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God & Time: Four Views Paperback – October 28, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a related issue, four theologians address the degree to which God is bound by finite time in God & Time: Four Views, from InterVarsity Press, edited by Gregory E. Ganssle, which has been putting out some highly provocative books on perplexing theological questions. While the essays by Paul Helm, Alan G. Padgett, William Lane Craig and Nicholas Wolterstoff deliberate the question on a plane too high for total newcomers (who may need clarifications of terms such as "omnitemporality"), theology students will not want to miss this. Oct.)

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Ganssle serves with the Rivendell Institute for Christian Thought and Learning, a special project of the Campus Crusade for Christ student ministry at Yale University. He has taught philosophy at Syracuse University and has worked as a teaching fellow and part-time lecturer in the philosophy department at Yale University. He has published academic papers on God's relation to time, free will, and St. Augustine. He has also coedited an anthology of philosophical essays for Oxford University Press called God and Time: Essays on the Divine Nature.

Paul Helm is a teaching fellow in theology and philosophy at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. From 1993 to 2000 he taught as professor of the history and philosophy of religion at King's College, University of London. He has published numerous books and articles, including Eternal God: A Study of God Without Time (Oxford University Press, 1988), Belief Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1994) and Faith and Understanding (Eerdmans, 1997).

Alan Padgett is professor of systematic theology at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Formerly he taught theology and philosophy at Azusa Pacific University. He is the author of God, Eternity and the Nature of Time (Wipf & Stock, 2000) and the editor of Reason and the Christian Religion (Oxford University Press, 1994). He has published several papers on topics in philosophy and theology.

William Lane Craig (PhD, philosophy, University of Birmingham; ThD, systematic theology, University of Munich) is Research Professor of Philosophy at T albot School of Theology, Biola University, in La Mirada, California. He is also president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Craig has published articles in philosophical and theological journals such as The Journal of Philosophy, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Modern Theology and Religious Studies. He has written or cowritten more than twenty books, including The Kalam Cosmological Argument; Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom; Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology and God, Time and Eternity.

Wolterstorff is Noah Porter Professor of Philosophy at the Yale Divinity School. He has published many books and articles, including When Justice and Peace Embrace (Eerdmans, 1983), Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim That God Speaks (Cambridge University Press, 1995) and Locke and the Ethics of Belief (Cambridge University Press, 1996) as well as the seminal paper "God Everlasting" (first published in 1975). Wolterstorff's latest book is Thomas Reid and the Story of Epistemology (Cambridge University Press, 2001).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 247 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (October 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830815511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830815517
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #803,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By T. B. Vick on October 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book would be an excellent book for someone who is interested in God and time but does not have a strong philosophical background in the issues. The text is formatted very similar to the Zondervan 'Views' texts. In other words, a given view from one of the four scholars is put forth, and the other three scholars respond. After the other three scholars have responded, the initial scholar has a chance to respond to the other three scholar's responses!
The four scholars in this text are well known in their area of study. These four scholars are Paul Helm, Alan G. Padgett, William Lane Craig, and Nicholas Wolterstorff.
The only downfall to the book is that it is geared more toward the temporalist viewpoint. Craig and Wolterstorff are without a doubt temporalists, Paul Helm is without a doubt a timeless adherent, but Padgett seems to be somewhere in the middle and it seems that he is more of a temporalist in his assertions.
Padgett has contentions with the notion of 'everlasting eternity' (a view which Wolterstorff holds), but he also has certain contentions with 'timeless eternity' (a view that Paul Helm holds). Thus, he opts for a type of middle position which he calls 'relative timelessness.' This view is rather odd and incoherent in certain ways. It asserts differences between 'created time' and 'God's time.' Padgett asserts that "God's time is a necessary precondition to God's being," and vice versa. I do not fully understand where Padgett is trying to go with these type of assertions which seem to demonstrate God as contingent in some sense. Padgett claims God is relatively timeless, that is timeless, relative to our created measured time, and that our time takes place inside God's time. A type of time contained in time.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Reader From Aurora on February 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Edited by Gregory Ganssle "God and Time" examines the relationship between God and time from a Christian perspective. This text is part of Intervarsity Press' Four Views series.

The discussion is divided into four sections - each examining a different view of God's relationship with time. The respective sections start with an overview of the proposed argument followed by observations from the other contributors and conclude with a response by the primary author. Paul Helm defends the classic view that God is atemporal or outside time and Nicholas Wolterstorff supports the opposing view that God is temporal or in time. William Craig and Alan Padgett put forth positions that attempt to blend these opposing positions.

Anyone who has seriously considered this issue is aware that there are no easy solutions to the God - time question - each view have both appeal and difficulty. The classic view maintains God's majesty, but his action in the world becomes difficult to understand. The temporal view has the opposite challenge; it allows for action, however, God's omnipotence seems somewhat compromised. The two middle positions while modestly successful in addressing these challenges seem incomplete and ad hoc. That said, all the contributors are capable philosophers who present their arguments in a clear and considered manner. The appeal of a particular argument will undoubtedly be influence by one's view of time. For example an atemporal God would seem a better fit with a tenseless or B-theory view, while the other positions appear more compatible with a tensed or A-theory view.

My two minor criticisms are the overlap between the sections and the similarity of two of the contributions.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Deming on November 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
One of the most perplexing philosophical issues for a Christian is God's relationship to time. Classical Christian thinking on this issue has commonly held that God is timeless, but many Christian theologians and philosophers have come to question this traditional view. In "God and Time: Four Views", four excellent Christian philosophers debate the nature of God and his relationship to time.

Paul Helm defends the traditional view of God as existing absolutely timelessly. His primary argument for this classical view is based on the idea of divine fullness. According to Helm, temporal existence would compromise God's fullness, because there would be segments of His life that are already over. If God is timeless, however, then He experiences all of His life at once- He does not live in the fleeting present.

Although the idea that God exists outside time or timelessly may sound intuitively plausible and attractive, it actually entails some rather strange conclusions upon reflection. For, if God is absolutely timeless, then He cannot know what time `now' is. Moreover, He cannot act in time. All of God's actions in the world would have to be `pre-loaded' in some sense. Thus, though it may appear that God is having a conversation with Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis, God's `responses' are really all preloaded into the world. God doesn't in any way intervene or interact in time. This view seems to make God impotent and ignorant- unable to act in time and unable to even know what time it is!

Unlike many other defenders of timelessness, Helm attempts to defend a B-theory of time to avoid these difficulties. According to this view, there is no such thing as an objective `now' and all events- past, present, and future- are equally real.
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