- Evaluate the philosophical problems raised by the belief that God is eternal.
Definiton of eternal can be either 'timeless' or 'everlasting'.
Argument for God as 'everlasting'. God as everlasting implies an everlasting God confined by time constraints, has no beginning or end but within the time. Kenny argues that the idea of God knowing events to happen silmultaneously (which would be how a God outside of Time would percieve the world especially due to omniscience) is illogical and incoherant. Helm attacks this by saying that that timeless means time free and shows that due to Gods timeless nature he knows and understands knowledge in a different way to us. To categorise Gods knowledge and level of understanding anthropormiphises God to a human understanding.
There is also the issue of God being immutable. The traditional christian view of God is that he is unchangeable and changeless. Things in time often lose what they once were and so because God is perfect and unlimited he can not be subject to time as He would lose some of his immutable and perfect state, thus meaning He remains outside of time. Swinburne would argue that something can be in time without changing; there can be time without change. Unfortunately even if this response to criticism did suffice, the idea of an everlasting God brings about too many questions and problems for it to be plausable:
1. What if time ends? Surely a God within time would end when time ends?
2. If God is restrained by our laws of time, then thus our laws of logic and reason. This however contradicts the attributes that we assign to him. For example if he is omnsicent then how can he know past, present and future if he is within time...If you are Calvinist how could he predetermine things if he is within time etc. Another example undermines his omnipotence. How can God be omnipotent if he is restrained by time, this either questions whether…