God and Time

Dear Dr. Craig,

I'm a big fan of your work and I've listened to almost all you have available on the internet.

My question has to do with a contradiction that I think I see in some of your views concerning issues of simultaneous causation and the possibility of God entering time.

The following are three things that (to the best of my understanding) you affirm:

1) God exists timelessly. By this we mean, God exists as a single unchanging point or 'moment.'

2) God is the simultaneous cause of the universe. Since there is no time before time, as in a 'before-after' relationship--we appeal to simultaneous causation to eliminate the need for a before. This means that the initial point of time for the universe is simultaneous with the existence of a (hitherto described as) timeless God.

3) Finally, you, WL Craig, often say that God enters into time at the initial point of creation.

My problem is, I do not think all three of these statements can be true. The point at which God is timeless is simultaneous with creation--and the point where God is temporal is also simultaneous with creation. The result is: God becomes simultaneously timeless and temporal--which is a contradiction.

Now, I've heard you say (and I've read it in one of your scholarly articles) that God is timeless sans creation--but if creation does exist then it simply is not the case that God is timeless. There is no point at which God is actually timeless--rather, God is only hypothetically timeless.

Since there is no point at which God is actually timeless, I think we are forced to say: God actually began to exist--just as the universe (which at no point is timeless) began to exist. Consequently premise 1. of the Kalam Cosmological Argument, 'everything that begins to exist must have a cause for its existence,' includes our conception of God.

Now, we could avoid this if we simply say God still exists timelessly (even now). But, if this is true then God, does not know what time it is now and hence is not omniscient. Also, it seems hard to see how God could interact with his creation as time goes on. This would entail that the Christian conception of God is false and that we would need to shrink back into a kind of deism (i.e. God made us but he isn't temporal or all-knowing and he doesn't interact with the universe).

Oddly, I would like to propose my own solution to this problem. The trouble is, what I'm about to say sounds weird--I've never heard anyone else say it. I would feel a lot better if someone like yourself could assess my odd solution. Perhaps you've even though of it yourself. I would also appreciate any alternate solution you could give to solve the problem in question.

I propose we appeal to the Trinity. God the father is timeless. The Father is the simultaneous cause of the Son--who is essentially a temporal version of the Father. One of these two (or maybe both) cause the Spirit--which is also a temporal manifestation of God.

The Father simply remains timeless while the Spirit and the Son go about creating and interacting with the universe. Since the Son and Spirit are God, they know what time it is now--and consequently, God knows everything--even if the information is dispersed between persons.

Now, I know this sounds weird--but to me it makes sense. Statements like: "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God, and by the word all things were made..." seem oddly similar to what I just described. Also, old statements from church councils like: "the Son emanates from the father as the Spirit emanates from the Son (and/or Father depending on if your coming from the Western Roma Catholic or the Eastern Orthodox side).

Finally, I think most people won't like the fact that on this view Jesus would not be eternal. Still I don't think this is a problem scripturally since scripture never says so much (or to my mind at least)--it only says he was "in the beginning" and "from eternity/ or from ancient days" (depending on your translation of Micah 5:2).

So, what do you think?

As always I appreciate your work and I can only imaging how busy you must always be.

God Bless,

Adam

United States

 

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