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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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God inside Time and before Creation

God inside Time and before Creation

(p.75) 4 God inside Time and before Creation
God and Time

Dean W. Zimmerman

Oxford University Press

Many theists reject the notion that God's eternity consists in his timelessness, i.e., in his lacking temporal extension and failing to possess properties at any times. Some of these “divine temporalists” hold that, for philosophical reasons, it is impossible to accept both the timelessness of God and the view that God knows what happens at different times and brings about events in time. Many reject divine timelessness as a dubious import from Platonism with no biblical or theological warrant. And some question the very intelligibility of the doctrine. There are many serious questions a divine temporalist must answer. One of the most frequently discussed is whether a temporal God could know ahead of time what I will freely do, or how any indeterministic system will behave. This chapter addresses two closely related, more purely metaphysical questions facing divine temporalists: (1) Does time necessarily involve change? (2) Did God have a sufficient reason for creating when he did? The latter raises the further question whether a divine temporalist can say that, in some sense, time had a beginning.

Keywords:   God, time, eternity, temporal God, divine timelessness, divine temporalist

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