Time, Eternity, and Eschatology

William Lane Craig

in The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology

Published in print December 2007 |
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

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Time is that dimension of reality whose constituent elements are ordered by relations of “earlier than,” “simultaneous with,” and “later than”, and are experienced by us as past, present, and future. This much, at least, is common property among almost all disputants in debates about the nature of time. Beyond that point, philosophers are deeply divided about the nature of time. The controversy most relevant to the concerns of eschatology is the debate over whether time is tensed or tenseless. We are all familiar with tense as it plays a role in natural languages. Philosophers and theologians are also deeply divided over the nature of divine eternity, debating whether God's eternity is to be construed as a state of timelessness or of infinite, omnitemporal duration. Theories of time intersect crucially with theories of divine eternity and with cosmogony. This is also the case with eschatology, in particular with physical eschatology. This article explores the interface of time, eternity, and eschatology and discusses perdurantism.

Keywords: God; time; eternity; perdurantism; tense

Article.  8239 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Sociology of Religion ; Religious Studies

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