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Carlos Marquez

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How can God exist beyond space and time?

I'm trying to make sense of this "existence" outside space and time. How can something , anything exist yet not exist in space-time? Something completely disconnected from length, width, height, or point in time....
Is this a "truth" that is beyond human comprehension? For maybe this may be one the "truths" that escapes the human intellect. However there are also non-sense statements that require filtering, I believe that existence beyond space and time is one statement that requires filtering.
Does God pops in and out of existence along with virtual particles? Or is God tightly curled up( about a Planck length?) in one or more dimensions of a Calabi-Yau manifold? Or is this existence as useful as the Cosmic Peanut Butter Theory?
Asking if it's possible means nothing, however. The question to ask is, what makes anyone say this? What is the evidence for such assertions? Show me how does anyone got to this statement.
Please as you deploy your arguments don't conflate suppositions with explanations, for these are not interchangeable. Just because it can be imagined, does not make it valid, or even explanatory.
And no scripture as proof.("Behold, heaven and the highest heavens cannot contain Thee... (1 Kings 8:27)) etc, Please and thank you.
Keep the mental contortions civil & courteous, even artful which is always cool. Let's learn from each other!

"You're everywhere and no where, baby
That's where you're at"
Hi Ho Silver Lining


Closing Statement from Carlos Marquez

The operational word in my question was "how" could god or anything exists beyond space and time?, And the core answer after the often heated exchanges is that some folks believe such a fantastic particular possible yet unable to render a demonstrable explanation -why?- because it is impossible.
The incredible thing is that folks believe dogmas as such without questioning. Is similar to lets say slavery or interracial marriage or the prohibition, many in power used (still do ) the Bible to back up such views and today-thanks in a big part by Secular Humanism- are not active policies in our country. Many a Christian believed that all above mentioned stances were correct just as god exist beyond space and time.

I think that as a whole mankind is evolving away from dogmas into new horizons, faith based or divinely revealed knowledge will take a backseat to reason based knowledge. And for that process there is a demonstrable "How".

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  • Jul 28 2013: Carlos,
    Im going to give you the benefit of the doubt. As I read your initial question (I.e. "how can God exist beyond time and space"), as well in reading many of the posts below, I think a discussion of this nature needs some further clarity and guidelines (mutually agreeable of course) before proceeding in any depth.
    1.) definition of terms. "God", "time"' and "space" are rather large concepts, which can be defined by various individuals (based on their own experience and ability) in various different ways. In reading many of the posts below it appears this may be a source of some misunderstanding. I would suggest use of mutually agreeable definitional terms.
    2.). The question of plausibility. What is plausible? I would suggest coming to some mutually agreeable terms of what is plausible.
    3.) methods of knowledge. What are the various ways in which we might "know" the existence of something.
    4.)acceptable proof/evidence for existence. What is acceptable proof? I would suggest coming to some mutually agreeable terms for what constitutes acceptable proof of existence.
    5.) Finally a discussion of "how God can exist beyond space and time".

    A wise man once said, "I prefer clarity to agreement", and i tend to believe that. In any discussion I prefer just that. I'm not trying to argue you over to my position, just trying to find clarity. Along the way we might find we disagree, but at least we will be clear on what it is that we disagree on. We will see how far we get. Sound fair?
    Best regards,
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      Jul 28 2013: Steve,
      A very refreshing approach-Thanks!-

      Before we begin this collaboration that if I write anything that you find offensive to please let me know. This is a quest and is the journey that I enjoy.

      Defining God: If I told you"the world is round" or "water is made up of f hydrogen and oxygen" I think that you would agree that those are well supported claims or "Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the USA"
      -you get the point-.
      Still other claims have no supporting evidence like "gremlins are green" ( I mean no offense) "Pegasus had wings" In those cases in which the evidence is truly inconclusive, one may legitimately say with regard to a claim, "I don't know whether it's true." every claim must have some evidence in its favor otherwise I think is arbitrary.
      To the statement: "Divine being X exist in an inaccessible realm of reality" is either unknowable or impossible. Logic can refute impossible beings, but logic can't show that POSSIBLE beings exist without evidence.

      This is perhaps the first block to tackle- help me out here Steve.

      Thank you!
      • Jul 29 2013: Carlos,
        Stay with me here, we will get there, but in proper time. Your asking for evidence (item 4) before we have even defined mutually agreeable terms. Common sense and scientific method tell us that all we need to start this journey is : an interest/willingness (basis for inquiry), the formulation of a question, and a hypothesis (conjecture based on knowledge obtained while formulating the question). You've created this TED forum and formulated the question: "how can God exist beyond time and space". I assume that based on this you have some level of interest in the concepts God, space, and time...enough at least to warrant you to have started this TED conversation and pose the question eliciting responses from others.
        Many millions of people worldwide currently claim to have knowledge of God, time, and space. This is the subject/basis of our inquiry. Our only requirement initially is to define terms in a manner consistent with, and inclusive of these purported beliefs. The terms will be working terms which can be revised later, until mutually confirmed and agreed upon.
        I will start. I suggest a working definition of God to be: the original and creative force of life. Again, this is not asserted as fact, but simply a mutually agreeable working definition to which we can verify/assess plausibility, knowledge, proof (i.e. evidence), etc., later. I believe this definition would be consistent with and inclusive of most beliefs espoused by various current religions. Would you agree?
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          Jul 29 2013: Steve,
          I appreciate your willingness & patience to navigate this issue with me-I'ts Monday(busy) so pardon the late reply-.
          Now I agree that we should make "distinctions" so we can build a common language in order to build meaning, I also think that the 6 or so days left on this thread may not be enough time to work on the issue.
          On the Deity issue if we were to assume a definition that we know is not asserted as fact we start on shaky ground, can I please counteroffer to you to start first with what is known (time, space for example) to gain traction then move from there to more metaphysical terrain. That way we start with known knows(the things that we know), then to the known unknowns(things that we know we don't know or think we know). Like putting the horse in front of the carriage rather than the opposite. What say you?

          It's OK if this process of building a common language takes time-it should- Even if it takes another thread.

          Thank you,

          Back to work-me
      • Jul 29 2013: Carlos,
        This might indeed take some time. Please understand that a "definition" is nothing more than a common/shared understanding. Its meaning is purely conventional and may or may not have a basis as fact. What determines its basis in fact is the application of some standard for plausibility, knowledge (I.e what can be known), and evidence and proof.
        That having been said, I understand your uneasiness and hesitation in starting with the God concept first. If you would prefer we can first define "time" and/or "space". So that we might truly gain some traction in our discussion, I will defer to you. Please feel free to suggest a working definition for "time" and/or "space".
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          Jul 30 2013: Steve,
          To make it a bit more entertaining please watch( to me is a hard concept to explain without graphics aids and math): Spacetime and the twin Paradox


          Lenght contraction & Spacetime:


          Simultaneity and time Dilation:


          Spacetime(University of Pittsburgh)


          So space and time, as physical constructs, have to be combined into a mathematical/physical entity called 'space-time', because the equations of relativity show that both the space and time coordinates of any event must get mixed together by the mathematics, in order to accurately describe what we see. Because space consists of 3 dimensions, and time is 1-dimensional, space-time must, therefore, be a 4-dimensional object. It is believed to be a 'continuum' because so far as we know, there are no missing points in space or instants in time, and both can be subdivided without any apparent limit in size or duration.
          In Physics we routinely consider our world to be embedded in this 4-dimensional Space-Time continuum, and all events, places, moments in history, actions and so on are described in terms of their location in Space-Time.

          Surprisingly the math involved is not really hard-compared to other Physics-.

          Please do watch & read the info (I enjoy the animations!) and I hope that the spacetime explanations is satisfactory to you.

          Thanks Steve.
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        Jul 30 2013: its probably more of a squashed sphere than round like a circle
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          Jul 30 2013: Some,
          See above for quantum fluctuations,

          Hawkins: Imaginary time: Although not a string-theory idea, it remains a viable option even within string theory since physicists have no evidence that any of the extra dimensions of the universe is not a time dimension instead of a spatial one.
          Also Some Guy, notice that in imaginary time calculations are completed they are converted back to"real time" (by using Wick Rotation) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wick_rotation
          When the paths are "summed over" the classical path comes out as most probable. So imaginary Time is just a mathematical trick to make an approach(sum over histories) to Quantum Mechanics Mathematically tractable via a Wick rotation.
          As we scale down to the elementary particles -the realm of QM- things get really spooky, but for the effects of the ordinary speeds and the ordinary world we live in - I - would like to stay with classical spacetime to develop meaning and a common vocabulary and wherever it takes us.

      • Jul 31 2013: Carlos,
        I appreciate the links with regards to spacetime. I'm familiar with the concept. Your original question (I.e. "how can God exist beyond space and time") deals with the concepts as separate entities (I.e space and time, not spacetime), as such I would suggest defining the terms separately and independently if one another. Secondly, you state that space and time are "physical constructs", but I'm not sure I agree. How does "time" (proper) have physicality? I would argue that "time" has no physical substance, but is simply a relational quality. The physical and mathematical qualifiers are not necessary. I would suggest definitions that can be more universally applied without qualification. As an example, "time" could be defined as an interval between two points on a conitinuum, a duration.

        Kind regards,
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          Jul 31 2013: Steve,
          My original question is prisoner of language, That is I posited it as commonly used in theist vernacular.
          It seems to me that time exists as much as your "center of gravity" exists. Meaning, it doesn't really exist in any physical sense since it is an abstraction over our usual language of normal three-dimension existence. That said, it still "exists" in a different but congruent sense within a larger abstract framework. Time is something of a relational entity, in that it describes a relation between two moments (object-states) relative to some standard unit.
          At times I grab concepts like spacetime and lace them up as you say "physical constructs" Thanks for keeping me honest.
          Is it agreeable to you if we establish that an event must occur in space at a determined time tied up to a frame of reference?

          PS I don't think this is going to be a 4 day endeavor, may I suggest we build another thread to keep this alive?

          Be well,
      • Jul 31 2013: Carlos,
        Indeed, we are all "prisoners of language". I think that is an important sentiment in a discussion such as this. We all (religion and science) should be aware of and respect our limitations, and language certainly is one limitation. For the sake if our discussion, I'm agreeable to the premise "that an event must occur in space (not yet defined) at a determined time (not yet defined) tied up to a frame of reference". Note that in attempting to define "space" and "time", we have used the words "space" and "time", which seems to me circular. More than a definition, we have created a premise. We have not defined the actual content of either "time" or "space".
        I hope you will be as generous as we attempt to create a working definition/premise for the term "God".

        This may well be more than a 4 day endeavor, but I think it worthwhile. I've got nothing but " time".

        Best regards,
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          Aug 1 2013: Steve,

          Let me shoot some arrows your way...

          So that we don't get "circular"
          Space: Three-dimensional extent in which objects and events have relative position and direction.

          Time: A dimension(math. as a way to plot in a graph) in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future, also the measure of duration of events and the intervals between them.

          See what you think.

          Be well.
      • Aug 2 2013: Carlos,
        My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. It's been rather busy as of late. With regards to the definition of "space", what is an "extent"?

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          Aug 2 2013: Steve,
          The degree( scope - range - size -) to which something has spread- extent- I'm rather busy as well, so it surely looks as this needs an extension of time ( well defined or otherwise!) so we are both in agreement. What I'm getting from this small process that you and I are engaged in is that is not as easy as it may seem at prima fascia and I bet the source of many a misunderstanding between theist & atheists is the simple "failure to communicate". I understand you don't want to use classic relativistic spacetime for this conversation? is that correct? Thanks.

      • Aug 3 2013: Carlos,
        You will recall in my original post to this thread a quote that read, "what I prefer is clarity to agreement". I think if more people had that approach, regardless of the topic, you might find that most discussions which might at their outset appear to be fundamental disagreements are more often times than not, more simply a series of "failures to communicate". There are other times when when our ability to communicate is hampered by the limits of language and word choice.
        With regards to your question, I'm not opposed to use of any definitional terms (classical spacetime, or otherwise). I do believe it is important in definitional terms to separate what we know, from what we posit, from what we do not know. What I am suggesting is that the "classical" definitions used by physics to define "spacetime" lack in some key ways ( I mean no disrespect). We posit that our perception of spacetime has a "dimensional" quality to it, and we go to great length to document its relational qualities to our own senses, but we still don't ever define its content. In a material senses ( I believe you suggested you are a materialist), what is the material content of "space"or "time"?
        Once a premise is established (I.e. the concept of "spacetime" or "God") everything that flows after it can appear quite rational and logical, it even provides great meaning to many in providing a shared context in which to describe the events they see and experience all around them. Ask someone to describe the material content on which the premise is built and the true and difficult work begins.
        For the sake of our discussion, I'm ok with the definitional premise if you are. Provided we are both clear on what is known and what is posited.
        Best regards,
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          Aug 4 2013: Steve,
          OK , so that we have operational definitions to work with , and since you are OK with spacetime, I'll say let's start with that definition with the caveat that if we both see that as we traverse this waters it needs revision so it better explains any other concept then we should get the wrench out. What's in the fabric of spacetime? Let's think of it as a geometrical construct (H,W,L + T). Space and time are not tangible 'things' in the same way that water and air are, or a medium like aether ,spacetime has a structural quality of the gravitational field. For example: We assume that light has constant velocity in vacuo, more precisely it is invariant between inertial frames, and follows the shortest distance between two points. We also know that gravity causes things to accelerate in it's presence. So what happens when light passes through a gravitational field? ---Light changes direction--- the speed is scalar so does not change, but change direction you change velocity(vector) (To accelerate an object is to change its velocity, which is accomplished by altering either its speed or direction and it accelerates). And that means light follows a curved path in the presence of gravity. What we are seeing is light following the shortest path( to us is a curve in 3D), The path it follows is spacetime. It is purely a geometric construct.

          Did that make sense?

          Be Well,

          PS My apologies for not being prompt we had a full house here today.
      • Aug 5 2013: Carlos,
        My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. Ive been quite busy as of late. Please let me know if you choose to continue the conversation. I still hold out hope for our little endeavor.

        Best regards,
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        Jul 29 2013: Ziggy P,

        Please do join,see my comment to Steve L and give me your thoughts.

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        Jul 30 2013: ziggy it would be helpful if you defined universe.

        what elements are outside the universe?

        3 first the net energy of the universe is zero. second universe creation capability does not mean all powerful. it just means simething is capable of creatung this universe, not every imaginable universe.

        4 are you saying the energy in the ubiverse has always existed. no need for a god then. also does this mean energy is part of the universe that you say had a beginning.

        how do you know it comes from the same source and wilk return?

        5. just an argument from ignorance

        it might also help if you define your concept of god.

        no evidence for god in your arguments so far.
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      Jul 30 2013: good call asking for definitions.

      good luck on the god definition. there have been long ted conversations on this and lttle agreement.

      also most can not be verified or use the word for things or concepts that exist e.g god is the universe. god is love. god is what we can not explain. god is a feeling.

      god concepts are a confusing jumble many of which contradict each other.

      so many must be false.

      most of the rest can not be tested. others, well call it what it is, why personify ilove or the universe.

      lots of cultural memes and pschologgy going on here.
    • Jul 31 2013: Steve, It's too bad this thread has been so lost and derailed. I thought I was actually going to learn something. I think you had a great plan that could have brought this discussion somewhere. If you ever decide to take it up in another forum, let me know. I think you could teach me a lot.
      Best regards

      PS I too appreciate that "wise man". :-)

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