The Idea of Existence (last update to this study was made on 01/15/2004)
Where did everything come from and does it exist? This is not a case or argument for the existence of God. There is plenty of good material on that subject and besides, the fool says there is NO GOD.
We read in Genesis 1:1 that in the beginning God created. We must establish that God is the creator and we are the create. That gives God a higher standing than the creature. A dependency of one towards another. Our being is not independent and self existent. A creaturely being is created, dependent and derived by definition. We are beings. Some would say that we are beings of the type - human or human beings. Others my prefer to say we are spiritual beings having an earthly experience. I have no problem with either of these two and have used both, yet the point I must make here is that God is the SUPREME BEING.
As his creation, we have our source of life in God. In him we live, move and have our being. If we miss this point on creation, our Christian theology falls apart. It will come down like a row of dominoes or perhaps even as fast as a house of cards! Now this very idea separates us from atheism (those who do not believe in God). This idea departs from the system of though or philosophy that is so dominant in our day – which is secularism. What is secularism? basically it is a system of thought that believes that everything is measured and has its values set in accordance with our day and time rather than in view of eternity. Now we find that secularism (some) will agree that the universe has a beginning or was created, yet they think it began as result of a gigantic explosion into BEING.
However there is a fundamental flaw in that thinking. It is simple to see. If it exploded into BEING, what did it explode out of? What was there for it to come out of? Was it nothing? Well if you break that word down, it is NO THING. Nothing can not exist, else it would be something!!!
So, everything that is or was created had a beginning. The universe had a beginning! In looking at Genesis 1:1, we find that there is beginning, a God and a creation. Even logic would tell us that if there is a beginning, there must be someone or something responsible for it and something had to be created as a result.
This leads to a few common objections that I want to address in this teaching. Do things EXISTS and if so, how? Basically, this can only be looked at in a few ways. They are:
1). Things do not exist, it is an illusion or imagination
2). Things do exist, but they were self-created
3). Things do exist and whatever does exist is uncreated
4). Things do exist and God is Creator
THINGS DO NOT EXIST, IT IS AN ILLUSION OR IMAGINATION
First, let's look at the idea that things do not exist, it is an illusion or imagination. Of course, the obvious problem with this is that something has to BE for it to be an illusion and if something has the state of being, then it exists.
Many of the thoughts on this first common objection had been shared with me by J Preston Eby.
Some would say that things are an illusion and a world of appearances. They would deny the existence of matter and suggest that all is thought or even spirit, that matter is an illusion and that everything is in the mind and the only thing God created is mind (or even spirit). They would say that everything is in the mind and the only thing God created is mind. They would have us believe that in our mind we have perverted things and see a universe of tangible things that do not exist. They would explain that the fall of man was a fall into a lower consciousness of distorted image, a distorted mind. It would be explained that it is like a dream, as if we saw unreality as reality. It would be as in a dream when we are falling off a building and it is real -- until we wake up and find the whole thing was a dream, an illusion, a world of appearance that does not exist. They would say that once we discover that the only thing that exists is divine mind (some would say spirit), then our own spirit can rise above this whole realm and linve in purity, in divine life, in God, as God.
Now WE SAY, that the problem with this type of thinking is that it does exist. For out of him are all things. It came out of him. In him all things were created and by Him. So we would say, how can anything that came out of God not exist? How can anything that had its origin in God be merely an illusion an not exist? The proof that it exists can be illustrated with a small child. When that child is born, it is not conditioned that fire burns. Yet, you take red-hot poker and put it near a child, see how he or see reacts! The child would obviously feel pain. Yet if it were all in the mind and an illusion, innocence should overcome it. The poker is not real, there is no matter, it doesn't exist! Right? Wrong!
Take a picture of a house. The picture is real, it even exists. But it is not the real thing. You can't move into it. There is a principle that every physical thing is a picture of reality. For example, the food we eat is obviously required for our bodies, yet it is not "real" food. Jesus said that I AM the bread that came from heaven. Though the food on your kitchen table may not be real, it still exists! Just like the picture of the house, it exists but it is not real.
For those believing that things do not exist, some have taken to the idea of Mistaken Identity. Now, we would say there is a true teaching in Mistaken Identity and there are teachings that are far fetched. They would say that Adam was a son of God and was a manifestation of God himself, yet through the experience of the serpent, Adam became convinced that he was something other or less than what he really was! They would say that mankind is now walking in that same illusion or mistaken identity; that they are convinced they are fallen, sinful, (some go as far as matter, physical, dying).... it is all an illusion. They would say that all mankind needs to do is to be delivered to their true identity which THEY NEVER LOST. There was no fall, it was all a dream, a lie, a figment of our imagination. The fall is only in the mind. Jesus was the first to discover his true identity and to break through this outer illusion. He pointed the way and we can do it too. We really are who He is and can overcome this world of appearance and the imagination of our mind. Some even has far as teaching "inherent divinity", that every man is really God. I wouldn't be surprise if they would say -- just like the founder of Christian Science - Mary Baker Eddy, she didn't really die, she just thinks she did!!!
Now WE SAY that we agree that we are the sons of God. However, we actually fell into a state of death, it was not merely an illusion. We were LOST because by NATURE we were the children of wrath. We were dead in trespasses and sins. You who WERE DEAD hath He quickened and made alive. We find that sound doctrine understands the principles of resurrection and quickening. It is not just a quickening in our mind or understanding to know who we really are. That gets into the area of anything is true. Yet, inspiration tells us that we were bought with a price, that He redeemed us by the precious blood of His lamb. We have been washed and cleansed, it is an action of his blood, his divine life, an action of his Spirit upon our spirit, his life upon our life. This was given on our behalf, an atonement, redemption by his blood.
To say what they say is falling short of the truth and cheapens the work of Christ and what he actually did for us. He gave his life, his essence and being and only in union with him can we have his identity.
They say we were never really lost, really never separated, really not sinful or fallen, really are God, we just need to tell everyone to wake up out of their dream and realize who they really are! They say that Adam imagined himself an entity separate from God and that imagination or illusion was his fall. We say, it is a divine initiative for no man comes to the Jesus, unless God draws them. We say that the Spirit of God must quicken a person and make them alive. We say there is a union of spirit for he that he joined to the Lord is one Spirit. It was a divine act of making us alive, changing our spirit to be one with His Spirit and illuminating our mind.
This first view is clearly flawed and contradicts the inspired word of God.
Now let us look at the second common objection.
THINGS DO EXIST, BUT THEY WERE SELF-CREATED
Does this mean something creates itself? Now think for just one minute about it. Use God as an example. Where did God come from? Did He create himself? To do that, He would already BE before He BECAME. Let’s use another example. Call it the universe, or even “IT”. IT would have to already BE in order to create itself. That is a contradiction. It doesn't’t make sense. For something to create itself, it would have to BE to create itself. It would have to be before it is. It is impossible to be and not be in the same relationship. Self Creation cannot mean a creation of and by itself. Therefore, SELF CREATION can only mean creation out of NOTHING and we know that nothing is NO ---- THING! Yet, we must not forget the principle or axiom that “out of nothing (NO THING) comes nothing”.
Do you remember hearing in school about spontaneous generation? It was basically that which “was not” suddenly comes into existence without any influence of any kind, source or Creator and especially not God! Then some modified their position to "gradual" spontaneous generation which is basically you can’t get something from nothing quickly! It can only be gradually. The problem we still have with any spontaneous generation scheme, whether is quick or gradual, requires some form of self creation!!!!! Some have countered and concluded that the Universe came into being by chance? The problem with that is that CHANCE deals with mathematical probabilities and is really has no ability to exercise any influence, any force or anything at all on the outcome of something because chance is NOTHING. It is powerless. It does not exist in itself. It describes possibilities. That is why we do not serve a God of first chances, second chances or chances at all.
This second view is clearly flawed and contradicts the inspired word of God.
Now let us look at the third common objection.
THINGS DO EXIST AND WHATEVER DOES EXIST IS UNCREATED
Another view is THINGS DO EXIST and whatever does exist was UNCREATED and therefore on its own power (SELF EXISTENT). I will go on record to state that I believe in the pre-existence of Spirit. In other words, I do not believe my beginning started in my mother’s womb at the time of conception. However I do believe I had a beginning, I had a time of creation. I am a created being. In fact, you can check this same site under short studies and view the study on pre-existence. The one nice thing about this view is that at least some are thinking in terms of self existence and eternity. The problem is that they think it is the universe or some eternal energy that is behind everything. They seem to look within the structure of the universe as its own reality. Some try to do the same in Christian circles, looking to MAN as the source of all BEING.
The problem with this view is that it fails to see what we call a transcendent BEING vs Immanent BEING (e.g., the later is His closeness and His ability to interact and relate to US). Often people think of transcendent in spatial terms (e.g., above and beyond). But with respect to the transcendence of God, we are not speaking geographically but rather the study of His BEING. His BEING is a higher order, level of being to his creation and that is found in HIS self-existence. He is a self existent eternal BEING.
This view is also a far stretch and fails to see God as the Creator.
The only valid conclusion to any reasonable thinking person is that things do exist and God is Creator!