Jason posted some thoughts at the evangelicals and jws yahoogroup. I wish to interact with some of his remarks.
At one time I also conceived of God's eternal
existence in terms of 'unbounded temporality'.
Whereas I now speak of God (and His Son) as being
'ageless', back then I spoke of God (and His Son) as
having an 'infinite age.' The transition from
thinking in terms of 'unbounded temporality' to
'timelessness' occured for me through the realization
that God's 'age' is a constant; it always remains the
same; it does not increase with the passing of time;
and so, also, it is indivisible. Whatever the correct
answer is to the question: 'How old is God?' the exact
same answer will still be true ten minutes, ten years,
or ten thousand years from now. (Infinity + 1 =
Infinity; Infinity + 2 = Infinity; ect.)
Job 36:26 states: "How great is God—beyond our understanding!
The number of his years is past finding out (NIV)."
Most theologians would probably contend that the language used in Job is metaphorical. God literally does not have years that can be counted, even AD INFINITUM. One might reason that the author of Job is employing poetic turns of phrase. While there is probably the use of metaphor or poetic imagery in Job, I believe that it might make sense to speak of God's "years" in terms of his infinite or boundless existence. Talk of infinity quickly becomes problematic. Aristotle makes a distinction between a potential and actual infinite. He argues that the former may exist, but the latter most assuredly does not for the very reason that Jason states (among other reasons). Since it is possible to successively add numbers AD INFINITUM, Aristotle suggests that potential infinites exist. However, actual [quantitative] infinites do not exist. I would thus content that God's "age" cannot constitute an actual quantitative infinite. At best, the "years" of God represent a potential infinite that can be counted potentially AD INFINITUM.
By reflecting further on this, I came to the
conclusion that God exists both 'independently' of
time (for his 'age' is unaffected by the passing of
time) and 'within' every individual moment of time
'simultaneously' and 'ever-presently' (for, whereas
infinity is indivisible, and the 'present' - i.e., the
unmeasurable, elusive 'instant' of time that 'now' is
- is also indivisible, the past and the future are, by
contrast, divisible, so that what is temporally
indivisible cannot have a past or a future distinct
from its 'present' existence). In other words, I
believe that God is both 'timeless' and 'temporally
omnipresent'. I also hold that it not despite God's
timelessness that He is temporally omnipresent, but
rather that it is precisely because of His
timelessness that He is able to be simultaneously
ever-present in every individual moment of time. I
believe that the one implies the other, and that,
therefore, the question as to how a timeless God can
act in time has no force as an argument against the
position that God is timeless and ageless. I do
believe, however, that the question: 'How can a
time-bound God know the future free actions of His
creatures?" does present a major difficulty for the
'unbounded temporality' conception of God's eternity.
For, I believe that the Scriptures teach both the
omniscience of God (which I understand is denied by
Open Theists and Jehovah's Witnesses) and the free
will of rational creatures.
PACE Jason's position, I submit that the foregoing account that he has presented is a confused delineation of God's temporality or His atemporality. It seems to me that one cannot have it both ways. Either God is atemporal or God is temporal (i.e. sempiternal). It is confusing to posit both that God is timeless and within time. Nelson Pike and Stephen T. Davis argue that a timeless God has neither temporal location (it does not make sense to posit a "before" or "after" of a timeless being) nor temporal extension (a timeless being does not have any duration). Yet, it seems that anything existing within time does have duration of some kind such that it makes sense to say that a temporal entity has lived for 80 years or existed during the entire tenure of the Bush administration. See Davis, Logic and the Nature of God, pp. 10-24.
I'm not going to enter into a discussion of God's foreknowledge and free will now. I believe that this question has already been addressed on the evangelicals and jws board.
Regarding Ps. 90:2, I think that the 'unbounded
temporality' interpretation would be more convincing
if the verse had said: "from olam you have (always)
been God and to olam you will (continue to) be God."
As the text stands however, with its present tense
verb 'are' I believe supports the 'timelessness'
interpretation by way of affirming God's 'temporal
omnipresence'. Don't you think it would be an odd
manner of expression if I were to state: 'from 1977 to
2008, I am Jason'?
First, I believe that the lexical semantics of the text (i.e. the meaning of words used in a text) are on the side of those who believe in an limitlessly temporal or sempiternal God. OLAM can mean hidden or concealed time, that is, concealed from the standpoint of the present. In the case of God, it most certainly does not refer to God's timelessness. Second, you are placing the verb of the text in the wrong place. Psalm 90:2 actually says "from OLAM to OLAM, you ARE God." The writer is not attempting to tell us that God IS from OLAM to OLAM per se. The verb should be construed with the words "you" and "god." Do you see the difference regarding where one places the verb in the text?
To conclude, I offer some observations from Dr. Allan Padgett:
"the OT knows nothing of a timeless God in the Boethian sense” (God, Eternity and the Nature of Time, p. 29).
Padgett even makes the stronger claim that "the Bible knows nothing of an absolute timeless divine eternity" (p. 35). He settles for what he calls "relative divine timelessness" which he admits the Bible does not explicitly teach. Yet, Padgett believes that his view is compatible with biblical statements about God's "eternity" (OLAM) or everlasting nature.
Padgett also writes:
"The everlasting (or at best relatively timeless) nature of God's eternity has been clearly implied in Ps. 90:2,Isa. 40:28, 41:4, 43:10, and 44:6; while Isa. 48:3 allows any view. Eccl. 3:11, too, will not support an absolute timelessness. Thus Schmidt's thesis that the OT supports a Boethian understanding of non-durational timeless eternity cannot be maintained. We can conclude with the vast majority of scholars that Yahweh is understood by OT writers to be everlasting, or at best 'timeless' in a relative sense" (God, Eternity, and the Nature of Time, p. 29).