Every now and then, on a Friday, I’ll step into the deep waters of Philosophy, ramble on some idea and maybe even interact with something I might be reading. Most of the time, a real philosopher could probably read my drivel and speak into it offering a corrective—but for now I’ll speak from ignorance. After all, it is Friday; what better way to have fun than with philosophy. In this post I’ll answer the question “Is God Timeless?” in under 700 words. Heh.
Is God Timeless? A whole mess of people answer that question with a big YES!. But why…on what grounds. I mean, if God is really timeless we’d have a God who doesn’t know what time it is right now…or now (not internally anyway). We’d have a God who can change the past at any point (if he wanted to).
I guess part of the problem is deciding what Time is. If Time is like a circle of wiggly wobbly timey wimey stuff where things are affected by it then we surely don’t want God affected by it; He should be above that stuff.
Yeah, I know that most people don’t think about Time as wiggly gunk. They might think of it as a sphere (from God’s view) made up of a line (or lines from our view). Time travel then is a person traveling from one point on the line to another point of the line—but all part of the same line (not getting into alternate realities or anything like that right now). And God looks at it, outside of the thing, able to touch any part of the line. Sorta like a dude with a huge spherical LCD Monitor: he can touch it at any point and the motion is nothing to him but it might mean billions of years to those living on the line. So Time is just another space and every place on the line (the flow of time) is equally real as any other place on the line.
In this view, we can easily say that God is timeless because the stuff that is time would affect Him. I mean, if he were part of the stuff, events wouldn’t only define him; he be part of a construct thus (arguably) not the Ultimate Being. But what if time isn’t like that at all? What if time is merely a sequence of event 1 followed by event 2 followed by event 3?
In this view, the only thing that would have to occur for God to be part of time is for God to be part of events—even if he started events. So God would exist in a timeless eternity until he creates and that would be Event 1. By the fact of him generating this first event, he is inextricably tied to events and thus inseparable from any future event…even if he doesn’t do anything after the first event (which I’m not suggesting).
This wouldn’t affect who God is in his essence or being (since who He is would still remain unchangeable; He is loving, he doesn’t become loving; He is good, he doesn’t become good) but it would affect his understanding (I need a better word than that) of events. I mean, he will know that the last event occurred in the past (when He created) and He would be moving along with the up and coming events which he has yet to do. This would also mean that we wouldn’t get weird stuff happening in history (like people praying for God to change the past and Him actually changing the past) or even the future (time travel wouldn’t be possible because to jump to some future event you’ll only be generating a series of events; to go back to previous events you’ll still only be generating more events—my head is hurting).
So is God Timeless? I’d say in who He is—yes, He is timeless; but insofar as God has created and performed actions, no—he’s part of time.