The first question in the study of metaphysics is: what is eternal? What has existed from eternity? What has no beginning? We can even categorize the various world systems in terms of what they say is eternal. This helps make sense of how each system understands reality, value, and authority.
There are those that say nothing is eternal. This could be taken to mean that once there was only nothing and then something came from nothing. Or it could be taken to mean that there are only temporal beings that come into and out of existence one after another extending back to eternity. In Buddhism, this is called dependent co-arising.
There are those systems that say only the material world exists and it has existed from eternity. We see the contemporary cosmologists promoting this view in the name of science. Sometimes they will say the material universe came from an original nothing, but other times they will say that this nothing was a prior material universe.
There are those systems that say only mind or spirit exists and has existed from eternity. This mind is often said to be in an eternal cycle of wakefulness and sleep. The material world and the human soul are illusions. Enlightenment only comes when we identify with the eternal mind.
And there are systems that say there is an eternal God but he is co-eternal with the material world that he forms into the creation we see. This is a common view among the philosophers. Evil is due to the limitations of matter and the human soul strives to leave the material world and unite with God.
Each of these denies the eternal power of God the Creator. To show that only God begins with showing that none of these systems can be true. Each of them violates reason is saying of something that is not eternal that it is eternal. This is a violation of the law of identity.
Many times, we find that those engaged in “natural theology” take the “close enough” method. This is especially true of the dualistic system of the philosophers. But this is not close enough and it is a direct denial of God the Creator. One of the things we will think about at our conference is how to show from general revelation that God alone is eternal.