William Lane Craig Temporal God

3:08 / 7:16

Is God Temporal or Timeless? (Part 2 of 2) (William Lane Craig)

In this video I understand that Dr. Craig thinks that by creating the universe, then God has gone from timeless to temporal. Is this consistent with Catholic teaching or is it open to interpretation?

If it is considered from the perspective of God creating time and then entering into it, fine. Anything else is risky and must be very carefully nuanced.

The act of creation is temporal. God is temporal too if God is His act. Therefore the concept of God cannot resolve the problem of beginning of time since God Himself is subjected to time.

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Nope. The act of creation is eternal. The created universe, however, has a temporal dimension.

Invalid conclusion, due to invalid premises.

I get a “video restricted” error when I attempt to play it, so I can only take your word for it. Somehow, though, I doubt Craig asserts that God is temporal. At best, the Christian perspective might be that the Incarnate Son of God, in his human person, becomes part of the universe and is therefore temporal.

I am mostly through the video and Craig is explicit about God choosing to abandon a timeless mode of existence and enter into a temporal mode of existence by choosing to create and maintain relationships with his creatures. He asserts that God’s timelessness is not essential to God. This is clearly about the Divine Essence and he’s not just thinking of the Incarnation. In fact, it seems he also denies God’s immutability, stating that God’s choice to create “liberates” him from a static mode of existence (which is how he sees timelessness).

Edit: I did some checking and he accepts his own idea of immutability but rejects what he calls the “radical Greek sense” of the term. I won’t recapitulate everything I read here. He refers to Aristotle and I presume he applies that to Christian’s who adapted Aristotlean thought like St. Thomas Aquinas.

No. The act of creation is obviously temporal. No universe then universe. This is a temporal process.

Creatures are temporal.

There was never a time when there was no universe.


It is under this title on YouTube: Is God Temporal or Timeless? (Part 2 of 2) (William Lane Craig)

Was there a point that only God existed?

There was no point in time at which only God existed.


I didn’t ask if there was a point in time. I asked if there was a point. How could you possibly define creation if there was no point that only God existed?

Creation can be seen as the giving of being to other things by God, as all creatures being dependent on God for their being. It’s this dependency that separates Creator from creature.

That didn’t address my point. If there was no point that only God existed, then the universe exists eternally as well. There must be a point that only God exist. God then creates, then there is creation. There are two points in the act of creation.

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Why? There is no need for the universe to have existed for infinite time, it had a beginning and it is dependent on something else for that beginning and its very being now.

Why not and/both?

In eternity, God sees all things at once. Creatures in time see things sequentially.

If He sees all things at once (the eternal perspective) then He is both outside time and in time. All things in time are a subset of things in eternity.

So, in eternity, God did not create; rather He is eternally creating. To think otherwise, it seems to me, would be to anthropize the Deity.

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That is how I see the problem. There are two states of affair: 1) God only exists and 2) God and the universe exist. If you say that there was no point that only God existed, excluding the first option, then it follows that the second option is the only possible option which means that God and the universe exist together. Therefore, the universe is eternal as well. That is true since it must be a point that there was no universe if you believe in act of creation. And it follows that there must be only God at that point since there was no universe.

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Point of or in what?

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The problem is, all here think that God does all the doing in material reality by himself. But he cannot change, so he cannot do anything in material reality without it being suddenly eternal with him.

Augustine, in The Confessions, answers how God actually creates in temporal reality when you read the discussion of the first phrases of the Book of Genesis:
“In the beginning” is a location, it is not a Time (it is not written “at the time of the beginning”).
“Let there be…” is a contemplative knowing by a contingent creature coming to understand in a temporal knowing that matches the Eternal knowing of God, and when the two know together, the contingent creature (Angel of the LORD) and God know together, then material creation happens in its temporal stream - all that God does temporarily is done in co-operation with a temporal creature (that is why we pray and ask things from God, we ask so that our knowing is equal to his knowing. He knows nothing alone except his Son. Everything else he knows is a ‘together knowing’. Otherwise it does not happen.)

Our LORD knows everything eternally, but knows it happening when there is a temporal creature knowing with him. Thus he knew eternally me typing this response, yet this response did not exist eternally in the temporal flow, but began to appear in the temporal stream when He and I together knew me typing. And here it is, our co-operative answer to show that God is not Temporal but does all he does with someone who is temporal, thus his eternal doing only appears when his Co-Operator is also operating.

Thank you, St. Augustine and St. Thomas! Continue to pray for us!
John Martin

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Read point as a state of affair.

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