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I gave a lecture once at an Orlando conference where the whole point of my lecture was to deny, as emphatically as I could and as categorically as I knew how, the existence of God. And when I began that lecture I said, "What my task is today is to convince you folks that God does not exist." "Uhh?" came this gasp from the crowd. "What are you talking about? What kind of game are you playing?" "I'm not playing," I said, "The worst thing that could ever happen to us is to discover that God exists...in the specific meaning of the term exist." Because the term exists in our language has derived etymologically from the Latin _existere—_ex means out of, and stere means to stand.
So somebody who exists is somebody who's outstanding, but outstanding in what sense? Well what was meant by this word philosophically centuries ago, going all the way back to Plato and before Plato, was the idea that there is being, pure and simple. And pure being depends on nothing for its ability to be. It is eternal, it has the power of being within itself; it is by no means creaturely.
The thing that characterizes creaturely existence is not being, but becoming, because the chief character trait of all creatures is they change. Whatever you are today, you will be different ever so slightly tomorrow. And today, you're that much different from what you were yesterday if it's only that you are 24-hours older than you were at this time yesterday.
Now the idea of existence says to exist is to stand out of something. And the idea meant to stand out of being. So that something that exists is something that has one foot in being, and the other foot in becoming, or in non-being. Unless it's connected somehow to being, it couldn't be. We wouldn't be human beings, we would be human becomings. And if it had both feet in being, it couldn't be a creature. Well the point I'm saying is that we don't want to think of God like this.
If you ask me, "Is God?" I say, "Yes of course God is." But does He exist? Not in this sense, because that would make Him what? A creature, a dependant, derived existence. But rather we say God is here [pointing on board to being]. God is being, not becoming, not changing. He is eternally the same. And so we say there's one being.
Now within that being are not three separate existences. Remember the difference in the prefix. Exist means to stand out of being or non-being, but the word that the theologians use with respect to the trinity is not the word three existences, but three subsistences. That is, underneath the pure being of God, at a lower dimension, we must distinguish among these subsistences which the Bible calls Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Not three existences, not three beings, but rather three subsistences within that One eternal being.