A God Not Bound by Space and Time
We rightly find great comfort in the Incarnation—“the Word became human and made his home among us” (John ). This truth helps us feel that Jesus can. The eternity of God is contrasted with the temporality of man. Our lives are but short and frail, but God does not weaken or fail with the passage of time. "For something to exist forever it must be bound by time. BTW, I think "beyond space and time is the correct formula, not "infinite space and time" .. but that's significantly logically downwind from the debate about God's relationship to time.
It is we who are restricted by them. Because God has created time, He is beyond it, and therefore, the laws of time do not apply on Him at all.
Yet, as human beings, we cannot understand things unless they are made clear to us in our own language. Will you be able to explain to him about how a factory works the same way you will explain to a year-old person?
Why do you not speak the same language, using the same vocabulary, and the same sentences? The simple answer is that the knowledge of a 4-year-old boy is not enough to enable him to understand the details given to a year-old person. Therefore, it is a fact that based on our experiences and limitations, we do understand or perceive things in certain ways. In fact, if things are presented to us in a way that is higher than our understanding and intellect, it will be very difficult for us to understand them It is for this purpose that the verse you have referred to has been revealed: Allah wants to tell people that the Day of Judgment is immensely long.
This is what a human mind can visualize. Rather, it is a descriptive word that describes how long it is. To Him, all these terms of day and number do not mean anything and do not carry any significance. It is us who need them to understand and realize things around us. I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch. Leftow allows that in the life of a timeless God and a metaphysically simple God there are distinct points.
He insists that these points are not parts in the life of God. Therefore God is not a being whose life contains distinct parts. He is metaphysically simple. His life does contain points that are ordered sequentially, however.
So the QTE God with its sequential points allows God to have the sort of duration that Fitzgerald wanted, yet be timeless. In this way, the QTE concept of timeless duration is more satisfactory than the one put forward by Stump and Kretzmann. Timeless duration, in Leftow's understanding, shares features with temporal duration. In a recent essay, he defends the idea that such features can be shared without rendering God temporal Leftow He distinguishes between those properties that make something temporal and those that are typically temporal.
A typically temporal property TTP is a property that is typical of temporal events and which helps make them temporal. Having some TTP is not sufficient to make an event a temporal event, however. What will make an event temporal is having the right TTPs.
Leftow notes that nearly everyone who argues that God is timeless also holds that God's life has at least some TTPs. For example, being wholly future relative to some temporal event is a TTP; but God, even if he is temporal, does not have that property. God has no beginning. As a result his life is not wholly future to any temporal event. God's life, like any life, is an event, but it is one in which time does not pass and in which no change takes place. This description captures what is meant by a timeless duration.
While having a duration and being an event are each cases of TTPs, Leftow has well-argued that they are not the sort of TTP that only temporal beings can have. God's life, then, can be a timeless duration. Which other TTPs does God have if he is timeless? God's life also has a present, Leftow argues.
Having a present is a TTP, but God's present is a non-temporal present. God's "now" is not a temporal now. Not all whens are times, however.
Eternity, in the sense of being a timeless location, can also be a when see also Leftow A timeless God can be present, though not temporally present, to the world. He can have a life which is an event having duration, though not temporal duration. So the critics of Stump and Kretzmann are correct in so far as they argue that these properties are the sort of things that make their bearers temporal. It may be that though things that have these properties are typically temporal, they are not necessarily so.
Timelessness with No Duration Katherin Rogershas argued that both Leftow and Stump and Kretzmann have not succeeded in articulating a compelling, or even coherent, notion of divine timeless duration.
She challenges their claims that the views of timelessness found in Boethius and other medieval thinkers include duration. These texts, she argues, are at best ambiguous. Given their background in Plotinus and Augustine, Rogers argues that it is better not to read these philosophers as attributing duration to the life of God. Augustine and Anselm especially express the notion of timelessness by the use of the notion of the present. Even if the medieval thinkers did think of timelessness as involving duration, the more difficult question is whether we ought to think about it in this way.
Rogers points out that both Stump and Kretzmann and Leftow, in defending the notion of divine timelessness against common objections do not make use of their distinctive notions of timeless duration at all. Furthermore, the explanations given of the coherence of timeless duration are not compelling. Stump and Kretzmann use the analogy of two parallel lines Stump and Kretzmann The higher one is completely illuminated all at once while the lower has illuminated a point at a time moving with uniform speed.
The light on each line represents the indivisible present. The entirety of the timeless line is one indivisible present while each point on the temporal line is a present one at a time. In this way the life of God is stretched out, so to speak, along side temporal reality. This analogy breaks down at crucial points. Rogers argues that the line representing timelessness call this line, "E" either is made of distinct points or it is not.
It if is not, then timelessness has no duration. If it is, then these points must correspond in some way to the points on the temporal line called "T". The geometric aspect of the analogy is strained considerably when it is seen that some point on T call it T1 is going to be much closer to a point on E E1 then the point T will be.
Yet all of God's life must stand in the same relation to each point in time, if God is to be truly timeless. Rogers points out that such an analogy is never found in the medieval writers. Their favorite geometric analogy is the circle and the point at the center. The circle represents all of time and the dot, timelessness. Timelessness stands in the same relation to each point along the temporal array. The point itself has no extension or parts. If God is a QTE being, then his timeless life does have earlier and later points.
These are not experienced by God sequentially, however. They are experienced all at once in the one timeless now. Rogers argues that Leftow has two options. Either he must argue for a principled distinction between there being moments in God's life and his experiencing these moments such that the moments can exist sequentially but be experienced all at once or he must grant that earlier and later moments of God's life can also be simultaneous. Neither alternative increases the plausibility or the clarity of the claim that God's life has timeless duration.
Rogers offers a non-geometric analogy, found in Augustinethat captures the relation between a timeless God and temporal reality. God's relation to the world is similar to human memory of the past. Just as in one present mental exercise, a human being can call to mind a whole series of events that are themselves sequential, God in his timeless state can know the whole sequence of temporal events non-sequentially.
Rogers's position, then, is that God's timeless life does not involve duration. She does not think that denying duration to God's life reduces it to some kind of frozen or static existence. These terms are temporal in nature.
They each imply a motionless state through a period of time. She writes, "With the exception of lacking extension, God is nothing like a geometric point" Rogers,p His life does, however, lack extension. Arguments for Divine Timelessness Although there are many arguments for the claim that God is timeless, this essay will look at three of the most important. These are arguments concerning God's knowledge of future free actions, the fullness of God's life, and God's creation of the universe.
In addition, we will look at some responses to these arguments. God's Knowledge of the Future The most prominent argument for divine timelessness is that this position offers a solution to the problem of God's foreknowledge of free actions.
What is God's relationship to time?
The challenge of reconciling human freedom and divine omniscience is best seen if we presume that God is temporal. If God is omniscient and infallible, he knows every truth, and he is never mistaken. If human beings are free in a libertarian sense, then some actions a person performs are up to her in the sense that she can initiate or refrain from initiating the action. The problem arises if it is supposed that someone will in the future choose freely some particular action.
Suppose Jeanie will decide tomorrow to make a cup of tea at 4: If this is a free act on her part, it must be within her power to make the cup of tea or to refrain from making it.
If God is in time and knows everything, then hundreds of years ago, he already knew that Jeanie would make the cup of tea. When tomorrow comes, can Jeanie refrain from making the cup of tea? As Nelson Pike has argued, Pike she can do so only if it is within her power to change what it was that God believed from the beginning of time. So, although God has always believed that she would make the tea, she must have the power to change what it was that God believed.
She has to be able to make it the case that God always believed that she would not make the cup of tea. Many philosophers have argued that no one has this kind of power over the past, so human freedom is not compatible with divine foreknowledge.
If God is timeless, however, it seems that this problem does not arise. God does not believe things at points in time and Jeanie does not, therefore, have to have power over God's past beliefs. She does need power over his timeless beliefs.
This power is not seen to be problematic because God's timeless knowledge of an event is thought to be strongly analogous to our present knowledge of an event. It is the occurring of the event that determines the content of our knowledge of the event. So too, it is the occurring of the event that determines the content of God's knowledge.
If Jeanie makes a cup of tea, God knows it timelessly. If she refrains, he knows that she refrains. God's knowledge is not past but it is timeless.
One might argue that even if God is temporal, the content of his foreknowledge is determined by the occurring of the event in the same way. This claim, of course, is true. There are two items which allow for difficulty here. First, it is only in the case of a temporal God foreknowing Jeanie's making tea that she needs to have counterfactual power over the past, Second, if God knew a hundred years ago that she was going to make tea, there is a sense in which she can "get in between" God's knowledge and the event.
In other words, the fact that God knows what he knows is fixed before she initiated the event. If it is a free choice on her part, she can still refrain from making the tea. Her decision to make tea or not stands temporally between the content of God's beliefs and the occurring of the event.
The position that God is timeless is often cited as the best solution to the problem of reconciling God's knowledge of the future and human freedom. If God is timeless, after all, he does not foreknow anything. Boethius, Anselm, Aquinas and many others have appealed to God's atemporality to solve this problem.
While the proposal that God is timeless seems to offer a good strategy, at least one significant problem remains.
This problem is that of prophecy. Suppose God tells Moses, among other things, that Jeanie will make a cup of tea tomorrow. Now we have a different situation entirely. While God's knowledge that Jeanie will make a cup of tea is not temporally located, Moses' knowledge that Jeanie will make tea is temporally located. Furthermore, since the information came from God, Moses cannot be mistaken about the future event WiderkerWierenga, The prophet problem is a problem, some will argue, only if God actually tells Moses what Jeanie will do.
God, it seems, does not tell much to Moses or any other prophet. After all, why should God tell Moses?
Moses certainly does not care about Jeanie's cup of tea. Since prophecy of this sort is pretty rare, we can be confident that God's knowledge does not rule out our freedom. Some have argued, however, that if it is even possible for God to tell Moses or anyone else for that matter what Jeanie will do, then we have a version of the same compatibility problem we would have if we held that God is in time and foreknows her tea making.
We could call this version, the "possible prophet" problem. If the possible prophet problem is serious enough to show that God's timeless knowledge of future acts future, that is, from our present vantage point is incompatible with those acts being free, then holding God to be timeless does not solve the problem of foreknowledge.
The Fullness of God's Being In thinking about God's nature, we notice that whatever God is, he is to the greatest degree possible. He knows everything that it is possible to know. He can do anything that it is possible to do. He is maximally merciful. This "maximal property idea" can be applied as well to the nature of God's life. God is a living being. He is not an abstract object like a number.
He is not inanimate like a magnetic force. If whatever is true of him is true of him to the greatest degree possible, then his life is the fullest life possible. Whatever God's life is like, he surely has it to the fullest degree.
Some philosophers have argued that this fact about God's life requires that he be timeless. No being that experiences its life sequentially can have the fullest life possible.
Temporal beings experience their lives one moment at a time. The past is gone and the future is not yet. The past part of a person's life is gone forever.
He can remember it, but he cannot experience it directly. The future part of his life is not yet here. He can anticipate it and worry about it, but he cannot yet experience it.
He only experiences a brief slice of his life at any one time.
The life of a temporal thing, then, is spread out and diffuse. It is the transient nature of our experience that gives rise to much of the wistfulness and regret we may feel about our lives. This feeling of regret lends credibility to the idea that a sequential life is a life that is less than maximally full.
Older people sometimes wish for earlier days, while younger people long to mature. We grieve for the people we love who are now gone. We grieve also for the events and times that no longer persist. When we think about the life of God, it is strange to think of God longing for the past or for the future. The idea that God might long for some earlier time or regret the passing of some age seems like an attribution of weakness or inadequacy to God.
God in his self-sufficiency cannot in any way be inadequate. If it is the experience of the passage of time that grounds these longings, there is good reason not to attribute any experience of time to God. Therefore, it is better to think of God as timeless. He experiences all of his life at once in the timeless present. Nothing of his life is past and nothing of it is future.
Boethius' famous definition of eternity captures this idea: Boethius contrasts this timeless mode of being with a temporal mode: However, those who think that God is in some way temporal do not want to attribute weakness or inadequacy to God. Nor do they hold that God's life is less than maximally full.
They will deny, rather, that God cannot experience a maximally full life if he is temporal. These philosophers will point out that many of our regrets about the passage of time are closely tied to our finitude. It is our finitude that grounds our own inadequacy, not our temporality.
We regret the loss of the past both because our lives are short and because our memories are dim and inaccurate. God's life, temporal though it may be, is not finite and his memory is perfectly vivid. He does not lose anything with the passage of time. Nor does his life draw closer to its end. If our regrets about the passage of time are more a function of our finitude than of our temporality, much of the force of these considerations is removed. One important issue that this argument concerning the fullness of God's life ought to put to rest is the idea that those who hold God to be timeless hold that God is something inert like a number or a property.
Whether or not they are correct, the proponent of timelessness holds that it is the fullness of God's life rather than its impoverishment that determines his relation to time. God and the Creation of the Universe Another argument for God's timelessness begins with the idea that time itself is contingent. If time is contingent and God is not, then it is at least possible that God exist without time. This conclusion is still far from the claim that God is, in fact, timeless but perhaps we can say more.
If time is contingent, then it depends upon God for its existence. Either God brought time into existence or he holds it in existence everlastingly. The claim that time is contingent, though, is not uncontroversial. Arguments for the necessity of time will be considered below. If God created time as part of his creation of the universe, then it is important whether or not the universe had a beginning at all. Although it might seem strange to think that God could create the universe even if the universe had no beginning, it would not be strange to philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas.
Working within the Aristotelean framework, he considered an everlasting universe to be a very real possibility. He argued in his third way that even a universe with an infinite past would need to depend upon God for its existence. In his view, even if time had no beginning, it was contingent. God sustains the universe, and time itself, in existence at each moment that it exists.
The majority position today is that the universe did have a beginning. What most people mean by this claim is that the physical universe began. It is an open question for many whether time had a beginning or whether the past is infinite.
If the past is infinite, then it is metaphysical time and not physical time that is everlasting. Arguments such as the Kalam Cosmological Argument aim to show that it is not possible that the past is infinite Craig and Smith, ; Craig b. Suppose time came into existence with the universe so that the universe has only a finite past. This means that physical time was created by God. It may be the case that metaphysical time is infinite or that God created "pure duration" metaphysical time also.
In the latter case, God had to be timeless. God created both physical and metaphysical time and God existed entirely without time. God, then, had to be timeless. Unless God became temporal at some point, God remains timeless.
Divine Temporality The position that God is temporal sometimes strikes the general reader as a position that limits the nature of God. Philosophers who defend divine temporality are committed to a similar methodology to that held by those who are defenders of timelessness.
They aim to work within the parameters of historical, biblical orthodoxy and to hold to the maximal property idea that whatever God is, he is to the greatest possible degree.
Thus, proponents of divine temporality will hold that God is omniscient and omnipotent. God's temporality is not seen as a limit to his power or his knowledge or his being. Those who hold to a temporal God often work on generating solutions to the challenge of divine foreknowledge and human freedom. They work within the notion that God knows whatever can be known and is thus omniscient.
Even those philosophers who argue that God cannot know future free actions defend divine omniscience. They either think that there are no truths about future free actions or that none of those truths can be known, even by God Hasker, and Pinnock et al. God is omniscient because he knows everything that can be known. Divine temporality is not a departure from orthodox concepts of God.
In fact, it is often the commitment to biblical orthodoxy itself that generates the arguments that God is best thought of as temporal.
Two of these arguments will be discussed: Arguments for Temporality a. Divine Action in the World God acts in the world. He created the universe and he sustains it in existence. God's sustaining the universe in its existence at each moment is what keeps the universe existing from moment to moment. If, at any instant, it were not sustained, it would cease to exist.
If God sustains the universe by performing different actions at different moments of time, then he changes from moment to moment. If God changes, then he is temporal. God's interventions in the world are often interactions with human beings. He redeems his people, answers their prayer, and forgives their sin. He also comes to their aid and comforts and strengthens them. Can a proponent of divine timelessness make sense of God interacting in these ways?
It all depends, of course, on what the necessary conditions for interaction turn out to be. If it is not possible to answer a request a prayer unless the action is performed after the request, then the fact that God answers prayer will guarantee that he is temporal. Some thinkers have thought that an answer can be initiated only after a request. Others have argued that, although answers to requests normally come after the request, it is not necessary that they do so.WHERE DID GOD COME FROM? • Excellent Incredible Answer !!!
In order to count as an answer, the action must occur because of the request. Not any because of relation will do, however. An answer is not normally thought of as being caused by the request, yet a cause-effect relation is a kind of because of relation. Answers are contingent whereas effects of causes are in some sense necessary. The because of relation that is relevant to answering a request has to do with intention or purpose.
In some cases, it seems that it is not necessary for the request to come before the answer. If a father knows that his daughter will come home and ask for a peanut butter sandwich, he can make the sandwich ahead of time. There is some sense in which he is responding to her request, even if he has not yet been asked. If the relation between a request and an answer is not necessarily a temporal one, then a timeless God can answer prayer.
He hears all our prayers in his one timeless conscious act and in that same conscious act, he wills the answers to our various requests. Perhaps the effects of God's actions are located successively in time but his acting is not.
Question #16 The Nature of Time and God’s Relationship to it
In one eternal act he wills the speaking to Moses at one time and the parting of the sea at another. So Moses hears God speaking from the bush at one time and much later Moses sees God part the sea.
But in God's life and consciousness, these actions are not sequential. He wills timelessly both the speaking and the parting. The sequence of the effects of God's timeless will does not imply that God's acts themselves are temporal. Divine Knowledge of the Present Although God's knowledge of the future is thought by many to be a strong support for divine timelessness, many philosophers think that God's knowledge of the present strongly supports his temporality.
If God knows everything, he must know what day it is today. If God is timeless, so the argument goes, he cannot know what day it is today. Therefore, he must be temporal.
This argument is put forward in various ways by Craig, a, b; DeWeese, ; Hasker, ; Kretzmann, ; Padgett,and Wolterstorff, To get at the claim that a timeless God cannot know what day it is, we can start with the facts that a timeless God cannot change and that God knows everything it is possible to know.
But if God knows that today is December 13,tomorrow he will know something else. He will know that yesterday it was December 13, and that today is December 14, So God must know different things at different times.
If the contents of God's knowledge changes, he changes. If he changes, he is temporal and not timeless. The quick answer to this concern is to deny that God knows something different at different times.
First, it is obvious that someone who holds that God is timeless does not think that God knows things at times at all. God's knowings are not temporally located even if what he knows is temporally located. It is not true, it will be insisted, that God knows something today. He knows things about today but he knows these things timelessly. God knows that today is December 13 in that he knows that the day I refer to when I use the word "today" in writing this introduction is December When we raise the question again tomorrow "Can a timeless God know what day it is today?
Temporal indexical terms such as "today," "tomorrow," and "now" refer to different temporal locations with different uses. In this way they are similar to terms such as "here," "you," and "me. Since indexical terms may refer to different items with different uses, we can make such sentences more clear by replacing the indexical term with a term whose reference is fixed.
The sentence, "I am now typing this sentence" can be clarified by replacing the indexical terms with other terms that make the indexicals explicit. For example, "I type this sentence at In the same way, "I am now writing here" can be clarified as "Ganssle writes on December 13, at Furthermore, the content of his knowledge does not need to change day to day.
The proposition expressed by a non-indexical sentence is true timelessly or everlastingly if it is true at all. The proposition expressed by the sentence, "Ganssle types this sentence at God can know these things and be changeless. He can, therefore, be timeless. There are many philosophers who reject this quick answer on the grounds that God can know all of the non-indexical propositions and still not know what is happening now.
This kind of objection raises the second approach to the question of a timeless God's knowledge of the present. This approach is not through change but through omniscience. I can know that you type a sentence at some date call the date, t1 without knowing whether or not you are typing the sentence now. I might fail to know that t1 is now. A timeless God can know all propositions expressed by sentences of the form "event e occurs at tn.
In order for God to be omniscient, he must know all propositions. If some sentences are essentially indexical if they do not express the same propositions as sentences of the form "event e occurs at tn"he cannot know them.
If a timeless God cannot know this kind of proposition, he is not omniscient. There have been two basic kinds of responses to this line of argument. The first is to deny that there are propositions that are irreducibly indexical in this way.
In knowing every proposition of the form "event e occurs at tn," God knows every proposition about events. This response is, in effect, a defense of the quick answer given above. While this position has its adherents, it involves a commitment to the B-theory of time.
The B-theory of time also known as the tenseless theory or the stasis theory entails the claim that the most fundamental features of time are the relations of "before," "after," and "simultaneous with. The temporal now is not an objective feature of reality but is a feature of our experience of reality.