This archived article was written by: Kevin Vanderspek
In Christian religions, there are two understandings of God’s nature with time that are common. One is subjective and the over-objective. The question becomes is God inside of time or outside of time.
In an interview with “Closer to the Truth,” Dr. William Lane Craig explained two different understandings of time. The first is “Dynamic Theory of Time,” which is known as the objective time. This theory of time is linear, making the “past,” “present” and “future” objective truths, which means the past is gone, the present is real and the future is only potential.
The second theory is called the “Static Theory of Time,” which will be known as the subjective. The key to this theory is that time is an illusion of human consciousness and every point of time, past, present and future are equally as real, making time a relational concept. Example: The year 1926 is as real and as existent as 2017. All moments of time are all happening at once.
In the static theory of time is no past, present and future, but words like earlier and later are still applicable words. Craig explains that your birth is always earlier than your death and your death later than your birth. Time is relative and subjective to other points in time.
The subjectivity of time allows God to take an outside in point of view. During the same interview Craig explains that existence could be a four-dimensional block that God looks into. This understanding explains how God knows all because he is able to see all that was, and ever will be, at one time.
If God exists outside of time, or time being subjective, he will not have a sequence of events in his own life. Craig says that God will have a knowledge of all sequences that exist within our blocked time, but he is not affected by it.
The objectivity of time means God doesn’t know what will happen for sure. It can be said he knows of all that is possible, but it would be illogical to say he is affected by time like people are and he still knows what doesn’t yet exist, because he hasn’t lived it yet. Even with the process of elimination, there is no explanation on how he knows everything.
Now the question is which is the best explanation. For one of these to be the best explanation, they have to be in compliance with God being all good, all knowing and all powerful.
In the objective time, God is within time. He has a past, present and future. I feel there are a few problems with this; if God is in time then he is bounded by time. Being bound by time means you cannot move through time. Just like us, God’s past is gone and no longer exists. This makes him less than all-powerful and less than all-knowing. This is because all decisions he makes are final, while the future is a waiting game to see which possibility is going to happen.
This waiting game means God does not know the exact nature of the future and he is rolling the dice of our lives. He knows the six numbers on the die, but until it stops moving he does not know what the number he gets on that roll. The dice means he loses a part of his all-knowing aspect, but also loses his all power status because there is a power over him.
In the subjective point of view, where our existence is a cube, God can move throughout time and see all that exists at any time and maintain his power and knowledge. The fault in this theory lies with the nature of God’s environment outside of the cube. If there is no time where God is, then how is he supposed to use any process of decision making? Also, are all the decisions already made? Without time, God cannot have a process of thought because that requires time. If all the decisions are already made, there is no free will and is counterproductive to any plan he made in his timeless space.