God and Time

W.G. and L.P. Clarke (wclarke@pnc.com.au)
Mon, 24 Nov 1997 13:16:07 +1100

Firstly thanks to Garry DeWeese and George Murphyfor their replies to my

There are some points that Garry made to which I must reply.
I agree that creeds do not have the authority of Scripture but the Apostles
and Nicene creeds do represent, in general, a fair interpretation of what
Scripture teaches though their philosophical concepts may be somewhat
alien to modern thought. I have no intention of trying to re-invent the
wheel and so are happy to accept these creeds as the *least inadequate*
expression of the Christian faith that we have available on the topics they

>>If God created "all things visible and invisible" then He designed and
created not only matter-energy but also time and space. Furthermore, God
can not consist of anything that He created, neither can He be limited by
them. He is independent of both time and space. He is omnipresent in both
space and time.

Garry says
The "all things visible and invisible" statement must be read as a
reference to physical objects as well as spiritual beings (angels and
devils). Goodness, love, justice, mercy etc. are invisible things--did God
greate them? Why cannot time (more properly temporality) be an attribute of
God, just as love is?

Space, time, matter- energy are so interrelated that if God created one of
them then He created all of them. This does not only follow from our
knowledge of modern physics but Saint Augustine long ago realised something
of this. when he said "The world and time had both one beginning" and "The
world was made , not in time, but simultaneously with time." (Quoted in
Paul Davies "God and the New Physics"). To consider time as an attribute
of God raises huge problems. On one hand if time is not part of God's
creation He may not be able to control it and we have a form of Duelism or
on the other hand as time space matter-energy are clearly linked if time is
an attribute of God why not matter-energy and space and then we head
straight into pantheism.

In so far as language, available concepts and the limitation of the human
mind permit it is hard to see how the Scriptures could be more clear that
God is not subject to change.
For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not
consumed.(Mal 3:6 KJV)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from
the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of
turning.(James 1:17 KJV)

Of course I agree with Garry that

>Well, there are many passages in the OT which speak of God changing his mind,
>etc. Of course we interpret these passages as anthropomorphisms or
This does not mean that God changes . Garry says
But why is there any loss of orthodoxy if we allow God to change in
relational attribures while remaining immutable in intrinsic or essential

I see the problem but when, for example, a person repents of his sin and
has faith in the finished work of Christ . The individual changes from
being under God's wrath and condemnation to being in a state of grace. The
persons relationship with God changes but God does not change.

Garry does not like the idea of God being without parts. This has been
orthodox Christian doctrine for hundreds of years and it is none the worse
for that. Because a doctrine is mediaeval or Patristic for that matter,
should not be to condemn it. While scientific knowledge has increased
beyond all bounds there is no reason to believe that we are wiser in the
area of art, music theology or philosophy than men in times past. In fact
because many of the best minds have gone into the study of science rather
than theology, as they did in times past,this civilisation is quite likely
in a poorer position to examine theological and philosophical issues. The
Persons of the Godhead are not normally considered "parts" . What is
understood by parts is that God, not consisting of matter, does not have
hands or feet etc., except in a poetic or anthropomorphic sense. He can
not consist of anything that He has made. In no way does this exclude the
concept that God can and does interact with His created universe, He did so
most clearly in the incarnation.

Time and space are praising Thee,
All things praise Thee: Lord may we.

W. Grainge Clarke