By Spencer D Gear
What is God’s relation to time and eternity? Leading conservative theologians give these explanations about the nature of God’s eternity and time:
H Orton Wiley: ‘By eternity as an attribute of God, we can mean only that He stands superior to time, free from the temporal distinctions of past and future, and in whose life there can be no succession. This is the sense of those scriptures which speak of the eternity of God, none of which more explicitly set it forth than the revelation of the name I AM THAT I AM. From its first declaration made to Moses (Exod. 3: 14) to the final revelation made to St. John in the Apocalypse as that which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty (Rev. 1: 8), this name not only declares the Aseity or Self-sufficiency but the Eternity of God’ (Wiley 1940:335).
Henry Thiessen stated that the eternity of God means ‘his infinity in relation to time…. He is without beginning or end; that He is free from all succession of time; and that He is the cause of time… That God is eternal is abundantly taught in Scripture…. Eternity for God is one Now’ (Thiessen 1949:122, emphasis in original). Thiessen refers to Gen 21:33; Ps 90:2; 102:27; Isa 57:15 and 1 Tim 6:18.
James Montgomery Boice explained that a quality in the name of God that was given to Moses – ‘I AM WHO I AM’ – ‘is everlastingness, perpetuity or eternity. The quality is difficult to put in one word, but it is simply that God is, has always been and will always be, and that he is ever the same in his eternal being’. He explained that ‘this attribute of God is explained everywhere in the Bible’. He referred to Gen 21:33; Ps 90:1-2; Rev 1:8; 4:8; 21:6 and 22:13 (Boice 1986:105).
Courtesy Open Clip Art Library (Public Domain)
But if you then go onto the Internet where some Bible-based evangelicals are interacting, an interesting mix is found. If you want to encounter some hairy doctrine, try visiting some of the Christian forums on the Internet. There I met Brad who asked:
There seems to be two main views on how God relates to time. Most philosophers today hold to the position that God is Temporal like we are. They say that He operates and responds to events in time successively just as we would. The problem is this means God could not see what has not happened yet because… it has not happened “yet.” The only logical way to know what will happen (without causing it to happen and short circuiting free will) is to somehow experience it. And of course logically if someone has the ability to experience the future and relay it to us, then there must be more to time than only current time. And they must be experiencing time some other way than only temporally.
Some argue that God could just make good predictions on the way things will happen based on His divine observation of the way things are going in the present. Similar to seeing a marble rolling toward the edge of a table and predicting it will fall on the floor. But that isn’t the way Bible prophecy is….
The second view is that God is “Timeless.” The philosophers who view that God is timeless deny God being temporal. In their view God does not exist in or experience time in succession as we do, but rather He exists beyond time. He exists at a non-temporal location called eternity where He experiences all centuries and time at once. An analogy to help us try to even conceive of this would be to take a snapshot picture of every second of my entire life, from birth to death, and arrange them all in one giant frame that I could experience all at once. Of course my eyes and brain would be completely incapable of processing all that at once, but God’s could…..
So you can see how both temporal and timeless views fit scripture on one sense but conflict on another. On the one hand God knew things before the foundation of the world. God can see the future. But on the other hand God called out to Adam asking where he was? He was grieved by man’s sin before the flood. He expressed surprise at Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son. And most importantly, we are clearly taught that God does answer prayer as a result of our asking, something that requires temporality. Contemplating all of this left me with a very mind boggling dilemma.
What are your thoughts?
The thoughts that rolled in
One poster wrote:’Temporal is the life we live in the present, it doesn’t pertain to our spiritual life which is what God judges after death. As for the answering of prayers that is in the hands of God. He may answer them in this life or maybe in the next. But I guarantee, that he will only answers prayers that are within his jurisdiction’.
How do you think Brad would reply to the thought that temporal refers only to this life? He wrote: ‘I was wondering why you don’t believe we will experience temporal time in heaven? John describes his experience there within a temporal frame work. Paul does too. Even the prophet Eziekiel (sic) describes his vision of the throne of God Temporally’.
I didn’t notice this the first time.
So do you see yourself as a Christian Judith?
I only asked because most Christians would say that it is being found in Christ and Him alone that renders one not guilty. You seemed to suggest there is more to it than that.
Judith’s response was: ‘There certainly is, for we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this world’.
Temporal time in heaven?
How should one respond to the concept of experiencing temporal time in heaven? I wrote:
I also do not believe I ‘will experience temporal time in heaven’. I will experience a eternity  in heaven (definition given at the foot of this article).
This is why I don’t believe I’ll experience temporal time in heaven. What is the meaning of ‘temporal’? My Aussie Macquarie Dictionary gives these meanings of ‘temporal’:
- ‘of or relating to time.
- ‘relating to or concerned with the present life or this world; worldly.
- ‘enduring for a time only; temporary; transitory;
- Grammar a. ‘of, relating to, or expressing time’ (The Macquarie Dictionary 1997:2180).
The reason why I will not be experiencing temporal time in heaven is because time will be over when I get to glory. I thank God that it will be gone forever. I will be experiencing the aeviternal dimension of my existence in the presence of the trinitarian Lord God. My taking warfarin for heart surgery for over 30 years will have finished. All the aches, pains, conflict, wars and rumours of war will be gone forever. What a day, glorious day, that will be when my Jesus I shall see!
I believe God is timeless. That is I believe “time” is a construct of God for man’s benefit, to mark seasons, measure boundaries and changes.
When God asked Adam, Where are you? It wasn’t because God didn’t know where Adam was, it was a question for Adam to think about….in order for Adam to think about where he was at spiritually, having broken fellowship with God.
God can either be in the temporal for the sake of man, while still living in the eternal timelessness. He is after all omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent.
She went further:
The Lord impressed me with how while I’m down in the situation feeling overwhelmed, God is above in a multitude of dimension, seeing things that I don’t normally see and He sees it all at once and has it within his power to help me navigate through places that I thought were scary…
At that moment my anxiety vanished forever concerning those trials … I saw from a different vantage point.
Here’s another perspective on Brad’s observations and question, from another poster to that forum:
We live in 4 dimensions: height, width, depth, time/space yet science has determined that there could be up to 11 dimensions (however small). God is outside of our 4 dimensions (which would be beyond time/space) and can see all of human history at one time. One example using another person in the same dimensions would be seeing a parade from a helicopter — those on the ground will only see the parade as it goes by but the person looking down would see the total parade at one time….
So, the descriptions you’ve given about God using feeling, answering prayer, is His way of communicating with us on our level but this does not mean that any of what happens on this mortal realm is a surprise to Him. I think God works through time because that is how we live but does He change His mind? I don’t think so. I think He works through circumstances and time to change us to confirm to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
What blows my mind is to consider what our existence will be beyond this realm. Will we still be limited to time after we are raised by God and made “imperishable” (1 Cor 50-54) – or will it time still be a dimension that can be used for God’s purposes? That is, once Christ returns and Heaven is on Earth (Rev 21 & 22), will those in Christ move between time and eternity, like Angels do?
One of my favorite scripture passages is “I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:10-11)
I sense both the pull of eternity God has placed in me but also the limitation of this perishable body to understand what He has done, is doing and will do.
Is God both timeless and temporal?
I totally agree that God is timeless. But again let me clarify what that term means to most philosiphers (sic). It doesn’t mean that God has experienced an infinite amount of time temporally (in succession). But rather He is experiencing all temporal time from infinity to infinity, all at once in one timeless instant….
As for Him creating time consider this; In Genesis 1:14 God tells us He created the sun, moon, and stars to be “markers” so that man could measure time, but nowhere does He ever tell us exactly when He created time. Time may actually even be an eternal extention (sic) of Himself….
So is it possible that when God said that a thousand years is as one day to Him, or one day can be as a thousand years, that He was saying just that? That He is both timeless and temporal?
To suggest that God is both timeless and temporal is to say that God is a temporal Being. Such a statement is contradictory to Scripture but an oxymoron – a temporal God?? How should I respond to this post? Here it is:
Perhaps you could consider this. There was no need for God to say at any place in Scripture, ‘I created time at such-and-such a time and I stated it in Chapter & Verse’. Why?
Because the very first verse of the Bible should answer that question, ‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth’ (Gen 1:1). From the very first moment God created ex nihilo (out of nothing) the very first thing he made, time began. Time is needed only because there is a creation in which it is to operate.
My proposal is that there is no need for God to state one word about his creating time because that should be understood by us as only creation needs time. At the moment God created the heavens and the earth, time began.
You might like to take a read of these two articles:
The unchanging, eternal, timeless God and the temporal
Here’s how I responded to Brad’s opening statement:
Thomas Aquinas (courtesy Wikipedia)
Thomas Aquinas, in Summa Theologica (1920), wrote on ‘The eternity of God‘. He said, ‘Eternity is nothing else but God Himself. Hence God is not called eternal, as if He were in any way measured; but the idea of measurement is there taken according to the apprehension of our mind alone…. Eternity truly and properly so called is in God alone, because eternity follows on immutability; as appears from the first article. But God alone is altogether immutable [unchanging]’ (Aquinas 1920:1a.10.2-3).
Norman Geisler has summarised several of Aquinas’s arguments to support his conclusion (Geisler2003:101-103) – unless otherwise stated, the citations are from Geisler:
- ‘Whatever exists in time can be computed according to its befores and afters. However, a changeless Being has no befores and afters; it is always the same. Consequently, God must be timeless’.
- ‘Time is duration characterized by substantial and accidental changes. Substantial changes are changes of substance. He uses the example of aeviternity [see definition below] (the existence of angels, and the existence of Christian believers in heaven) to demonstrate accidental changes. Accidental changes are those that are changeable. ‘Angels can increase in knowledge by divine infusion, and they have changeableness with regard to choice, intelligence, affections and places’. However, there can be no substantial changes with them – changes of their substance (what they are made of). What is true of angels is also true of elect believers in heaven.
- ‘Time is defined as a measurement in terms of befores and afters. God has no before or after, since He is changeless. It follows, then, that He must be timeless, for if he were in time, He could be measured according to a before and an after, which implies change’ (Aquinas 1920:1a.10.6).
- ‘Whatever is in time has succession of one state after another. From this Aquinas concluded that whatever is immutable is not temporal. This argument stresses another aspect of time: Whatever is temporal has successive states, one after the other. But as an immutable being God has no changing states, one after another; therefore, God cannot be temporal’.
- ‘In brief, total immutability implies eternity [Aquinas 1920:1a.10.2], for whatever changes substantially is in time and can be computed according to befores and afters. Whatever does not change cannot be in time, since it has no different states by which befores and afters can be computed; all are the same – it never changes. Therefore, whatever does not change is not temporal; God is eternal’.
- ‘Not only is God eternal, but He alone is eternal [Aquinas 1920:1a.10.3]. The reason for this is that God alone is essentially immutable, since all creatures can cease to exist. But, … eternity necessarily follows from immutability, and from this, that God alone is essentially eternal’.
- Aquinas (1920:1a.10.4) provides these reasons for distinguishing eternity from endless time (in Geisler 2003:102-103):
(1) ‘Whatever is essentially whole is essentially different from what has parts. Eternity differs from time in this way (eternity is Now; time has now and then); hence, eternity is essentially different from time. In other words, God’s eternity is not divided; it is all present to Him in His eternal Now. So it must be essentially different from time, which comes only a moment at a time’.
(2) ‘Endless time is not eternity; it is simply more of time. Eternity differs in kind from time; that is, it differs essentially, not merely accidentally, from time. Endless time differs only accidentally from time because it is only an elongation of time. Since endless time is simply time – just more of it – eternity must differ from it essentially. To state it another way, more of the same thing is essentially the same thing; therefore, endless time does not differ essentially from time’.
(3) ‘An eternal Being cannot change, whereas time involves change by which the measurements of befores and afters can be made. Thus, an eternal Being, such as God is, cannot change. In other words,
(a) Whatever can be computed according to befores and afters is not eternal.
(b) Endless time can be computed according to befores and afters.
(c) Hence, endless time is not the same as eternity’.
‘The eternal is changeless, but what can be computed by its befores and afters has changed. It follows, then, that eternal cannot be endless time. It must be something qualitatively different, not just different in quantity’.
(4) ‘Aquinas argued that there is a crucial difference in the “now” of time and the “Now” of eternity [Aquinas 1920:1a.10.4, ad. 2). The now of time is movable, but the Now of eternity is not. Eternity is not movable in any way; therefore, the Now of eternity is not the same as the now of time. The eternal Now is unchanging, while the now of time is ever changing. There is only an analogy between time and eternity, not an identity. God’s Now has no past or future; time’s how does’.
Dr Norman Geisler, courtesy normangeisler.com
‘Another way to understand the difference between God’s eternity and time is to recognize that time is an accidental change, not a substantial change. A substantial change is a change in what something is; an accidental change is a change in what something has. Aquinas pointed out that time is an accidental change, and only humanity, not God or angels, has accidental change. So only humanity is in time. Angels undergo substantial change (creation), but this does not involve time. The only mode of being that existed before angels began was an eternal mode (God)’
‘A substantial change (for men or angels) is not a change in time, for no substantial change has a before and after in time. eternity is one pole, and time the other. Hence, substantial change for man is a change into or out of time, but not a change in time. God cannot change substantially or accidentally. Since He is a necessary Being, He cannot go out of existence. Since He is a simple Being, He has no accidents. Therefore, God cannot be temporal in any way, since time involves change’ (Geisler 2003:103).
(Augustine of Hippo, Latin theologian (354-430) – courtesy of Wikipedia)
A beautiful serve from a woman who knows her product
This woman put the challenge to Brad:
Brad (B): I can’t seem to find any philosiphers (sic) who have published a conclusion like Noelle and I have arrived at. That is to say, none of them seem to want to say God is could be both timeless and temporal.
Janet (J): I don’t know why you are consulting philosophers rather than theologians. You can look all you like, but you won’t find any legitimate theologians who posit that God is both temporal AND outside of time because that is a self-contradiction, which cannot possibly be true of God. A God who is a self-contradiction is no god at all. A God who both is limited to time and at the same time outside of time is an insupportable proposition. What theologians do say, however, is that God is absolutely outside of time but works WITHIN time to accomplish His will, and necessarily so because that is the plane on which we humans live.
B: Would a God who told us not to lie, merely “act” surprised? You can see how a critic might constrew that as deception.
J: Those of us who know God as Truth know He doesn’t “act” at anything. Are you that critic?
B: So what if God saw the surprise party in advance and could erase that information (temporally) for the purpose of genuinly expressing surprise and thereby relate to us on our level?
J: You are suggesting that an omniscient God can turn His omniscience on and off like a light switch. So He’s omniscient, except when He isn’t? An omniscient God who is sometimes not omniscient is another self-contradiction. Are you not able to see the absurdity? Are there any other characteristics of an immutable (go look that up) God that He switches on and off at will? Why is it important to you that God be surprised by anything?
This was my response to her:
Congratulations on an outstanding post. Thank you for raising the stakes so that we are discussing an orthodox view of God as declared in Scripture.
I would modify one point when you stated:
I don’t know why you are consulting philosophers rather than theologians. You can look all you like, but you won’t find any legitimate theologians who posit that God is both temporal AND outside of time because that is a self-contradiction, which cannot possibly be true of God. A God who is a self-contradiction is no god at all. A God who both is limited to time and at the same time outside of time is an insupportable proposition.
There are a number of liberal theologians who would call themselves ‘legitimate theologians’ who oppose an orthodox position. Here are some statements by liberal existentialist theologian, Paul Tillich (1886-1965), from his Systematic theology (1968). The chapter is on ‘The actuality of God: God as creating and related’ (Tillich 1968:280f). These are a few grabs:
- ‘The concept of eternity must be protected against two misinterpretations. Eternity is neither timelessness nor the endlessness of time. The meaning of olam in Hebrew and of aiwnes in Greek does not indicate timelessness; rather it means the power of embracing all periods of time. Since time is created in the ground of the divine life, God is essentially related to it. In so far as everything divine transcends the split between potentiality and actuality, the same must be said of time as an element of the divine life’ (Tillich 1968:I.304, emphasis added).
- ‘Special moments of time are not separated from each other; presence is not swallowed by past and future; yet the eternal keeps the temporal within itself. Eternity is the transcendent unity of the dissected moments of existential time’ (Tillich 1968:I.304, emphasis added).
- ‘If we call God a living God, we affirm that he includes temporality and with this a relation to the modes of time. Even Plato could not exclude temporality from eternity; he called time the moving image of eternity’ (Tillich 1968:I.305).
- ‘And eternity is not the endlessness of time. Endless time, correctly called “bad infinity” by Hegel, is the endless reiteration of temporality’ (Tillich 1968:I.305).
- ‘On the basis of these considerations and the assertion that eternity includes temporality, the question must still be asked: “What is the relation of eternity to the modes of time?” An answer demands the use of the only analogy to eternity found in human experience, that is, the unity of remembered past and anticipated future in an experienced present. Such an analogy implies a symbolic approach to the meaning of eternity. In accord with the predominance of the present in temporal experience, eternity must first be symbolised as an eternal present…. An eternal present is moving from past to future but without ceasing to be present’ (Tillich 1968:I.305-306, emphasis added).
- ‘A relative although not an absolute openness to the future is the characteristic of eternity’ (Tillich 1968:I.306, emphasis added).
- ‘God’s eternity is not dependent on the completed past. For God the past is not complete, because through it he creates the future; and, in creating the future, he re-creates the past’ (Tillich 1968:I.306).
Tillich’s gravestone in the Paul Tillich Park, New Harmony, Indiana (photo courtesy Wikipedia)
As you will appreciate, this is out of the mind of theologian Paul Tillich. In the quotes I have given from these three pages of his systematic theology, not one Scripture is given. Exegetical support was not on the mind of this theological liberal theologian.
However, he was a German refugee and professor at Union Theological Seminary, New York City. His God was the non-theistic ‘ground of being’ with whom a person could have an experiential and existential encounter. So of Tilllich, church historian, Earle Cairns, stated that ‘he dissolved both the Bible and creeds into subjective expressions of human thought to be subjected to historical criticism’ (Cairns 1981:446).
Janet’s response to me included these statements: ‘I have never thought that existentialism lines up in any way with Biblical Christianity, holding as it does, among other things, that that each individual – not society or religion or the God of any religion – is solely responsible for giving meaning to life. That is about as anti-Biblical as it gets, in my view”.
My response was that I agreed. When people chuck out biblical declarations and replace with existential experience, it leads to any kind of view of Christianity. In my thesis, I’m working through how this happens with the contemporary postmodern deconstructionism that has overcome much of liberal theology. Its outcomes are just as devastating when the reader is the one who determines meaning and not the intent of the original author.
Of Paul Tillich, Janet wrote:
He who wants a salvation which is only visible cannot see the divine child in the manger as he cannot see the divinity of the Man on the Cross and the paradoxical way of all divine acting. Salvation is a child and when it grows up, it is crucified. Only he who can see power under weakness, the whole under fragment, victory under defeat, glory under suffering, innocence under guilt, sanctity under sin, life under death can say: Mine eyes have seen thy salvation.
That’s worthy of thought. And he did work the Bible into that one!
Yes, it is worthy of thought, much thought. Tillich, at times, was a strange paradox in some of his views. It was he who wrote:
One should eliminate the term “eternal condemnation” from the theological vocabulary. Instead, one should speak of condemnation as removal from the eternal. This seems to be implied in the term “eternal death,” which certainly cannot mean everlasting death, since death has no duration. The experience of separation from one’s eternity is the state of despair (Tillich 1968:II.90).
He failed to weave a lot of biblical theology into that kind of statement.
What does the Bible say?
American family Bible dating to 1859 (photo courtesy Wikipedia)
Biblically, God’s eternity is affirmed in Exodus 3:14 when God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’. Jesus confirmed this meaning when he stated, ‘Before Abraham was, “I AM”‘ (John 8:58). Let’s check out a few other Scriptures:
Genesis 21:33, ‘Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God’ (ESV).
Psalm 90:2, ‘Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God’.
Psalm 102:27, ‘but you [Lord God] are the same, and your years have no end’.
Isaiah 57:15, ‘For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite’.
John 1:3, ‘All things were made through him [the Word, Jesus], and without him was not any thing made that was made’.
John 17:5, ‘And now, Father, glorify me [Jesus] in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed’.
1 Corinthians 2:7, ‘But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory’.
Colossians 1:16, [For by him [Jesus, the beloved Son] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him’.
1 Timothy 6:16, ‘who [God] alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen’.
2 Timothy 1:9, ‘who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began’.
Titus 1:2, ‘in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began’.
Hebrews 1:2, ‘but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world’.
Jude 25, ‘to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen’.
Revelation 1:8, ‘“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty”’.
Revelation 21:6, ‘And he said to me, “It is done! I [God] am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment’.
Revelation 22:13, ‘I [God] am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end”’.
Norm Geisler has an appropriate summary statement of God’s eternity and creation of time:
God not only created the ages, but He was also before the ages. To be before time and to have made time is not to be in time. Therefore, the Bible teaches that it was not a creation in time, but a creation of time that God accomplished at the beginning. The Creator of time can be no more temporal than the Creator of the contingent can be contingent or the Creator of an effect can be an effect Himself (Geisler 2003:95).
Bill Craig’s understanding is something with which I concur:
If God is timeless, he is also unchanging, but it does not follow that He cannot change. I’d say that He can change and if He were to do so, He would cease to be timeless. And that’s exactly what I think He did. Whether God is timeless or temporal is a contingent property of God, dependent upon His will. What is impossible is changing while remaining timeless. But it seems to me that a timeless being can change and thereby cease to be timeless (Craig, Q & A #37, ‘God and Timelessness‘).
I think that hit the mark. If we are going to speak of God as timeless, we cannot accept that he is a changeable Being. If God changes, he ceases to be timeless – if that is our meaning of timelessness.
What do you and others understand by Bill Craig’s statement that ‘a timeless being can change and thereby cease to be timeless’?
What is our understanding of timelessness? I have a simple definition of timelessness: Timelessness refers to existing outside of time. So the Lord God Almighty is timeless only in the sense that he exists outside of time. His existence outside of time does not impede his interventions into the time realm. It was He who created time.
I recommend the apologetic article, ‘Can a timeless God be personal?‘ [UK Apologetics]
This is a topic that I have not encountered amongst the laity in my part of the world. Are the people in your church interested in this kind of topic of God’s eternity and how He relates to time? I haven’t discussed it in mine. I don’t expect it to have a prominent place in the Bible study I attend this week. Are we concerned about anything of significant interest to the people of God? Is this a place for philosophical meanderings instead of dealing with revealed reality from the Scriptures?
- William Lane Craig’s, ‘God, time and creation’.
- S Michael Houdmann, ‘What is God’s relationship to time?’
The Scriptures declare God’s eternity, as having no beginning and end, in a number of concise statements:
Therefore, evangelical theologian, Wayne Grudem, provides an accurate summary of God’s eternity with these words:
God has no beginning, end, or succession of moments in his own being, and he sees all time equally vividly, yet God sees events in time and acts in time’. He explained that ‘sometimes this doctrine is called the doctrine of God’s infinity with respect to time. To be “infinite” is to be unlimited, and this doctrine teaches that time does not limit God or change him in any way (Grudem 1999:76).
With regard to time, Grudem made the following points, supported by Scripture:
- ‘God is timeless in his own being’;
- ‘God sees all time equally vividly’;
- ‘God sees events in time and acts in time’ (Grudem 1999:77-78).
Aquinas, T 1920. The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas. New Advent, 2nd rev edn, available at: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/index.html (Accessed 2 November 2013).
Boice, J M 1986. Foundations of the Christian faith, rev edn in 1 vol. Downers Grove, Illinois/Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press.
Cairns, E E 1981. Christianity through the centuries: A history of the Christian church, rev enl edn. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.
Geisler, N 2003. Systematic theology: God, creation, vol 2. Minneapolis, Minnesota: BethanyHouse.
Grudem, W 1999. Bible doctrine: Essential teachings of the Christian faith. J Purswell (ed). Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press.
The Macquarie dictionary 3rd ed1997. Delbridge, A; Bernard, J R L; Blair, D; Butler, S; Peters, P & Yallop, C (eds). Sydney, NSW: The Macquarie Library, Macquarie University, Australia.
Thiessen, H C 1949. Introductory lectures in systematic theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Tillich, P 1968. Systematic theology, vols 1-3. Digswell Place, Welwyn, Herts: James Nizbet and Company Limited.
Wiley, H O 1940. Christian theology, vol 1 (online). Kansas City, Mo: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City. Available at Wesley Center Online, http://wesley.nnu.edu/other-theologians/henry-orton-wiley/h-orton-wiley-christian-theology-chapter-14/ (Accessed 2 November 2013).
 Christian Fellowship Forum, Bible Study & Discipleship, ‘Is God timeless or temporal?’ Brad#1, available at: http://community.compuserve.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=ws-fellowship&tid=122540 (Accessed 2 November 2013). This Christian forum is no longer on the Internet (7 May 2020).
 Ibid., Judith#1.
 Ibid., Brad#3.
 Ibid., Brad#4.
 Ibid., Judith#5.
 Ibid., ozspen#14.
 The meaning of ‘aeviternity’ is: ‘In Scholastic philosophy, the aevum (also called aeviternity) is the mode of existence experienced by angels and by the saints in heaven. In some ways, it is a state that logically lies between the eternity (timelessness) of God and the temporal experience of material beings. It is sometimes referred to as “improper eternity” (Wikipedia).
 Christian Fellowship Forum, loc cit., Noelle#6.
 Ibid., Noelle#8.
 Ibid., Cheryl#7.
 Ibid., Brad#10.
 Ibid., ozspen#17.
 My response to Brad#1 is in ozspen#12, ibid.
 Ibid., Janet#13.
 Ibid., ozspen#18.
 Ibid., Janet#13.
 Ibid., Janet#20.
 Ibid., ozspen#21.
 This citation is from Paul Tillich’s, The new being, chapter 11 (online), available at: http://www.religion-online.org/showchapter.asp?title=375&C=24 (Accessed 4 November 2013).
 Christian Fellowship Forum, op cit., Janet#20, emphasis in original.
 Ibid., ozspen#21.
Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 07 May 2020.