Hi Frank, if we were to look at the world as a physical entity, which it is, then it must have also had a beginning, is running its course and ought, from pure logic, to have an end. Now the question is whether we distinguish between earth (the physical dimension) and world (which encompasses inter alia the collective unconsciousness that Rus refers to). If we were to look at humans as the spitting image of God (alluded to in the Bible) then we can consider our existence as part of an eternal cycle of being. But it would still be one part and being would still be a cycle. Hindus believe that all world is maya or illusion and rebirth means we shall be born over and over again until we achieve moksha/nirvana. But also, the world would be born, nourished and destroyed many times over, over and over, in one unending eternity.
Frank, I believe your premise may be faulty. In a way, you make God sound like a mere Cartesian man: He thinks, therefore we are?Further, I think the word 'eternal' means 'endless time.' Endless means without beginning or end.I wonder sometimes if our speculations about God start from the wrong place, i.e., we begin with the assumption God is a Being of some kind. But is He? Why must God be an entity that we can explain or understand?
Hi Lincoln,No, eternity means the absence of time - timelessness. It definitely does not mean everlastingness. And the idea that God is thinking everything into being is pretty standard natural theology (though "thinking: in this case has to be understood as metaphorical). But you are right that God is not a being in the sense that we are. God, for instance, does not "exist." To exist means to derive your being from another. Not true of God.And Vikram, as it happens, my thinking in this regard owes much to Vedanta, though I can't say I like the idea of endless rebirth. I do think that the Hindu approach comes nearer than most to explaining what Eliot called "the intersection of the timeless with time."
The infinity/boundedness of the world in time and space is the first of Kant's "antinomies of pure reason", for which I'll have to refer you to the Critique of Pure Reason.