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I'm confused by the saying "God transcends time" . To me it seems time is change

I'm confused by the saying "God transcends time" . To me it seems time is change ( thoughts, actions , and any other form of change ) So transcending time doesn't make any sense as you would need to change in some way to create the universe ,because To be timeless ( due to transcending time not making sense )would mean to be forever timeless if there is no form of change to cause you to change yourself. With this in mind wouldn't god creating the universe mean god exists within time? This would restrict god with the question of "where did it come from" due to it also being a timed being with a required beginning to initiate change. So what i'm trying to ask is, am i missing something? is it just that i'm not taking something into account that lead me to deduce this as impossible? I'm only 17 and i always hear this from many adults who have faith in god and i just ponder in my head how they could think this to be true. I'm not stating no god exists, nor that one does, i simply think this idea of...

Great observations and great questions! There are three views that are defended today by philosophers in the theistic tradition (the tradition that holds that there is a God who exists necessarily, is all good, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and the creator and conserver of the whole cosmos). On a traditional view (going back to Boethius and Aquinas) God is eternal in the sense that there is not before, during, or after for God. God's creating the cosmos as well as all God's acts are timelessly willed. On this model, God timelessly wills successiveness (the origin and sustaining of a changing cosmos) but God does not successively will (God wills at one time to do X and then do Y). This position is defended by many philosophical theists such as Brian Leftow at Oxford University. He is the author of the book Time and Eternity, which you might check out. Then there is the view called Open Theism which holds that God is in time God is present throughout all the created order NOW and is everlasting (that is, God has no beginning and no end). I do not think that if something is in time, it follows that it had a beginning or origin. I bet this sounds crazy to you, but some philosophers (like myself) think there are abstract objects like numbers that exist necessarily and never had an origin and will have no end. There is a third view championed by W.L. Craig which is quite interesting: he holds that God was timelessly eternal until creation, after which God is temporal. You can do a google to find Craig's home page in which he has posted various papers on this and other topics.

I want to encourage you in your questions and inquiry!!!!!!!! The intersection of the philosophy of time and philosophy of God is fascinating. You might look to the free Stanford Encyclopedia entry on philosophy of religion and entries on time.

Great observations and great questions! There are three views that are defended today by philosophers in the theistic tradition (the tradition that holds that there is a God who exists necessarily, is all good, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and the creator and conserver of the whole cosmos). On a traditional view (going back to Boethius and Aquinas) God is eternal in the sense that there is not before, during, or after for God. God's creating the cosmos as well as all God's acts are timelessly willed. On this model, God timelessly wills successiveness (the origin and sustaining of a changing cosmos) but God does not successively will (God wills at one time to do X and then do Y). This position is defended by many philosophical theists such as Brian Leftow at Oxford University. He is the author of the book Time and Eternity, which you might check out. Then there is the view called Open Theism which holds that God is in time God is present throughout all the created order NOW and is...

Seeing that most languages require that sentences to have tense, can we actually

Seeing that most languages require that sentences to have tense, can we actually have any progress discussing time? I mean every sentence by its structure already assumes a understanding of time , how do we ever transcend the bounds of our current understandings of time if we still using "time" bound language?

Great issue(s)! Two thoughts to consider: first, it may not be obvious that all language is time-bound or tensed. The sentence 'two plus two equals four' or 'squares are four sided' might be interpreted as tensed (both sentences were true on Monday, and on Tuesday, etc) but they may also be understood as tenseless (their truth does not depend on temporality unlike the sentence uttered by me 'I am writing in response to your question now'). Second, I suggest that we can have interesting, competing philosophical theories of time when we look at the meaning of what you are calling "time bound language." So, for example, those who embrace what is often called four dimensionalism, treat all times as equally real. On this view, the French Revolution is occurring in 1789, and that is as real as the Battle of Waterloo which is occurring in June of 1815 and my writing you a reply in 2012. According to what is sometimes called presentism, only the present is real, so while it is true that the French Revolution occurred in 1789, that is past and it is not (in some fashion) still going on in 1789. Four dimensionalism winds up making time out to be akin to space and treats temporal objects as containing temporal parts (just as, for example, a week consists of seven days, it might be said of a person, that she consists of, say, a lifetime of N number of years), whereas presentists think of temporal objects as either fully and entirely present or not (on this view, you are fully and wholly present now, and not just a time slice of your lifetime as a whole). Check out the free online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on time for engaging arguments and sources.

Great issue(s)! Two thoughts to consider: first, it may not be obvious that all language is time-bound or tensed. The sentence 'two plus two equals four' or 'squares are four sided' might be interpreted as tensed (both sentences were true on Monday, and on Tuesday, etc) but they may also be understood as tenseless (their truth does not depend on temporality unlike the sentence uttered by me 'I am writing in response to your question now'). Second, I suggest that we can have interesting, competing philosophical theories of time when we look at the meaning of what you are calling "time bound language." So, for example, those who embrace what is often called four dimensionalism, treat all times as equally real. On this view, the French Revolution is occurring in 1789, and that is as real as the Battle of Waterloo which is occurring in June of 1815 and my writing you a reply in 2012. According to what is sometimes called presentism, only the present is real, so while it is true that the French...

Are historical facts always true, throughout time?

Are historical facts always true, throughout time? Consider the fact that Barack Obama is the forty-fourth president of the United States of America. Was it true two hundred years ago? If someone in the nineteenth century had said "Barack Obama is the forty-fourth president of the United States of America", would it have been true?

This is an excellent question and one that is much debated historically and today. It has implications about freedom and determinism, logic, and the philosophy of God, good and evil. It seems that classical logic requires that propositions are either true or false. "Barack Obama is the forty-fourth president of the USA" appears to be a proposition. And we have found it to be true. But in that case, it seems that Obama could not have failed to have won the election against McCain. It has seemed to some (but certainly not all) philosophers that this would mean Obama's election was fixed in some sense, perhaps determined. Some who worry about this problem are theists who think that if God knows from eternity that in August of 2011 you would ask your question, then there is no possibility that you would not have typed in and submitted your question to Askphilosophers. For many theists, it is vital to affirm that creatures / human beings have free agency, otherwise it would seem that God has determined humans to be evil. The other worry about what is called future free contingents (the fancy term for propositions that refer to future events that appear to involve freedom and contingency) has to do with whether there even could be such future propositions. It seems that for a proposition to be true there must be SOMETHING in virtue of which the proposition is true. But in the 19th century, Obama did not exist; he did not exist then, nor was he existing in the 21st century. From this line of reasoning (which was probably Aristotle's), we should hold that propositions involving future free contingents are neither true nor false. Theists who take this position (like Richard Swinburne) contend that even an omniscient God does not know about future free continents. According to Swinburne, God knows all possible truths and because propositions about future free contingents is neither true nor false and thus cannot (by definition) be known by any being of any kind, such propositions about the future are not the sort of thing that even God knows.

This is an excellent question and one that is much debated historically and today. It has implications about freedom and determinism, logic, and the philosophy of God, good and evil. It seems that classical logic requires that propositions are either true or false. "Barack Obama is the forty-fourth president of the USA " appears to be a proposition. And we have found it to be true. But in that case, it seems that Obama could not have failed to have won the election against McCain. It has seemed to some (but certainly not all) philosophers that this would mean Obama's election was fixed in some sense, perhaps determined. Some who worry about this problem are theists who think that if God knows from eternity that in August of 2011 you would ask your question, then there is no possibility that you would not have typed in and submitted your question to Askphilosophers. For many theists, it is vital to affirm that creatures / human beings have free agency, otherwise it would seem that God has...

When I was a child, I wanted to know what forever was. I would sit and

When I was a child, I wanted to know what forever was. I would sit and concentrate -- think and think and THINK -- until finally I felt what may have been a glimpse into something infinite. It was jarring, intense, and pretty incredible. What WAS that? Have other people had this experience?

Philosophers have expressed wide ranging views on the infinite, and even distinguished different kinds of infinites. In terms of the 'infinite' standing for a sequence of events without end, then (just as there is no greatest possible number) it is difficult for someone to claim to have experienced that (experienced all numbers, none of which is lacking in a greater number), though not perhaps difficult for one to claim to understand it (that is, understanding that there is no greatest possible number) or for someone to have an experience of time or space, along with the feeling that this will never end.

There has been some interesting testimony by some philosophers to have experienced soemthing related that may be of interest. Some philosophers have claimed to experience that which is boundless or, in some sense, eternal. Probably the two most famous philosophers to have spoken and analyzed such experiences are Boethius and Augustine. Boethius spoke of God's eternity (and having some experiential acquaintance with God as eternal) in terms of God possessing the 'whole, simultansous, and complete fruition of a life without bounds' (interminabilis vitae tot simul et perfecta possessio'). This would be different from claiming to experience what you might think of as 'forever' or 'endless'; it is more like experiencing an event so overwhelming and perhaps good that you seem to lose track of future and the past. This has been analyzed by some philosophers as experiencing something that is atemporal or beyond metric time or not bound by it. The philosopher A.E. Taylor in an interesting book in the early part of the last century wrote of the experience of eternity in ways that are (to use your term) intense, but more satisfying than jarring or incredible (not worthy of belief). In one example, he describes 'spending an evening of prolonged enjoyment in the company of wholly congenial friends. The past may be represented for us, if we stay to think of it at all, by whatever happened before the party began, the future -but when we are truly enjoying ourselves we do not anticipate it- by what will happen when the gathering is over. The enjoyment of the social evening has, of course, before and after within itself; the party may last two or three hours. But while it lasts and while our enjoyment of it is steady and at the full, the first half-hour in not envisaged as past, nor the third as future, while the second is going on....' Taylor goes on to defend the coherence and importance of experiences that seem to be in response to a value that we wish to last forever or not be bound by time, a state in which one or more people might be completely present to each other that they would never wish it to end. See Taylor's book The Faith of a Moralist --the title is a bit misleading given what we mean by 'moralist' or 'moralistic' today versus when he wrote the book in 1930. It is a good text for thinking about the experience of values and time. (See especially chapters three to six.)

Philosophers have expressed wide ranging views on the infinite, and even distinguished different kinds of infinites. In terms of the 'infinite' standing for a sequence of events without end, then (just as there is no greatest possible number) it is difficult for someone to claim to have experienced that (experienced all numbers, none of which is lacking in a greater number), though not perhaps difficult for one to claim to understand it (that is, understanding that there is no greatest possible number) or for someone to have an experience of time or space, along with the feeling that this will never end. There has been some interesting testimony by some philosophers to have experienced soemthing related that may be of interest. Some philosophers have claimed to experience that which is boundless or, in some sense, eternal. Probably the two most famous philosophers to have spoken and analyzed such experiences are Boethius and Augustine. Boethius spoke of God's eternity (and having some...

I have a series of questions about Time, motion, and space. Or maybe they are

I have a series of questions about Time, motion, and space. Or maybe they are the same question expressed different ways in an attempt at clarity. Is the concept of "Time" possible apart from the concept of "Change"? In what ways are the two concepts different? Is it possible for "Time" to exist apart from "Change"? Can anything truthful be said about "Time" that does not also apply in an identical way to "Change"? Is "Change" possible without "Motion" of some kind? If even at an atomic level? Could time exist if nothing moved? How is the concept of time possible without the concept of motion? How is it in anyway different? How can space be conceived apart from the relation we refer to as 'distance' between two or more objects? If there was only one object in the universe how would space be conceived or possible? The same question applies to motion, how is it conceivable unless there is movement in relation to some other body? I am not a philosopher. I'm a high school drop out and...

You may be a high school drop out, but you have a genius for asking great questions! Let me try to break up the questions a bit. There is a difference between motion and change insofar as motion appears to involve physical objects and events. If there is motion, there is change, but some philosophers have either denied the existence of physical objects or events (some idealists) or they are theists who believe that there was a time when God (an immaterial / non-physical reality) existed and there were no physical objects. These philosphers would allow that change could exist, but without motion. In any case, once you have change, you have time, for change presumably involves there being one time when X occurs and then another time when X is not in the same state. If motion ceased, would time cease? Not necessarily, if there could be a nonphysical reality (God or souls or...) that change. But what if all change ceased? Would time then cease? Well, if by 'all change' we include 'temporal change' then I suppose the answer would have to be 'yes', but let's refine the question. Imagine all physical and non-physical (if there are any) realities ceased to involve or undergo any changing states; imagine everthing (as it were) freezes and there is no change in thinking, feeling, breathing etc. Can we imagine this happening for, say, 10 minutes and then everything starting back up again? Well, no one would know there had been a 10 gap, and indeed the very idea of there being a gap of 10 minutes as opposed to 9 suggests we can make sense of clock time when there are no changes among any clocks anywhere. Even so, I think the thought experiment makes some sense, and insofar as it does, then there is some reason to think that time is more basic than non-temporal changes.

An analogy with space may be useful. One reason for thinking that space is more than the spatial objects that make up the spatial world is as follows: Can you imagine everything spatial doubling in size in an instant? I think one can, though this would be utterly undetected in our experience. People would still be the same heighth, the moon would still be the same distance from earth according to all our systems of measurement. Nonetheless, there could be a fact of the matter that every spatial thing doubled.

Space and time, I suggest may be more fundamental than motion or change. You may need space and time for there to be motion, as well as change.

You may be a high school drop out, but you have a genius for asking great questions! Let me try to break up the questions a bit. There is a difference between motion and change insofar as motion appears to involve physical objects and events. If there is motion, there is change, but some philosophers have either denied the existence of physical objects or events (some idealists) or they are theists who believe that there was a time when God (an immaterial / non-physical reality) existed and there were no physical objects. These philosphers would allow that change could exist, but without motion. In any case, once you have change, you have time, for change presumably involves there being one time when X occurs and then another time when X is not in the same state. If motion ceased, would time cease? Not necessarily, if there could be a nonphysical reality (God or souls or...) that change. But what if all change ceased? Would time then cease? Well, if by 'all change' we include 'temporal change'...