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The Zero Thesis says not only that the distance between God and any spatial thing is zero, but also that it always is zero. Therefore nothing ever moves with respect to God. Moreover, all change supervenes on motion, e. So there is no change with respect to God Leftow Therefore, God and all spatial things share a frame of reference, the reference frame of eternity, in which nothing changes. That is, they all occur at eternity, and eternity is something like another time, so they are all simultaneous. But in other, temporal reference frames, this is not the case.

So in these frames, they are nonsimultaneous.


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And this is where special relativity comes in. After all, the relativity of simultaneity shows that events simultaneous in one frame of reference may be nonsimultaneous in others. From the fact that there is no spatial distance between spatial things and God, it does not follow that the spatial distance between spatial things and God is zero.

A similar inference leads one to claim that all spatial things are spatially contiguous with yellow and the number 3. Leftow is of course aware of this consequence, and accepts it as a surprising finding about yellow and the number 3; he argues that the Zero Thesis only seems problematic because one fails to notice that a distance of zero is just an absence of distance Leftow However, a distance of zero would seem to be a distance, not an absence of distance Oppy , in Other Internet Resources.

A reference frame is a system of physical devices such as measuring rods and clocks that allow an observer to fix the positions of events. Nor is it clear how timeless eternity can, in addition, be like a time, simultaneity with which can be the outcome of measurements. McTaggart , and being and becoming in modern physics. McTaggart distinguished between the A-series and the B-series of events. The A-series runs from the future through the present and into the past, while the B-series runs from earlier to later McTaggart This distinction survives in the form of the contemporary opposition between the B-theory and various versions of the A-theory of time.

A tenseless description is one that stays accurate, because it mentions only such things as which events happen when, and how they are temporally related to one another. So it mentions only facts about B-relations like simultaneity and succession. Call these tenseless facts. Opposed to this are various versions of the A-theory, which deny one or both of a and b. What these A-theoretic views including eternalist and non-eternalist ones, like presentism or the growing block view have in common is that they metaphysically privilege one time.

Fundamental tensed facts capture this privilege. One prominent motivation for the A-theory is the conviction that time passes robustly—i. Let A-occurring be occurring now, and let B-occurring be occurring at a certain temporal location t that is now.

B-occurring entails A-occurring: if something occurs at a temporal B-location t that is now, it occurs now. But not vice versa. Something can occur now without occurring at a temporal B-location t that is now. Something can, that is, A-occur without B-occurring. B-simultaneity, by contrast, is having the same temporal B-location in some B-series.

If two events are B-simultaneous and they B-occur i. And if two events occur at the same atemporal now and A-occur i. Leftow According to Leftow, there can be no change in timeless eternity, and in eternity, all events happen A- simultaneously. However, in some places eternity is instead described as involving succession, namely as consisting of a number of different B-series corresponding to different temporal reference frames Leftow Prima facie , these are different, incompatible ideas.

B-theorists, who hold that time, fundamentally, consists of events standing in B-relations of precedence and simultaneity, do not also hold that all of time collapses to a single time. These points are at least in some sense earlier and later than one another, but they do not stand in the relation of succession.

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Thinking About God: Divine Eternity

This seemingly paradoxical claim is partly defended via appeals to the B-theory. In this respect, we are told, it is like life in B-time, only without an illusion of temporal passage. There is a danger here of misinterpreting the B-theory. Relatedly, the traditional project of squaring our temporal experience with the B-theory is about explaining away an illusion of temporal passage, not about explaining away an illusion of temporal succession see the SEP entry on the experience and perception of time.

Since the B-theory posits succession a B-relation , an experience of succession is non-illusory, on the B-theory.

In other words, the thought is that an experience of temporal succession is illusory, on the B-theory. Leftow also suggests that the sense in which QTE involves earlier and later points is not a temporal one, but a logical one. However, logical priority is not temporal priority, nor is it relevantly like temporal priority Rogers A more recent idea is that of a typically temporal property TTP.

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The thought is that just like being bipedal helps make us human without being sufficient for making us human, so, e. In recent times, there has been a notable shift away from divine timelessness. As in 4. On this view, God is located at all times, God experiences succession, and God has lived through and will live through a non-finite past and future. Compared to other temporal views, this one is conceptually straightforward. Arguably, however, it is in tension with current cosmology, which suggests that the universe has a finite past. Insofar as the view implies that God is bound by, or has no power over time, it may also be at odds with some of the constraints arising from Western Scripture see section 2.

The view is found at least in process theologians like Charles Hartshorne Hartshorne However, timelessness is not abandoned; instead, it is redefined. Padgett ; also Does that mean God is only in his time and not in ours? No, he is in our time too p. What does it mean to transcend our time? It means that God is the ground of time, that he is not negatively affected by the passage of time, and things get a little circular here , that he is relatively timeless.

But this may still leave one wondering about the distinction. Nor do they tend to think of the time of the universe as specifically human.

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For another, there are a number of different philosophical views about time. The problem is that even extrinsic change still presupposes a before and after Leftow Craig is aware of the difficulty:. But this is logically incoherent, since to stand in a relation of earlier than is by all accounts to be temporal. Craig This state would pass away, not successively, but as a whole, at the moment of creation, when time begins.

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But this solution looks suspiciously like a re-statement of the view. Yet we needed there to literally be such a before on the view in question. What can it mean to say God underwent a change at the end of which God was temporal? In addition, he points to the cosmic time of some general relativistic spacetime models as a candidate for absolute time. Each of these claims is made in support of a strong prior commitment to the A-theory, shared with Padgett. Richard Swinburne originally defends timelessness Swinburne , but then switches allegiance to a temporal view.

According to his later view, before creation God lives alone in a metrically amorphous time Swinburne , , Once God creates the world and institutes the laws of nature, time acquires a metric. There then begin to be facts of the matter about how long temporal intervals are. Recall that the theistic God is omniscient.

Presumably then, God knows what temporal reality is like at its most fundamental. But since these facts change, what God knows changes constantly.

So God changes constantly; so God is in time. Various versions of this argument have been defended Craig , ; DeWeese ; Hasker ; Kretzmann ; Padgett , ; Wolterstorff ; Mullins Ch. Since many participants of the debate think the A-theory is true, it is treated as an argument for divine temporality. Others respond by giving up on the A-theory and accepting the B-theory Helm , ; Rogers One might, however, wonder whether there are arguments in the vicinity of Argument 1 that can be run on the B-theory too.

Consider first the following, somewhat similar argument. Unlike in the case of Argument 1, the connection to the A-theory here is not straightforward. At each time, that time is present—not in the absolute, metaphysically privileged sense of the A-theory, but in a relative, perspectival sense.

Each time is present at itself, just like each spatial location is here relative to itself. Moreover, on a standard B-theoretic account of tensed language e. At noon, S believes that it is noon; that belief is made true by a tenseless fact, such as that S holds the belief at a time simultaneous with noon. At , S believes truly that it is , where this belief is made true by another tenseless fact, such as that this later belief is held by S at a time simultaneous with , and so on.

Admittedly, it is not the case, on this B-theoretic account, that knowing what time it is at different times involves knowing different things at different times.