Take the Classic definitions of "God" and deconstruct it layer by layer by asking achingly simple questions.
READY? Set? Go!
GOD is (fill in the blank with the usual definitions)
Go back one step. Just one! BEFORE you can define God...
What about BEFORE? Before what?
What about BEFORE God was a creator or created anyone or anything?
Creation is the "beginning" for the created--but--surely not for the person of God.
BEFORE God began creating persons or things.......by definition, God was not a CREATOR.
God is All-Knowing
BEFORE God began creating.....there was nothing......and consequently, nothing TO KNOW.
(When there is nothing -there is nothing to know.)
(Descartes: "I think, therefore, I AM." Descartes existed and could think only because he existed. If Descartes did not exist - there's no Descartes to utter "I Am."
Socrates: " I only know I know nothing." For Socrates, there was so much he didn't know about everything he was forced to admit what he did know may as well be counted as nothing.)
But God - BEFORE creation - had nobody and nothing "about which" knowledge was necessary.
For God to make the "I AM" statement - God must be distinguishable from 'something" rather than nothing.
GOD is LOVE
To "Love" is to value above all else.
If there is nobody and nothing in existence there's obviously no "else".
Discussion: If God created another being (let's say a "Son") God still couldn't love "son" above all "else."
God (now a Creator) would have to value Son above self. Son can't be greater than God in order to merit such "greater than" valuation.
Pretty simple stuff here. Not profound.
For God to hold somebody or some thing ABOVE ALL ELSE - there must be beings and things LESSER in existence so a proper valuation could apply.
In other words, God could only LOVE by creating inferiors to someone "Else."
How incompatible is creating an "inferior" with the idea of excellence??
BEFORE God began creating...God was alone. I
n the middle of nothing...with "nothing" to think about....nobody to love....yet God was somehow different than nothing?
Where was God?
God wasn't any
place. God wasn't doing any thing with any body.
This Eternity of nothing leaves God with nothing to
distinguish Him and no time to BE somebody, someplace.
YOU SEE? God is disappearing from any conceivable definition of "I AM" if we take that one small step backward - BEFORE - creation.
TIME is the distance between EVENTS.
Without anything in existence there are
Humans extrapolate a sense of regularity from repeated events (day, night, seasons).
No events / no Time.
God could not be ETERNAL without events by which a sense of THEN V. NOW would be measured.
Review: Before Creation
God could not be ALL-KNOWING (there was
nothing to know).
God could not be ALL-POWERFUL (nothing
over which to exert power).
God could not be LOVE - no
superior and inferior objects of valuation existed.
Goodness, Morality, Ethics of a God of Justice
QUESTION: Without anyone to do BAD, how is there any Justice necessary?
Before Creation, God could not be just, moral, loving or powerful. Why?
(No wrongs to right, no good or bad actions or events occurring
requiring judgment or ethics.)
END OF THOUGHT EXPERIMENT
In what sense could GOD actually EXIST (before creation?)
To exist you must BE something rather than nothing.
How was God distinguishable from nothing?
God would have no attributes, identity or context (as demonstrated above.)
A God of Love with nobody & nothing to love?
A God of wisdom with nothing to actually know?
In order to BE God...there must already exist OTHER than God.
For there to be a dream there must be a dreamer.
Consequently, only in the mind of MAN can God find context and omniscience, power, etc.
It is man who dreams of GOD and... not ...the other way round.
Feel free to have fun with this.
The above exercise can lead to interesting question of Doctrine such as:
If mankind is sinful, wretched, 'dust on the scales", "dung", and worthy of death --
on what basis could it be God's JUSTICE to "...So love the world..." that God would require his "Son" to die on behalf of such worthless humanity?
To love (as we said) is to "Value above all else" and mankind by God's own standard of perfection -- did not merit LOVE.
So this is where the "Christ died for our sins" breaks apart and dissolves.
Either God is a being of "Justice" and standards - or - a being who "values above all else" undeserving of love beings unfit to be thus valued.
All those Old Testament violations of God's standard suffered mightily.
The 400 years between the Old Testament and New were silent.
As the era of Jesus dawns we suddenly are introduced to a "new and improved" GOD with an entirely different personality, attributes, and standards.
There is an exception to the absolute no place visible 400 years earlier.
The "grace" of God is "unmerited favor". This plainly violates God's own standards of perfection and Justice.
In other words, you can't be GOD and be PERFECT and exercise the "highest value" of LOVE by applying it to "worthless wretches deserving death."
See? The logic - if you can call it that - of a "loving God" is entirely bereft of foundation.
But that's way too much on the plate to chew right now.