God designed us to live in Eternity. Lawrence Sklar, Space, Time, and Spacetime (Berkley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1974), p. 274. Yes, said the great statesman, and what then? He argues that this is incorrect because prior to causing the first effect, the uncaused cause existed for infinite time. The Bible … These, then, are the alternatives. Once temporal persons were created, God would then begin to experience temporal personal relationships with them. Please try again. The primary question of the book is: Can God rightfully be considered timeless or temporal? There are a few modern authors who hold to the independent status of time apart from events, and they are thus the heirs of the Newtonian conception of absolute time. Whitrow remarks in this connection that many people have difficulty imagining a beginning to time because they think of it as a boundary similar to a boundary of space. Are there, then, good philosophical arguments for preferring one of these competing notions of God's eternity to the other? pressed Gladstone. Those who try to think about God and time are pressing the very limits of human understanding. A relational view of time seems superior to a Newtonian view because (1) it is difficult to see how time could exist apart from events and (2) the Newtonian objection that every instant of time implies a prior instant is adequately answered by the relational view. Historical Contingency and Christian Belief, 7909|4009|4016|4023|4029|4035|4041|4046|4051|4056|4060|4064|4068|4071|4073|4075|4077|. A young man came to W. E. Gladstone when he was Prime Minister of England and said, Mr. Gladstone, I would appreciate your giving me a few minutes in which I might lay before you my plans for the future. [17] This would seem to imply that if the universe had an absolute beginning ex nihilo, then time would also have a beginning; but that if the universe had only a relative beginning from a prior quiescent state, then time would not have a beginning. A variant on the above view is expressed by Lawrence Sklar, whose theories of time are heavily influenced by relativity theory. 13.7. We were created for eternity, yet, we fell from eternity, and became bound in time. God is the 'high and lofty One who inhabits eternity', declared the prophet Isaiah, but exactly how we are to understand the notion of eternity is not clear. [12] To say that the universe began to exist on such a time scale would simply be to say that a finite time ago there were no physical objects. According to the Christian doctrine of creatio ex nihilo, the universe began to exist a finite amount of time ago. Scripture: Psalms 103:15-18. But, he adds, without physical objects, time could not be measured: one could not distinguish an hour from a day in a period of time without objects. Please try again. The first moment of time is not a self-contradictory concept. [7]. He called the creation, including the reality of time, “very good” (Genesis 1:31). I found this book very informative and interesting to read. I was hoping since this got good reviews and Craig is talked about highly at least in popular crowds and is not as bad as Richard Dawkins this would be good but not great. Sturch argues that in order to avoid an infinite temporal regress of states of consciousness, God's knowledge must be timeless. Within a Newtonian understanding of time this argument, even if valid, would only imply that the universe had a beginning in time instead of with time. But this doctrine is singularly unconvincing. But in the first place, Wolfe's formulation of the argument is defective, for the contention is that an infinite number of events cannot elapse, not that an infinite time cannot elapse. It is a rewarding experience to read through this brilliant and well-researched book by one of the most learned and creative thinkers of our era.--Quentin SmithProfessor of Philosophy, Western Michigan University. On one usage,which will be followed here, “eternity” stands for therelationship to time that God has, whatever it is. ..if such a thing as a Christian doctrine of time has to be developed, the work of discussing it and developing it must belong not to biblical but to philosophical theology'. Therefore, we need to ask whether there is any absurdity in supposing that time had a beginning. This doctrine receives philosophical confirmation from arguments demonstrating the absurdity of an infinite temporal regress of events [8] and empirical confirmation from the evidence for the so-called 'big-bang' model of the universe. But, in fact, it does seem plausible to contend on a relational view of time that a first instant could exist, since apart from events no time exists. According to this view, God’s relation to time is like that of His relation to physical space. . Then I hope to do gr… HUMAN TEMPORALITY AND DIVINE ETERNITY. God's existence "prior to" or sans creation would not entail the existence of time if God in such a state is changeless. [25] Therefore, the fact that the creator is personal does not necessitate the presence of time prior to creation. Thus, there could be no first instant of time. In this interesting book, Professor Craig tackles this complex set of topics in a clear way. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. “It does not coincide with the present.” It does not precede it or “prolong” it into infinity. [27] Soren Kierkegaard called this the Absolute Paradox; this is the contradiction of existence: the presence of the Eternal in time, how God can enter the space-time world without ceasing to be the Eternal. Great proponents of this view have been people like St. Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas. In contrast to the pagan deities of Israel's neighbors, the Lord never came into … God is the ‘high and lofty One who inhabits eternity’, declared the prophet Isaiah, but exactly how we are to understand the notion of eternity is not clear. Time and Eternity deals with difficult issues in modern physics and brings them into relation with traditional theological doctrines. [11] Therefore, Newton's claims about Absolute Time were correct. We have already seen that authentic Christianity is far more than a "pie in the sky, by and by" religion. There does not appear to be, therefore, any absurdity in the notion of a beginning of time. ISBN-13: 978-1402000119. And a relation of before and after is the primitive relation of which time consists. ISBN-10: 1402000111. Eternity. God’s eternity does not go by with the time of the created world. [6] When this is done, the biblical data are inconclusive: '. It also analyzes reviews to verify trustworthiness. Some philosophers have argued that time cannot have a beginning because every instant of time implies a prior instant. This remarkable work offers an analytical exploration of the nature of divine eternity and God's relationship to time. Ian Hinckfuss, The Existence of Space and Time (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975), pp. Ibid. His work with us is not finished in this life. When we speak of God as eternal, then, we may mean either 'timeless' or simply 'everlasting'. In the same way, to say there was a time when the universe did not exist does not imply there was such a time, but only that we can mentally conceive of such a time. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. [21]. . Those who think about God T are thinking even more deeply still. Something went wrong. A second is no different from an eon; a billion years pass like seconds to the eternal God. God could know the content of all knowledge - past, present, and future - in a simultaneous and eternal intuition. On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision, The Only Wise God: The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge & Human Freedom, Atonement and the Death of Christ: An Exegetical, Historical, and Philosophical Exploration, The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology, The Atonement (Elements in the Philosophy of Religion), God and Time: Four Views (Spectrum Multiview Book Series). R. G. Swinburne, 'The Timelessness of God', Church Quarterly Review CLXVI (1965), 331. Check out these titles from Crossway that cover a wide range of topics. Swinburne argues that time, like space, is of logical necessity unbounded. Thus the answer to the question, 'What was God doing prior to creation?' Eternity is time with an adjective: It is endless time. Would his existence necessitate the presence of time prior to creation? J. R. Lucas, A Treatise on Time and Space (London: Methuen & Co., 1973), pp. On the other hand, those who adhere to a relational view of time generally take the beginning of events to be synonymous with the beginning of time itself. Those who think about God T are thinking even more deeply still. A man was taking it easy, lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. It is also an important issue in theological understandings of the nature of God. Eternity is not, as in Platonic and Neoplatonic thought, supratemporal or nontemporal. 57:15). Lucas argues that a personal God could not be timeless and that if God is eternal, then time must be infinite as well. Then, sir, I would like to gain entrance to the Bar of England. 121-9). [18]. His discussion of the interrelated scientific, philosophical, and theological issues clears up many previous misconceptions and proposes a plausible understanding of the relation of God to time and eternity that many will find helpful.--George EllisProfessor of Mathematics and Applied MathematicsUniversity of Capetown. But if God sustains real relations with the world, the co-existence God, Time, and Eternity: The Coherence of Theism II: Eternity William Lane Craig (auth.) I say this to explain that because of my own ignorance and with many terms in this book only vaguely familiar, I had to brush up on the nomenclature and work my way slowly through the arguments. Time and Eternity deals with difficult issues in modern physics and brings them into relation with traditional theological doctrines. But what does that mean? Top subscription boxes – right to your door, I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament, © 1996-2020, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. p. 36. It has a very thorough treatment of historical philasophical works and how the theory of relativity and its interpretation affect man's perception of time. Craig. The nature of time is a continuing source of puzzlement both to science and in everyday life. The Lord Jesus Christ continually lived in time for our sakes, and in eternity by His very nature. Harvey, Physics and Metaphysics in Hasdai Crescas (1998), ch. [10] For every instant of time must be preceded and succeeded by another instant of time. Most writers who object to a timeless, personal God consider God only subsequent to creation as he is related to human persons, but fail to consider God prior to creation (e.g. In reality there seems to be no impossibility in having time arise concommitantly with the universe ex nihilo. [19]. of time suggests that time also began to exist. Yes, young man, and what then? P. J. Zwart, About Time (Amsterdam and Oxford: North Holland Publishing Co., 1976), p. 237. Thomas Aquinas attempted to solve this problem by arguing that while creatures are really related to God, God sustains no real relation to creatures. Your recently viewed items and featured recommendations, Select the department you want to search in. One other definition states that God exists outside the human concept of time, but also inside of time. [20] On the other hand, this level of abstraction may be illegitimate and may presuppose a time above time. I gave this book only 3 stars not because I think that’s all it’s worthy of, but because many of the parts that didn’t skirt my understanding exceeded it. . But the parts I did understand were insightful and I agree with Craig’s conclusion. Hackett, Theism, pp. John Donnelly (New York: Fordham University Press, 1972), pp. Build a relationship and Time will take the person away from you. Now let’s look at our true nature and see what a difference a change in perspective can make. ADD. . Craig argues his case philosophically by carefully weighing evidence for and against divine temporality and personhood in light of dynamic versus static theories of time and their warrants, in turn, in a Lorentzian interpretation of special relativity and an objective, mind-independent theory of becoming, including fascinating excursions into Big Bang cosmology and the philosophy of mathematics. Given the superiority of a relational over a non-relational (Newtonian) view of time, God ought to be considered as timeless sans creation and temporal subsequent to creation. Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2011. Or is God's relationship to time much more like ours, so that God's eternality just consists in there being no time at which God doesn't exist? Enjoy a wide variety of funny Christian jokes, good clean jokes, and family safe jokes and religious humor. Thus, the proper understanding of God, time, and eternity would be that God exists changelessly and timelessly prior to creation and in time after creation. In religions where eternity is radically contrasted with time, time is seen as an illusion, or utterly subjective, or an ephemeral episode. He has authored or edited over thirty books and is the founder of ReasonableFaith.org, a web-based apologetics ministry. It is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in the problem of time and eternity in Christian philosophy.--Robert RussellProfessor of Theology and ScienceGraduate Theological Union, Berkeley, Calif. God, Time, and Eternity: The Coherence of Theism II: Eternity (v. 2) 2001st Edition by W.L. David Swenson (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1936), pp. For prior to the universe's beginning, if there was nothing at all, not even space, then it would certainly seem to be true that there was no time either. He has carefully given arguments defending several different viewpoints for each of the many issues about time that he discusses, followed by critiques in which he emphasizes his own opinion. The question before us concerns the relationship of God to time. [5] Barr's basic contention is that, 'A valid biblical theology can be built only upon the statements of the Bible, and not on the words of the Bible.' It is in this sense that He could speak of Himself while on earth as "the Son of man which is in heaven" (John 3:13). Brian Ellis, 'Has the universe a beginning in time? Therefore, the issue lies in the lap of the philosopher, not the theologian. Presumably to such thinkers the beginning of the temporal series of events would not entail a beginning to time itself. Please try your request again later. Davidson, Proofs of Eternity, Creation and the Existence of God in Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy (1987), chps. If God sustains any relations to the world, does not this imply that he exists in time? Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologiae Ia. But the case with time is different because we cannot travel freely in time as in space. The former would appear to involve God in time, but the latter would not, for if God is tri-personal he has no need of temporal persons with whom to relate in order to enjoy personal relationships--the three persons of the Godhead would experience perfect and eternal communion and love with no necessity to create other persons. Isaiah proclaims God as "the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity" (Isa. For there was just nothing, and Creation was only a future contingent. Soren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments, trans. On the other hand, if one accepts that time cannot exist apart from events, then a beginning of events would entail a beginning of time as well. Will that change in eternity? Download for offline reading, highlight, bookmark or take notes while you read God, Time, and Eternity: The Coherence of Theism II: Eternity. This serves effectively to rebut the objection of Julian Wolfe to the kalam cosmological argument 'Infinite Regress and the Cosmological Argument', International Journal for Philosophy of Religion II (1971), 246-9. time is the generalized relation of before-and-after extended to all events' (ibid. Craig (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 ratings. Read this book using Google Play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices. Oscar Cullmann, Christ and Time (London: SCM Press, 1962), p. xxvi. There was a problem loading your book clubs. Just as He is omnipresent, He is also omnitemporal. These are difficult conundrums, and it is at least an open question as to whether a beginning of events necessitates a beginning of time. before it ever occurred, especially when its occurrence is a contingent matter? On the other hand, the Newtonian would say God exists in absolute time changelessly and independently prior to creation and that creation simply marks the first event in time. BY Dr. John Koessler Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. As Swinburne explains, ...since God coexists with the world and in the world there is change, surely there is a case for saying that God continues to exist for an endless time, rather than that he is timeless. That this model requires creatio ex nihilo is explained by Fred Hoyle, Astronomy and Cosmology (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman & Co., 1975), p. 658. . Eternity is the full expression of what we have created in time. [29] Hence, God exists timelessly, unrelated to creatures, while creatures in time change in their relations to him. 10-11. Because the argument concerns events, not time, Wolfe's analysis is inapplicable, since prior to creation there were no events at all. is not the old gibe noted by Augustine: 'He was preparing hell for those who pry into mysteries' , but rather, 'He was enjoying the fullness of divine personal relationships, with an eternal determination for the temporal creation and salvation of human persons.' 146-7. As St. John Paul II explained: [H]is eternity . God is simply timeless before the first event. The time that passes on earth is of no consequence from God’s timeless perspective. [28]. Research Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology; Founder, Reasonable Faith, www.reasonablefaith.org. Traditionally, the Christian church has taken it to mean 'timeless'. Sabid Ahmad Kamali (Lahore: Pakistan Philosophical Congress, 1958); Saadia Gaon, The Book of Beliefs and Opinions, trans. To learn more about relationship between God, time, and eternity read Eternal God: A Study of God Without Time by Paul Helm (Oxford University Press). When a physicist says there are no temperatures lower than absolute zero, the use of 'lower than' does not presuppose there actually are such temperatures, but only that we can conceive it in our minds. R. L. Sturch, 'The Problem of Divine Eternity', Religious Studies X (1974), 492. I am certain that Time and Eternity will also stimulate your thinking about this fascinating subject and your appreciation for the God who created time as part of the marvelous universe He has given us.--Don N. PageProfessor of Physics and Fellow of the Cosmology and Gravitation Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced ResearchUniversity of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, William Lane Craig is one the leading philosophers of religion and one of the leading philosophers of time. When God created the world, He created time—there was a “beginning” (Genesis 1:1). But if the universe does come to exist ex nihilo, how could we say this first event has an effect on reality (but of course there was no reality!) The problem becomes especially acute for anyone who holds to the Christian doctrine of the incarnation, for as Nelson Pike urges, 'It could hardly escape notice that the doctrine of God's timelessness does not square well with the standard Christian belief that God once assumed finite, human form (the doctrine of the incarnation).' Though we can, after creation, think of nothingness one hour before the first event, in terms of reality, there was no such moment. That time could neither begin nor end great statesman, and Thomas Aquinas argues. One hand, this level of abstraction may be illegitimate and may presuppose a time above time CLXVI ( )! [ London: SCM Press, 1962 ), pp this book very informative and interesting read! 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