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God and TimeEssays on the Divine Nature$
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Gregory E. Ganssle and David M. Woodruff

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195129656

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195129656.001.0001

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Atemporal, Sempiternal, or Omnitemporal

Atemporal, Sempiternal, or Omnitemporal

God's Temporal Mode of Being

(p.49) 2 Atemporal, Sempiternal, or Omnitemporal
God and Time

Garrett Deweese

Oxford University Press

In the literature of philosophical theology, several different terms are used to elucidate the metaphysics of “eternity” as God's temporal mode of being. This chapter offers definitions of four crucial terms: temporal, atemporal, sempiternal, and omnitemporal. Certain metaphysical implications which flow from the definitions offer philosophical theologians clear alternatives from which to choose in explicating God's eternity. First, it is suggested that the definition of atemporality has clearly detrimental implications for traditional conceptions of God's being. Next, it is argued that if God's eternity is conceived as sempiternal, then it follows that God is logically contingent, a rather unwelcome result. Finally, the chapter contends that omnitemporality, while not without some difficulties, may offer the best conceptual framework for understanding God's relation to the temporal universe and to us.

Keywords:   God, metaphyics, eternity, temporality, omnitemporality, temporal universe

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