About this topic
Summary The tradition of Western philosophical theology has associated with God certain principal attributes including omnipotence, omniscience, and moral perfection. Each of these attributes raises a variety of problems which must be addressed if a philosophically robust version of theism is to be developed.
Key works Perhaps the most influential treatment of the divine attributes is to be found in Aquinas 1274. More recent systematic treatments of the divine attributes include Ross 1969, Mann 1975, Swinburne 1977, Kenny 1979, and Wierenga 1989.
Introductions Relevant selections from Aquinas, in a translation suitable for students, can be found in Leftow & Davies 2006. Morley 2002 provides an encyclopedia treatment of the divine attributes. A book-length introduction is provided by Morris 1991.
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Material to categorize
  1. The Quest of the Divine.D. S. - 1956 - Review of Metaphysics 10 (2):369-370.
  2. The Anticlaudianus and the 'Proper' Language of Theology.Eileen C. Sweeney - 1987 - Essays in Medieval Studies 4:45-55.
  3. Is the Divine Shorn of Its Heart? Responding to Simoni-Wastila.Donald Wayne Viney - 2001 - American Journal of Theology and Philosophy 22 (2):155 - 172.
  4. The Divine Energies and the “End of Human Life”.Rico Vitz & Marissa Espinoza - 2017 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 91 (3):473-489.
    In this paper, we elucidate an alternative conception of the “end of human life” that Germain Grisez considers but never develops. We then defend this conception against two key objections. We conclude by explaining a few ways that this alternative conception of the “end of human life” is particularly important both theologically and philosophically.
Divine Eternity
  1. God and Eternal Boredom.Vuko Andrić & Attila Tanyi - 2017 - Religious Studies 53 (1):51-70.
    God is thought to be eternal. Does this mean that he is timeless? Or is he, rather, omnitemporal? In this paper we want to show that God cannot be omnitemporal. Our starting point, which we take from Bernard Williams’ article on the Makropulos Case, is the intuition that it is inappropriate for persons not to become bored after a sufficiently long sequence of time has passed. If God were omnitemporal, he would suffer from boredom. But God is the greatest possible (...)
  2. Šop's Clock: The Measuring Instrument of Temporality and Timelessness.Rosalba Asìno - 2006 - Filozofska Istrazivanja 26 (3):653-660.
  3. Eternity and Critical Insight.Lawrence E. Barry - 1974 - New Scholasticism 48 (3):351-359.
  4. The Timeless Rivers.Thomas J. Beary - 1956 - Renascence 8 (3):163-165.
  5. Peter KUZMIČ, Time and Eternity: Ethics, Politics and Religion.Robert Bogešić - 2007 - Kairos: Evangelical Journal of Theology 1 (1):153-155.
  6. Eternal God: Divine Atemporality in Thomas Aquinas.John H. Boyer - 2014 - In Darci N. Hill (ed.), News from the Raven: Essays from Sam Houston State University on Medieval and Renaissance Thought. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: pp. 262-285.
    The recent trend among many philosophers of religion has been to interpret divine eternity as an everlasting temporality in which an omnitemporal God exists in and throughout the whole of time. This is in contrast to the classical account of divine eternity as atemporal, immutable existence. In this paper, Aquinas' use of Boethius's definition of eternity as “the whole, perfect, and simultaneous possession of endless life” is analyzed and explained in contradistinction to Aristotle's definition of time. This analysis is then (...)
  7. The Importance of God as an Idea.Michael Brodrick - 2012 - Overheard in Seville 30 (30):14-18.
  8. The Ontology of Action and Divine Agency (Do Not Cite Without Permission).Andrei Buckareff - manuscript
    The concept of divine agency is central to the narrative traditions inherited by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The scriptures of the Abrahamic religions include repeated references to the intentional actions and intentional outcomes of the actions of God. For instance, in the “Song of Moses” (Exodus 15:1-18), Moses celebrates the freedom of the Hebrews from bondage, declaring that Yahweh is “awesome in splendor, doing wonders” (5:11 NRSV). Alongside the picture of God as an agent who performs actions is a conception (...)
  9. God's Eternity.David B. Burrell - 1984 - Faith and Philosophy 1 (4):389-406.
  10. Theological Methodology, Classical Theism, and "Lived Time" in Antje Jackelén's Time and Eternity.James M. Byrne - 2009 - Zygon 44 (4):951-964.
    Antje Jackelén's Time and Eternity successfully employs the method of correlation and a close study of the question of time to enter the dialogue between science and theology. Hermeneutical attention to language is a central element of this dialogue, but we must be aware that much science is untranslatable into ordinary language; it is when we get to the bigger metaphysical assumptions of science that true dialogue begins to happen. Thus, although the method of correlation is a useful way to (...)
  11. Classical Christian Philosophy and Temporality.F. F. Centore - 1992 - The Monist 75 (3):393-405.
  12. Some Reflections on the Concept of 'Timeless God' in Western Thought.Ismail Cetin - 2009 - Kaygi 12:225 - 234.
    Anyone who is interested in the question of the existence of God has to study first of all the divine attributes; for to say that God exists is to say that there is something that has some attributes. If ’God exists’ is to be true, then the divine attributes must at least themselves be coherent and compatible. The coherence of the notion of God with His traditional divine attributes is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for the acceptance of God’s (...)
  13. God's Familization Process: Eternity and Eternal Life.John Cheng Wai-Leung - 2008 - Ultimate Reality and Meaning 31 (2-3):207-219.
  14. On the Relation of God and Time: A Temporalist Rebuttal of an Atemporalist View of Divine Immutability.Adam Co - 1999 - Quodlibet 1.
  15. God, Time and Freedom: ROBERT R. COOK.Robert R. Cook - 1987 - Religious Studies 23 (1):81-94.
    There seems to be a growing consensus amongst both theologians and philosophers that the classical doctrine of God as a simple, eternal being is untenable. Worries are expressed about the very notion of atemporal existence and when the examples of numbers and universals are offered, attention is drawn to the uncertain ontological status of such entities. Further, some of the traditional expressions of divine eternity are strictly speaking incoherent, bearing in mind that eternity means having neither temporal location nor duration. (...)
  16. A Reductio Ad Absurdum of Divine Temporality.Steven B. Cowan - 1996 - Religious Studies 32 (3):371 - 378.
    In this paper, I present an argument to show that the doctrine of divine temporality (the view that God is in time, but everlastingly eternal) is incoherent. The doctrine of divine temporality entails that God has traversed an actually infinite series of moments in order to reach the present. But I show that an actually infinite series of moments cannot be traversed. Hence, God could not have traversed his infinite past to reach the present. Therefore, the doctrine of divine temporality (...)
  17. A Reductio Ad Absurdum of Divine Temporality: STEVEN B. COWAN.Steven B. Cowan - 1996 - Religious Studies 32 (3):371-378.
    Theists believe that God is eternal, but they differ as to just what God's eternality means . The traditional, historic view of most Christian philosophers is that eternality means that God is timeless. He is ‘outside’ of time and not subject to any kind of temporal change. Indeed, God is the creator of time. Lets call this view divine timelessness.
  18. God and Necessity, by Brian Leftow.William L. Craig - 2013 - Faith and Philosophy 30 (4):462-470.
  19. Timelessness and Creation.William L. Craig - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (4):646 – 656.
  20. Divine Eternity.William Lane Craig - 2008 - In Thomas P. Flint & Michael C. Rea (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Theology. Oxford University Press.
    Philosophical theologians have been sharply divided with respect to God's relationship to time. This article examines the principal arguments they have offered for divine timelessness and temporality. Based on the discussion, it appears that the grounds for affirming divine timelessness is comparatively weak, but that there are two powerful arguments in favour of divine temporality. It would seem, then, that we should conclude that God is temporal. But such a conclusion would be premature, for there remains one way of escape (...)
  21. Divine Eternity and the General Theory of Relativity.William Lane Craig - 2005 - Faith and Philosophy 22 (5):543-557.
    An examination of time as featured in the General Theory of Relativity, which supercedes Einstein’s Special Theory, serves to rekindle the issue of the existenceof absolute time. In application to cosmology, Einstein’s General Theory yields models of the universe featuring a worldwide time which is the same for all observers in the universe regardless of their relative motion. Such a cosmic time is a rough physical measure of Newton’s absolute time, which is based ontologically in the duration of God’s being (...)
  22. Time and Eternity.William Lane Craig - 2001 - Crossway Books.
    This chapter contains sections titled: * Arguments for Divine Timelessness * Arguments for Divine Temporality * Eternity and the Nature of Time * Notes.
  23. Omniscience, Tensed Facts and Divine Eternity.William Lane Craig - 2000 - Faith and Philosophy 17 (2):227--228.
    A difficulty for a view of divine eternity as timelessness is that if time is tensed, then God, in virtue of His omniscience, must know tensed facts. But tensed facts, such as It is now t, can only be known by a temporally located being.Defenders of divine atemporality may attempt to escape the force of this argument by contending either that a timeless being can know tensed facts or else that ignorance of tensed facts is compatible with divine omniscience. Kvanvig, (...)
  24. Timelessness and Omnitemporality.William Lane Craig - 2000 - Philosophia Christi 2 (1):33.
  25. Temporal Becoming and the Direction of Time.William Lane Craig - 1999 - Philosophy and Theology 11 (2):349-366.
    The impression is frequently given that the static description of the 4-dimensional world given by a tenseless theory of time adequately accounts for the world and that a tensed theory of time has nothing to offer. In fact, the tenseless theory of time leaves us incapable of specifying the direction of time, whereas a tensed theory of time enables us to do so. Thus, the tensed theory enjoys a considerable advantage over the tenseless view.
  26. Divine Timelessness and Personhood.William Lane Craig - 1998 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 43 (2):109-124.
  27. On the Alleged Metaphysical Superiority of Timelessness.William Lane Craig - 1998 - Sophia 37 (1):1-9.
  28. Divine Timelessness and Necessary Existence.William Lane Craig - 1997 - International Philosophical Quarterly 37:217-224.
  29. On the Argument for Divine Timelessness From the Incompleteness of Temporal Life.William Lane Craig - 1997 - Heythrop Journal 38 (2):165–171.
    A promising argument for divine timelessness is that temporal life is possessed only moment by moment, which is incompatible with the existence of a perfect being.Since the argument is based on the experience of time’s passage, it cannot be circumvented by appeal to a tenseless theory of time.Neither can the argument be subverted by appeals to a temporal deity’s possession of a specious present of infinite duration.Nonetheless, because the argument concerns one’s experience of time’s passage rather than the objective reality (...)
  30. Talbot School of Theology Divine Timelessness and Necessary Existence.William Lane Craig - 1997 - International Philosophical Quarterly 37 (2):217-224.
  31. God, Time, and Eternity.William Lane Craig - 1978 - Religious Studies 14 (4):497.
    God is the ‘high and lofty One who inhabits eternity’, declared the prophet Isaiah, but exactly how we are to understand the notion of eternity is not clear. Traditionally, the Christian church has taken it to mean ‘timeless’. But in his classic work on this subject, Oscar Cullmann has contended that the New Testament ‘does not make a philosophical, qualitative distinction between time and eternity. It knows linear time only…’ He maintains, ‘Primitive Christianity knows nothing of a timeless God. The (...)
  32. The Eternity of the World and the Distinction Between Creation and Conservation.Richard Cross - 2006 - Religious Studies 42 (4):403-416.
    According to an important set of medieval arguments, it is impossible to make a distinction between creation and conservation on the assumption of a beginningless universe. The argument is that, on such an assumption, either God is never causally sufficient for the existence of the universe, or, if He is at one time causally sufficient for the existence of the universe, He is at all times causally sufficient for the universe, and occasionalism is true. I defend the claim that these (...)
  33. Duns Scotus on Eternity and Timelessness.Richard Cross - 1997 - Faith and Philosophy 14 (1):3-25.
    Scotus consistently holds that eternity is to be understood as timelessness. In his early Lectura, he criticizes Aquinas’ account of eternity on the grounds that (1) it entails collapsing past and future into the present, and (2) it entails a B-theory of time, according to which past, present and future are all ontologically on a par with each other. Scotus later comes to accept something like Aquinas’ account of God’s timelessness and the B-theory of time which it entails. Scotus also (...)
  34. Why the Incarnation Is Incompatible With An Atemporal Concept of God.Alin C. Cucu - manuscript
    In this essay, I argue that the Incarnation of the Son of God, understood in a traditionally orthodox way, is incompatible with an atemporalist concept of God. First, I explain what I mean by atemporalism, namely the idea that God exists outside time. I also show the main corollaries of that doctrine, most notably that all of God’s life occurs eternally simultaneously. Second, based on New Testament teaching and widely accepted creeds, I spell out philosophically what I mean by the (...)
  35. Debunking The Hellenistic Myth: Why Christians Should Believe That God Is In Time.Alin C. Cucu - 2017 - Piate Pietro 2 (2):16-22.
    In this essay I will try to convince you: (1) that the question of God’s relation to time is of practical relevance for every believer (2) that the idea of God being outside time is a philosophically untenable concept which creates major clashes with Christian doctrine and therefore that every Christian should adopt some temporalist view of God To do that, I will present four arguments against the “outside time” view of God. I then briefly treat the question where the (...)
  36. Toward the Philosophy of Creation: Maximus the Confessor.Vladimir Cvetkovic - 2011 - Filozofija I Društvo 22 (4):127-155.
    The article aims to present the philosophical argumentation in favor of the Christian idea of the creation of the world exposed in the work of the seventh century author Maximus the Confessor. Maximus the Confessor developed his doctrine of creation on the basis of the philosophical arguments of his Christian predecessors, above all, Gregory of Nyssa, Nemesius of Emesa and Dionysius the Areopagite. The core of Maximus’ argumentation on the creation of the world is similar to the position of the (...)
  37. How Does Eternity Affect the Law of Non‐Contradiction?Alan Philip Darley - 2013 - Heythrop Journal 54 (5).
  38. Philosophos Philosophy: The Intersubjectivity of Sophos, the One and the Real Self.Ulrich de Balbian - forthcoming - Academic Publishers.
    Philosophy: the intersubjectivity of Sophos, the one and the real self, of the mystic, pure consciousness..
  39. SEP Entry: Eternity in Christian Thought.Natalja Deng - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2018.
    This entry provides an overview of some key positions on God and time and discusses arguments for and against divine timelessness. The final section outlines some other philosophical contexts in which the concept of eternity can play a role.
  40. God and the Nature of Time.Garrett J. DeWeese - 2004 - Routledge.
    The past six decades have seen rising interest in the philosophy of time, driven in large measure by the metaphysical implications of the physical theories of relativity and quantum mechanics. Philosophical theology has only recently begun serious interaction with contemporary metaphysics of time. In particular, the issue of God's temporal mode of being has come under investigation In Part 1, I begin with the metaphysics of time, explicating and defending a causal account of dynamic time. I then consider objections that (...)
  41. Of Time and Eternity In Kierkegaard's Concept of Anxiety.Louis Dupré - 1984 - Faith and Philosophy 1 (2):160-176.
  42. Eternity is a Present, Time is its Unwrapping.Edward Epsen - 2010 - Heythrop Journal 51 (3):417-429.
    There is debate in the philosophy of religion about whether the being of God is timelessly eternal or is instead temporal but unbounded. In this paper, I seek to defend the first view by motivating and deriving it from the Christian doctrines of the trinity and salvation. My goal is to present the notion of eternity in a way that makes clear that it belongs to God by nature and to man by grace, with the condition of time being part (...)
  43. Timelessness, Immutability, and Eschatology.Douglas K. Erlandson - 1978 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 9 (3):129 - 145.
  44. Interpretations of God's Eternity.Nicholas Everitt - 1998 - Religious Studies 34 (1):25-32.
    A number of authors, including contributors to this journal, have argued that the only consistent interpretation of God's eternal existence attributes to God an atemporal existence. Their argument seeks to show that it would be self-contradictory to adopt the opposing interpretation that God exists in time, and has indeed existed for an infinite past time. This paper argues that their objections to infinite past existence all turn on a misunderstanding of what that concept involves. The theist is therefore not compelled (...)
  45. Hasker's God, Time, and Knowledge.Thomas P. Flint - 1990 - Philosophical Studies 60 (1-2):103 - 115.
  46. Time and Eternity.Erich Frank - 1948 - Review of Metaphysics 2 (5):39 - 52.
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