Divine Eternity and the Nature of Time

Dissertation, University of Oxford (United Kingdom) (1989)
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Abstract

Available from UMI in association with The British Library. Requires signed TDF. ;I examine the doctrine of the timelessness of God, and develop a new concept of eternity, which I call "relative timelessness." I argue that the traditional notion of eternity, viz. that God is absolutely timeless and immutable, can only be true if the stasis theory of time is true . This argument assumes that God is active in our history, in particular that God directly sustains the universe at each moment of time. But the stasis theory of time should not be accepted, as I argue on both scientific and philosophical grounds. So the doctrine of absolute divine timelessness cannot be true, if God sustains the universe. Since divine sustaining is so central to theism, we should reject the traditional doctrine of divine timelessness if we wish to retain a coherent theology. Yet arguments that God cannot be in measurable time still hold force. So I develop a revised understanding of divine timelessness which separates it from absolute immutability. A relatively timeless God can change in relationship to his creation. God is not in any Measured Time system, nor is he subject to time: but he is temporal, even though his time is infinite and immeasurable. Thus God is both temporal in some sense, and timeless in some sense, yet still able to sustain the universe of time and change. We are in God's time, which is eternity

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