timelessness: philosophy

He intends to lift his arm or drive to town or enjoy a day at the beach, and the Mastermind produces an appropriate illusory experience. Unfortunately, here again old problems resurface. Gale, Nature and Existence of God, p. 52. 285-290. The answer to that question will depend on whether intentionality and volition are essentially oriented toward the future. For as long as this is true, we cannot infer from God's having had a first moment of existence that God came into existence or would not have existed save if time did. Louis Pojman [Indianapolis: Hackett, 1993], p. 233). Thus, if God exists, He is temporal. An agent performs intentional actions so as to bring about some goal or end. Thus, we have not seen any grounds for thinking that God could not fulfill condition (ii) above. There is no reason to think that God cannot know that 2+2=4 without having a disposition to engage in temporal activities. Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), pp. Even in a state of existing changelessly alone, God is still capable of regarding others as conscious beings, since He is capable of creating such beings, thereby fulfilling condition (iv). If God does not exemplify intentionality and volition, He is not personal, we have seen no reason why they should accede to the necessary truth of. 173-174; Brian Leftow, Time and Eternity, Cornell Studies in Philosophy of Religion (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1991), pp. Mann, "Simplicity and Immutability," p. 270. Even if a timeless God could not change, it does not follow that He could not have willed differently and chosen to be related to a temporal world and so been temporal. [15]. so that the broadly logical compatibility of (1) with (2) has been demonstrated, thus fully vindicating the position of the defender of divine timelessness. So long as a person believes that his intentions and volitions are efficacious, it does not seem to matter if that person should really be a brain in a vat or the dupe of a Cartesian evil genius whose willings turn out to be wholly inefficacious. What seems to be required for A's personhood is merely that A think that he is engaged in inter-personal relations, even if it should turn out that A is a brain in a vat or an unwitting denizen of a world of wonderfully constructed simulacra. . The mention of modal properties also helps us to see how God might meet conditions (iii), (iv), and (v). Whether God's beliefs de se are to be accounted for in terms of private propositions (Richard Swinburne, "Tensed Facts," American Philosophical Quarterly 27 [1990]: 127), or the mode of presentation of a proposition de re (Jonathan L. Kvanvig, The Possibility of an All-Knowing God [New York: St. Martin's, 1986], pp. On this view God in the eventless, changeless state of existing alone without creation is timeless, since time does not exist in the total absence of events. But we have seen that all of these can be possessed by a timeless being and by God in particular. The question, then, is whether God so conceived could be personal. . But since intentions are not always fulfilled and the will is not inevitably efficacious, it is easy to imagine someone who has future-directed intentions and volitions without there being any future for that person; for example, a person who unbeknownst to him is about to be instantaneously killed. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. 222-225. Something went wrong. Given God's status as an infallible knower, there is just no reason at all to think that His perfect personhood requires memory. For clarity's sake, consider God existing alone sans a temporal creation. Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. 52-53. Whitehead’s speculative philosophy 8 undertakes to express the universal and fundamental human experience of an essential truth, that of time and the temporal, in … It would be more plausible to hold that if A is personal, then it must not be true of A that A never experiences inter-personal relations. In fact we can conceive of a model of divine eternity along Ockhamist lines which would combine states of divine timelessness and temporality into a single world. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness. Senor has dubbed such a model "accidental temporalism" (Thomas D. Senor, "Divine Temporality and Creation ex Nihilo," Faith and Philosophy 10 [1993]: 88). Leftow's arguments for time's contingency are, however, ineffective against the Newtonian, who holds that time and space are emanative effects of God's being. [25]. God is timeless 235-236. J. R. Lucas is adamant that it is. 3'''. . Thus, I think it is evident that God can enjoy inter-personal relations and yet be timeless. In any case, I think it is pretty widely recognized that the forms of consciousness specified by Coburn (with the exception of volitional activities, which I shall take up below) are not essential to perfect personhood. 175-196. To see that this is so one need but ask oneself whether anything which necessarily lacked all of the capacities noted would, under any conceivable circumstances, count as a person. Timelessness It is not uncontentious to say that philosophical problems are timeless. Mann takes (vi) to require only second-order beliefs about oneself de re, e.g., A believes that A knows that p (Mann, "Simplicity and Immutability," p. 270). But even this stricture would fail to preclude God's being personal and timeless on an Ockhamist view, according to which God is timeless sans creation and temporal subsequent to creation, for God exhibits the prescribed forms of consciousness subsequent to the moment of creation, even if He lacks them sans creation. But now an eternal being would necessarily lack all of these capacities inasmuch as their exercise by a being clearly requires that the being exist in time. How much more so for God Himself, who, on the Christian perspective, enjoys a complete apprehension of His infinite goodness and the infinite, inter-personal love of the Blessed Trinity! "The Tensed vs. Tenseless Theory of Time: a Watershed Issue for the Conception of Divine Eternity," in Theories of Time and Tense, ed. It is plausible that necessarily God has desire and volition, since, as Aquinas held, God desires and wills His own goodness. Similarly, what John Piper calls "the pleasures of God" [21] reside primarily not in what He gets done, but in Himself, as the supremely worthy one. Thus, timelessness does not entail that God could not be affected or prompted by another or that He could not respond to any other persons He might choose to create. A New Dictionary of Christian Theology, ed. There would be none of the pleasures of putting right someone who has made a mistake one recognizes as such; nor would there be the more dubious, or Platonic, pleasure of being put right oneself. Western science acknowledges the subjective, non-dual [5], In Lucas's view, then, whether or not the physical world exists, time exists if a personal God alone exists. Thus, no good reason has been given to think that, 3'. God's desiring and willing His own goodness obviously is not an activity which consumes time. In a world in which God freely refrains from creation, that abstinence is the result of a real act of the will, choosing between two available alternatives. We might be inclined to modify the present criterion such that if A is a personal being, A must have efficacious volitions and fulfilled intentions. But then it is much less obvious that this criterion states a necessary condition of personhood. Daniel Dennett, "Conditions of Personhood," in The Identities of Persons, ed. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Now Lucas is clearly correct, I think, in maintaining that a succession of contents of consciousness in God's mind would itself be sufficient to generate a temporal series, and his insistence on this score is a healthy antidote for the physical reductionism that too often poisons the contemporary philosophy of space and time. In order to be self-conscious a being must believe not merely propositions about himself de re, such as, in this case, "God exists necessarily" or "God knows that p," but he must have beliefs de se, which he would express from the first person perspective; for example, God must believe "I exist necessarily" and "I know that p." [13] If a timeless being can be conscious, there seems to be no reason remaining for denying to Him tenseless knowledge de se as well. Even if Coburn were correct that the capacity to exhibit the above-mentioned forms of consciousness were essential to a personal being, it still does not follow that a timeless being cannot be a person. But to have a goal or end, the agent must have desires and values. A is capable of regarding others as beings to which states of consciousness can be attributed. The magnet and the filings need not change their positions in any way in order for it to be the case that the filings are stuck to the magnet because the magnet is affecting them and they are responding to the magnet's force. As for reflecting and deliberating, these are essential only for persons who are not omniscient. For a perfect knower reflection and deliberation in any temporal sense [17] are precluded, since he would already know the conclusions to be arrived at. There is nothing about intentionality and will as such which renders them essentially future-directed. If we modify Coburn's criterion such that in order to be a person a being must be not merely capable, but actually engaged in such activities, then it follows that we cease to be persons every time we fall asleep (at least a dreamless sleep) or are unconscious, which is absurd. Thus, what the Father wills, the Son and Spirit also will; what the Son loves, the Father and Spirit also love, and so forth. [6]. For finite persons, true fulfillment and, hence, their greatest pleasure lie, not in getting things done, but in knowing God. had a first moment of existence, one could still call God's existence unlimited were it understood that He would have existed even if time did not. There exists a full and perfect exchange of the divine love and knowledge, so that nothing is left undone which needs to be completed. In any case this whole discussion presupposes that if God is to enjoy inter-personal relations, it must be human persons to which He must be related. In this perfect inter-penetration of divine love and life, no change need occur, so that God existing alone in the self-sufficiency of His being would, on some relational view of time, be timeless. 66-70), or His self-ascription of properties (David Lewis, "Attitudes De Dicto and De Se," Philosophical Review 88 [1979]: 513-543) is a fascinating question which need not occupy us at this juncture. We use cookies and similar tools to enhance your shopping experience, to provide our services, understand how customers use our services so we can make improvements, and display ads. Thus, (3) is undercut. More than that, however; our thought experiment suggests more positively, I think, that a timeless being can be conscious and therefore can be a person. Dennett's criteria were first used in defense of divine timeless personhood by William E. Mann, "Simplicity and Immutability in God," International Philosophical Quarterly 23 (1983): 267-276. 4. To use a mundane example, think of iron filings clinging to a magnet. Richard M. Gale, "Omniscience-Immutability Arguments," American Philosophical Quarterly 23 (1986): 333; cf. It seems to me that it consists in precisely those sorts of attributes which we have been discussing; sufficient intelligence, self-consciousness, volition. The ancient doctrine of perichoreisis, championed by the Greek Church Fathers, expresses the timeless interaction of the persons of the Godhead. [26] According to that doctrine, there is a complete interpenetration of the persons of the Trinity, such that each is intimately bound up in the activities of the other.

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