* See Below:
- Time Misconceptions: Follow today's program by reading along.
- Aseity: Foreknowledge vs. the Necessary and Self-Existent Being.
- Molinism & All Possible Futures: This relates to today's topic.
* Age Old Philosophical Question Answered: Bob Enyart answers the age old philosophical objection to countless Bible passages that present God as having existed throughout eternity past. Because of the impossibility of time itself being created, and by the many, many Scriptural teachings at kgov.com/time showing that God exists in time, therefore we teach that God has not existed atemporally outside of time and then entered time, but rather, that His goings forth are from of old, from everlasting, from ancient times, the everlasting God who continues forever, from before the ages of the ages, He who is and who was and who is to come, who remains forever, the everlasting Father, whose years never end, from everlasting to everlasting, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
* Read Along To Better Follow Today's Program: The addendum to our Is God Outside of Time? article points out that we human beings have difficulty thinking even about simple, let alone more complex, aspects of time. Consider these corrections to three popular misconceptions (updated to six, at kgov.com/time#misconceptions).
Misconception 1: Measurement of time equals time itself. Simply pointing out this nearly ubiquitous error should suffice to correct it. Secular folks and believers alike frequently assume this non sequitur with Christians suggesting that there could be no time prior to the Earth's orbit or it's rotation, with their confusion resulting from an assumption that if man possessed no scale then there could be no mass, or no ruler then there could be no length, or no speedometer then there could be no velocity, or no clock then there could be no time. The measurement of something does not equate to the thing itself and neither does the the ability or lack thereof to measure something equate to the thing itself.
Misconception 2: Time flows toward the future. Time's arrow is almost universally described as pointing from the past to the future such that the current of time flows forward. Of course this is a metaphor, yet this widespread impression is unintentionally exactly wrong. The truth is the reverse. For to whatever extent way we may speak of time flowing, then to that extent time flows from the future into the past. The current of time brings the future into the present and the present into the past. Using the metaphor of a river, while docks and anchors resist the flow, other things readily float along with the current. Regarding time, what is it that resists its flow, and what rides in its current? Dates, for example, ride the current of time keeping pace perfectly with its flow. Tomorrow's date, yielding no resistance, suspended perfectly in time, readily moves with the current and will eventually arrive, not at a point further into the future, but, being carried by time, will eventually arrive at the present, and then recede into the past. Even entire books written on the topic, like Coveney and Highfield's atheistic Arrow of Time inaccurately speak of "time's forward movement." Incorrectly men assume that the current of time sweeps us from birth to death (which would be moving us toward the future). But more accurately, the current of time eventually sweeps our entire earthly lives into the past. Time does not carry our birth forward into the future, nor (as it might if time flowed forward) does it forever postpone our physical death nudging it later and later. Rather, "I" am like a floating buoy anchored to the river bed bobbing and resisting the flow of time. Contrariwise, the "events" that I experience are not similarly anchored and so being vulnerable to the flow of time, as sediment suspended in a river current, they are whisked into the past. So things can resist the flow fo time, so to speak, but events cannot. And like events, pointers, or markers, to moments in time flow perfectly with the current of time. Thus at the time of this writing, the "date" of January 1, 2020 is floating toward the present, caught up as it is perfectly in the current of time, and will eventually reach the present, and then, as age piles on top of age, greatly recede, with the flow of time carrying it forever further and further into the distant past.
Misconception 3: God cannot cross an actual infinity: Because it would take infinitely long to cross an infinity, many philosophers claim that not even God could cross an infinity. Thus, they claim if He lived "in time", then regardless of how long He has existed, the Lord Himself could never reach any particular point in time, let alone reach "the present", because He would have to cross an infinity to arrive at this (or that) moment.
On How to Cross an Infinity: However, consider the relationship between two valid arguments: everything that has a beginning has a cause and likewise, nothing that has a beginning can cross an infinity. We theists can learn to avoid the kind of error that atheist Bertrand Russel made regarding that first valid argument, when He asks well then, Who made God? He's ignoring the ubiquitous observation that anything that "has a beginning" must have a cause. Consider now the second valid argument above, that theists must take care to handle properly. Nothing that "has a beginning" can cross an infinity. God, though, has existed through the "beginningless past". Though we reject much of Wes Morriston's reasoning in his paper Beginningless Past, Endless Future, and the Actual Infinite published in 2010 by the journal Faith and Philosophy (Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 439-450), we agree with his biblical conclusion, that God has existed through the beginningless past. The vast majority of Christian theologians though, who reject that God has existed through the beginningless past, typically do so by being inconsistent. Therefore their objection is easily neutralized and then answered. For example, William Lane Craig rejects the possibility of an actual infinity. (See his reformulated medieval Islamic Kalam cosmological argument.) So along with many theologians he disagrees with the biblical argument presented above of: "from everlasting to everlasting", and thus he denies that God has existed throughout time immemorial, infinitely into the past. For if an actual infinity cannot exist, Craig argues, then even God cannot cross one. (Aristotle, for example, claimed that the infinite is never actual; he, however, did not know God.)
Inconsistency: Yet while Craig doesn't admit it, he himself believes that God has crossed an actual infinity. For God's thoughts are actual. They are not merely theoretical. They are actual. They are His thoughts. And Craig believes that God has had exhaustive foreknowledge of a kingdom that never ends. That of course would require divine knowledge of an infinite future, with this knowledge comprised of actual thoughts in God's mind. (This would be like God starting at zero and having counted to infinity.) Further, because Craig happens to hold the untenable and rather grotesque belief that God knows every possible future, that philosophical claim requires God to cross an infinite number of actual infinities. (This is because there are an infinite number of possible futures. Forget about Chuck Norris doing so twice, this amounts to a claim that God counted to infinity an infinite number of times.) Instead, in actuality, God has once crossed the single infinity of the beginningless past.
Assuming the Conclusion: Using a typically unstated assumption, an argument against God's "beginningless past" insists that He could not have crossed an infinite past because regardless of how much time has actually passed, "infinity" would require passage of even more time to arrive at any given moment. The unstated assumption in this objection however is that it assumes its conclusion, namely, that this past period must have had a beginning. For this objection essentially asserts that this past period that God has existed through is of finite duration. Again, theologians mishandle this issue the same way that atheists mishandle the argument that everything that has a beginning has a cause, as when Russell asked, "Well then who made God?", assuming he falsified Christianity or at least disproved the argument. Of course, on its face, Russell has done neither because his application falsifies only the pagan cosmogonies that originate their gods, but he leaves untouched the eternal God of Scripture. Likewise, theologians draw an unsound conclusion when they (inherently) take the valid argument that nothing that has a beginning can cross an infinity and misuse it to claim that, "God can't cross an infinity." If there is a valid theological system that denies God's ability to cross an actual infinity, then it would not support a philosophical claim that contradicts its own system (see Inconsistency, just above), and neither will it merely assume its conclusion.
Mathematics 101: Let's consider an analogy, from geometry, and then an excuse, from mathematics. As an illustration, a geometrical line is infinite in both directions whereas a ray has a terminal point yet is infinite in one direction. For our analogy, consider the ray as extending through eternity past and being terminated in God's present. For the present is where God lives, in the fullness of time so to speak, with God's past illustrated by that ray. Consider also that Georg Cantor died only in 1918. Perhaps there is a (weak) excuse then for theologians who failed to understand God existing in time, partly because they lived prior to this mathematician who taught the world so much about infinity. (Remember that mathematicians had problems even with the concept of negative numbers until the 17th and 18th centuries, let alone with infinity.) So Craig's Islamic theologians and countless Christian theologians (including Augustine, even though he was right to apply the concept of infinity to God), could hardly have comprehended the concept that God could have existed for an infinite time and that daily He also could add more time to that same infinity. God has done this however. For He must increase! So the terminal point on that divine ray has moved, for example, more than two thousand years since the moment of the Incarnation, something that few could have conceived of throughout much of human history.
Forward Looking: Finally, as Solomon wrote, God put eternity into our hearts. Yet unlike God, our life is not endless in two directions but only in one, namely, into the future. So to use our analogy again, in reverse, you are like a "ray" that begins at a point (of conception) and then proceeds forever (Eccl. 3:11). Thus, a man does not "enter eternity" at his death, but at the moment of conception. (Likewise, King David wrote that, "in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them." This passage did not refer to the days till his death but to the days till his brith, that is, to fetology. Regarding the developmental biology that God designed for the human fetus, Psalm 139 refers not to the days of an entire life but to the days in the womb.) Therefore, our eternal soul provides for us a context in which we can develop a gut feel for what it means to live forever (throughout eternity future). Yet we lack the divine intestinal fortitude, so to speak, that we would need in order to relate to His beginningless past. So because the above arguments falsify atemporality, one realizes that if God could not cross infinity, then He could not have existed for eternity. But He has. In summary, by the Scriptural teachings regarding time (see above) and because time could not have been created (see above), we therefore teach that God's goings forth are from of old, from everlasting, from ancient times, the everlasting God who continues forever, from before the ages of the ages, He who is and who was and who is to come, who remains forever, the everlasting Father, whose years never end, from everlasting to everlasting, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
Today's Resource: We HIGHLY RECOMMEND our interview with Liberty University's Ass't Prof. of Theology Richard Holland on his groundbreaking book, God, Time and the Incarnation. To order Dr. Holland's book, and receive with it a CD of Bob Enyart's complete interview with Richard, please either call 1-800-8Enyart, that's 1-800-836-9278, or just click here. As always, BEL offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, and for repeat customers, if you don't love the book, we'll double that, for a double-your money guarantee! That's how much we love this book and think that you will be blessed if you read it also!
* A Significant Broadcast Event: Also, via the amazing KGOV archives, you can listen to the entire Holland series. In this broadcast event, KGOV aired what we believe is the most important series of author interviews ever produced in the 24-year history of Bob Enyart Live. God, Time, and the Incarnation explores the impact of God the Son becoming a man on the philosophical doctrines of divine timelessness and utter immutability.
* Foreknowledge vs. the Necessary and Self-Existent Being: Any doctrine that claims that for God to be God He had to know you (the reader) from eternity past would make you too a necessary being and would undermine God Himself as a self-existent being. Therefore, any such doctrine is false. See more at opentheism.org/aseity.
* Molinism: Does God Really Know All Possible Futures? (Find this also at killingmolinism.com.) No. With infinite possible futures splitting off from every single moment in time (including from the moment you are reading this word (<<-- yes, that one right there) and from the infinite possible futures splitting off of each of those futures and off of an infinite number of other worlds that were never actuated by God, each with a potentially infinite number of people who will never exist, this would mean that God has far more thoughts about absurdity, filth, and perversion, and thoughts about non-existent Bodies of Christ, etc., than He does thoughts of purity, goodness, and righteousness regarding the actual future, and the actual Body of Christ, etc. For consider...
* It Would Be Absurd (and Filthy) for God to Know All Possible Futures: Speaking of Molinism, the comments beneath the YouTube video of Enyart's debate with James White include this exchange:
I believe that God’s brain is like the infinite multiverse- that is, He can see all possible futures (with different people existing or not existing etc), but doesn’t know which one will happen until it happens. So He knows with specific detail down to the second anything that could ever happen, but doesn’t exactly know which of the infinite options it will be yet
AGK, thanks for stopping by! I don't know if you have, but I've thought a lot about what this would mean, this philosophical claim (which is not in the Bible of course) that God sees all possible futures. Have you wondered about William Lane Craig (or whomever you may have heard make this claim), whether or not they've considered all the filth (sexual perversion for example) that God would have to think of to accomplish this obligation? Consider the following tiniest glimpse of the dirty work they're putting upon our Holy God. While this Molinist notion would also encompass divine knowledge of an infinite number of nice things, here, we'll look at a tiny subset of permutations of events that quickly get rather disgusting. So please bear with me. For example, any person could potentially fornicate with any other person. So for Craig's idea to be valid, one of the things that God's thoughts would have to include, for each of us, you included, would be all the potential futures depending upon whom each person has sex with: each different friend, each neighbor, (male and female, and of varying ages), and incestuously each sibling, and each other relation. For each individual, each one of these alternative futures would open up many thousands of possible futures, and adding them together each single person would have a million possible futures, just considering a few fornication partners and a small handful of other variables. Then, double all those possible futures for marital status, in which this person is single and in which he is married. Then, still building this tiniest subset of one's possible futures, as strangers meeting in the night, this bizarre unbiblical idea would have God "seeing" each possible future in which this person (you) have fornicated in three billion possible different futures, in each one with a different woman who is currently alive somewhere in the world. (We'll overlook the fresh corpses.) Then as we build this small particular subset of all your possible futures, we add your three billion other possible futures in which you've paired with a man. And all those then multiply as to venue, for the futures in which your trysts were mostly at your own home; and at her home; and at his home (permuting these with each of billions of different partners). Then we must add those sins committed at home while your wife was at work, and those while she was out with the girls for the night, and while she's gone grocery shopping, and caring for her sick mother, and those other billions of futures where you sinned mostly when she was caring for her sick father, etc. Then by this bizarre philosophical obligation that your claim would put on God, He would also have to see all the possible futures in which you were intimate, not just with one or two people in your lifetime, but sequentially with many. (Let's postpone for a moment adding up the futures in which you had concurrent partners, and those in which you're with simultaneous partners.) This adds billions more futures in which you have sex with three female partners in your lifetime, then billions more where you have three males, then billions more in which you're bisexual, and the billions more in which all of the above permutations occur as you identify as one of the currently in vogue 62 genders, and the one in which you're just a plain ole' transexual. (We'll overlook your sexually trans-species futures, at least for now.) As we continue to identify your multiplied possible futures by the gazillions, just this tiniest of subsets out of all those that would be filled with filth and absurdity, perhaps you could remind me again AGK why we're demanding such knowledge of our Holy God? Why do we suggest that He must, with great attention to an infinite number of never-actualized sexually perverse acts, see in His mind all this perversion? Why exactly are we imposing this unbiblical duty upon Him? Regardless though, your idea would require all this of God. So let's continue. As the permutations compound, of course, there are trillions of possible futures in which you are sequentially with three people, and with four, and with five, and a dozen, and more, and in all orders, and in all permutations, of the identities of those three partners, who was first, and who was second, and who was third, and the futures in which that order was reversed, and the possible futures in which you had four partners, with all different identities in each future, and in different orders, and the trillions of futures in which which you're with five people, and their orders, and so on. Then we multiply those futures by the quadrillions more in which you've also been simultaneously intimate with two women friends and one stranger, whereby in each of those futures their identifies change so that you are with different people in each of these possible futures. Another set of trillions of futures (all of which add and multiply together) you've been with two men and a known friend, and trillions more where you have group sex with two men and a stranger. Then there are those trillions of additional futures in which these permutations of partners happen always with only anonymous men, and the trillions more where they happen almost always in the backroom of a gay bar. And so on. And then the divine database of lifetimes expands still more (while looking, mind you, only at you for now), adding the quadrillions of possible futures for each of the previous possible futures in which you get caught, and in which you don't get caught; in which you videotape yourself; and don't videotape yourself; in which ou post the video on this website, and on that website; in which others post the video as revenge porn against you; and those in which you post the video as revenge porn against them; and those in which you blackmail half of your partners but not others; and those futures in which you blackmail the other half; and more futures in which you blackmail almost all of your partners; and of these trillions, there are another six billion futures in which you only blackmail one individual; then there are the trillions in which you were often in motels; and often in hotels; mostly at your parents' home; and your parent's home; and your parent's homes; and your parents' homes; and your own homes, and your partners' home, and those in which you were at your partners' homes, and apartments, and condominiums, and the trillions more on houseboats, on various lakes and rivers, and sailboats at sea, and yachts of every size and price point, multiplying all of those futures by countless other futures all distinguished by an enormous number of variables, in countless combinations, many of which change eternal matters such as which human beings are conceived, or not conceived, and come into existence, or not. Then, multiply each of those quadrillions of futures by a quintillion more where the only variation is the timing and frequency, of how long and how often you do these things, for those weekly meetups with this person and with these people, and for those about once a month, and bimonthly, bisexually, and daily, and almost daily, and with Jim Daly, and with the same person weekly, and with alternating partners monthly, and differing partners weekly; and with weak men, and strong women; and with strong women daily and week men weekly, with men one month and women the next, and the futures in which your average rendezvous lasts 39 minutes, and for 40 minutes, and 42 minutes. But wait. Notice my typo right there. (I just decided not to go back and fix it.) I accidentally skipped the number 41. But that's helpful because as we evaluate this wildly absurd unbiblical philosophical claim, we are also moved to include typos in our permutations of all possible futures. First though, looking at the pairings of sperm and ova throughout the infinite number of your heterosexual fornications, from all your myriad possible partnerings, rapes, prostitutions, etc., the lead to quintillions of possible futures in which quintillions of people will exist or not based on both the duration and the particulars of each fornication. As for that typo, this is one of a googol of possible typos in every sentence written by every human being whoever wrote. Among those countless typos are those that will have no significant impact on each of the writer's futures, other than, of course that they each belong to the unique futures in which each of those typos are made, all of which must be compiled and maintained. as compared to the sextillion futures in which those typos are not made. Of those futures in which an undetected typo makes a noticeable difference in your possible futures (say, a typo on a resume or job application or letter to the editor, or in a auto-correct text message that becomes insulting, dismissive, or vulgar), these typo-spawned futures of course will each lead to trillions of other futures, all mandating an enormous expansion to the divine database that keeps track of all that confusion, leading to a nearly infinite array of possible additional futures. (And because "God is not the author of confusion", except of course for Calvinists, then at least most Christians would not think that God's plan led to all those confusion-based futures.) So with my typo, I accidentally skipped the quadrillions of possible futures in which the average session lasted 41 minutes in which you conceived a child after the 40-minute mark. And of course we missed the millions of permutations of all those futures where your immoral sessions lasted 39 minutes 1 second, 39 minutes 2 seconds, 39 minutes 3 seconds, etc. And again, for various futures, these times are crucial because as you know men produce hundreds of millions of sperm with each possibly conceiving a completely different person. Then there are your sextillion futures with the animals. And this miniscule subset of possible futures is just for you. Then there are others...
* Molinism & Open Theism Verses: All of the 500+ opentheism.org/verses that comprise 33 categories of scriptures falsify Calviinism but only some of them disprove Molinism. For example, in the first third of the list, check out categories opentheism.org/verses#1, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11 and the subsection opentheism.org/verses#3-hope.