Friday, April 26, 2013

More Thoughts On God's Timeless Paradox

We’re often told that god is a disembodied mind - he’s a mind with no physical body. Well what is it that minds do? Well, minds think! That’s what minds do. A disembodied mind that doesn't think, in some sense, doesn't exist. But thinking is a temporal process, it is a temporal event. How is it logically possible that a thinking immaterial mind can truly exist outside of time? What many theists often do in their description of god is that they simply just assert that god is timeless but they offer no evidence how such a being could actually exist. They simply just declare that “god exists outside of space and time”, but the burden of proof is on the one who makes such a claim to explain how it is logically verifiable.

Christian apologist William Lane Craig says on his own website on the nature of god and time, “A sequence of mental events alone is sufficient to generate relations of earlier and later, wholly in the absence of any physical events.” This means that if god were to count from one to five, “1,2,3,4,5” there would always be a moment prior to him counting and a moment after him counting. This means that in order to think, you cannot logically escape the dimension of time, even in the absence of physical matter. This puts a heavy burden of proof on the theist who asserts that god is a thinking mind and a timeless mind. It would also seem that the absence of time and of possessing temporal qualities prevents any ability to think along with the ability to execute one’s will, and it certainly prevents god from being able to impregnating an underage Palestinian virgin, so that god could have her give birth to himself.

All of these events are temporal events, requiring temporal qualities.

We have no evidence whatsoever that a mind can exist outside of a brain let alone one that exists outside of space and time.

Craig's alternative is that god becomes temporal with the creation of the time. This is kind of like believing god is a caveman frozen in a block of ice from eternity who not only cannot move and cause things to happen, he cannot even think. Then when the ice thaws, he's suddenly free from the constraints of timelessness. I think this is perhaps the only way that I'm aware of that can explain god's nature after time begins. But, in my assessment of the ontological argument, this path leads to its own logical paradoxes. 


  1. "Christian apologist William Lane Craig says on his own website on the nature of god and time, “A sequence of mental events alone is sufficient to generate relations of earlier and later, wholly in the absence of any physical events.” This means that if god were to count from one to five, “1,2,3,4,5” there would always be a moment prior to him counting and a moment after him counting."

    I don't see why one follows from the other.

    1. It means that even prior to god willing the universe into existence, he still had to have existed in some form of metaphysically necessary dimension of time.

    2. No, it doesn't. I don't even understand what you mean by time if you think that. Things can be ordered into a logical sequence while failing to be ordered temporally (for lack of a better word, call this simultaneity). This can be simultaneous and ordered sequentially as chains of 'cause and effect' which are simultaneous with each other.

      There is, in other words, no logical absurdity in postulating a first moment of time, nor is there a logical absurdity in postulating a cause of the first moment of time.

    3. "No, it doesn't. I don't even understand what you mean by time if you think that."

      There is only one kind of time, and that’s time - the distinction between prior and after regardless of whether it is under the A or B theories. WLC thinks there existed some kind of “finite time” prior to the creation of the universe which he thinks was logically necessary to explain god before creation, but to me it basically sounds like actual time. I can certainly understand simultaneity, but if god had a sequence of mental events, don’t you think that would be enough to generate time? A sequence by definition must be serial, where distinctions of "before" and "after" can be made.

      Suppose god never created the universe – never created anything. What relationship would he have with time then?

    4. I would think that if there were any dependencies between the logical sequence, then we can't say they were simultaneous.
      For example, if God has thoughts A, B, C, and thought C relies on the content or results of thought A, then thought C must occur "after" thought A, for some meaning of "after" (whether temporally or logically or "metaphysically").

      I have problems with people asserting that God's thoughts can be/are atemporal - the only thoughts we have experience with and can/have studied are our own, and they certainly occur temporally (I have similar problems with people asserting that minds can be disembodied, when the only minds we are familiar with and have studied are firmly embodied).

    5. A "sequence" of events that occur simultaneously is logically incoherent as my commentator above is unaware of. If god exists timelessly, he'd have to somehow have every thought at the same "time" even though there is no time for him to exist in.

      And he wouldn't be a mind, he'd be a frozen database of infinite knowledge. That means he'd have no free will to chose to create a universe or do anything else for that matter, since that all requires time to exist prior. And he'd be completely determined, unable to make free decisions at all since his infinite knowledge negates any possibility of epistemic deliberation.

    6. Even once this God comes within time (as WLC claims), there'd still be no room for freedom, since the constraints of omnipotence, omniscience and omnibenevolence would seemingly lock this being into a single course of action - I don't see how any 2 (or more) courses of action could have EXACTLY the same results. And since God knows everything, and can do anything, and always aims for the best possible result, he's unable to actually choose (it seems to me that we only choose due to incomplete knowledge, imperfect desires, and limited powers).

    7. If you listen to WLC he stresses that god freely chose to create the world and this is suppose to be evidence to god's personal nature. But if I know I'm going to eat an apple tomorrow, then he can I freely choose to eat an apple tomorrow? If god knew he'd create the world, and this knowledge existed timelessly and eternally (somehow) then there never could have been a chance that god wouldn't have created the world - it was determined that he'd do so.

      So to answer Einstein's famous question "Did God have a choice in creating the universe?" The answer is no.

    8. WLC and others assert that because Creation needs to be a contingent being. If creation is a necessary being, then it entails other things which are not desirable (I don't remember the details, sadly).

      It seems to me to be an argument made to save the overall theistic hypothesis, rather than something which is strictly derived from the theistic hypothesis, and, as you point out, it doesn't actually seem to follow.

  2. God cannot possibly exist as defined by our logic and reason.
    It is "we" who assign god all his/her attributes. We gave him attributes that make him an impossibility:

    identity, (meaning an entity that can be defined by parameters
    timeless or eternal, all powerful, all knowing, everywhere at the same time,

    By definition perfect is to have nothing lacking, to have no need for improvement or alteration...such a state would have no need for time or any succession or series of thoughts, any action would reduce the state to non-perfection since something occurred it would mean that there was a need, or a lack. It's an impossible situation to reconcile perfect with god as is is the whole host of other attributes we've assigned to him.

    god was created out of our imaginations as a metaphor to make sense of the unknowable.

    Theists can argue all day because the god in their imaginations is the mastermind behind all of existence...

    the funny thing is they tell you to "seek god" and that is basically what we have done and we found out he is not. It is therefore theists who have stopped "seeking god" since they already know.

    once you've stopped questioning you've stopped "seeking"

    is there fault in my reasoning?



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