Monday, March 13, 2017

Some Thoughts on the Doctrine of Divine Eternality

Time is not a substance. It is the mind's measurement of motion. So to say that something is temporal is to say that it is in motion and undergoing change. Since God is the Unmoved Mover, He is immutable. Thus He is not temporal, but eternal. Further, since time is duration, God does not endure; He is in His eternal now.
One major objection to divine eternality is that God cannot relate to temporal things, because He would need to be temporal in order to do so.
A response to this objection is the understanding that God does not have to be temporal to bring about temporal change. As the Uncaused Cause, He has willed all causes from His eternal now. This is similar to Him setting up a chain of dominoes from eternity. Where and when the dominoes fall is determined by God in His eternal now. He does not have to be moving when they are moving.
What are your thoughts on God's eternality? Share in the comments below.
Stand firm in Christ,
Chase 


2 comments:

godrulz said...

I agree that time is not a substance/created thing. Unique measures of time are created (sun, moon, stars, clocks), not time as a philosophical concept (absolute time/Newton). Measurement of change is not time since time itself marches on with or without external measures of it. God is personal, dynamic, not static, the Most Moved Mover (Pinnock) rather than Unmoved Mover (Plato's wrong view that any change would be for better or worse vs perfection). Eternal now is Plato, Augustine, Boethius, Aristotle, Aquinas, etc., not biblical, not coherent (see Hasker, Swinburne, Boyd, Sanders, J.R. Lucas, Nicholas Wolterstorff, etc.).

God is eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, experiencing unqualified divine temporality (A theory/presentism), not timeless simultaneity (B theory/eternalism). The incarnation and God's intervention in history is problematic to timeless views. I think your explanation is mental gymnastics to retain a traditional view that is not truth, not biblical, not coherent (Rev. 1:4 tensed expressions used of God; Ps. 90:2 before and after creation). God experiences an endless duration of time (sequence/succession), not incoherent timelessness (personal being must think, act, feel with duration as seen on every page of chronological Scripture). God willing all causes would impugn His character and ways with evil and make a deterministic universe vs one with significant others with a say so in His image.

God is eternal experiencing an endless duration of time, not timeless. I believe this is biblical, defensible, robust, explanatory, coherent.

Chase said...

Welcome to the blog godrulz,

Please clarify your concept of time.

Your statements are in italics.

God is personal, dynamic, not static, the Most Moved Mover (Pinnock)

What does it mean for God to be the Most Moved Mover?

rather than Unmoved Mover (Plato's wrong view that any change would be for better or worse vs perfection).

You are saying that an unchanging God suffers from an imperfection. How could you know this God is imperfect unless you have presupposed an absolute unchanging standard of perfection? An absolute unchanging standard of perfection is what classical theists claim God is.

The incarnation and God's intervention in history is problematic to timeless views.

Again, God does not have to be temporal to bring about temporal change. Think of the chain of dominoes analogy. As for the incarnation, there was a change in one of the divine persons not in the divine nature. The second person of the Trinity took on a human nature and became temporal; there was no change in the divine nature.

God experiences an endless duration of time (sequence/succession)

What do you mean by this? How is this reconciled with the evidence from cosmology that time began with the origin of the universe?

not incoherent timelessness (personal being must think, act, feel with duration as seen on every page of chronological Scripture).

The passages in Scripture which speak of God thinking, acting, and feeling can be taken metaphorically. The writer is recognizing a change, but that change occurs in man not in God. We also must be careful not to predicate our sequential experience of personhood to God. Finally, what do you make of passages that speak of God creating time and existing ontologically prior to time (e.g. Heb. 1:2; 1 Corinth. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2; Jude 25)?

God willing all causes would impugn His character and ways with evil and make a deterministic universe vs one with significant others with a say so in His image.

Not if God willed from eternity that man's causes are voluntary.

Respectfully.