In search of a timeless God
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In contemporary discussions it is often assumed that God cannot be timeless if presentism is true, but that God can be timeless if four-dimensional eternalism is true. I argue that the Christian God cannot be timeless on either ontology of time. Contemporary atemporalists have not fully grasped the details of eternalism, nor fleshed out the implications of eternalism for understanding the Christian doctrines of creation, conservation, and incarnation. Once the details are developed, it can be shown that eternalism is not compatible with divine timelessness. Instead, the Christian God would be temporal as understood on eternalism. In order to demonstrate this, I shall do the following in this thesis. In chapter 1 I shall lay out the relevant desiderata and methods for assessing the doctrine of divine timelessness. Chapter 2 will give an up-to-date discussion of the philosophy of time, and lay out the theories that are needed to understand the doctrine of divine timelessness. Chapter 3 will articulate the traditional doctrine of divine timelessness and develop its systematic connections to the doctrines of divine immutability and simplicity. Chapter 4 shall argue that the classical Christian theologians were committed to presentism. It shall also argue that their commitment to presentism conflicts with their commitment to divine timelessness and omniscience. In chapter 5 I shall argue that classical Christian theology cannot reconcile divine timelessness with their doctrines of creation and conservation. In chapter 6, it will be shown how four-dimensional eternalism can help Christian theology solve some of these problems for divine timelessness. However, it will also be argued that four-dimensional eternalism conflicts with Christian theology, and that four-dimensional eternalism is not compatible with divine timelessness. Chapter 7 offers a thorough examination of the doctrine of the incarnation. It is argued that divine timelessness is not compatible with the incarnation.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy