Faith Website-Causal-premise of the KCA]. ''Craig'' is also quoted as saying, "It is impossible that nothing exists, and that there is no possible world in which nothing exists." ("http://www.rfmedia.org/RF_audio_video/RF_podcast/What_is_Nothing_.mp3)
Mr. Elliott makes the claim that pure nothingness is an illogical concept which we can never achieved. It is noted in [http://marxistphilosophy.org/nothing2.htm (Excerpts from F. V. Konstantinov, ed., Philosophical Encyclopedia, Moscow: Soviet Encyclopedia Publishers, 1963, vol. 4, pp. 78-9)] that "nothingness is pure non-being and an impossible abstract emptiness." The claim is that nothing comes from nothing!! From Pure nothingness, Pure nothing comes.
(Latin: ex nihilo nihil fit) is a philosophical expression of a thesis first argued by [[Parmenides]]. It is associated with [[ancient Greek]] cosmology, such as presented not just in the opus of [[Homer]] and [[Hesiod]], but also in virtually every philosophical system.
"Principium cuius hinc nobis exordia sumet, nullam rem e nihilo gigni divinitus umquam."
"But only nature's aspect and her law, which, teaching us, hath this exordium: Nothing from nothing ever yet was born."
Similarly, many other noted philosophers such as [[William Lane Craig]], [[John Philoponus]], [[Al-Kindi]], [[Saadia Gaon]], [[Al-Ghazali]], and [[St. Bonaventure]] stand behind the claim that "Everything that begins to exist has a cause."
This is directly in line with [[Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz|Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz's]] [[principle of sufficient reason]]. Leibniz argues (Russell, Bertrand, A History of Western Philosophy. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1945, p. 568, and Cassirer, Ernst Kant’s Life and thought. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981,pp. 73) that "everything in the world is contingent that it may or may not have existed. Something will not exist unless there is a reason for its existence. This rests on his premise that the actual world is the best possible world, as such we can account for everything in it as being there for a specific reason. But the universe as a whole, requires a further reason for existence, and that reason for Leibniz is God.
[[Thomas Aquinas]] says - "Common sense observation tells us that no object creates itself''. In other words, some previous object had to create it." [http://www.scandalon.co.uk/philosophy/cosmological_aquinas.htm The Second Way- Causation of Existence]. Aquinas believed that ultimately there must have been an ''Uncaused First Cause'' (GOD) who began the chain of existence for all things. He asked his opponents to follow the argument this way:
2. Nothing can be the cause of itself (nothing can create itself.)
3. There cannot be an endless string of objects causing other objects to exist.
4. Therefore, there must be an uncaused first cause called God.
''Important Note'': God was not "created", nor did he ''create'' himself, nor did he ''begin'' to exist at some point in the past. God is eternal in the past, but is spaceless and timeless prior to creating the universe. At which point time is given the starting point which is required to allow us to arrive at our current moment in time.
And finally [[William Lane Craig]] makes a mockery of anyone believing something can come from pure nothingness when he says, "Believing that something can come from nothing is literally worse than believing in magic. I mean think about it, when the magician pulls the rabbit out of the hat at least you have the magician. Nobody sincerely believes something can pop into being uncaused out of nothing." And he goes on to ask, "if something could come from nothing, then it's inexplicable why everything or anything doesn't come from nothing. For example why don't bicycles, or root beer just pop into being uncaused out of nothing? There can't be anything about nothingness that favors universes, because nothingness has no properties. So what makes nothingness so descrimitory, that only universes are allowed to pop into being from nothingness? Nothingness cannot be constrained by anything because there is nothing to be constrained." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrFwGvWlJnc (time frame 25:54-30:05)...Also its important to note that Pure Nothingness does exist as an abstract concept and idea. Its an abstract concept or idea that can never actually be achieved, but rather only exists in our minds, not reality.
At big-bang-theory.com they say, "A singularity is an infinitely dense, infinitesimally small, infinitely hot, zone." Proponents of this theory will claim that all space and time which currently exist were simply products of this singularity's expansion. There in fact was no space or time prior to this event. This is well documented in the [[Hartle-Hawking state]].[[James Hartle]] and [[Stephen Hawking]] claim that, "the universe is infinitely finite: that there was no time before the Big Bang because time did not exist before the formation of [[spacetime]] associated with the Big Bang and subsequent expansion of the universe in space and time. Hartle and Hawking suggest that if we could travel backward in time toward the beginning of the universe, we would note that quite near to what might have otherwise been the beginning, time gives way to space such that at first there is only space and no time. Beginnings are entities that have to do with time; because time did not exist before the Big Bang, the concept of a beginning of the universe is meaningless."
However, ''Mr. Elliott'' asks two fundamental questions here which unsettle this line of logic.
1.) IN REGARDS TO SPACE EXISTING PRIOR TO THE EXPANSION OF THE SINGULARITY::
How can a singularity (or super condensed energy, matter, and moving particles) exist without having the ''initial potential to exist'' (space)?? He goes on to say, "Clearly it couldn't. Without some form of space, the potential for the singularity itself to exist would not be present. This proves that space ''did exist'' prior to the expansion of the singularity." If you missed it, in the above paragraph Stephen Hawking also agrees with the fact there was space prior to the expansion. "We would note that quite near to what might have otherwise been the beginning, time gives way to space such that at first there is only space and no time."
So then the issue becomes, was there also time prior to this expansion?? This is where Mr. Elliott readily disagrees with Hawking, and says fundamentally yes, there was time!! "The concept of time was certainly in play, and physicists such as Hawking and others can no longer postulate otherwise," he says.
2.) IN REGARDS TO TIME EXISTING PRIOR TO THE EXPANSION OF THE SINGULARITY::
This is quite possibly the most important part of the entire argument so lets break this up into sections. Please forgive me if this gets kind of long, but we really have to make sure that atheists can no longer make the claim that time did not exist prior to the big bang.
First lets start with a simple question which I think everyone can easily understand. How can energy, matter, and moving particles (such as the singularity is defined) , even if infinitely dense, exist without any events occurring whatsoever?? In other words reaching an absolute stillness?? The claim by the author here is that ''they certainly cannot." Reaching utter absolute stillness, in either an infinitely hot zone or at absolute zero (something we know is not possible http://io9.com/5889074/why-cant-we-get-down-to-absolute-zero), without any change in temperature, increase or decrease in potentiality, no transferring, no motion, no movement, no pressure increase or decrease, etc. cannot be done. Even something as seemingly insignificant as change in potentiality, or pressure increase/release in any way, prior to the expansion of the singularity in the BB model, suggests that events were occurring. Absolute stillness and complete absence of events in moving particles, energy and matter, is not possible and there is no reason to believe it could ever be achieved.
Secondly, let us ask another question that I think everyone can easily comprehend. What change occurred, that made the singularity in the BB model go from its non-expanding state, to a state where it expanded? The atheist will undoubtably respond with, "Something cannot 'happen' or 'change' if there is no time." At which point we will happily say...EXACTLY....Only a free agent or personal mind can achieve this (we will get into that later)!! Time was existing prior to the expansion of the singularity or no change could have occurred, and the atheist has just supported this fact. So even if all there was space, and some infinitely dense singularity (which Hawking pleads), how did it go from its non-expanding state, to the point where it does expand?? Something had to change, as time is necessary for change to occur within space. That change, prior to the expansion, which resulted in the singularity doing what is proposed, shows us that events were occurring. Therefore this proves that not only did space exist prior to the expansion of the singularity (as we found in point #1), but also that the concept of time was in play because ''events'' were in fact occurring.
Thirdly, Roger Penrose from the University of Oxford, has published a new paper saying that the circular patterns seen in the WMAP mission data on the Cosmic Microwave Background suggest that space and time perhaps did not originate at the Big Bang. His paper also refutes the idea of inflation, a widely accepted theory of a period of very rapid expansion immediately following the Big Bang. Penrose says that inflation cannot account for the very low entropy state in which the universe was thought to have been created. He and his co-author (Gurdzadyan) do not believe that space and time came into existence at the moment of the Big Bang, but instead, that event was just one in a series of many. Penrose and Gurzadyan say they have identified regions in the microwave sky where there are concentric circles showing the radiation’s temperature is markedly smaller than elsewhere. These circles allow us to “see through” the Big Bang into the aeon that would have existed beforehand. these circles don’t jive with the idea of inflation, because inflation proposes that the distribution of temperature variations across the sky should be Gaussian, or random, rather than having discernable structures within it.
Also, California Institute of Technology professor Sean Carroll urged cosmologists to broaden their horizons: "We're trained to say there was no time before the Big Bang, when we should say that we don't know whether there was anything - or if there was, what it was." Carroll, along with Caltech professor Marc Kamionkowski and graduate student Adrienne Erickcek have created a mathematical model to explain an anomaly in the early universe, and it also may shed light on what existed before the Big Bang. “It’s no longer completely crazy to ask what happened before the Big Bang,” said Kamionkowski. The problem with inflation, however, is that it predicts the universe began uniformly. But measurements from Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) show that the fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) –the electromagnetic radiation that permeated the universe 400,000 years after the Big Bang — are about 10% stronger on one side of the sky than on the other.
Carroll urged cosmologists to broaden their horizons: "We're trained to say there was no time before the Big Bang, when we should say that we don't know whether there was anything - or if there was, what it was."
“This is an interesting time to be a cosmologist,” Carroll said. “We are both blessed and cursed. It’s a golden age, but the problem is that the model we have of the universe makes no sense.” “The WMAP snapshot of how the early universe looked shows it to be hot, dense and smooth [low entropy] over a wide region of space,” said Carroll. “We don’t understand why that is the case. That’s an even bigger surprise than the inventory problem. Our universe just doesn’t look natural.”Carroll said states of low-entropy are rare, plus of all the possible initial conditions that could have evolved into a universe like ours, the overwhelming majority have much higher entropy, not lower. But the single most surprising phenomenon about the universe, said Carroll, is that things change. And it all happens in a consistent direction from past to future, throughout the universe. “It’s called the arrow of time,” said Carroll. This arrow of time comes from the second law of thermodynamics, which invokes entropy. The law states that invariably, closed systems move from order to disorder over time. This law is fundamental to physics and astronomy. One of the big questions about the initial conditions of the universe is why did entropy start out so low? “And low entropy near the Big Bang is responsible for everything about the arrow of time” said Carroll. “Life and earth, memory, the flow of time.” Events happen in order and can’t be reversed.http://www.universetoday.com/22400/more-thoughts-and-now-math-on-what-came-before-the-big-bang/#ixzz2JImKvxgq
In regards to ''Space-time Curvature'' in a [[Gravitational singularity]], Wikipedia says, "there are freely-falling particles whose motion cannot be determined beyond a finite time, being after the point of reaching the singularity." Mr. Elliott points out that, "Even though the particles motion ''cannot be determined'', that doesn't mean that the motion of these particles cease to exist. If these particles have motion, which they do, then the concept of time is still in play even if we wouldn't be able to measure their length. It's simply special pleading, and a weak attempt at dismissing the concept of time to try and make your model fit a specific worldview." We also know that conscious observers need not be present for the concept of time to still be in play. If events are occurring in any manner at all, which they were, then you cannot claim the concept of time did not exist. This is proven by the tree falling in the forest when no one is around to witness it. Clearly time itself did no cease to exist simply because no one was in the forest watching the tree fall. The question really becomes, where did this proposed singularity come from?? Where did all the space and time come from that existed before the singularity expanded?? Did they come from pure nothingness on their own, or were they eternal in the past without beginning? Essentially bringing us back to the initial claim that atheists only have two options for the existence of the universe. '''STE''' and ''SCPN''.
Important to note - The space time which existed prior to the expansion of the singularity, ''was'' casually connected to the existence of our universe.
Also its important to note that indeterminancy is unclear at the quantum level. There is no evidence or reason to believe that causality breaks down.
Furthermore, If you construe of the causing of (E) as the actualizing of the potential for (E), and all things which contribute to the actualization of that potential as the causes of (E), then clearly there cannot be an (E) without something that contributes to the actualization of the potential for it. In order for a potential to be realized, there must first be a potential, and something other than the potential to actualize the potential. Beyond this, it seems logically impossible to conceive of things beginning to exist without it cause. After all, if there are no potentialities for something, isn't that just to say that it cannot begin to exist? And also, if there are potentialities for something, and it begins to exist, how could it be that the potentiality is not realized? If it is realized, then how are the things that contribute to its realization not its causes? In the case of quantum mechanics, there exists a potentiality for spontaneous quantum events grounded in the nature of physical space, energy, laws, and actualized by the passage of time. Spontaneous events, then, are far from uncaused!
For more information read here:: Virtual particles are particles described by quantum physics that exist for an extremely limited space and time. Specifically, less than one planck time. The term virtual should not suggest that these particles do not exist. They exist, and they have been measured -- or the effect they have on their environment has been. The very laws of physics prevent them from ever actually being directly seen or measured. Virtual particles do have mass, even when they are part of massless forms, such as photons. The vacuum of space (or, more correctly any "space") has an energy level. The Nothingness that physicist talk about is in fact something. This is why we have specifically used the term PURE NOTHINGNESS in our argument to refer to the concept of literal non being. Due to the uncertainty principle, virtual particles will always appear from the energy of a vacuum and always appear in pairs. These particles "borrow" energy from the vacuum and immediately collide and annihilate themselves, repaying the energy back into the vacuum so as not to violate the laws of thermodynamics. This process has implications for the development and eventual dissipation of black holes; when a virtual pair appears next to the event horizon of a black hole, one particle may fall in and if that happens the other will free itself. In order to maintain the first law of thermodynamics (energy cannot be created or destroyed) the black hole must then give up a little of its own energy to repay the lost energy - this is called "Hawking radiation."[[Some may say that infinite numbers can exist, so why cant infinite days?}]] - The answer is because there is a difference between an abstract infinite series and a concrete one. The one is purely theoretical, and the other is actual. Mathematically, we can conceive on an infinite number of days, but actually we could never count or live and infinite number of days. You can conceive of an infinite number of mathematical points between two bookends on a shelf, but you could not fit an infinite number of books between them. That's the difference between abstract and concrete. Numbers are abstract, days are concrete.
So why pick zero as the representation? Well, for two reasons really. First of all, everyone generally equates zero as being nothing or without any. The statement "I have zero money in my bank account" would clearly indicate to the average person that there was no money at all in the persons account. Secondly, zero is constant and unchanging the same way pure-nothingness is. Nothing begets more nothingness. Nothing breads more nothingness. From nothing nothing comes. This is exactly what one sees from the mathematical absolute zero plus zero. In such an equation one can never arrive at anything other than zero. It is unchanging. Zero plus zero never produces a positive, the same way pure nothingness can never produce anything other than literal non-being. Therefore we find this is the perfect analogy and reference to represent our concept of SPNC
Secondly, only a free agent can account for the origin of a temporal effect from a timeless cause. If the cause of the universe were an impersonal (UCNPC), mechanically operating cause, then the cause could never exist without its effect. For if the sufficient condition of the effect is given, then the effect must be given as well. The only way for the cause to be timeless, but for its effect to begin in time, is for the cause to be a PERSONAL agent who freely chooses to create an effect in time, without any antecedent determining conditions.
Another good way to ask the question is as follows…how else (other than how we have described) could a timeless cause give rise to a temporal effect like the universe? You see, if the cause were a non-personal set of necessary and sufficient conditions, then the cause could never exist without its effect? If the cause were permanently present, then the effect would be permanently present as well. Thirdly, since the UC is the uncaused first cause, he is self-directed and self-motivated, and acted volitionally…If the cause were not personal it would not be capable of self-directed, self-motivated, volitional action. Preventing it from being the first cause. Finally, The Elliott Argument requires God (the UC options), as the maximally great being, to be personal, not only because personhood is entailed by the properties that make up maximal excellence such as omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection, but also because being personal is itself a great-making property, which a maximally great being cannot lack.
Something like energy on the other hand, is by definition NOT an abstract object/idea or concept. Rather it is a real tangible/concrete item which does in fact possess casual powers.
So what does all this mean? It means a few things. First of all abstract objects cannot create anything!! Meaning an abstract object or object(s), cannot be responsible for the existence of our physical universe. Plain and simple!! It also means when someone claims "energy" is an abstract object and draws an equation such as 0(energy) + (energy) = 0 (and claims the "zeros" are abstract ideas) they have essentially contradicted themselves. How?? Well first of all one must remember that all numbers are abstract objects. No just zeros. Secondly, energy by definition NOT and abstract object. So you cannot put the two together in this way without changing definitions and or facing the fallacy of equivocation.
Either you have zeros (which are abstract), OR, you have energy which is not abstract. If you want to put the two together and claim they are together (as a whole) abstract, then you fail. The only way you could be successful is to use the regular definitions. Which is that energy is not an abstract idea or object, but a regular tangible/concrete thing. In fact it is true that all the known positive and negative energy in the universe balances its self out and does equals zero.
Also an equation like the one presented fails for other obvious reason. This being that energy is not pure nothingness or literal non being. Therefore, this equation would not be a valid representation of SCPN, even if the claim is made that the energy was an abstract concept or idea. By definition even an idea or concept is in fact something.
The equation also fails because if someone claims the zero energy in the equation is an abstract concept/object or idea, then they have essentially defeated themselves because we know abstract objects have no casual powers and cannot create anything.
And finally we see that an equation such as [[0(energy) + 0(energy) = 0]] actually proves nothing, but actually makes a logically incoherant claim...Energy + Energy = Literal non-being...(The sum at the end of the equation is Zero, and the claimant must remember zeros in a pure nothingness hypothesis represent literal non being!!) But we know energy cannot be created or destroyed thanks to the first law of thermodynamics. So assuming you add two energies together and achieve literal non-being is nonsensical and irrational at best. However, if the person sticks to their claims that the energy is just an abstract concept or idea, then what have they proven? Nothing. They have shown with there equation that when you add two abstract ideas/concepts together that the outcome is pure nothingness. Therefore such an equation is shot down and sent to rest.
[[The Timelessness of the UC option]] - If you go back beyond the beginning of time itself, there is simply eternity. By that, I mean eternity in the sense of timelessness. God, the eternal, is timeless in his being. God did not endure through an infinite amount of time up to the moment of creation; that would be absurd. God transcends time. He’s beyond time. Once God creates the universe, he can enter into time, but that’s a different topic altogether.
God, existing changelessly, alone without the universe, is timeless. Time comes into existence at creation and so has a beginning and is finite in the past. God, in virtue of his real relation to the temporal world, becomes temporal at the moment of creation. So God exists timelessly without creation and temporally since the moment of creation. For example, a man sitting from eternity could will to stand up; thus, a temporal effect arises from an eternally existing agent. Similarly, a finite time ago a Creator endowed with free will could have willed to bring the world into being at that moment. In this way, God could exist changelessly and eternally but choose to create the world in time. By “choose” one need not mean that the Creator changes His mind but the He freely and eternally intends to create a world with a beginning.
1) There is no moment prior to creation. Rather time begins at creation. This is the classical Christian view, as defended, for example, by Augustine. On this view, it is logically incoherent to ask, “What was God doing prior to creation?” because “prior to creation” implies a moment before creation, which the view denies. So the question is asking, “What happened at a moment of time before the first moment of time?”, which makes no sense. It’s like asking, “What is the name of that bachelor’s wife?” Now some theists have disagreed with the classical view. Isaac Newton, the founder of modern physics, for example, believed that time is infinite in the past and never had a beginning. For Newton absolute time just is God’s duration. Because God has always existed, time goes back and back and never had a beginning. So on Newton’s view, it makes perfect sense to ask, “What was God doing prior to creation?” In fact, the philosopher G. W. Leibniz, who held to the Augustinian view, tormented Newton’s follower Samuel Clarke in their celebrated correspondence with the question, “Why (on Newton’s view) didn’t God create the world sooner?” This question is very difficult to answer from a Newtonian point of view (see my discussion in Time and Eternity [Crossway, 2001]). Whichever view you take, I think you can see that there’s a huge difference between holding that God exists timelessly without creation and holding that He has endured through an infinite past time prior to the moment of creation.
2) Yes, speaking of a moment “before” the moment of creation does imply time before time, which is incoherent on the Augustinian view I defend. But notice that I don’t use that word in your quotation from my interview with Lee. In my early work, I thought people would understand, once I explained my view, that the expression “before creation” is just a harmless façon de parler (manner of speaking), not to be taken literally. But in light of the confusion engendered by the phrase, I have since been very careful to avoid it, speaking rather of God’s existing without (or sans) creation or existing beyond, though not before, the Big Bang. One nice way of expressing God’s priority to creation is to say that God is causally but not temporally prior to the beginning of the universe.
3) My thought experiment (about the man sitting in the chair) is meant to illustrate a point about freedom of the will. A person can exist changelessly and then freely execute a certain intention because free will doesn’t require any antecedent determining conditions. The very nature of free will is the absence of causal determinants. So a free choice has the appearance of a purely spontaneous event. The man can simply freely will to stand up. Thus, you can get a temporal effect from a changeless cause, if that cause is a free agent. Now in God’s case, God exists changelessly without the universe. Creation is a freely willed act of God that, when it occurs, brings time into being along with the universe. Thus, to say that “a finite time ago a Creator endowed with free will could have willed to bring the world into being at that moment” does not imply that there was time prior to that moment.
4) What timelessness entails is that one doesn’t do anything different, that is, that one does not change. Timelessness implies an unchanging state of being. Now some activities don’t require change and time. For example, knowing something doesn’t require change or time. God can know all truths in that timeless state without any change. Similarly, one can have unchanging intentions. So long as one’s intentions don’t change they can be timelessly held. That’s why I said that God can exist without the universe with a timeless intention to create a world with a beginning. One can love someone else without change. Here we have insight into the nature of the love relationship between the three persons of the Trinity in that timeless state without creation. There exists a perfect, changeless state of mutual of knowledge, will, and love between the persons of the Trinity without the creation. (The wonder of creation is that God would bother to create a world of creatures and invite them to freely enter the joy of that fellowship as adopted children!)
5) Yes, by “choose” I mean that God has a free intention of His will. Its timelessness does not negate that this is, indeed, a choice. For one can conceive of possible worlds in which God has a quite different intention, namely, to refrain from creating a world at all. Initially, I thought that this was all that was needed to explain the origin of the world; but reflecting on agent causation leads me to think that in addition to that timeless intention there must also be an exercise of causal power on God’s part. That act is simultaneous with the moment of creation - indeed, it just is the act of creating - and brings God into time. If you ask, “But why didn’t God execute His intention sooner?”, you’ve fallen back into the Newtonian view of thinking of God as existing temporally prior to creation. On the Augustinian view, the question is unintelligible.
So if God is timeless, he is also unchanging, but it does not follow that he cannot change. I’d say that He can change and if He were to do so, He would cease to be timeless. And that’s exactly what I think He did. Whether God is timeless or temporal is a contingent property of God, dependent upon His will. What is impossible is changing while remaining timeless. But it seems to me that a timeless being can change and thereby cease to be timeless. (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/god-and-timelessness#ixzz2CEarjqjd
This is to say that God is timeless and has a timeless intention to create. When his will, and timeless intention to create is realized, he is no longer unchanging. Therefore at that very moment when this intention manifested is when time essentially begins.
Brian Leftow argues that a temporal God could not be the creator of time and that therefore God should be conceived as timeless. Leftow's first argument, that there is no time at which a temporal God could act to create time fails because God could act at any time t to create t or, alternatively, could act at t in such a way as to be responsible for time existing prior to t. Leftow's second argument, that a temporal God could not have decided at any time t whether time should have a beginning or not fails because Leftow erroneously presupposes that in order for God to be responsible for time's topological properties, there must have been a time at which He made such a decision
Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/timelessness-and-creation#ixzz2CEdIkIcm