Article

Divine Eternity

William Lane Craig

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199596539
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199596539.013.0008

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Divine Eternity

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Philosophical theologians have been sharply divided with respect to God's relationship to time. This article examines the principal arguments they have offered for divine timelessness and temporality. Based on the discussion, it appears that the grounds for affirming divine timelessness is comparatively weak, but that there are two powerful arguments in favour of divine temporality. It would seem, then, that we should conclude that God is temporal. But such a conclusion would be premature, for there remains one way of escape still open for defenders of divine timelessness. The argument based on God's action in the world assumes the objective reality of temporal becoming, and the argument based on God's knowledge of the temporal world assumes the objective reality of tensed facts. If one denies the objective reality of temporal becoming and tensed facts, then the arguments are undercut. For, in that case, nothing to which God is related ever comes into or passes out of being, and all facts exist tenselessly, so that God undergoes neither extrinsic nor intrinsic change. He can be the immutable, omniscient Sustainer and Knower of all things and, hence, exist timelessly. In short, the defender of divine timelessness can escape the arguments for divine temporality by embracing the tenseless theory of time. It is noteworthy, however, that almost no defender of divine timelessness has taken this route.

Keywords: God; time; philosophical theology; divine timelessness; temporality

Article.  10548 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion

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