Did space exists always and is God of the Bible omnipresent?
Those sentences which are colored in orange are from Maharishi Dayananda Saraswati book Satyarth Prakash (The Light of Truth) and those which are colored in black are Jerry Thomas’s response.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (1:1, 2)C: What do you call the beginning?
Christian (Ch): The first creation of the world.
C: Is this the first creation? Was the world never created before?
Ch: We do not know whether it was created before or not. God alone knows that.
C. When you do not know that, why should you believe in this book (i.e., the Bible) which cannot enlighten you on these points and pinning your faith to it, preach it to others and thereby ensnare them into this religion which is do full of doubts. Why don't you embrace the Vedic religion which is free from all doubts and enlightens one on all points? When you do not understand the world created by God – His handiwork, how can you then know God?
C. What do you understand by the term heaven?
Ch. The empty space and what is above.
C. How was this empty space created? Besides, it is all-pervading and very subtle and uniform both above and below.
C. Did space exist or not before the heaven was created? If it did not, wherein did God, the cause of the universe, and the souls live? Nothing can exist without space, but your Bible says that it was created; hence this statement can never be true. Is God inharmonious? Do His knowledge and works lack harmony, or is He as well as His knowledge and works harmonious?
C. Why is it then recorded here that the earth created by God was misshapen or without form?
Ch. The term without form means uneven, i.e., the earth was not then even.
C. Who made it even then? Is it not even now uneven? God's work can never lack harmony or be ill-shapen (without form). He being All-knowing, His works are always free from error or faults but the Bible teaches that the earth created by God was without form; hence this book can never be the work of God. First tell us pray what you think the Spirit of God is.
Ch. He is a Conscious Being.
C. Is he Formless or embodied, All-pervading or localized?
Ch. He is Formless, Conscious and All-pervading but, He is more particularly present in such places as the Mount Sinai and fourth heaven.
C. If He be formless who could have then seen Him? What is All-pervading could not move on the face of waters? It only (goes to) show, that His body must have been in some other place or He must have let a piece of His Spirit move 'on the face of the waters', but in that case He could never be All-pervading and All-knowing and consequently could not create, sustain and support the world, reduce it to its elementary condition, nor could He award the souls just reward or punishment for their deeds -good or bad-, because one who is localized or circumscribed by nature must have his powers and actions also limited. Such being the case He can never be God but He has been described in the Vedas, as All-pervading, possessed of Infinite nature, attributes, and powers, Truly Conscious and All-Blissful, Eternal, Holy, All-wise and Free by nature, Beginningless and Endless, and so on. Faith in such a God alone will save you.
Answer: In this conversation, Maharishi attempts to prove the following points:
(a) The Holy Bible is incomplete and therefore insufficient. In contrast, Vedas gives clarity and answers all points. Maharishi raises the question about the meaning of ‘In the beginning’ and then through the imaginary dialogue comes to the conclusion that the Christian cannot answer on ‘all points.’
(b) Maharishi then questions the second verse and attempts to show that ‘space should have always existed’ and therefore the Biblical claim that heavens and earth were created must be wrong.
(c) Maharishi then questions the third part of “Spirit of God” hovering over the water. According to Maharishi, if God is all pervading, then He cannot move in one place.
Before examining the meaning of the word, “in the beginning” let me say that the purpose of the Holy Bible is stated in the Holy Bible itself. It is for salvation and to give everything that is necessary for a righteous life. Its stated purpose is not to give exhaustive details on science, philosophy, etc. In other words, this is a religious book.
2 Timothy 3: 14-17– “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned (them), and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
If the Holy Bible has to be examined, then it must be examined by its own standards. Now let me answer Maharishi’s objections.
The Meaning of the “In the Beginning”: The statement “in the beginning” is not restricted to the beginning of time (as against eternity) but also to the beginning of everything that exists apart from God.
Let us examine the words of the inspired authors of the Holy Bible.
Romans 4: 17: As it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations" in the presence of Him whom he believed–God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.
Hebrews 11:3: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”
Colossians 1:16-17: “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”
In other words:
(1) Only God existed eternally and nothing coexisted with Him.
(2) Everything else, whether visible or invisible, in heaven or on earth, was created.
(3) Everything that has been created was created by God.
(4) Everything is sustained by God.
(5) Everything exists for God.
e statement is intended to show the absolute sovereignty and Omnipotence of the One True God which the Holy Bible reveals. This is much unlike the Vedic God who is merely the efficient cause of the eternal primordial substance according to the very words of Maharishi himself as we will shortly see (refer Question 4).
The corollary questions such as ‘Is this the first creation’ is not relevant for the fact that irrespective of whether this is the first creation or not, the Biblical statement is intended to show that everything has been created by God Himself.
(b). In this conversation, Maharishi first insists that space must have existed eternally and therefore the Bible is wrong.
However, scientifically space and time did not exist eternally and it all had a beginning with ‘Big Bang’. Whether one accepts Big Bang in its entirety or not, this conclusion is significant though it is difficult for ordinary men to understand.
Here is what BBC says: “The Big Bang describes how this fireball grew to form all the stars and planets we see around us now. Because of its name many people think of the Big Bang as a kind of explosion that happened at some specific point in space, but this isn't correct, as the Universe didn't spring from one central ignition point. Instead, during the Big Bang space was first created and then stretched.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/space/origins/bigbang/)
Further, this space is limited and not infinite. It continues to stretch. The same is the case with time too.
Apart from science which considers time also to have started with Big Bang, philosophy also teaches that time has a beginning.
Time is made up of finite seconds/minutes. If time existed infinitely, then there would be infinite regression of finite seconds. Philosophically, infinite regression of finite is an ontological absurdity. One of the common examples is the example of a basket with infinite number of apples. If a person takes one apple from the basket, still infinite number of apples is left in the basket which is nothing but an ontological absurdity.
In other words, science and philosophy contradicts Maharishi’s assertion and agrees with the Holy Bible.
If the Vedic god can exist only in space, then it is clear that the Vedic god had a beginning and is therefore finite.
However, here is what the Holy Bible says about the God of the Bible:
2 Chronicles 6: 18 “But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!”
It is clear that the God of the Holy Bible is far above and beyond the space and time which were created whereas Maharishi’s Vedic god is not.
(c) The third mistake that Maharishi parades as wisdom is the objection that God cannot manifest Himself at a time or a place. It must be very clear by now that when we say God is infinite, we do not merely equate Him to “all pervading” space and time. That is a wrong definition of infinity and eternity. “All pervading” space can never be infinite as space itself is finite.
How shall we compare space with infinite?
The Holy Bible says:
Isaiah 4:12, 15-18: “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?” Further it says: “Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless. To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him?”
Having stated that infinite should not be defined as ‘all pervading space’ as space itself is created and limited; we must ask the purpose of the creation of space which can answer if God can appear in space.
As we have already seen in Colossians 1: 17 “All things were created through Him and FOR HIM.”
As per this verse, even space was created for Him. It is obvious that God does not require space to exist. Then in what sense was it created for Him?
In one sense, as the Romans 1: 20 says: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”
Space and time were created as avenues and channels to demonstrate His actions (things that are made) so that His invisible attributes and eternal power are clearly seen. Having created the space and time for the demonstration of His invisible and eternal attributes, it is obvious that He can appear in space and time.
There is no contradiction in saying that the Spirit of God moved over the water as the space itself was created for Him to demonstrate His attributes and eternal power.
Before we conclude this first answer, since Maharishi has invited us to leave the Biblical faith and “embrace the Vedic religion which is free from all doubts and enlightens one on all points”, let us take one of the many creation stories from the Vedas. Note, only examples from Vedas are taken as Maharishi rejects the Puranas.
Rig Veda Book 10: 129: 1-7:
1. THEN was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it. What covered in, and where? and what gave shelter? Was water there, unfathomed depth of water?
2. Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal: no sign was there, the day's and night's divider. That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever.
3. Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness this All was indiscriminated chaos. All that existed then was void and form less: by the great power of Warmth was born that Unit.
4. Thereafter rose Desire in the beginning, Desire, the primal seed and germ of Spirit. Sages who searched with their heart's thought discovered the existent's kinship in the non-existent.
5. Transversely was their severing line extended: what was above it then, and what below it? There were begetters; there were mighty forces, free action here and energy up yonder.
6. Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation? The Gods are later than this world's production. Who knows then whence it first came into being?
7. He, the first origin of this creation, whether he formed it all or did not form it, whose eye controls this world in highest heaven, he verily knows it or perhaps he knows not.
This does not look like a book “which is free from all doubts and enlightens one on all points” but rather a book full of speculations and doubts.
The differences between the God of the Bible and Maharishi’s God in the Vedas:
(1) God of the Bible has created everything in the heavens and the world. Maharishi’s god only seems to have molded an existing matter.
(2) God of t
he Bible is outside the space and time and created the space and time for Him to demonstrate His power and attributes. Maharishi’s god is at best an ‘all pervading space’ who cannot demonstrate His actions in space.
(3) The Holy Bible, which is the word of the Biblical God gives clarity in the creation story and is sufficient for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and a righteous life. Maharishi’s Vedas seems to be full of doubts and therefore insufficient by the standard of Maharishi himself.
Therefore, we request every Vedic Hindu who follows Maharishi’s understanding to reconsider their current faith and accept the God of the Bible, Jesus Christ, as Savior and LORD.