Friday, August 17, 2007

Can a Timeless God ACT in Time?

Robert Bowman has recently argued that "Unfortunately, Andy [a member of his yahoogroup], you are making the mistake of reasoning that if God is eternal, he cannot act in time."


By "eternal," I understand Bowman to mean "timeless" or atemporal. I thus suggest that he is overlooking the difficulties that attend the timeless God doctrine. For it does indeed seem that a timeless God cannot act in time. For temporal categories do not apply to a timeless deity. Such a deity has no temporal location or temporal duration (see Stephen T. Davis' _Logic and the Nature of God_).

Moreover, I recently encountered a quote regarding God's
atemporality in a book written by Brian Hebblethwaite.
The book is entitled _Philosophical Theology and Christian
Doctrine_. This quote is taken from p. 45 of that

"The Christian doctrine of the Incarnation, which we
shall be considering in the next chapter, is very hard
to square with the classical view of [divine] timeless
eternity. But so is the notion of a timeless ACT of
creation. For an act is surely a novel realization of
a prior intention, an actualization of a

In a nutshell (IN NUCE), Hebblethwaite is saying that it is difficult
to understand how a timeless, immutable God becomes man or creates the
universe or acts at all. For the Incarnation doctrine implies that the LOGOS became
flesh, whereas the doctrine of creation indicates that God acted to
bring creation into being EX NIHILO. Both notions appear problematic
in the light of divine atemporality concepts. Scripture indicates that YHWH is from OLAM to OLAM (Psalm 90:2). Some thinkers have construed OLAM (in this context) as unbounded temporality.


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