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Arts and Humanities
Attributes of God: Eternity.
Terms in this set (52)
God is separate from the physical world. He is far above all things.
God is active and closely involved in the world.
What are the conflicting arguments for God's eternity?
That He is;
What does the argument that God is atemporal/timeless mean?
That God exists outside of time and sees an overview of all events rather than seeing life frame by frame.
Time is an aspect of the created world and doesn't exist where God is.
What does the argument that God is everlasting/sempiternal mean?
That His timeline just continues into infinity, when ours stop, His carries on.
He moves through time with us seeing our lives as we experience them, He has always existed and always will.
Who supports the argument that God is atemporal?
Who supports the argument that God is sempiternal?
What does Boethius argue?
That God exists outside of time and sees existence entirely. His knowledge does not cause future events, he is jut aware of the choices we make before we reach that point in our timeline.
What did B reject?
The idea that eternity was time stretched out in both directions.
What does B believe belongs to God?
Eternity as he is able to grasp past, present and future as a whole meaning that God's knowledge doesn't cause future events.
What does B refer to God's foreknowledge as?
God's prior knowledge and provision for the world but is used by many to generally refer to foreknowledge and God's gov. of nature.
Quote of B's?
"there seems to be a hopeless conflict between divine foreknowledge of all things and freedom of the human will"
How does B's view contradict Moltmann's?
He chose to separate himself from time and give is free will meaning that he cannot influence our decisions.
How does B pose his theory?
In the 'Consolation of Philosophy', he poses it as a question which Lady Philosophy (personification) answers (dialogue like Plato).
What does Augustine argue?
That God must exist atemporally because if He was in time, what was He doing before creation. He'd have been doing nothing and Au could not fathom a God that would be doing nothing.
Quote from Au?
"you are before all things past and transcend all things future,"- no past, present or future at one time, just existence.
What does Anselm argue?
What is this?
God is "that which nothing greater can be conceived".
An inference, not explicit.
What is inferred by An?
That God must be atemporal because otherwise he is not a being "that which nothing greater can be conceived". If he were sempiternal, we would be able to imagine a God unrestricted by time.
Criticism of B,Au,An?
All assume that time is only a construct of this world, what if God didn't create time and is bound by it.
Criticism of An?
Are we assuming that the greatest being is untouched by time, surely the greatest being should be able to move in and out of time.
Criticism of Au?
How does he know that God had done nothing before creation? He could have created a million other worlds and done a million other things that we have no conscious knowledge of it- why wait to create the world? God's eternal knowledge- assuming he knows the nature of God (Aquinas's eternal law).
Criticism of B?
The Verification Principle/Principle of evidence linked to assumption.
What does Swinburne argue?
That God must be sempiternal because there is evidence of him interacting with people on a personal level rather than isolating himself.
Quote from Swinburne?
"If God had thus fixed his intentions 'from all eternity' he would be a very lifeless thing; not a person who reacts to men with sympathy or anger".
What does Swinburne reference?
It reveals that God doesn't have a fixed purpose for all eternity, he doesn't intend that something should happen on a particular day and remain unchanged, He interacts with people and so His decisions may change because of His ongoing relationship with individuals.
What was Swinburne's example?
King Hezekiah's illness in Isaiah.
He was told he'd die soon, he cried and prayed and God then responded giving him an extra 15 years which is indicative of God being sempiternal.
What contradicts the example of King Hezekiah?
Where's the modern evidence of God interacting with people and changing his mind? E.G. Natural disasters/the Holocaust that God ignores- e.g. Elie Wiesel's 'Night'.
Free will of the Nazis (Augustine).
3 criticisms of Swinburne?
- Can the Bible be taken as literal? (Principle of evidence).
- Correlation doesn't mean causation.
- The Verification Principle.
What is problem one?
Can God be atemporal and omnibenevolent?
Who poses problem one?
What does Swinburne argue?
Evidence of God interacting with us in time:
View of a timeless God contradicts the Old Testament as he is presented as having a continual interaction with men.
Uses King Hezekiah to argue that he doesn't have fixed purposes for all eternity, he interacts with people and his decisions about what will happen may change based on his ongoing relationship with individuals.
Where does S argue his point?
'The Coherence of Theism'- 1977.
What does Hartshorn argue?
Love cannot be compatible with immutability (unchangeable)- a loving being responds to the object of his or her love (if they loved one is happy they share their happiness and all other emotions). These changes happen within time (process/sequence of events)- if God is atemporal, he cannot respond to us with love unless he exists within time and has relationships on an individual basis.
God is impassive, he can't feel anything including empathy for our hardships.
Who cites Hartshorn's argument?
'Understanding Philosophy and Religion'.
3 responses to problem one?
-Evidence of God not being there.
What is evidence of God not being there?
Elie Wiesel- Holocaust survivor.
"Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God."
"Where is God? WHere is he?"
Another quote highlighting that there is evidence of God not being there?
"God abandoned us! There is only us!"- 'Generation War' (drama)- the Germans felt that their God had abandoned them too- not all Germans were Nazis, some were forced to fight.
How does Anselm respond to problem one?
How can God be the greatest possible thing that we can conceive if he is stuck in time with us?
How does Hume respond to problem one?
Principle of Evidence- Swinburne relies on the Bible which may not be a reliable source (may be inaccurate/untrue etc).
What is problem 2?
If God is sempiternal then is he truly omnipotent?
Who poses problem 2?
What does Ahluwalia argue for problem 2?
God would be much more limited if bound by time. He would not know what the outcomes of actions might be; "he would have to wait and see how events turned out before he decided what to do next."
He had to wait to see consequence/what happens next.
Quote from Ahluwalia?
"His omnipotence and omniscience are reduced to a point where God can hardly be called all-powerful."
What does Anselm argue for problem 2?
It is a logical inference that he can't be sempiternal as we could imagine a being greater who is not bound by time.
"that than which nothing greater can be conceived".
Explain Anselm's argument for problem 2?
We can conceive a God that exists atemporally- surely the most powerful entity wouldn't be bound by time and can move in and out of it.
2 responses to problem 2?
-Human perception of power.
Explain the semantics argument for problem 2.
It depends on the definition of omnipotence we accept- if God chose to self-limit his omnipotence then it's possible he is sempiternal but only through his own choice thus meaning that his omnipotence is not limited.
He was still omnipotent to begin with (self-limitation), maybe he chose to be sempiternal because of his benevolence.
What can be used as support for semantics?
Aquinas- God would not contradict the logic he created (time).
Explain the human perception argument for problem 2.
Human perception of what is "greater", subjective- your definition of the greatest thing. God could be in time rather than outside.
Depends on perception of power.
What does Augustine assume?
That time existed before the universe and is an aspect of the universe.
Who else supports Ahluwalia and Swinburne?
Moltmann- God suffers with us in time.
Hypothetical example for semantics?
If I chose to sit in a chair and not move, I can still walk, it doesn't limit my potential, it is my choice. God is the same- self limitation.
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