A Critical Analysis of Divine Timelessness as a Solution to the Foreknowledge-Free Will Debate

Dissertation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1994)

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation was to examine whether divine timelessness solves the foreknowledge-free will dilemma. In chapter 1, I proposed that for divine timelessness to defeat the argument for the incompatibility of foreknowledge and freedom, divine timelessness must be an intelligible concept, must be coherent with key elements of the traditional Christian doctrine of God, and must not entail determinism. ;In chapter 2, I examined classical models of divine timeless-eternity. In chapter 3, I examined the nature of time, contending that relativity theory allows that actualizations of events are relative to spatial-temporal frames of reference. ;In chapter 4, I examined contemporary models of divine timelessness. I rejected Eleonore Stump's/Norman Kretzmann's and John Yates' Boethian-like models. I endorsed Brian Leftow's Anselmian-like model with its affirmation that creaturely events are both in time and in timeless-eternity. This view avoids the charge that all events of time are now actualized in time on the grounds that relativity theory allows one to assert that while all events may be actual in eternity, they need not be actual in time. ;In chapter 5, I concluded that a timeless being could be conscious, act in time, intentionally act, and be factually omniscient. I noted, however, that classical theism's commitment to divine impassibility makes it impossible for God to genuinely personally interact with creatures. ;In chapter 6, I rejected the charges that divine timelessness leads to logical fatalism, accidental determinism, or causal determinism. I claimed, however, that for causal determinism to be avoided, God's impassibility must be denied. I endorsed William Alston's notion that God is epistemically affected by creatures in timeless-eternity. Thus, God can know creaturely actions without causing them and God can interact with creatures. ;In chapter 7, I concluded that divine timelessness is intelligible, is compatible with divine personhood, and with creaturely freedom, and that such a model solves the foreknowledge-free will debate

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