God as everlasting

GOD AS EVERLASTING

 

  1. To regard God as everlasting is to say that he has no beginning and no endbut endures everlastingly into the past and the future. Such as God may experience time differently from us, but time still passes for him. The future is still future, and the past is past. At some time in the past, God created the universe out of nothing by his word, and at some time in the future he will bring the universe to an end: but God himself will not come to an end.

 

“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

2 Peter 3:8

 

 

  1. This view of God, which is broadly biblical, suffers from some problems:

 

  1. The everlasting God can be held to be too anthropomorphic and not sufficiently transcendent. He is not different enough from man. It would be better, say some scholars, to think of God as timeless, i.e. outside time altogether. According to this view, time never passes for God: there is no past, present and future. Instead all things are present simultaneously to God.

 

n.b. Process theology. This view, which is influential in the US, holds that God is in time; he interacts with his creation and thus changes and develops. Process theologians reject a static picture of God as timeless and changeless and prefer to talk about God’s “becoming” rather than God’s “being”. There is some evidence for this kind of view in the Bible, but traditional Christianity does not regard God and the universe as interdependent, preferring to emphasise that while the universe without God is nothing, God is still fully God without the universe.

 

  1. The everlasting God cannot be said to have created time, since it has always existed, even before the creation of the universe. If God is within time, is time therefore greater than God? In answer to this, we may say that time is not a “thing” which needs to be created. Time is a feature of anything that exists: time has always existed because God has always existed. Time is not a “thing” external to or superior to God.

 

iii.       If the everlasting God is in time, then to him, as to us, the future has not yet happened. Does this not restrict his omniscience? God may have foreknowledge, in that he knows the future as future, but if he does not necessarily know the future in detail, is he not seriously limited? One answer to this is to say that God knows everything that it is logically possible to know; but he cannot know the future, because the future has not yet happened. There is not yet future to know. Thus God can be said to be omniscient, in that the future is open and full of many possibilities which will not be determined until human free choices have been made. If God knew the outcome of these choices, they could hardly be said to be free. However, some theologians think that this limitation on God’s knowledge is unacceptable.

 

Write a paragraph:

 

“A personal God. Theism … understands by this a supreme Person, a self-existent subject of infinite goodness and power, who enters into a relationship with us comparable to that of one human personality with another. The theist is concerned to argue the existence of such a being as the creator and most sufficient explanation of the world as we know it. Without a Person ‘out there’, the skies would be empty, the heavens as brass, and the world without hope and compassion.” John Robinson: Honest to God.

 

Does Robinson’s view (which he rejects) of a personal God seem to you to be satisfactory?

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