2in its complete history.
One of the characteristics of divine timelessness is that the whole of eternity issimultaneous with every single moment in time, from beginning to end. Every moment in our historyand future, for God, is lived in his present. This eternal present is not just instantaneous, but it must beof some duration, since eternity necessarily entails duration. The eternal presentis by definition aninfinitely extended, pastless, futureless duration.
For this view to make sense, we must hold to a B-series conception of time: time, rather thanflowing like a river from past to present to future and being governed by those tenses (this is the
-series conception of time), is rather laid out like points on a map. There are no tenses, but only beforeand after, or earlier than and later than. Point
, 11:35pm on Wednesday, March 10, 2010, occursbefore Point B, 11:36pm on Wednesday, March 10, 2010, but the way God views them is simultaneous.
One of the easiest and most common objections to this view of time and the simultaneity of eternitywith time is one as stated, for example, by
nthony Kenny: On St. Thomas view [of timelessness], mytyping of this paper is simultaneous with the whole of eternity.
gain on this view, the great fire of Rome is simultaneous with the whole of eternity. Therefore, while I type these words, Nero fiddlesheartlessly on.
With this objection, divine timelessness seems incoherent. McCann responds to thisobjection thusly: God creates and is aware of all of history neither simultaneously nor at differenttimes, but eternally. His activity as Creator and Knower is unified and unchanging, but it does not occurat any present moment, not even a supposed eternal one. It simply is.
nother way to rebut this objection is to look at the principle of GWK (Gods Way of Knowing).This is a line of reasoning that states that if God knows something non-temporally, then what he knows
Stump, Eleanore and Norman Kretzmann. Eternity. From
Philosophy of Religion: The Big Questions
. Ed. byStump, Eleanore and Michael J. Murray. Blackwell Publishing: Malden, M
, 1999, p. 45.
Class notes, February 19, 2010
Quote from Hasker, William. Excerpt from
God, Time, and Knowledge
Philosophy of Religion: The BigQuestions
. Ed. by Stump, Eleanore and Michael J. Murray. Blackwell Publishing: Malden, M
McCann, Hugh J. The God Beyond Time. Class handout of a revised version excerpted from his anthology, p.