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Now that I've gotten your attention, yes I know God is by definition Uncaused, The First, the Last, etc... However, I would like to know if there are any suggested explanations for how God is Uncaused and Infinite, or if a 5 year old were to word it- "Who created God?". I'm only aware of one explanation.

We know a common argument for the existence of God is one that argues for a cause or explanation for the existence of the universe (cosmological arg.). Put rather simply, it looks something like this:

(1) Everything that exists has a cause of its existence.

(2) The universe exists.

Therefore:

(3) The universe has a cause of its existence.

(4) If the universe has a cause of its existence, then that cause is God.

Therefore:

(5) God exists.

The common rebuttal to this is #1 must also apply to God- why make an exception for Him when we can just make a similar exception for the universe, and thus eliminate the need for a Creator? Although there are various answers to that question, the answer to the bolded question is part of the answer. Any explanations any of you have come across by Muslim or other scholars would be great. Please cite a reference only if it's handy.

I SHOULD PREFACE THIS THREAD BY SAYING I AM LOOKING FOR SUGGESTED THEISTIC EXPLANATIONS HERE. ATHEISTS ARE MORE THAN WELCOME TO CONTRIBUTE, BUT I ASK THAT EVERYONE NOT DEVIATE FROM THE FOCUS OF THIS THREAD. IF AN EXPLANATION IS SUGGESTED, FEEL FREE TO CRITIQUE.

Edited by ~*~GuestSister~*~

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The common rebuttal to this is #1 must also apply to God- why make an exception for Him when we can just make a similar exception for the universe, and thus eliminate the need for a Creator?

Wrong. This principal ( # 1) is not applied to God. Here is my short, summarised explanation:

The human mind functions on something called relativity. One thing has to be linked with a frame of reference to make any sort of sense out of it. For example, if I say "This book is 5" does that make any sense? No, because my "5" lacks a reference, and the human mind cannot make a sense out of this "5". But if I say "this book is 5 Kg" then that immediately makes Perfect sense; because of the presence of a reference frame, i.e "Kg".

This idea can be applied to literally every thing in our lives. Now when you say that something created some other thing you are again thinking on the basis of relativity. Your relativity or COMPARISON of the universe to a WORLDLY situation leads you to conclude (and rightly so, since the Universe is worldly) that there must be a creator

of the Universe. But you can not apply this idea to Allah, as He is not relative to anything. He is ABSOLUTE. Nothing is comparable to him.

In short, the logic that we used to deduce the law of " creation = creator " in the first place is flawed (when it comes to the creator) since the logic itself is a creation which cannot comprehend something that is absolute.

Say: He, Allah, is One. Allah, the Eternal, the Absolute. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him.” (Qur'an 112)

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the only logic which seems to fit my creator is that every thing in this universe and universe itself is bound by time ... start and end ...... for me its not how he was created .... but how he created everthing else ..... everything else other than GOD is in the frame of time ... and sense of time it self is created by giving things a start and end .........

and the only way ppl belive in unssen things is when they hear abt such things from ppl who are true ..... i mean sachey ..... thats why everyone who preached ne religon first established his or iamge as one whos true .....

baqee ya ali MADAD

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Wrong. This principal ( # 1) is not applied to God. Here is my short, summarised explanation:

The human mind functions on something called relativity. One thing has to be linked with a frame of reference to make any sort of sense out of it. For example, if I say "This book is 5" does that make any sense? No, because my "5" lacks a reference, and the human mind cannot make a sense out of this "5". But if I say "this book is 5 Kg" then that immediately makes Perfect sense; because of the presence of a reference frame, i.e "Kg".

This idea can be applied to literally every thing in our lives. Now when you say that something created some other thing you are again thinking on the basis of relativity. Your relativity or COMPARISON of the universe to a WORLDLY situation leads you to conclude (and rightly so, since the Universe is worldly) that there must be a creator  

of the Universe. But you can not apply this idea to Allah, as He is not relative to anything. He is ABSOLUTE. Nothing is comparable to him.

In short, the logic that we used to deduce the law of " creation = creator " in the first place is flawed (when it comes to the creator) since the logic itself is a creation which cannot comprehend something that is absolute. 

Say: He, Allah, is One. Allah, the Eternal, the Absolute. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him.” (Qur'an 112)

Right bro...I understand what you're saying, but that's not the question. The answer you gave was partly what I was referring to when I stated there are various answers to that question, but this thread is simply analyzing a different angle in answering the question- namely that which was bolded.

There are explanations that show how God possesses the Absolute and Infinite qualities that you mentioned- we need not just accept them as brute facts or "impose" His definition in order to answer the question.

If my q is still unclear let me know, and I'll provide one of the answers I've been exposed to to clarify...

Edited by ~*~GuestSister~*~

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However, I would like to know if there are any suggested explanations for how God is Uncaused and Infinite, or if a 5 year old were to word it- "Who created God?"

This is a very broad topic. There are different ways and perspectives of answering this. Actually, in my opinion any religouis disussuion (from shia / sunni to thiest / athiest) has two major approaches. 1. Logical 2. Factual.

A factual approach includes references from different sources which all the discussing parties agree on ( Say Quran if muslims are discussing something ). My reply was basically based on both. I am not sure what sort of explanation are you exactly looking for. But since you have said :

There are explanations that show how God possesses the Absolute and Infinite qualities that you mentioned- we need not just accept them as brute facts or "impose" His definition in order to answer the question.

I assume you are expecting a reply purely based on logic. If you feel that I am still thinking on the wrong lines then :

If my q is still unclear let me know, and I'll provide one of the answers I've been exposed to to clarify...

go ahead :)

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Personally, I subscribe to an oscillating universe theory wherein all matter existed forever, and the universe undergoes contraction and expansion ad infinitum. I think claims that there is not enough matter to allow for this are grossly premature, and it will be found that there is enough matter to allow for an eternal cycling (so much closer to the hindu creation story!)
You will want an eternal god who jumps started everything but you will not account for the god's prime cause. In other words, You exempt god from needing a creator (who created your creator?, why does god exist without needing to be “created”?), yet you insist that the universe must have a creator, why? I want a cyclic universe where matter has always been, in both directions of time. Here's the difference:

My environment is non-sentient and it is discoverable as to the mechanism. Your environment has to account for an eternal sentient being (which you will never be able to fully account for), and you have to come up with reasons as to why he wouldn't tell you the truth about how it all began in his communications with you.

I have no intention of hijacking this thread, nor starting a debate.

Just a question to USP: - Scientists and Creationists are unanimous about the earth having an age. What other scientists or whatever support this "theory" of yours?

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That's precisely what you're doing. Kindly erase your post.

What other scientists or whatever support this "theory" of yours?

Simple question requires a simple answer. A link will suffice.

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Salam,

Inshallah you are all doing well. Its not the question that you made is wrong but the view that is mistaken. Rather than questioning God's existence we should be questioning our existence. Human being just like any other living beings have limited capabilities. And included in all the capabilities is the human imagination. You see Allah has limited our imagination and other brain capabilities. We can never clearly understand his purpose as we are not created to do so. No matter how much we near we think we are to you question we will never reach to it. Even this concept, that there is a understandable cause behind everything, is just another self-belief created from imagination. For all we know, the whole structure of our thinking could be wrong and mislead. The main point is that its not within our capability to understand the divine reasons, we are just to follow the divine commands.

Your brother,

Ahmed

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(bismillah)

(salam)

This was discussed in an earlier thread ( http://www.shiachat.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=25933 )...I will post Bro. SadrasStudent's excellent response:

SadrasStudent Posted: Feb 19 2004, 04:08 PM

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Joined: 7-September 02

Actually sis, your daughter is asking a very logical question. Alhamdullillah, she is exhibiting excellent critical thinking skills! I did a lecture addressing this very question (albeit for an adult audience). The lecture probably isn't suitable for a 7 year old, but Insh'Allah I'll post it anyway. See if you like it, and if you do maybe you can rephrase the main idea for your daughter in simpler terms. If you want, I can certainly try to help in this regard (albeit writing for kids is not at all my specialty).

Among the foremost duties of the Muslims is to know Allah. Among the foremost duties of knowing Allah is to prove Allah. As Muslims we must prove the Existence of Allah to ourselves and then to others. Taqlid is for matters of sharia and furu –not for matters of aqidah and usul. In matters of usul al din, proof is necessary. More specifically, rational (aqli) proof is necessary. In the words of Imam al Ridha (‘a), “Man must accept Allah through reason and not through miracles.” This proof is necessary for a wide range of different purposes: teaching our children, confronting doubts, performing dawah and studying philosophy.

It is not for us to demand of our children to believe in Allah merely “because Mom and Dad say so.” We must teach them why to believe, we must explain to them the logic of Islam. It is not for us to pretend to believe and live in denial when we are confronted with doubts about our religion. We must confront these doubts head on, investigate the issues and prove Islam to ourselves until these doubts leave us. We must believe. Belief is necessary. But it is not enough to believe without understanding. There is no blind faith in true Islam. There is informed faith, rational faith. Faith in true Islam is not believing in the absurd and the illogical. That is the way of the Wahhabiya and the Christian fundamentalists. To believe without any proof is little better than to disbelieve. The true Muslim believes because she knows.

How, though, do we know? What is the way of knowing Allah? What is the method of proving Allah? There are many such ways and methods. While Allah is One, ways of knowing Allah are many. These many different ways of knowing and proving Allah are of two general types. Firstly, we may know Allah and prove Allah by contemplating on His creation. We look out at the world and observe the harmony and order of the universe. This harmony and order can only mean the Existence of a Creator, Sustainer and Master of creation. To know Allah through contemplating His creation is the most common and most popular method. Also, it is the best method for dawah work.

There is also a second type of knowledge and proof of Allah. This is to know Allah by contemplating on His very Essence. This is the way of our great philosophers and mystics. This method is much less common than contemplating on Allah’s creation. Nor is it usually suitable for dawah work. However, for those qualified contemplation of Allah’s Essence is the most noble method. Indeed, in the words of Imam al Sadiq (‘a), “The best form of worship is to contemplate about Allah and His Power.” Or in the words of Imam Khumayni, “ . . . contemplation on God for positing His Essence and contemplating His Power, His Names and Attributes is . . . the most superior kind of worship.”

A proof based on contemplation of Allah’s very Essence is called an ontological proof in Western philosophy. In Islamic philosophy, such a proof is known as burhan al siddiqin. It is a proof wherein “Allah is His own Proof.” The Shia philosopher Mulla Sadra perfected the burhan al siddiqin in the eleventh century hijrah calendar (seventeenth century Western calender). Before this, Ibn Sina and our beloved Kwajah Nasir Din al Tusi gave arguments leading to Mulla Sadra’s perfected proof hundreds of years later. Most importantly, though, Mulla Sadra took inspiration from the sayings and methods of the Shia Imams (‘a) – in particular Imam Ali (‘a). It was most of all the Imams’ method of contemplating Allah’s Essence directly that produced the burhan al siddiqin.

Ayatullah Murtadha Mutahhari gives a good introduction to the basic ideas of the burhan al siddqin in his scholarly work. Not only was Mutahhari a faqih, a political leader and a martyr in the 1979 Islamic Revolution, he was also a great philosopher. Along with his teachers Allamah Tabatabai and Imam Khumayni, he represents the living heritage of Mulla Sadra’s school of thought in Iran. Mutahhari delves into the concepts of the burhan al siddiqin in his book The Causes Responsible for Materialist Tendencies in the West. In Part II of this book Ayatollah Mutahhari presents the historical “inadequacy of philosophical ideas” in the West. According to Mutahhari, these philosophical inadequacies led to the rise of materialism.

Specifically, Shaheed Mutahhari examines the issue of the First Cause in Western thought. We know by contemplating Allah’s creation that because of the chain of cause and effect there must be a First Cause responsible for the universe. Hence, the First Cause argument. However, at least in Western thought, this idea is full of problems. Mutahhari brings up the many harsh criticisms Western skeptics such as Kant, Spencer, Sartre and Russell have brought against the idea of the First Cause. Mutahhari claims that Western philosophy is unable to properly answer these attacks. Among these criticisms is that of the twentieth century British materialist philosopher Bertrand Russell. In particular, Mutahhari presents this quote which sums up the many different attacks on the First Cause argument.

I may say that when I was a young man and was debating these questions very seriously in my mind, I for a long time accepted the argument of the First Cause, until one day, at the age of eighteen, I read John Stuart Mill's Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: 'My father taught me that the question, "Who made me?" cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question, "Who made God?" ' That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument.

This is a very heavy criticism. In the words of the materialist thinker and sociologist Spencer, “. . . when a priest tells a child that God created the world, the child naturally responds by asking, ‘Who created God?’” The fact is the child is being perfectly logical. If everything needs a cause, then why does God not also need a cause? If God does not need a cause, then why does everything else need a cause? Or, as the German philosopher Hegel phrased the issue, we must know “why the first cause became the first cause.” Why did the First Cause become the first cause? According to Mutahhari, Western thought has not been able to answer this question. No First Cause argument taken alone can adequately answer this question.

Islamic philosophy, though, has the tool needed to solve these problems. What is this tool? The burhan al siddiqin. Contemplation of Allah’s very Essence is needed, not only contemplating His creation. The First Cause argument is a good, solid argument. Also, it works very well for dawah work. However, it is philosophically imperfect. What makes best for dawah does not necessarily make best for philosophy and vice versa. In order to truly, philosophically solve the problem of the First Cause, in order to know “why the First cause became the first cause,” it is not enough to contemplate Allah’s creation. We must have a proof based on contemplation of Allah’s very Essence. We must have burhan al siddiqin. Allah must be His own Proof.

This proof rests on a philosophical understanding of Allah’s basic nature. To contemplate on Allah’s very Essence we must know what that Essence is. This poses a crucial question. ‘What is Allah’s Essence?’ Existence. Allah’s Essence is Existence. To understand the problem of Allah’s Existence and the problem of the First Cause, it is necessary to understand two Arabic terms – wujud and mawjud. Wujud is Existence Itself. Mawjud is an existent – a thing which exists. Allah is not merely a mawjud. He is not merely a thing that exists. Allah is Wujud. Allah is Existence Itself. Allah is not simply a being. Allah is Being Itself. Why is this so? Wujud is what makes every mawjud exist. Without existence, nothing can exist. Without wujud, everything is adam – nonbeing. It is that simple. To make every mawjud exist is to be Allah, the Creator, the Sustainer. Hence, Wujud is Allah and Allah is Wujud. Obviously, Existence exists and needs no outside reason or cause to exist because Existence is Its very nature.

This is indeed the core of the burhan al siddiqin – “existence exists.” Allah is Pure, Absolute, Infinite Existence. Allah is Wujud. It is then absurd to say Allah does not exist. This is to say existence does not exist. This is absurd because a thing is itself and is not other than itself. This is Aristotle’s law of identity. It is one of the three most basic rules of logic. A=A. Thus Existence exists and exists in-and-of itself. This is because Existence is its very nature. If existence did not exist, it would not be existence – it would be nonexistence. Wujud would be adam. This is absurd. Existence must exist.

This is the meaning of the statement that 'The Truthful, when they contemplate the reality of existence and observe it sans every condition and relation (idafah), the first thing which they discover is the Necessary Being and the First Cause. From the Necessary Being they infer Its effects which are not pure existence, being finite beings bearing non-being within.' This is what is meant when it is said that in this logic there is no middle term for proving the existence of God; the Divine Being is the witness of Its existence.

Here Mutahhari cites ayat number eighteen of Surah al Imran in the Qur’an. “God gives witness that there is no God but He.” Mulla Sadra cites the very same ayat when discussing the burhan al siddiqin. In the view of Sadra and the students of his school of thought – including Mutahhari – this is scriptural proof of the burhan al siddiqin. Allah is His own proof.

Allah, as Being Itself, is limitless, self-sufficient and perfect. Limits, dependence and deficiency all imply nonbeing. It is then absurd to attribute any sort or degree of nonbeing to Sheer Existence. Pure Wujud must be exactly that – Pure Wujud. Pure Wujud must be free of all adam. Thus Allah has no “vacuum” of nonbeing sucking in existence from outside. In this respect Allah is unique. He and only He is Pure Wujud. All other things have nonbeing within and thus develop such a vacuum. As such, Allah is alone in requiring no cause.

The Necessary Being, from the standpoint of being existence itself-it being senseless for a thing to be devoid of itself, and impossible for it not to exist while being existence itself-is not in need of a cause, because causality implies that the cause brings the being of the effect into existence, and when the essence (dhat) of a thing is actual existence and there is no vacuum in it in this regard, the need for a cause does not exist.

Hence the problem of the First Cause is finally solved. Allah and Allah alone requires no cause. This is because Allah and Allah alone is Sheer Existence without trace of nonbeing. Allah and Allah alone is Pure Wujud. This is why Allah and only Allah can possibly be the First Cause. The mystery of why the First Cause became the first cause is no longer such a mystery. Once the proper criterion for needing a cause is established, it becomes obvious that only beings contaminated by nonbeing within require a cause. Pure Being falls outside this category. Absolute Wujud contains no trace of adam.

Our conception of the First Cause has now become clear. It became evident that the First Cause, which is the same as the eternal, perfect, infinite Essence (dhat) of the Necessary Being, is the first cause because existence itself is Its essence, and existence in itself is perfect, not deficient, and limitless, not limited, thus ruling out any dependence upon a cause.

Not only does Islamic philosophy solve the problem of the First Cause, it renders the question of why the First Cause became the first cause meaningless, even absurd. Why does Existence exist? Because it is Existence. The very nature of Existence is to exist. Wujud is Wujud. Thus, “why did the First Cause become the first cause?” is like asking “why does a triangle have three sides?”

The question as to why the First Cause became the first cause-which is considered unanswerable in Western philosophy-is actually a meaningless question. For the First Cause, Its existence is Its reality and Its very essence (dhat), and being the First Cause is also identical with Its essence, and in both capacities it has no need of a cause . . . This question is just like saying, 'Why is the number one, one? Why didn't it not become two? Why did two become number two and not one, and why it didn't take the place of one?'

The burhan al siddiqin is among the greatest achievements of Islamic philosophy. Why, though, should this concern us? Philosophy and its twin sister mysticism are not for most people. Nor is the burhan al siddqin. The detailed arguments and formulas of the philosophers and the mystics need not concern most Muslims. However, what must concern all Shia Muslims is to respect philosophy and mysticism. There is no need for most of the Ummah to become practicing philosophers or mystics. Even so, we all must recognize and respect these as legitimate branches of the Islamic sciences. Hikmat is every bit a part of the Islamic sciences as fiqh. Irfan is as well. Sadly, there are those even among the Shia who say otherwise; who say that irfan is shirk and hikmat is kufr.

This is a tragedy. Traditional philosophy died a thousand years ago in the Sunni Muslim world. Philosophy was never taught in the Sunni madrassahs. It is only in the Shia world – particularly Iran – that traditional philosophy has survived. Shia madrassahs are the only madrassahs where traditional Islamic philosophy is taught. We are for all intents and purposes the guardians of Islamic philosophy. We must respect and cherish this honor. It is not for us to throw this honor in the trash bin and declare hikmat and irfan the work of Shaytan, as some narrow minded Shia have done. We must respect the great hukama and urafa of our Ummah and particularly those of our ulema. Shaheed Mutahhari. Allamah Tabatabai. Imam Khumayni. Ayatullah Behjat. Let us reserve a high place in our hearts and minds for them.

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Guest ShiaCat

(salam)

God is eternal, God created time and space, so it does not apply to God.

God cannot be pinpointed in time and space.

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Thanks bro Ali786 for Sadras excellent speech. Basically he used one of the attributes of Allah-- 'Sifate-e-Zaid' or Allah being 'ain-e-zaat.

SIFATE ZAID:- This means "added qualifications". The attributes of Allah are not separate from His Being. For example, we say that Allah is Alim, but it does not mean that His knowledge is something separate from His Existence. In fact, there has never been a time when he was less Alim and then acquired more knowledge. His Knowledge, His Mercy, His Justice and all His virtues and attributes are His Own Being.----from playandlearn.org

Similarly when we say Allah exists it is not that existence is something separate from Him and since He not only exists but is the only being which Himself IS existence the argument does not apply to Him.

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Now that I've gotten your attention, yes I know God is by definition Uncaused, The First, the Last, etc... However, I would like to know if there are any suggested explanations for how God is Uncaused and Infinite, or if a 5 year old were to word it- "Who created God?". I'm only aware of one explanation.

We know a common argument for the existence of God is one that argues for a cause or explanation for the existence of the universe (cosmological arg.). Put rather simply, it looks something like this:

(1) Everything that exists has a cause of its existence.

(2) The universe exists.

Therefore:

(3) The universe has a cause of its existence.

(4) If the universe has a cause of its existence, then that cause is God.

Therefore:

(5) God exists.

The common rebuttal to this is #1 must also apply to God- why make an exception for Him when we can just make a similar exception for the universe, and thus eliminate the need for a Creator? Although there are various answers to that question, the answer to the bolded question is part of the answer. Any explanations any of you have come across by Muslim or other scholars would be great. Please cite a reference only if it's handy.

I SHOULD PREFACE THIS THREAD BY SAYING I AM LOOKING FOR SUGGESTED THEISTIC EXPLANATIONS HERE. ATHEISTS ARE MORE THAN WELCOME TO CONTRIBUTE, BUT I ASK THAT EVERYONE NOT DEVIATE FROM THE FOCUS OF THIS THREAD. IF AN EXPLANATION IS SUGGESTED, FEEL FREE TO CRITIQUE.

1 shouldn't be "Everything that exists has a cause of its existence." This is not at all how the Islamic philosophers have formulated their arguments. Rather try "Every contingent being (i.e. doesn't exist by itself) has a cause of its existence." That is how the earlier Islamic philosophers like al Farabi and Ibn Sina demonstrated Allah's existence. Better yet, try "Every relational being (i.e. doesn't exist in itself) has a cause of its existence." This is Mulla Sadra's improvement on the argument.

PS Insh'Allah I'll make sure to try and respond to your PMs.

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Okay I think I've not only realized that I have terrible communication skills in effectively and clearly posing my question, given the scope of replies that touch other issues, but I've also successfully confused myself in what exactly I'm looking for. I'll reply soon with some clarifications...thank you so much for the replies thus far though.

Edited by ~*~GuestSister~*~

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(bismillah)

(salam)

Thank's for sharing the informative post Br.Ali786.

...It is not for us to throw this honor in the trash bin and declare hikmat and irfan the work of Shaytan, as some narrow minded Shia have done...

Indeed, although philosophy is pretty much alive in the Shia world and our school of thought has always encouraged it. Imam Ali (as) has said: "Philosophy is a tree that grows in the heart and bears its fruits in the tongue."

I think that the question of the OP is a common and difficult one only because it is misleading since - how can the 'First' Cause be itself dependent and created? We have already established the necessity of a Primary cause to be ‘independent’ so the question "who created the first cause" is incorrect because it cannot apply thus it is invalid.

A question such as this would be equally applicable, ad infinitum! An infinite continuation of this question implicates an infinite quest for an explanation, which insinuates there is no explanation to be found for the satisfaction of the question - such a scenario is an exercise in futility and is impossible, thus we are introduced to a paradox.

Consequently, one would realise that it is not a question of who created the most primary cause since such a question is invalid. A solution to this problem is to consider the homogeneity of cause and effect and the fundamentally of the existence of the First Cause and its implications. There is a sort of hierarchy in the relationship between cause and effect - a homogeneity – where every cause is more perfect than its effect. As we follow the chain of causality regressively causes and effects posses higher degrees of perfection. Eventually we reach a most perfect cause which is independent of any cause. Since the question is not one of a ‘cause for the First cause’ we are left to take this perspective and I believe it helps to consider what we actual mean by the Necessity of First Cause and analyse the problem from such an angle.

Wassalaam.

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I want a cyclic universe where matter has always been, in both directions of time.

I would be inclined to believe the basic premise of your post, but try it without using time at all. Some compelling arguments have been made to the non-existence of time itself, most notably by physicist Julian Barbour, who makes the case for everything that was, is, and will be occuring simultaneously.

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I would be inclined to believe the basic premise of your post, but try it without using time at all. Some compelling arguments have been made to the non-existence of time itself, most notably by physicist Julian Barbour, who makes the case for everything that was, is, and will be occuring simultaneously.

Hello, meeshehi. Do you have a couple of references to Barbour's work? I've heard of him but I've not read any of his work.

Resigned

("filling in" for USP who has a two week suspension)

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Hello, meeshehi. Do you have a couple of references to Barbour's work? I've heard of him but I've not read any of his work.

Resigned

("filling in" for USP who has a two week suspension)

Here's a couple of links for you. The first is a review of The End of Time, and gives a fair overview of the theory. The second is an interview on the topic. The final link is a general, basic physics site, just in case you are interested.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/anthony.campb.../r/barbour.html

http://www.science-spirit.org/articles/Art...?article_ID=183

http://www.colorado.edu/physics/2000/index.pl

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Okay I've re-read everyone's posts, and before I comment specifically, I'd like to just finish the main topic of the thread... There are many interesting points raised, but they're somewhat off the topic I'm particularly looking for, so I hope to revisit them once the main topic is complete... thank you nonetheless for everyone's input thus far.

Allow me to clarify what I'm looking for. My initial bolded question reads:

I would like to know if there are any suggested explanations for how God is Uncaused and Infinite

I am looking for posited explanations for God's attribute of being Infinite. Bear with me as I carry you through my logic (although it may be faulty). There are several philosophical and scientific demonstrations of why this universe cannot be infinite, self-sufficient, and independent, thus necessitating the existence of an outside Sustainer, Cause, etc (I don't want to enter the debate over the universe's infinity or finitude just yet- actually the "God" thread ended with this question, so it'd be interesting to carry it on there...). Thus, assuming there is a need for the existence of this Infinite Being and having shown the universe doesn't fit the bill, theists often accept the notion of an Infinite First Cause on the mere basis that the only other alternative has been disproved (the universe's infinitude), while not truly explaining and understanding how it is that this First Cause is the first cause, how He is Infinite, along with His other attributes...Mutahhari also presents this deficiency in understanding.

Allow me to quote a piece from his article where he is quoting philosopher Hugel who expresses this concern:

“In solving the puzzle of the world of creation we should not go after the efficient cause, because, on the one hand, the mind is not satisfied with infinite regress and continues to look for the first cause. On the other hand, when we consider the first cause, the puzzle is not solved and the mind is not satisfied; the problem remains as to why the first cause became the first cause." Thus I seem to think that there are available explanations.

I threw in "Who created God?" to attempt to help in understanding my line of thinking, and even as I was typing it I had the gut feeling my question wasn't coming off too clear as that's not exactly my question, as that is a completely different issue...I was hoping everyone would latch onto the first part of my question, so I apologize for coming off unclear.

Now, bro Ali786, thanks for pasting SadrasStudent's article...I had actually read that before but it still helped nonetheless, as he too approaches the issue of the attribute of Infinity and First Causiness. Sayed Mutahhari in the original article approaches the issue differently, by presenting his ontological proof for the existence and "nature" of God (He is Existence itself). As SadrasStudent outlined, there are two main ways to attain knowledge of God:

1. Contemplation on His creation

2. Contemplation on His very Essence

Mutahhari's proof goes in line with the latter...which is much deeper, advanced, and more difficult to comprehend and communicate to others. Mutahhari does indeed answer the first cause problem that I have outlined, but in the latter method. In so doing he shows the invalidity of the question (How the First Cause became the first cause), and rightly so (go through his detailed proof if interested...http://www.al-islam.org/al-tawhid/2-west.htm/).

However, naturally, burhan al-siddiqin, in line with #2, is very deep "stuff"...it requires much contemplation in order to fully understand. One can see and understand his logical progression, but the premises from which he builds his argument cannot be truly understood and accepted right off the bat, namely the fundamentality of existence/essence theories, equating Existence with God, etc, as is the nature of #2 type proofs. I can ellaborate if this is unclear... It seems like one would need to master type 1 proofs before moving on to the more advanced, intense type 2, as type 1 builds the necessary foundation for potentially understanding type 2.

Thus, are there any other explanations that may demonstrate God's Infinity of type 1? Bro Majic's response was kind of what I was looking for...

A solution to this problem is to consider the homogeneity of cause and effect and the fundamentally of the existence of the First Cause and its implications. There is a sort of hierarchy in the relationship between cause and effect - a homogeneity – where every cause is more perfect than its effect. As we follow the chain of causality regressively causes and effects posses higher degrees of perfection. Eventually we reach a most perfect cause which is independent of any cause. Since the question is not one of a ‘cause for the First cause’ we are left to take this perspective and I believe it helps to consider what we actual mean by the Necessity of First Cause and analyse the problem from such an angle.

A very interesting explanation, but I simply fail to see the increase in perfection as one regresses back in the causal chain. I can clearly see the higher degree of perfection in every cause in relation to its effect, when isolated, however I don't see an increase in perfection as one goes back the causal chain, eventually reaching the First Cause. It somewhat seems the complete opposite, if you think about the evolution of the universe, and its increase in complexity and vastness as time progresses...anyone's thoughts?

Thus, this explanation seems to approach the issue of God's attribute of Infinity using the type 1 method of knowing God, namely by observing the universe and nature. Any others?

Edited by ~*~GuestSister~*~

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Okay I've re-read everyone's posts, and before I comment specifically, I'd like to just finish the main topic of the thread... There are many interesting points raised, but they're somewhat off the topic I'm particularly looking for, so I hope to revisit them once the main topic is complete... thank you nonetheless for everyone's input thus far.

Allow me to clarify what I'm looking for. My initial bolded question reads:

I am looking for posited explanations for God's attribute of being Infinite. Bear with me as I carry you through my logic (although it may be faulty). There are several philosophical and scientific demonstrations of why this universe cannot be infinite, self-sufficient, and independent, thus necessitating the existence of an outside Sustainer, Cause, etc (I don't want to enter the debate over the universe's infinity or finitude just yet- actually the "God" thread ended with this question, so it'd be interesting to carry it on there...). Thus, assuming there is a need for the existence of this Infinite Being and having shown the universe doesn't fit the bill, theists often accept the notion of an Infinite First Cause on the mere basis that the only other alternative has been disproved (the universe's infinitude), while not truly explaining and understanding how it is that this First Cause is the first cause, how He is Infinite, along with His other attributes...Mutahhari also presents this deficiency in understanding.

Allow me to quote a piece from his article where he is quoting philosopher Hugel who expresses this concern:

“In solving the puzzle of the world of creation we should not go after the efficient cause, because, on the one hand, the mind is not satisfied with infinite regress and continues to look for the first cause. On the other hand, when we consider the first cause, the puzzle is not solved and the mind is not satisfied; the problem remains as to why the first cause became the first cause." Thus I seem to think that there are available explanations.

I threw in "Who created God?" to attempt to help in understanding my line of thinking, and even as I was typing it I had the gut feeling my question wasn't coming off too clear as that's not exactly my question, as that is a completely different issue...I was hoping everyone would latch onto the first part of my question, so I apologize for coming off unclear.

Now, bro Ali786, thanks for pasting SadrasStudent's article...I had actually read that before but it still helped nonetheless, as he too approaches the issue of the attribute of Infinity and First Causiness. Sayed Mutahhari in the original article approaches the issue differently, by presenting his ontological proof for the existence and "nature" of God (He is Existence itself). As SadrasStudent outlined, there are two main ways to attain knowledge of God:

1. Contemplation on His creation

2. Contemplation on His very Essence

Mutahhari's proof goes in line with the latter...which is much deeper, advanced, and more difficult to comprehend and communicate to others. Mutahhari does indeed answer the first cause problem that I have outlined, but in the latter method. In so doing he shows the invalidity of the question (How the First Cause became the first cause), and rightly so (go through his detailed proof if interested...http://www.al-islam.org/al-tawhid/2-west.htm/).

However, naturally, burhan al-siddiqin, in line with #2, is very deep "stuff"...it requires much contemplation in order to fully understand. One can see and understand his logical progression, but the premises from which he builds his argument cannot be truly understood and accepted right off the bat, namely the fundamentality of existence/essence theories, equating Existence with God, etc, as is the nature of #2 type proofs. I can ellaborate if this is unclear... It seems like one would need to master type 1 proofs before moving on to the more advanced, intense type 2, as type 1 builds the necessary foundation for potentially understanding type 2.

Thus, are there any other explanations that may demonstrate God's Infinity of type 1? Bro Majic's response was kind of what I was looking for...

A very interesting explanation, but I simply fail to see the increase in perfection as one regresses back in the causal chain. I can clearly see the higher degree of perfection in every cause in relation to its effect, when isolated, however I don't see an increase in perfection as one goes back the causal chain, eventually reaching the First Cause. It somewhat seems the complete opposite, if you think about the evolution of the universe, and its increase in complexity and vastness as time progresses...anyone's thoughts?

Thus, this explanation seems to approach the issue of God's attribute of Infinity using the type 1 method of knowing God, namely by observing the universe and nature. Any others?

I realize this might not be really helpful to the point, but man, I'm impressed. You're one heck of a fast learner, sis! :D

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I realize this might not be really helpful to the point, but man, I'm impressed.  You're one heck of a fast learner, sis! :D

lol thanks, but, let's just say I had to read Shaheed Mutahhari's article more than once to get what the heck he was talking about ^_^

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Okay I'm going to try another question- anyone that can please help.

I need more info on the fundamentality of existence and fundamentality of essence theories, as discussed in Mutahhari's article. A solid example (if at all possible) to demonstrate the theories, would really really help in clarifying things for me a bit, as Mutahhari's discussion of the distinction between the essence and existence of things was rather abstract and the vocabulary was kind of ambiguous. So maybe some other reading material would help- I have yet to find any (maybe Shaheed al-Sadr's chapter on causality in "Our Philosophy"?)

Also, when he equates pure existence with God, the question then arises, if the reality of God is pure existence, what is the reality of other things? He responds by saying the real being of things is what they partake of existence. But doesn't that kind of come off as pantheistic? :huh: I know I'm missing something here...

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