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Time and Eternity: Exploring God's Relationship to Time [Paperback]

By William Lane Craig (Author)
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Item description for Time and Eternity: Exploring God's Relationship to Time by William Lane Craig...

Time, it has been said, is what keeps everything from happening at once. When you think about it, this definition is probably as good as any, for it is notoriously difficult to provide an analysis of time which is not in the end circular. The question before William Craig, however, concerns one aspect of time-God's relationship to it-and he tackles this difficult topic with the truth of Scripture. There are two sides to the debate, both of which Dr. Craig explores fully: Is God temporal or is He timeless? The conclusion is remarkable and merits our reflection, since in the end it illustrates God's desire that His finite, temporal creatures might come to share the joy and blessing of knowing Him. Though the topic is a serious one, Craig writes to stretch readers' minds and deepen their awe and worship of the Eternal God.

Publishers Description

Time and Eternity deals with difficult issues in modern physics and brings them into relation with traditional theological doctrines. Craig has done a great work, and it is marvelous that now the philosophy of religion is engaging with the philosophy of science to the great benefit of both.--John R. LucasFellow of Merton College, Oxford University

Time and Eternity offers a comprehensive discussion of the problems in the concepts of time and eternity on the basis of an extraordinary familiarity with a vast number of recent contributions to this issue from scientists and philosophers. The argument is subtle and precise. Particularly important are the sections on the impact of the different versions of relativity theory on the concept of time.... The book offers a plausible argument for a realistic conception of temporal process and for God's involvement in the temporal distinctions and processes because of His presence in His creation.--Wolfhart PannenbergProfessor of Systematic TheologyLudwig Maximilliens Universitaet-Muenchen, Germany

As a scientist doing theoretical research in gravitational physics and quantum cosmology, I found Dr. Craig's thoughtful book highly interesting. He has carefully given arguments defending several different viewpoints for each of the many issues about time that he discusses, followed by critiques in which he emphasizes his own opinion. Reading Time and Eternity has forced me to develop better arguments for my own opinions (which differ considerably from Craig's).... I am certain that Time and Eternity will also stimulate your thinking about this fascinating subject and your appreciation for the God who created time as part of the marvelous universe He has given us.--Don N. PageProfessor of Physics and Fellow of the Cosmology and Gravitation Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced ResearchUniversity of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

William Lane Craig is one the leading philosophers of religion and one of the leading philosophers of time. In this book, he combines his expertise in these areas to produce an original, erudite, and accessible theory of time and God that will be of great interest to both the general public and scholars. It is a rewarding experience to read through this brilliant and well-researched book by one of the most learned and creative thinkers of our era.--Quentin SmithProfessor of Philosophy, Western Michigan University

In Time and Eternity, William Lane Craig defends the remarkable conclusion that "God is timeless without creation and temporal since creation." Craig argues his case philosophically by carefully weighing evidence for and against divine temporality and personhood in light of dynamic versus static theories of time and their warrants, in turn, in a Lorentzian interpretation of special relativity and an objective, mind-independent theory of becoming, including fascinating excursions into Big Bang cosmology and the philosophy of mathematics. As the latest in his series of ground-breaking books, Time and Eternity summarizes and extends Craig's previous technical arguments and conveys them to a more general audience. It is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in the problem of time and eternity in Christian philosophy.--Robert RussellProfessor of Theology and ScienceGraduate Theological Union, Berkeley, Calif.

The nature of time is a continuing source of puzzlement both to science and in everyday life. It is also an important issue in theological understandings of the nature of God. In this interesting book, Professor Craig tackles this complex set of topics in a clear way. His discussion of the interrelated scientific, philosophical, and theological issues clears up many previous misconceptions and proposes a plausible understanding of the relation of God to time and eternity that many will find helpful.--George EllisProfessor of Mathematics and Applied MathematicsUniversity of Capetown

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Crossway Books
Pages   272
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.02" Width: 6.01" Height: 0.65"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2001
Publisher   Crossway Books/Good News
ISBN  1581342411  
ISBN13  9781581342413  

Availability  0 units.

More About William Lane Craig

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William Lane Craig (PhD, University of Birmingham, England; DTheol, University of Munich) is research professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California, and at Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas. He has authored or edited over thirty books and is the founder of, a web-based apologetics ministry.

William Lane Craig currently resides in the state of California. William Lane Craig was born in 1949 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, USA Catholic University of Louva.

William Lane Craig has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Counterpoints
  2. Rzim Critical Questions Discussion Guides

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Religious
2Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Physics > Time
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
5Books > Subjects > Science > Physics > Time

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Books > General Interest > General Topic > Philosophy

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Reviews - What do customers think about Time and Eternity: Exploring God's Relationship to Time?

Fantastic Overview of The Doctrine of God's Relationship to Time  Nov 18, 2008
In this fascinating treatment of God's relationship to time, William Lane Craig argues that God, though timeless without the universe, is in time since the creation of the universe. This detailed study encompasses a wide variety of issues, including the biblical conception of God, the nature of time, relativity theory, the linguistic account of tensed facts, and a slew of other topics.

Near the beginning of the book, Craig considers arguments in favor of God's timelessness. He first considers arguments that God's immutability or simplicity necessitate a timeless nature. Craig points out that these doctrines, however, are more controversial than the doctrine of divine timelessness itself, and therefore cannot be used to support timelessness. Moreover, both of these doctrines have conceptual difficulties and lack a clear scriptural basis (verses discussing God's immutability only entail that God's character does not change).

The next argument leads into some exciting territory. Defenders of divine timelessness sometimes argue that Einstein's relativity theory supports their view. Since the special theory of relativity implies that there is no absolute "now" but rather a plethora of inertial frames, we must reject the idea that God is in time. For if God is in time, then He is either in a specific inertial frame (according to which He is ignorant of real facts concerning all the other reference frames) or He is in multiple inertial frames (which leads to a radical splitting of God's consciousness). Since both of these alternatives are untenable, we are forced to reject God's temporality.

Here, Craig argues that Einstein's interpretation of relativity theory is not the only valid interpretation, and, in fact, the physicist Hendrick Lorentz (a contemporary of Einstein) offers a better interpretation which upholds absolute time and space. According to Lorentz, measuring devices shrink or contract in the direction of motion, and it is impossible to experimentally determine one's absolute location and time, even though in reality there is an objective fact about the matter. Craig contends that Einstein's interpretation of relativity was heavily influenced by a verificationist epistemology and that Lorentz's interpretation is actually superior, since it upholds the commonsense notion of absolute time and actually accords better with some scientific findings.

Finally, Craig considers the argument offered by some advocates of divine timelessness which contends that temporal existence is not adequate for God, as the most perfect being. Due to the inherent limitations of temporal existence, God must exist timelessly. Craig argues that, while the argument has some plausibility, it is inconclusive. God's omniscience entails that He always knows what is coming in the future and He never forgets what happened in the past, and, moreover, there is some evidence that consciousness of time's flow can be an enriching experience.

In chapter 3, Craig offers two powerful arguments in favor of God's temporality. The first concerns God's actions in the temporal world. Given that God is creatively active in the temporal world, God is really related to the world, and is therefore Himself temporal. The second argument concerns God's knowledge of facts. Since some facts are tensed (and thus are past, present, or future), God's knowledge of such facts must change. For example, in order for God to know what time it is now, He must constantly change His belief about the current time. Craig argues that it is impossible for a timeless God to know tensed facts such as "It is now 3:00 P.M."

After discussing arguments for and against divine timelessness and divine temporality, Craig embarks on a fascinating discussion of the very nature of time. There are actually two main theories of time seriously discussed by philosophers today- dubbed the "A-Theory" and the "B-Theory" of time (or the tensed theory and tenseless theory of time, respectively). Essentially, the A-Theory is the theory of time of the man on the street. According to this view, there really is an objective `now' and things really come into and go out of existence. The B-Theory holds that `now' is just a subjective feature of consciousness and that things do not really come into or go out of existence. Past, present, and future events are all equally real.

Craig argues at length that our experience of tense and the ineliminability of tense in language provides powerful justification for adopting the A-Theory. The B-Theory of time is primarily justified on the basis of a Minkowskian interpretation of the special theory of relativity, according to which reality should be understood as a four-dimensional structure called "space-time." On this view, the universe just exists as a four-dimensional block and there is no room for tensed facts or temporal becoming. Craig argues that, once again, a Lorentzian interpretation of relativity can plausibly account for all the same facts and is metaphysically superior to the Minkowskian interpretation.

Having considered the arguments for and against divine temporality and divine timelessness and surveyed the arguments for the competing models of time, Craig concludes the book by arguing that God is in time. However, as can be recalled from a summary of the arguments for divine temporality, Craig's case that God is in time is based on the existence of a temporal universe. Without that universe, there is no reason to think that God is in time, and, Craig argues, this view leads to incoherencies. If God has existed for an infinite amount of time prior to the creation of the universe, then why did He wait so long to create? Craig therefore concludes that God, though in time since the creation of the universe, is timeless without the universe.

Anyone interested in God's relationship to time should read Craig's illuminating study in "Time and Eternity." Whether or not you accept his conclusion, this book will help clarify your thinking on this complicated subject, as well as enhance your knowledge of a number of intriguing issues being discussed in philosophy and theology.
He's has all the answers  Sep 4, 2008
When you're religion provides you with the "answers" and your audience shares your beliefs, all you have to do is write persuasively; just as long as it kind of "makes sense". In total disinterest of what the truth may be and declining to ask any philosophical questions with substance, Craig makes endless assumptions that echo tradition evangelical Christian theism in order to convince the reader God must exists. This book, Time and Eternity, felt more like a sales pitch for the God Theory then an actual attempt to analyze time. Throughout the book the word "He" is casually capitalized in reference to God, which is a good representation of the bias view this book pumps into its ideology of time. Dodging well understood theories and the opportunity to through something new into the hat, this book focuses on patching holes in the shortcomings of religion in reference to time. If you are genuinely interested in learning about the idea of time, it would probably be best to read a book written by someone that doesn't claim to have all the answers. Einstein didn't have the answers or an agenda, he observed the universe and though he was on to something and wrote a few papers about it. That's science, not this. If you rather not leave the realm of religion go to your church and asking the minister what time is. You'll get the same answer and save yourself a few days of reading.
Great source for references  Feb 12, 2008
This is a well referenced book and gives much information. However, don't expect to find answers. I'm not a philosopher so qualify my comments accordingly. In my opinion the author sometimes uses uses terms loosely and even inappropriately to reach his conclusions. My disagreement with him made it a very stimulating book to read and helped clarify my own thoughts.
Excellent Philosophical Analysis of God's Relation to Time  Jun 18, 2007
Bill Craig does an excellent job comparing the various views proffered by philosophers regarding the question of the nature of time. He explains the A and B theories of time well. As an A theorist, he considers the 'tensed' nature of time as the most 'common sense.'

Briefly, the A-theory is that what is past is gone forever and what is future is yet to have happened. B-theorists believe time is dimensional and exists as an all-encompassing whole. A being outside of time, on B-theory could interact with any point in history as the present.

Bill goes on to expound upon the nature of God's relationship to time. Since God is considered unable to interact with his time-bound creation from a position outside of time, Bill believes that after the moment of creation God himself became time-bound. So on Bill's view, "prior" to creation, God is atemporal and after creation God becomes temporal.

He has been criticized for compromising God's immutability with his position, but he explains why he disagrees with his objectors. I personally believe the premise that God is unable to interact with his creation from a position of atemporality is a flawed premise. Hence I prefer the B-theory.

Nevertheless, even though I disagree, Bill's treatment of the issues is very thorough and well thought out. I'd recommend a potential reader also read Paul Helm's Eternal God: A Study of God without Time to gain two perspective on the issue.
Complex and subtle  Aug 16, 2006
Dr. Craig does a splendid job of tackling a very complex subject, which is really beyond human capacity. Maybe that is why many of the arguments he presents must be looked at several times to truly understand his meaning. Just glossing over the text will provide many holes in your grasp of these concepts. Some grounding in physics is really essential for understanding. Otherwise it is a good read, but do not expect to read it quickly.

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