Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Thursday, March 26, 2009

How does God sustain the universe?

The Bible says that God sustains our world intimately:

Colossians 1:16-17 "For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

Acts 17:28: "'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'"

What is a good way of thinking about this? (picture below, click to enlarge)

I think a good way of visualising God sustaining the universe is this: imagine a circle with a dot in the middle. Now imagine lots of lines going out from the middle of the circle to every point of the circle. You'll need an infinite number of lines to make a connection to *every* point of the circle, or when you zoom in enough (eventually) there will be gaps. So you need an infinite number of lines to make a 'fully connected circle'. Now, take one line out of this infinite number of lines and extend it out from the circle, and you have what you could call a single 'finity' out of an infinity. This is like finite existence out of the infinity that is God.

So God is literally everywhere, and sustains everything, because that 'finity' (that line in the circle) is sustained by living inside the whole circle. In a similar way, between my two hands there is an infinity of possible points, between New York and Los Angeles there is an infinity of possible points, between everything there is an infinity. Between 1 and 2 there is an infinity from 1.000...1 to 1.999...9. Infinity is literally everywhere. This is God being the infinite 'glue' that holds all of creation together, this finite existence being dependent upon His infinite existence. So God holds our world, the universe, everything together as a single finity out of His infinite being.

This is the most dependent relationship, of the universe on God, that you could ever imagine. It includes and goes far beyond God merely holding all the atoms together; He 'glues' (or holds) finite existence itself together.

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