Divine Atemporal-Temporal Relations: Does Open Theism Have a Better Option?

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Open theists argue that God's relationship to time, as conceived in classical theism, is erroneous. They explain that it is contradictory for an atemporal being to act in a temporal universe, including experiencing its temporal successions. Contrary to the atemporalists, redemptive history has shown that God interacts with humans in time. This relational nature of God nullifies the classical notion of God as timelessly eternal. Therefore, it lacks a philosophical and theological basis. Because God is in time, He does not know all future contingencies and, therefore, changes. This study examines open theism's appropriation of the A and B theories of time to the divine-human relationship. The study argues that divine temporality does not solve the tension of divine-human relationships, especially in relation to the future. Further, historical divine temporality does not negate the fact of divine atemporality. It mainly stems from God's choice to create temporal creatures and His relationship with them. Furthermore, if it is not logically and metaphysically contradictory for an omnipresent being to act in space, then it follows that an atemporal being can act in time. Whether time is understood from the metric or psychological point of view, it does not transcend God, and therefore, the limitation it places on human creatures with respect to the future does not apply to God. Lastly, although a few philosophers reject the notion of eternity as timelessly eternal, the doctrine has a philosophical and theological basis in the Scripture.

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Aku Stephen Antombikums
VU University Amsterdam (PhD)


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