Wednesday, March 04, 2015

John Sanders and Time (Short Reflection)

The minor quibble that I have with John Sanders (besides the relations between divine persons idea) is that "duration of consciousness" (i.e., awareness) may be a necessary but it's probably not a sufficient condition for defining what time possibly means in relation to God. It's possible that a subjective view of time doesn't do justice to time itself, much less God's relationship to time.

Thinking (intentional cogitating) is one form of awareness, but there are also forms of consciousness that do not involve thinking per se. The quibble is a small one since I agree with Sanders that time is uncreated. From what I understand, at least, he doesn't believe that time is a created thing.


Duncan said...


This is something I have never thought too deeply about but you sparked my interest & I came across this page which I have found informative as to the wide ranging variations of thought on god a time:-

Not that I really grasp any of it. Since we live within a framework of time I do not think that we can do well, going beyond time as we experience it. What frame of reference do we have out side this?

Edgar Foster said...


The IEP article is good and worth considering. We do seem to be spatio-temporal creatures, who think based on experience and spatio-temporal categories--we apparently have no other frame of reference. To suggest that we can transcend sensory experience, time and space (mentally) would appear to be the height of speculation.

Philip Fletcher said...

I think the problem with the God and time issue, is that people fail to realize that as God doesn't looks at events thru time he is only concerned with what affects his people, being almighty, he can say this is the course events need to take and I am going to make sure it goes in this direction. There is no reference to people outside of God's people. Think China. Really this issue of God and time is not relevant. He only going to intervene in events that affect his people. Can he forsee the future, rather we should say can he make the future the way he wants to. Isaiah 55:10-12. The answer is obvious he can!

Edgar Foster said...

Thank you, Philip. You make some good points on what constitutes an important subject for me.

I don't study this issue like I did in the past, but IMHO, there are important consequences associated with the timelessness of God.

The Bible does talk about the forevision/foreknowledge of Jehovah. For instance, he foresaw events that would happen to his beloved Son. How did he see those events, however, and was he moved by the suffering of Christ (whether before, during or after he suffered)? If God is timeless, then he was not moved by the sufferings of the Son. Anselm wrote that a timtless God does not show compassion although it may appear that he does to us. But is that really the case?



Philip Fletcher said...

We as humans can foresee that we will certainly die,(especially if this present system continues). When we think about a loved one dying, the feelings we experience seem to come alive in us, a deep sorrow. We have these feelings because we are like God. I am sure that Jehovah had such feelings at Jesus death. Really the human Jesus died, in his place, a changed to a spirit,son of God. For God resurrected him that way. The human Jesus is forever gone. And that can easily bring sorrow. But it doesn't last because he is exalted to a superior position. Jehovah doesn't just foresee this, he makes it happen, he causes to become, he wills it so, irregardless to time. In my understanding he makes events so. Not because he can see thru time, but there is nothing that can prevent him from doing so. He made sure that the events that took place in the life of Jesus, went the way he wants it to. He chooses to control certain events that have an affect on his name. There in Exodus we learn all we need to know, Jehovah causes to become what he wants, when he wants it, even in regard to his choosen people. Finally, time is different as we leave the earth, so something more than time, is involved.

Edgar Foster said...


We've often read in our literture where Jehovah was saddened by the harsh treatment that Israel received at enemy hands (Isa 63:9) or he was hurt when Jesus suffered, and it all seems quite biblical. Maybe God can have emotions while being timeless or experience changes in his thoughts, but it's hard for us to understand how it would all work. And those in the churches who believe God is timeless normally also think that God doesn't have emotions. I guess what I'm saying is that the two concepts seem to go hand-in-hand, but maybe not.

My view of Goid and time is haped by Psalm 90:2, but I realize some don't believe that verse is stating that Jehovah is temporal.

As for God being to control the future, I agree that he does control it or that Jehovah controls certain--not all-events. The Bible still talks about him foreknowing and not simply foreordaining.