Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A God out of Time

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  1. Great paradoxes! I hadn't thought of the aspects God's free will or God's learning before.

    I cringe every time I hear a Christian say something like "God is outside of time." I have two standard replies:

    First, jab 'em with the Scripture; Revelation 8:1
    When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. NIV

    Second, I explain that time is literally a measure of existence. Something which is outside of time does not exist. So if they claim that God is outside of time, they are inherently claiming that God does not exist! I then try to explain that the best they can claim is that God operates on a different time scale than us, explaining that otherwise all of God's actions would have occurred in a singularity with no delay between them, which is obviously not the case.

    At that point, they're normally quiet. ;-)

    1. Yeah, I hate that "outside of time" thing. I'm not even convinced it makes any sense at all, and I don't think most Christians even have a good idea of what it means, they say things like that to shut down the conversation. It's more like "God is mysterious and we can't comprehend him, so shut up".

    2. Good call on the Revelations verse. I went and made a note in my Bible.

      Hausdorff, I've had the same experiences talking with Christians when they get into a corner. I admit that when I didn't understand stuff about God when I was younger, I did the same thing. "Maybe I just don't get it." The descriptions are physical descriptions, but then we're told that God isn't physical.

    3. I like the Rev verse too. Apparently heaven isn't "outside of time."

    4. First point is great, but second starts with a false statement: "Second, I explain that time is literally a measure of existence.". Time is just a unit of measure humans have assigned (approximately) to the time it takes our planet to revolve on it's own axis. Our "time system" is not accurate, our watches and clocks run on a 24 hour day system, whereas a day (one complete revolution of the earth) varies from less than 24 hours to less than 24 hours. An average of less than 24 hours happens overall, and the earth is slowing (due to the moon's gravity) thus why we have leap years to correct this every 4 years, unless the year number is divisible by 100 but not 400. Science for the win!

  2. Well done. Time is such an important concept to the whole god debate that I think many theists struggle with, if they even acknowledge it as a problem.

    I also agree with TWF---I too cringe when I hear things like "god is outside of time". I have to wonder if they even understand what that implies. I also have to wonder if they are familiar with the 'argument from exception or special pleading"...