Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Time and Eternity: Exploring God's Relationship to Time Paperback – March 1, 2001
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
William Lane Craig (PhD, University of Birmingham, England; DTheol, University of Munich) is research professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California, and at Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas. He has authored or edited over thirty books and is the founder of ReasonableFaith.org, a web-based apologetics ministry.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
To answer the question, Professor Craig begins with a very brief survey of the biblical contribution. Does the Bible prescribe to one view over the other? His answer: no. The Bible, according to Craig is not a philosophical treatise on the nature of time and offers nothing sophisticated enough for us to make a definite conclusion. Concluding that the Biblical data is insufficient he asserts that the issue requires philosophical exploration to consider the issue clearly.
He begins by analyzing the arguments for a timeless view of God. Rejecting arguments from the `simplicity and immutability of God (mostly on the grounds that these doctrines are controversial), he moves on to arguments from relativity theory. He starts by detailing a brief history of time (even briefer than Hawking's) and the Special and General theories of Relativity. This is a good and, for the purposes of the book, invaluable overview of the theories and their development, but I'm not positive that it would be sufficient for a full understanding of these developments in theoretical physics. This is by no means a flaw of the book, he did an excellent job making the relevant concepts accessible, but I would recommend looking at other sources to supplement if one is interested in this area. Hawking's book, which I linked above, is excellent. Also noteworthy would be Brian Greene's The Fabric of the Cosmos. It is worth praising Craig for his critical evaluation of Relativity theory. He makes several philosophical notes that the two aforementioned physicists do not engage in.
The outcome of his overview of Relativity theory is that God should not be considered to have the temporal perspective of an inertial frame nor the sum of all inertial frames. Rather, he explains, that God is related to cosmic time. "Now," he continues, "as a parameter, cosmic time measures the duration of the universe as a whole in an observer-independent way; that is to say, the lapse of cosmic time is the same for all observers." (p. 60) All that to say, the theories of relativity do not preclude cosmic time; God can relate temporally to the universe and this is consistent the the data of physics.
So much for physics. He then analyzes the arguments generally proposed in favor of divine temporality. The three arguments he examines are: from the impossibility of atemporal personhood, divine relations with the world, and divine knowledge of tensed facts. The first, considered by logical possibility alone, he concludes as untenable. God could logically exist as a person (or personally, or as Trinity) atemporally. The second fares much better, for God at very least commits to time by the very act of creating. The third argument is presented as the strongest, and is most interesting to me. This deals with `tensed facts'. Here, Craig explains that if God were atemporal the concept of omniscience would be unfortunately diminished. "Tensed facts" are expressed by indexicals that locate events as past, present, or future. Example being: "I am now writing this blog post." expresses the event in present tense as it is happening, whereas tomorrow the tensed statement will say, "I did write this blog post (yesterday)." The point being that if God was not temporal, God could not know the relation of facts and events to the present (as God is not subject to `the present' or `now').
Understanding that argument occupies the next two chapters (comprising 100 pages), where he defends the dynamic and tensed view of time against the static and tenseless view.
The final chapters "God, Time, and Creation" and "Conclusion" Then look at how the dynamic view of time affect the concept of God and spend time focusing on the doctrine of creation. Here he asks if it is rational to speak of the infinity of the past prior to creation. He then argues that the past can only be spoken of as finite and examines how we can reconcile that with the fact that God has no beginning. I won't expound on this much here, but it should suffice to say that Craig concludes that God was timeless prior to creation but temporal from the act of creation onward.
Finally, he includes an appendix in which he presents his argument for exhaustive divine foreknowledge and attempts to reconcile it with his dynamic view of time and human freedom. This is where my only displeasure with the book arises. I do believe the rigor with which he argued throughout the book lacks at this point. As that is only an appendix, I have only praise for the book as a whole.
Happy Reading , Mike from Little Rhody