God's providence and immutability/timelessness


Just wondering how these two things work together. We believe that God is absolutely immutable and eternal, which is to say, timeless.

We also believe that God keeps all things in existence and co-operates immediately in every act of his creatures. That is, no thing can be without being dependent for it’s being on God and no creature can proceed to the act unless it is first moved by Him.

A common argument against God’s immutability is the following:

A perfect being is immutable and not subject to change.
A perfect being knows everything.
A being that knows everything always knows what time it is.
A being that always knows what time it is, is subject to change.
Ergo, a being that knows everything is not immutable.

This particular argument is not really an issue, since it does not relates to an action of God but only his knowledge, which is infinite and since his mode of existence is eternity, every present moment is simultaneous with our present, ergo, God knows what time it is everytime not successively but in a single non-successive now.

However, what if the argument is modified to say the following?

God upholds and moves all temporal things in existence.
Temporal things are always changing over time.
God is not always upholding and moving the same things.
Ergo, a being that upholds and moves temporal things is not immutable/timeless.

Any thoughts?



The third item assumes that God is subject to time by its very statement, or so it seems to me.


Well, is God upholding Babe Ruth in existence and moving him to act as he hits a home run (for example)? Or is he no longer doing so and is instead upholding all that is in existence now?



I suggest you read the book of Enoch, it might answer your questions:


I think you are wondering if there is potential in God’s will, or perhaps wondering if God wills more than one thing in some kind of separate acts of willing. Or, perhaps you mean does he have one act (or is pure action itself) or does he have many acts? Does there exist potential or multiplicity in his will or action or not? I’m having trouble producing vocabulary here because I generally avoid thinking about eternity, as I have difficulty conceiving of it.

I think that from all eternity, God has one will. Also, there is no such thing as “waiting to act” for God. He acts. So, for Babe, this means that God wills it all, once. From God’s perspective, sort of forcing him into the mold of time to have a way to talk about it, God is still willing Babe and his home run right now, and God will also be willing that in the future, after the second coming.


Thanks for the link. I shall read it when I have the time. Are there any specific chapters of the book that you believe address this issue?



The Book of Astronomical Writings (or Heavenly Luminaries, chs. 72-82).


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.