Michael wrote:"God has always been temporal"?
Tom: God is also described in Scripture as the God “who was, and is, and is to come.” That sure looks like a straightforward ascription of temporal existence to God. God has a past, a present, and a future
TGB wrote:Stellar: I understand what he stated, but I was talking about the pseudo-problem that seemed to rise as a result. There was a seeming issue that said, 'once' God decided to become temporal, he couldn’t take it back anymore because that would be logically inconsistent.
Tom: Right. But he has a good point here. If a temporal reality comes into being and endures for some time, then God subsequently annihilates it and returns to a pre-creation state in which God is the only reality there is, then it would be the case that this final state ‘followed’ the closure of time, or more simply, the ‘temporal’ status of the creation God created and then annihilated would remain temporal and, as such, be known by God temporally. That is, the temporal status of the annihilated world as “past” would by definition be “remembered” by God and THAT is something a timeless God cannot do. It’s Craig’s argument (and he’s convinced me) that temporal truths and temporal realities can only be ‘known’ (i.e., experienced) temporally.
TGB wrote:Stellar: So, since there was no point in time, no 'once' in which God decided to create time, it always was, and is thus an essential part of his being.
Tom: Craig would disagree that God’s decision to create IS the first temporal moment (and not timeless), so that there was a point in time (namely, the first moment of time) at which point God chose to create, and this choice of course brings the world into being.
Here’s the thing (and Craig argues this as well). Let G = God. Let d = God’s choice to create. Let C = the coming into being of creation. Here’s the argument:
Gd ---> C (If Gd then C, or IF God chooses to create, then creation comes into being).
It seems just that simple to me. If God chooses or determines to create (that is, if God says “Let there be…”) then it follows necessarily that what he calls into being comes into being. God cannot call X into being (as an act of creation) and X fail to come into being. So if God’s calling X into being (or his creative command) is a ‘necessary’ or ‘essential’ part of his being, then so does that which he calls into being exist necessarily.
TGB wrote:Aquinas tries (succeeds some think) to argue that God’s creative command or decision to create can be an essential or necessary part of his being while creation exists contingently. I can’t get it to work, so it’s not an option for me.
TGB wrote:Stellar: Yes, perhaps God does choose the nature of his own existence…
Tom: But choice itself PRESUMES a concrete nature and set of dispositions BY WHICH one chooses.
TGB wrote:Stellar: But my point is that God's timelessness is not a past attribute even while being a present one. God's timelessness, even his timelessness in 'the past' is always NOW. It cannot be past tense because there IS NO past in the timeless realm. It is ALWAYS NOW…
Tom: The problem is, Stellar, that in a timeless realm there is no “now” either (no past, no present, no future).
Those who employ the “eternal now” perspective talk about divine timelessness, but what they really mean is something more like Hugh Ross’s ‘supratime’ in which God has a real temporal existence that somehow incorporates the entirety of our past, present, and future. But at some point I just have to ask myself why come up with such elaborate schemes? What’s motivating it? Are we multiplying explanations needlessly?
TGB wrote:Stellar: …thus why He is called the I AM and the God of the resurrection and the life and why Jesus said that Abraham saw His day, because in God, ALL is alive, and all is NOW.
Tom: God is also described in Scripture as the God “who was, and is, and is to come.” That sure looks like a straightforward ascription of temporal existence to God. God has a past, a present, and a future. When I think of God as the great “I am” I don’t imagine at all that the writer is speculating on the temporal status of God’s essence or anything like that. I think, far more simply, God wants to reveal himself as an ever-present, abiding and sufficient reality for his people.
TGB wrote:I don’t at all get your reasoning for (first) ‘why’ the Father should exist timelessly but the Son temporally and then (secondly) ‘how’ the relation is real and experienced by the Father. Can you tell me again what this is supposed to explain?
If we know God is REALLY timeless and has no past, present or future, then shouldn’t that truth prevail and determine our faith? I think so. But once we're given over to the truth that God is timeless, it’s difficult to see the relevance in describing him as the GOD WHO was, is, and is to come. If divine timelessness works for a person, I wouldn't try to take it away. But it jus doesn't solve any problems for me.
That much is Craig’s view too. No more atemporal anything since creation.
Michael wrote:Any theology (be it process or open) that would require us to believe in a God who exists only in time, and already existed for an unending eternity before He decided to create anything (when the logical difficulty here has been recognized for millennia) would in effect shut the door of heaven to anyone who was able to see the difficulties.
God’s sans creation mode of existence IS gone because there is no sans creation existing for God now that creation is here and experienced by God.
There’s no mistaking his view on this
M: It's like saying "forget Gallileao, you must believe a stationary earth is at the center of the universe." That's what you're doing here Tom.
T: I don’t want to do that and don’t think I am doing that
T: But M, what you seem reluctant to even countenance is how impossible it is to express the view that God is atemporal AND the fullness of love without (in MY view) a contradiction in terms—an atemporal consciousness, a loving relation that is not a felt experience of satisfaction?
Would you like me to become an atheist? I could suggest that this is what you're asking me to do.
Jump in anytime Jason. I don't know that I have anything more to add.
Michael, I appreciate the so-called evidence from drug-induced visions.
but those are anything but "atemporal" states. They are entirely temporal. They began in time, endured for a time, and then ended at a later time. If the subject lost a "sense" of time, that does not constitute a short spell of timeless existence.
Sorry about mis-stating the place of drugs...and about your friend.
I think Michael and I are stuck in a timeless debate! Ha.
I'm happy there are a multiplicity of views out there on this stuff to show that theism doesn't require any particular positoin on it.
Zimmerman's position is basically the same as Alan Padget (Luther Sem, St. Paul). Both argue NOT for atemporal divine existence sans creation (Alan for some of the same reasons I oppose atemporal existence) but for what Alan terms "amorphous time" or metaphysical time. When they unpack it, it's basically what Dean describes--divine psychological time that is not absolute timelessness but an unmeasued flow of consciousness. There's no "sense" of time because one is so caught up in the "moment." And if there is no "metric" or measurement, ther are no "discrete" moments. Nothing to count, so to speak. So no actual infinite is generated by saying God is temporal in this sense. It's qualified temporality to be sure, not qualified timelessness. It's timeless in the sense that no measurement of time is taken or perceived (by God). But it's temporal in the sense that there is conscious self-awareness and the perception/experience of personal loving being.
I suppose one could add that in this case the CONTENT of God's self-perception (the only perception or experience there would be) is unchanging. There's a past, present and future to it but no measurement of it. The content of the present is identicle to that of the past (and to what the future shall be), and because the content is unchanging, and that content is all there is to speak of, there is no change, though--technicaly speaking--there is the unchanging flow of conscious experience.
If Dean or Padget or somebody can really make this work, all the better. But it's been out there for some time. Padget has written quite a bit about it, and Craig treats it pretty thoroughly. I'm not sure it works...
TGB wrote:Tom: What’s wrong Michael? Why so upset with me? I haven’t suggested we not get into these questions or do our very best trying to answer them.
TGB wrote: I have offered real thoughts
TGB wrote:What I have said here is that after one has done all one can to answer a question and one still cannot claim to “know” (i.e., possess justified true belief), then one will have to live with the tension of not having the certainty one would like to have
TGB wrote:If it was absolutely necessary to our faith that we have certain answers...
TGB wrote:But what not knowing the answer to “time” doesn’t do is trouble my faith and experience of God, and I’ve tried to suggest that it need to trouble or shipwreck anybody’s faith.
firstborn888 wrote:Thanks for a really interesting thread Michael.
Well, I can't let my former post be my final one now
Tom: I haven't "boasted" about my faith at all, Michael.
Tom: I offered (and not just in my previous post, but earlier) what I thought was a completely rational option: when faced with two contrary claims both of which appear to have their own independent evidence for being true, then you have to hold them in tension and suppose either that there are other options you can't perceive or that one of the two options before you isn't true
there really are other respected and accomplished thinkers and persons of faith who have taken just as much time to think about this as anyone else and who yet reject divine timelessness.
you'll have to excuse me for not being able to take you seriously after accusing me of suggestig we turn our brains off, shelve them, and ignore intellectual questions.
T: How did I ‘boast’ about my faith?
M: You've said more than once that you can only conceive of a personal God existing temporally, and if that implies He transversed an actual infinite (despite the logical incongruity you now say you recognize) it doesn't disturb your faith at all.
T: I qualified it just tiny bit differently (that is, it included what I said about assuming there’s a resolution between contradictory options that I can’t see)
but never mind that. How in the world is this “boasting”? How am I “boasting” if I say I cannot conceive of a personal God existing atemporally? I don’t get it. You can’t conceive of a God traversing an actual infinite but your faith doesn’t seem to have a problem with atemporal personhood. Should I accuse you of boasting about your faith?
T: You're quite right. But if you'd look at what I actually said you'll see that I didn’t say A and B cancel each other out and there must be a C. Once more…
Let’s say we have independent support for thinking that both A and B are true. Fine.
Let’s then say we have good reasons to suppose that A and B can’t BOTH be true. They’re either contradictory or contrary propositions, but we don’t know which. If they’re truly contradictory, then by definition (I know you like logic!), and given bivalence, one is true and the other is false. If they’re contrary propositions, then by definition they may both be false but may not both be true.My point, Michael, is that if A and B can’t both be true but we have independent reasons for thinking they’re both true, THEN either a) we’re mistaken in thinking they can’t both be true (and they both are). This isn’t likely to be the case with temporal vs atemporal existence, or b) both are false (because they’re contrary and not contradictory propositions) and some other option we haven’t even considered yet might be what’s in fact true, or c) they’re contradictory props, in which one of A or B is false and one is true but we can’t yet adjudicate which is which
M: I'll take Zimmerman as evidence of that (but I had to point out how he avoided the problem of an actual infinite, and you still do him an injustice here.)
T: I did Dean an injustice? Dude, I can’t even nail his view down. I said it seems to me like he’s arguing the same thing I know Padget argues—i.e., an amorphous (i.e., non-metrical) time. Conscious experience ‘flows’ and there’s a before and an after, but there is no measurement taken of it or even an awareness of it.But that much does him no injustice.
Michael wrote:Kudos to you for reaching into this deep thought process. It's a noble endeavor for sure
There's nothing noble about it, but there are times when we all question our faith (and at such times it's sometimes necessary to delve into things you've comfotably shelved in the past.)
I wish to God I still had other, more important things to do.
Copy that. I never thought I would experience the level of doubt I have experienced because of the fact that my rebirth was so real and profound/supernatural. Plus the many many confirmations in corporate worship etc.Michael wrote:If I didn't believe in a personal God who has a purpose for all this (and that "all live unto Him"), I believe I'd end my life right now.
As I understand Zimmerman and Padget (Padget’s easier to understand than Zimmerman), they’re basically offering a qualified version of temporal being, not a THIRD option in addition to ‘temporal’ and ‘atemporal’ modes of being. And their qualification is that sans creation God is psychologically unaware of the passage or flow of conscious experience. There are no clocks or any discrete ‘moments’ of experience that could serve as ‘countable’. So the actual infinite is avoided and God still gets enough flow to his experience. I might be understanding them wrongly, Bro
M: …(and if you understood the alternative offered by Zimmerman or Padjet, you made no attempt to enlighten us.) That amounts to "suggesting we turn our brains off, shelve them, and ignore intellectual questions."
T: It doesn’t amount to that actually. You chose to understand me that way, but my not saying more, or as much as you wished, might be explained in other ways. For example, it might be that I simply assumed you understood that if ‘atemporal’ and ‘temporal’ are contradictories and I was rejecting one (atemporality), then my alternative was to hold that God is temporal. If you offer me A or ~A and I reject ~A, then by definition I've affirmed A. I didn’t know I ‘had’ to spell it out. But nevrtheless, that may be poor communicating on my part. But it doesn’t amount to suggesting that we turn our brains off, shelve them, and ignore intellectual questions.
if being a person requires feeling, knowing, and willing, and these can constitute the fullness of personal existence while being absolutely unchanging in every respect, then what ARE your problems with atemporal personhood? You say first here that you did (or do?) have a problem with atemporal personhood. Just what problems do you have with it? In other words, if unchanging feeling, knowing, and willing are not problematic qualities, what qualities constitute the objectionable sort of atemporal experience that you do have problems with? Hope my question here is clear.
Do you take temporal and atemporal to be contradictory or contrary modes of being?
Given the fact that you agree that ‘atemporal’ and ‘temporal’ are contradictory [and so by definition incompatible] modes of being
given your understanding of Zimmerman’s psychological time (etc.)—would you say Zimmerman is promoting the view that God is ‘atemporal’ or ‘temporal’? In other words, this ‘psychological’ or ‘amorphous’ time that Zimmerman (and I think Padget) promotes—is it in your opinion essentially ‘temporal’ or ‘atemporal’ existence?
It's at least traditionally believed that angels as immaterial beings were created prior to the pysical world. It's conceivable at least. But this would mean a genuine temporal before and after prior to there being ANY physical laws. So "temporal passage" doesn't by definition require a physical world at all (if angels are immaterial spirits and precede the creation of matter).
TGB wrote:Tom: That helps, Michael. Thank you. This is a point on which we'll differ, and on which (my guess is) you'll differ from Zimmerman, for he surely believes that temporal and a-temporal are mutually exclusive states. This was Craig's point too.
TGB wrote:One can try to affirm that God is in one sense timeless/atemporal while also being in another sense temporal, but a) that's just to admit their mutual incompatibility it seems to me, and b) I'm happy to say that I'm not the only one who thinks the marriage of both in one undivided being is a meaningless supposition.
there is nothing in the Unconscious that corresponds to the idea of time, no recognition of the passage of time and no alteration in its mental processes
TGB wrote:I'm happy to say that I'm not the only one who thinks the marriage of both in one undivided being is a meaningless supposition.
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