(Not going to lie, it took me three tries to type out that subject. You might really be in for it this time).
In our last post, I compared God to a common author, and applied the analogy to the classic riddle, “Can God make a rock so big He can’t lift it?” This, of course, is a challenge to the coherence of a property like “omnipotence” (being all-powerful).
William Lane Craig gives us more to think about, however, than omnipotence alone. If the KCA is successful, it also gives us a God who transcends space, time, matter, and energy. Furthermore, God is the “First Cause” of the Universe, the one who brought it into being.
How does this comport with our analogy? ”Nicely,” it would seem.
Who or what else, for example, can be said to bring a story into existence except its author? The story does not write itself…
We quickly run into a kind of obstacle, perhaps only a matter of scope. In our world, it is obvious that any given author is not THE first cause, but has a prior cause (the author’s parents, for a start). So, for the purposes of our analogy, we are speaking of the author and her story as a kind of closed system. In the closed system, the author simply exists. Then, she begins a story, and she is indisputably the first and only cause of that story.
So the author speaks (or writes), and with mere words, a new world comes to exist.
And she may write of men and women, for example, animals of all kinds, trees and rivers and mountains. Her story may follow the passage of a few moments, or days, years, even eons. It may take place within a single building, or span continents, planets, galaxies – even other dimensions. The driving forces of her story may be merely physical (the classic “man vs. nature” kind of story), or else she may tell of great movements in human civilization, or hitherto impossible technologies, and have in motion all manner of interests and objects.
That is, she speaks into existence the kinds of matter, time, space, and energy she wishes. (And she might create other realms as well).
Does she not, then, transcend all of this?
To borrow some biblical ideas – are not 1,000 days like a single day for her, and a single day like 1,000? Can’t Chapter 1 take place over the course of a single minute, and Chapter 2 the course of a century?
Hasn’t she called the sun into existence and commanded it to shine? Whatever animals exist – hasn’t she also called them all up? And the characters – hasn’t she fashioned them herself and, we might say, in her own image? (Can an author ever create a character she cannot, in some part, relate to? A good psychologist might have something say about this).
Is it any actual effort at all for her to be present at all places of her story at once? (She does not even need to multi-task – after all, the story goes nowhere without her, and by necessity must wait until she attends to it).
This is enough to set the mind reeling, and perhaps your mind is doing better than mine in seeing the potential usefulness of the analogy. But come humor me and my tortoise’s pace. You may have noticed, for example, that I give a few examples of omnipotence, which we have already introduced as an attribute of God, and here at the end I switched to the attribute of omnipresence (being present everywhere).
The KCA does give us the impetus to think of God as transcending – rising above or going beyond the limits of, says Webster – the Universe. This would seem to get us started on omnipresence; we’ll consider it at greater length in the next post.