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Time and Eternity: Exploring God's Relationship to Time Paperback – March 1, 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Lane Craig (PhD, University of Birmingham, England; DTheol, University of Munich, Germany) is research professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. He is also the founder of Reasonable Faith (www.reasonablefaith.org), a web-based apologetics ministry that provides a variety of supplementary material to Reasonable Faith.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; F First Edition edition (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581342411
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581342413
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. B. Vick on April 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
This was a fairly good basic intro book for the issues of God/time and God's knowledge/future contingents. While this issue is usually discussed in philosophical journals and in books which cost an arm and a leg to purchase, Craig has brought the issue to the lay persons and scholars alike.
Before I review this book, it must be noted that I disagree with Craig's position. However, I think that Craig has done a noble job in defending his position, and I respect him for that. If I was able, I would have given Craig's book three and a half (3 1/2) stars for my own disagreements with Craig's overall assertions and some of the misunderstanding Craig had regarding certain philosopher's and their assertions (i.e. Aquinas being one which was mentioned below).
Craig's position in this book is that God is temporal (or omnitemporal) due to relations which occurred with the created universe (relations which were not present w/o creation). Craig argues his point based on several elements. First, Craig believes that God cannot remain untouched by the created order's temporality. In other words, according to Craig, God comes into (so to speak) new relations which were not present without the created universe. Second, Craig believes that once time begins at the moment of creation, God becomes temporal by virtue of His real relation to the temporal world. Third, thus God, at least, according to Craig, undergoes some type of extrinsic change due to this new real relation with the created world. These are Craig's underlying assertions regarding God and time.
Also, in this book, Craig rejects Einstein's interpretation of the Special Theory of Relativity (STR).
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Format: Paperback
In this fascinating treatment of God's relationship to time, William Lane Craig argues that God, though timeless without the universe, is in time since the creation of the universe. This detailed study encompasses a wide variety of issues, including the biblical conception of God, the nature of time, relativity theory, the linguistic account of tensed facts, and a slew of other topics.

Near the beginning of the book, Craig considers arguments in favor of God's timelessness. He first considers arguments that God's immutability or simplicity necessitate a timeless nature. Craig points out that these doctrines, however, are more controversial than the doctrine of divine timelessness itself, and therefore cannot be used to support timelessness. Moreover, both of these doctrines have conceptual difficulties and lack a clear scriptural basis (verses discussing God's immutability only entail that God's character does not change).

The next argument leads into some exciting territory. Defenders of divine timelessness sometimes argue that Einstein's relativity theory supports their view. Since the special theory of relativity implies that there is no absolute "now" but rather a plethora of inertial frames, we must reject the idea that God is in time. For if God is in time, then He is either in a specific inertial frame (according to which He is ignorant of real facts concerning all the other reference frames) or He is in multiple inertial frames (which leads to a radical splitting of God's consciousness). Since both of these alternatives are untenable, we are forced to reject God's temporality.
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I just finished reading the book Time and Eternity: Exploring God's Relationship to Time by William Lane Craig. This is, in my opinion, a very worthwhile read, though one that will most likely take time. The primary question of the book is: Can God rightfully be considered timeless or temporal?

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.
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