Ryan

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« on: April 29, 2011, 09:56:15 pm »
I'm not claiming that God's change from being atemporal to temporal is not true.
I simply want to understand this belief better.

So my main question is this. If everything is "frozen" in a state of being without time. wouldn't god also be "frozen"?
or.
Doesn't free will/ thought/decisions only work in time? so If god existed outside of time. how did he make the temporal decision to make time or our universe?  

also I was wondering. If God is unchanging, how can he change from being atemporal to temporal?

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belorg

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2011, 10:10:54 am »
Ryan wrote: I'm not claiming that God's change from being atemporal to temporal is not true.
I simply want to understand this belief better.

So my main question is this. If everything is "frozen" in a state of being without time. wouldn't god also be "frozen"?
yes
or.
Doesn't free will/ thought/decisions only work in time? so If god existed outside of time. how did he make the temporal decision to make time or our universe?  
He couldn't have
also I was wondering. If God is unchanging, how can he change from being atemporal to temporal?


he can't

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Ryan

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2011, 05:18:51 pm »
belorg wrote:
yes

he couldn't have.

he can't

That's what I thought. Thank you for your reply belorg.

I'm an open minded person. If someone doesn't agree with this. please respond with why you don't.

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FNB - Former non-believer

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2011, 02:25:08 am »
Ryan wrote: I'm not claiming that God's change from being atemporal to temporal is not true.
I simply want to understand this belief better.

So my main question is this. If everything is "frozen" in a state of being without time. wouldn't god also be "frozen"?
or.
Doesn't free will/ thought/decisions only work in time? so If god existed outside of time. how did he make the temporal decision to make time or our universe?  

also I was wondering. If God is unchanging, how can he change from being atemporal to temporal?


I would bet Craig answers this in his book, "God, Time, and Eternity." I have it but never got around to reading most of it, I'll see if I can find it for you. Bit I would say I am not sure a decision for God would require time. It's not as if God had to think things through. Since he knows all truths he would know the answer before asking any question. Wouldn't need to deliberate since he would already know the right answer. So I would disagree that for God to create time he would need to make some temporal choice.

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Ryan

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2011, 02:28:24 pm »

emailestthoume wrote:
I would bet Craig answers this in his book, "God, Time, and Eternity." I have it but never got around to reading most of it, I'll see if I can find it for you. Bit I would say I am not sure a decision for God would require time. It's not as if God had to think things through. Since he knows all truths he would know the answer before asking any question. Wouldn't need to deliberate since he would already know the right answer. So I would disagree that for God to create time he would need to make some temporal choice.

Thank you. I did some deeper googleing than I had before and I found a Q&A of the week on this matter. http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5673

                                            Titled:

Subject: God, Time, and Creation

Here is a short informative exert from it.

“If God is timeless, is He incapable of creating a universe?  Is He somehow imprisoned in timelessness, frozen into immobility?  I see no reason to think so.  The claim that if God is timeless, it is impossible for Him to create the universe is based upon the assumption that timelessness is an essential, rather than contingent, property of God.  But as in the case of the color of the house, I see no reason to think that God’s being timeless or temporal cannot be a contingent property of God, dependent upon His will.  Existing timelessly alone without the universe, He can will to refrain from creation and so remain timeless; or He can will to create the universe and become temporal at the first exercise of His causal power.  It’s up to Him.”

-Dr. Craig.

Does this article answer the question at hand? or is there more too it?


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FNB - Former non-believer

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2011, 06:56:55 pm »
 Existing timelessly alone without the universe, He can will to refrain  from creation and so remain timeless; or He can will to create the  universe and become temporal at the first exercise of His causal power.   It’s up to Him.”


Thanks for responding. If I am correct, you are drawing the conclusion based on this that God must be deliberating alternatives, and so could not be timeless. I would guess that Craig here is using an anthropomorphism to point out that God has free will to decide to create the universe or not. However, that may be irrelevant. I think it is reasonable to believe that God does not need to take time to make a decision to create the universe or not. Humans do, because we are not omnipotent. But I don't see why God couldn't make this decision instantaneously. Or perhaps free will in God acts a little differently than in humans. But the latter idea I wouldn't deal with until you could disprove the former: that God could make this decision instantaneously.

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MorleyMcMorson

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2011, 03:29:02 pm »

So my main question is this. If everything is "frozen" in a state of being without time. wouldn't god also be "frozen"?


The state of being frozen wouldn't entail being unable to act---it would only entail inability to act and remain timeless.  If/when God acts, time begins, being merely a relation between events (and God's first act being the first event).

Doesn't free will/ thought/decisions only work in time? so If god existed outside of time. how did he make the temporal decision to make time or our universe?  

I would say the decision was simultaneous with Creation.  This wouldn't entail deliberation, per se, since going from atemporal to temporal isn't strictly speaking a passage in time.  It's more a passage to time.

also I was wondering. If God is unchanging, how can he change from being atemporal to temporal?


That's impossible.
"We have no past, we won't reach back..."
-Ardent A-theorist Cyndi Lauper in her song "All Through the Night", singing about the impossibility of time travel on her presentist metaphysic.

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bruce culver

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2011, 12:08:01 am »
“If God is timeless, is He incapable of creating a universe?  Is He somehow imprisoned in timelessness, frozen into immobility?  I see no reason to think so.  The claim that if God is timeless, it is impossible for Him to create the universe is based upon the assumption that timelessness is an essential, rather than contingent, property of God.  But as in the case of the color of the house, I see no reason to think that God’s being timeless or temporal cannot be a contingent property of God, dependent upon His will.  Existing timelessly alone without the universe, He can will to refrain from creation and so remain timeless; or He can will to create the universe and become temporal at the first exercise of His causal power.  It’s up to Him.” -Dr. Craig

   

   With all due respect, this is not a satisfying answer to me. Maybe saying timelessness is contingent rather than necessary makes some sense, but then he gets in a schmozzle  IMO by saying while timeless he can either choose to remain timeless or will to create the universe, etc.

   

   There is no time at which the universe did not exist for God to choose to create the universe. I don't think that means that God didn't in some sense choose to create the universe. I just think it means that we have no way to understand timelessness, so just because timeless choice makes no sense to our time conditioned mind, it doesn't mean that it is impossible.Maybe it would be better to say that God's act of creation transcends our dualistic notions of choice and not choice, rather than trying to use time conditioned terminology to describe something happening in an eternal scenario.

   

   Einstein once said that the thing he most wished to know was whether God had a choice in creating the universe. I simply affirm it in a leap of faith knowing that it may not even be meaningful question.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

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troyjs

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2011, 05:45:04 am »
The concepts of time and motion, are meaningless in a metaphysical context. If time and motion began at the Big Bang, and exist only in relation to the universe, it is as meaningful to talk of God being 'frozen', as it is to talk of time before the Big Bang. The problem is we are using physical categories in a metaphysical context. Since metaphysics deals with the world of 'being' and 'essence', while physics deals with the world of 'becoming' or 'existence', it is necessary to use the language relevant to the argument being addressed.

Time and Eternity are relevant to the God's creation of the world, from the perspective of individuals existing within that creation. It is meaningful for us to say God created or chose to create the universe at the Big Bang, if we mean to say that God is the cause of the universe, and that is when it began. Aquinas was an Empiricist, which is why his cosmological arguments involve motion, time, and causes. In order to speak of God apart from physical categories, we need to use the language of metaphysics. Anselm was a Rationalist, which is why the Ontological Arguments,and Leibniz's argument from contingency use the categories of necessity and contingency.


So my main question is this. If everything is "frozen" in a state of being without time. wouldn't god also be "frozen"?
or.
Doesn't free will/ thought/decisions only work in time? so If god existed outside of time. how did he make the temporal decision to make time or our universe?  

 



If you mean by frozen, timeless, then yes. As for God's Will, God does not learn anything new. According to Christian Theology, God knows everything and so there is no procession of ideas in the mind of God. God decided to create the universe from all eternity. From God's eternal perspective, time is a contingent created property of the contingent created universe.

But then, why are we in a certain moment of time? Why is it year 2011, and not year 38695? If God always existed, and God always willed for creation to exist, then is not the universe just as eternal as God is? Metaphysically, yes, and physically no. Metaphysically yes because God transcends time, and 'experiences' all of time, and all events. Physically no, because time in the universe presupposes motion, and cause and effect. Eternality is foreign to Physics, as Time and beginning are to Metaphysics. Since the time of the pre-Socratics, philosophers have struggled with the classic problem of 'the-one-and-the-many'. Is the world unchanging and one, or is everything always changing into something else, and many? This problem was solved by Plato and Aristotle by demarcating a world of essence (the one), as the metaphysical world, from the world of existence (the many) as the physical world. Since Aquinas was a student and advocate of Aristotle's philosophy, (Aquinas referred to Aristotle as 'The Philosopher'), and Craig is an advocate of Aquinas, this is relevant to the discussion.

What is important is that we understand that if we want to talk of God 'before', or more precisely, 'apart' from the Universe, it is meaningless to use the concept of time. Conversely, we can have similar problems if we use the categories of metaphysics when talking of physical properties.

I must mention that the view I have espoused here, is not the same as Dr Craigs'.


kind regards

“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin

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bruce culver

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2011, 02:05:41 pm »
Troy,

   

   Actually I think your explanation is better than Dr. Craig's, with all due respect to him, and especially when he is supplying us this forum. I think it still leaves questions as does mine, with plenty of room doubt that any explanation is adequate. For all I know the materialists are right and the eternal is also material. Theists can argue that timeless spaceless matter is nonsensical, but so is a timeless spaceless person. there is no way for our time conditioned minds to really grasp what may or may not be possible in a timeless spaceless state, I think.

   

   One thing that somewhat makes me doubt materialism is that however likely or unlikey it is that life and consciousness could evolve from lifeless unconscious matter, and I think no one really has any idea how likely that might be, if it did evolve out of matter without divine assistance, then it at least has to be admitted

   that the potential for it is inherent in matter, and that potential seems to me more

    akin to idea than something physical. I suppose that it could be argued to be

   brute fact, but that is just as untestable an hypothesis, I think, as mine.

   

   

   Am I a rare bird? a radically skeptical, agnostic panentheist/deist?

   
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

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troyjs

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2011, 03:15:58 am »
tompaine,

The view that matter and time are eternal and unchanging does have certain incoherent consequences, so it is false as it stand on it's own -- I am either alive or dead, I am not both, even though I will die eventually. Even though Zeno is one of my favourite philosophers, I have to see the flaws in his system.

But then again, he is popularly known for showing inconsistencies in the view that everything is changing, eg, his famous paradoxes.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If I were not a Christian, then I would probably be a complete radical skeptic. It seems to me that the only logically defensible epistemology must be both descriptive and prescriptive, and that knowledge is learned passively by God's providence, and prescriptively through Revelation. If an epistemology is only prescriptive, it still requires justification and makes it impossible to choose between systems of thought. If only descriptive, then it is impossible to determine whether any particular proposition is true or not. Christian epistemology is the only one which I find impossible to be agnostic or skeptical about.

kind regards
“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin

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bruce culver

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2011, 10:08:27 pm »
The view that matter and time are eternal and unchanging does have certain incoherent consequences, so it is false as it stand on it's own -- I am either alive or dead, I am not both, even though I will die eventually. Even though Zeno is one of my favourite philosophers, I have to see the flaws in his system.

   

   Hmmm. I don't see any problem with time and matter being eternal, if it is cyclical. Think of the symbol we use for infinity. At least it solves the problem of why the universe is not already infinitely old. I suppose it then raises the question of how it could have been cycling for eternity. Wouldn't it  have to have had  a first cycle? I don't think so. Assuming there are a finite number of events, with every event existing eternally. I mean the question is based on a misunderstanding of eternity as meaning infinite time, when, in fact, it means timelessness.

   

   Another way to look at it Is we exist within space-time, but space-time exists within eternity. I know that is not maybe the way it is usually thought of. I think usually people think there is the eternal realm and  then the temporal outside that. Oh, actually, I rereading your last post, I see you've kind of dealt with that. So can't you kind of see, even if only "through a glass darkly" how time and matter might be eternal, or maybe matter eternal with time being illusory, I believe Einstein saw about as far into these mysteries as anyone, and he said

   time was  a "stubbornly persistent illusion."

   

   Wow, I just had a thought. I've always felt that it makes no sense for consciousness to be the effect of an unconscious cause. But if time is illusory or exists within eternity, then cause and effect could also kind of be stood on their heads. It would almost make as much sense to think of what we see as the causes as being contingent upon the effects.

   

   Well, excuse me, I had better not try to think out loud, lest I blather.

   
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

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troyjs

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2011, 02:30:22 am »
tompaine,

Einstein referred to his understanding of the universe as a 'Parmenidean Block'.

Obviously, this is because in some parts of Einstein's life, he was an eternalist comparable in some respects to the pre-socratic philosopher Parmenides, which is why Popper referred to Einstein as Parmenides. I believe I understand what your position is, and I am sure you are aware that it has been a popular understanding of the universe, since atleast as far back as the Eleatic school of philosophy. The classic problematic issue is that in order to take account of change, or cycles, it is impossible not to assume a non-static universe, ie. the idea of time being eternal presupposes a realist concept of time in order for the idea to be meaningful. A block-universe is logically incompatible with a cyclical view of time, as a cycles can only be coherent if the different parts of the cycle are true at different times. The law of identity and the law of non-contradiction prove that block-time can not be cyclical.

Due to the fact that there are difficulties with both the Parmenidean, and the Heraclitean views of the universe, the long history of philosophy can almost be regarded as a footnote to these two philosophers, until Aristotle attempted to combine the two, up until when Kant attempted to resolve the struggle between Empiricism and Rationalism.
“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
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bruce culver

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2011, 08:46:26 am »
Troy,

   

   Darn, I had a long reply that I lost When my IPad battery ran out.

   

   OK, the shortened version. You obviously have much more of a background in the history and terminology of philosophy than I do. That said, you'd have to explain why "The law of identity and the law of non-contradiction prove that block-time can not be cyclical."

   

   I'm not saying the idea wasn't bringing up some less specific red flags in my mind as I was thinking of it, but so has every idea of anything eternal that I have ever considered.

   

   The way I figure it, our brains have been molded by evolution to be very good, when employing the tool of the scientific method for understanding physical phenomenon within space and time. Once we go beyond that, nothing makes total sense logically. But since I don't accept the logical positivist epistemology due it's self refuting nature, I don't think that philosophy needs to be relegated to being the hand maiden of science. However, I do think metaphysical philosophy should be honest and admit that once we go beyond science, it is all

   speculative, even things couched in pseudo scientific terms such as multiverse, steady state, string theory, etc., is all speculative.

   

   But let me ask you this question: As a Christian, if you take the laws of non contradiction and identity to be absolutes, then how do you explain Christ as being both wholly man and wholly God? And if you are going to allow that, then don't you also have to allow the atheist the possibility of an eternally existing physical universe? Of course,the Christian could flip that on the the atheist who insists that the physical universe is eternal but denies the possibility of the incarnation.

   

   I'd say the atheist actually has the better argument though because the physical universe is empirically evident, whereas God is not. I only reject the atheist argument on admittedly emotional grounds; i.e.,  that a universe hurtling towards heat death destroys all but the most tenuous sort of meaning for our lives, and the grounds that atheism cannot be proven, and I therefore feel entitled to believe otherwise.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

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troyjs

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Question about God's change from Atemporal to temporal
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2011, 01:17:32 am »
That said, you'd have to explain why "The law of identity and the law of non-contradiction prove that block-time can not be cyclical."
 


Necessary properties of cycles, particularly cyclical time:

Pluralism or multiple events.

There can only be more than one event, if there is more than one state-of-affairs.

Change or succession between one state-of-affairs, and another.

Necessary properties of block-time, or the passage of time is illusory:

Monism, or one eternal event

There is only one complete state-of-affairs of the universe.

There is no succession of events or states-of-affairs, as there are not multiple events or states-of-affairs.



The way I figure it, our brains have been molded by evolution to be very good, when employing the tool of the scientific method for understanding physical phenomenon within space and time. Once we go beyond that, nothing makes total sense logically.


Do you mean to say that the justification for the scientific method, is evolutionary progress in the ability for animals to become more rational, and that we believe in evolution, according to the scientific method?
I hope you see that this is circular. Please correct me if I misundestand your position.

Once we go beyond that, nothing makes total sense logically.

Like Hume, Locke, and Kant, you can only confine metaphysics to be mere speculation, or even meaningless, if you assume empiricism. But even worse, since Hume, all empirical evidence is to be understood as speculative.

But let me ask you this question: As a Christian, if you take the laws of non contradiction and identity to be absolutes, then how do you explain Christ as being both wholly man and wholly God?  


Granting that God and man are mutually exclusive classes, it is true that if Jesus was both God and man at the same time, and in the same relationship, then we would have a logical contradiction. This is why the doctrine of the hypostatic union states that Jesus is one person, with two distinguishable natures or substances. Jesus voluntarily lays aside His divine prerogatives, in the incarnation, without losing them. The only possible difficulty, is regards to the will or mind of Christ. There are two main perspectives on whether Jesus has two minds, or one mind. This in itself is an interesting point of discussion, and I would be happy to discuss this further in another thread.

I'd say the atheist actually has the better argument though because the physical universe is empirically evident, whereas God is not.

It is impossible for us to directly experience the world outside of our minds. All we know, are our thoughts in our mind, for if what we knew was not in our minds, then we would not be conscious of it, and hence it would not be known. We make the inference from our thoughts, to the existence of the world external to our minds.

In the same way, we can infer from our thoughts, to the existence of God.
“Knowledge of the sciences is so much smoke apart from the heavenly science of Christ” -- John Calvin.
“I consider looseness with words no less of a defect than looseness of the bowels” -- John Calvin