God and Time, closing words of William Lane Craig

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by quantumfaith, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
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    "Like the incarnation, the creation of the world (universe) is an act of condescension on God's part for the sake of His creatures. Alone in the self-sufficiency of His own being, enjoying the timeless fullness of the intra-Trinitarian love relationships, God had no need for the creation of finite persons. His timeless, free decision to create a temporal world with a beginning is a decision on God's part to abandon timelessness and to take on a temporal mode of existence. He did this, not out of any deficit in Himself or His mode of existence, but in order that finite temporal creatures might come to share the joy and blessedness of the inner life of God. He stooped to take on a mode of existence inessential to His being or happiness in order we might have being and find supreme happiness in Him. His taking a human nature into intimate union with Himself in the incarnation of the Logos, the second person of the Trinity, was thus not what Kierkegaard regarded as the "the Absurd", the union of eternity with time, for God was already temporal at the time of the of the incarnation and had been since the inception of creation. But the incarnation of God stooped even lower to take on, not just our mode of existence, our temporality, but our very nature.

    As a result of God's creation of and entry into time, He is now with us literally moment by moment as we live and breathe, sharing our every second. He is and will always be with us. He remembers all that has transpired, knows all that is happening, and foreknows all that is to come, not only in our individual lives but throughout the entire universe. Unfettered by the finite velocity light and clock synchronization procedures, He is, as Newton said, the Lord God of dominion throughout His universe.

    St. Jude exclaimed, "To the only God our savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time, and now and forever! Amen!

    (Closing remarks from "Time and Eternity: Exploring God's relationship to Time")

    Any thoughts or commentary on this issue of God and time would be appreciated.
     
  2. dwmoeller1

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    I believe God stands outside of time but inserts Himself into time to interact with us. More significantly, just as Christ experienced the limitations of the flesh by becoming incarnate, He also experienced the limitations of time. So, though God was spirit and outside time, He condescended to step into time and flesh to redeem us.

    I could go on and on about different things, but its a pretty broad subject. Any sorts of things you are wanting to look at in particular?
     
  3. freeatlast

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    What verse in Jude has that verse? I cannot find it as written above. I am asking because I do not believe that God lives outside of time, but if there is a passage that says what this man says then I would like to look at it to reconsider my belief.
    As to my current thought on God and time. Time is defined as any period where someone or something exists. Using that definition, since God has always been, I believe that time has always been. I believe that time is the result of God's existence. Without God there would be no time.
     
  4. Amy.G

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    It's Jude 1:25 and he's quoting the ESV.
     
  5. freeatlast

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    Thank you Amy. Here is the problem. Either the ESV or many other translation are wrong in what they have written. We cannot have it both ways and my guess is that the ESV has added to scripture and if that is so I would chunk it because it changes the meaning of the verse.
     
  6. dwmoeller1

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    Time is defined many ways. Why pick your particular definition? Most particularly, how do you know that the definition you pick doesn't presume a material/physical context, and how do you know that God existence involves any sort of period?

    Given that
    - there are many definitions of time
    - any use of the concept of "period" in a definition of time refers to something measurable
    - most non-technical definitions of time (such as the one you give) presume some sort of physical/material context,
    your argument still has a lot of clarification needed to be considered sound.

    For example, how do you know that any sort of "period" exists in the realm God exists in? It is possible that God has always existed but that there was no "period" involved in His existence. In short, you seem to presume that the concept of "period" applies to God's existence. That is begging the question as it applies the reality we know and understand to God's reality.

    Or, for instance, another definition of time is " finite as contrasted with infinite duration". Using this definition it follows that God, being of infinite duration, is not bounded by time.

    So, you need to first establish that your definition is the best one, and you need to clarify the terms and context used in your definition.
     
    #6 dwmoeller1, Oct 9, 2010
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  7. dwmoeller1

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    So, contrary to your earlier claims, you really wouldn't reconsider your position if presented with such a verse. Instead, you hold to your position and deny the validity of the rendering instead. :)

    And, FWIW, its not just the ESV - every modern translation gives the same basic concept. I will also point out that it is possible to have it both ways because this rendering is not contradictory to what is in the KJV. Unless you are a KJVO, you are going to need to deal more honestly with this passage.
     
    #7 dwmoeller1, Oct 9, 2010
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  8. Deacon

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    to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
    Jude 25 NAS95

    to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
    Jude 25 AV 1873

    The reading of the modern versions are attested to by two early papyri, P72 and P78 (both dated to the late 3rd or early 4th century) and numerous other manuscripts not available to the translators of the KJV .

    If a tree fall in the forest does it make a sound? :laugh:

    Think about this:
    Is God controlled by time or above time? Does time limit God’s abilities?

    Einstein showed that time is relative, its reality is perceived by observers (us).
    Time can be manipulated by various factors e.g. gravity

    "...for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one."
    Albert Einstein

    Scriptures show us a God in time but not controlled or constrained by it.

    Rob
     
    #8 Deacon, Oct 9, 2010
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  9. dwmoeller1

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    And, for what its worth, this is the type of definition I mean when I refer to "time" in this thread's context:
    A nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future.

    So, when I say that God exist outside of time, one key thing that I mean is that the continuum that we perceive - that is, event A happens, then B, then C, etc. - is not how God perceives the events. A continuum indicates a present "now" that exists only only for the moment that is now, a past "then" which are the accumulation of nows that were, and future "to come" which has not yet occured. So to say that God is outside of time is to say that the distinctions of past, present and future which are essential for us do not hold the same meaning for Him. For Him there are events A, B, and C, but they don't exist as past, present or future to Him, they simply are.

    That is what I mean by God being outside of time. He does not perceive things as we do - there is no past or future for God, there is merely the "present" (for the lack of a better word) and there has always been only the "present". Beings inside of time accumulate experience and knowledge and thus necessarily change over time. Thus, while a time bound creature necessarily must change - the present me is not the same person as the past me, nor will the future me be the same as the present me - God is always the same and never changes because He simply IS. There is no past God or future God - merely the past, present and future me that perceives God as different because I, the time bound creature, have changed.

    Only a being outside of time could truly claim to be changeless - to be I AM. Fortunately for us, God condescends to interact with time and interact with us as time-bound beings. But, since He exists outside of time, we can know that the God who talked to Abraham is the exact same God who communicates to us today. Its not just that His character remained unchanged over the intervening years from Abraham to now, but its that there were no intervening years for God. He is EXACTLY IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE, the same God then as now. This could not be true of a time-bound God.
     
    #9 dwmoeller1, Oct 9, 2010
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  10. quantumfaith

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    No, nothing in particular, just wondering if anyone else here reads the works of christian apologist/philosophers. His book is quite rich with regard to both science and philosophy and integrating it with a solid theology. I too, took a much more "simplistic" view of time and God, reading his book has given me great pause to understand it is no way as "simple" as I may have thought, but then again it rarely is, particularly when "God is involved".
     
  11. dwmoeller1

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    The idea of God being outside of time also helps us to understand His omnipotence. A time-bound God is limited in His omnipotence. Specifically, He cannot know the future to the same extent that He knows the present or past. If God is time bound, then even for Him the future does not yet exist. His knowledge of the future can only be "intellectual", not experiential like His knowledge of the present/past. He may know what is in the future, but He cannot know it like He does the past. A time bound God has a limited omnipotence.

    This sort of knowledge of the future presents several difficulties for the fact of God's omnipotence. For instance, does He know what *will* happen (if so, does this imply some sort of determinism at work?), does He know all the possible futures and the one that is most likely to happen (and does this mean His knowledge is merely probable instead of certain?), etc. etc. Without going into all the possible problems time-boundedness presents for God's omnipotence, I will simply note that all such problems are resolved if God exist outside of time. If He exist outside of time, then past, present and future are all the same to Him - He doesn't have to wait to experience or find out the future (or remember the past for that matter) since all points in history simply are from His point of view. His knowledge of the future is not based on foreseeing what might or what will happen - there are no "things yet to happen" (or things that have happened) from His perspective.

    IMO, only a God that exists out of time can be omnipotent in the truest and most consistent sense.
     
  12. quantumfaith

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    Sorry to say, I did not look it up, Craigs position is that God is "timeless" prior to the creation event, and philosophically "temporal" following creation.
     
  13. dwmoeller1

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    Actually, I would say that it is very simple...we are just too ignorant and limited to even begin to understand it except in the vaguest of senses. :)

    As to reading Christian apologists/philosophers, no, I haven't read too many. I read Lewis when younger, then Rutherford and Chesterton in my late twenties and I stopped with that. Chesterton's Orthodoxy is sufficient food for thought to last me decades still.
     
  14. quantumfaith

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    Your questions and "criticisms" are exactly what the book is about. You might learn something that you were not aware of in the discussion of time and eternity by reading it.
     
  15. quantumfaith

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    Good points relative to Einstein. Craig discusses at length time as "defined" by relativity and STR and finds some "chinks" in the armor. For the moment, I like the arguments that Craig proposes for a timeless God prior to creation, and God then choosing to become "temporal" through the advent of creation.
     
  16. quantumfaith

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    Well, I would suggest "you dont know what you are missing". Perhaps, even in the discussion of and theories of time, Occam's Razor applies.
     
  17. quantumfaith

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    It IS very simple, and may be considered as a intellectual and philosophical "cop out" to simply say, God exists outside of time. It certainly cannot be denied that He entered time through the incarnation.
     
  18. dwmoeller1

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    Maybe so. But I am pretty happy with the system of thought I have come up with. :) And I am betting my system of thought is nearly identical in all the essential points as what the author of the book explains. If I am to learn anything new, I greatly prefer it to be in personal interaction with another thinker (ie. like in this thread) than with simply reading a book.
     
  19. dwmoeller1

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    God exists outside of time, but not exclusively outside of time. And, His becoming incarnate does not represent a change in His relationship to time. Why does it not represent a change? Because any fact that is true of a God has always been true of God. Its not that God spent all this time in eternity and then after some time became incarnate. Such a conception simply puts God back within the bounds of time. Instead, the reality of the Incarnation has always been the reality with God (in as far as our time-bound language can explain such a thing).

    So, God enters time, but such an entry is not made at some point in God's time. Our mind *insists* on thinking of God's Incarnation in terms of past, present and future. In terms of history, this is absolutely accurate and even necessary. But such a conception doesn't apply when considering God's perspective. To conceive of Christ in terms of a continuum - ie. before He was incarnate He wasn't, and after He entered time He was Incarnate - is to time His eternal existence to our time-bound understanding.
     
  20. freeatlast

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    Who was Einstein but a jewish man who could not even understand his own scriptures. So why point to someone who offered theories that have not been proven today? Yes they are held as possible but they have never been proven.
    As for the passage in Jude and you giving two references here is the Greek;
    μόνῳ θεῷ σωτῆρι ἡμῶν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν δόξα μεγαλωσύνη κράτος καὶ ἐξουσία πρὸ πάντος τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ νῦν καὶ εἰς πάντας τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.

    Here is a translation the best I can come up with;

    monῳ God our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord glory and power megalosyni state, above all the century and now and to all ages, Amen.

    A big difference in the meaning if translated as it is suppose to be done.
    So like I said the dictionary meaning of time is as I said and using that means that I believe time has always been.
     
    #20 freeatlast, Oct 9, 2010
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