Thursday, July 26, 2012

Questions on Time

In recent posts, I’ve criticized the A-series view of time. To be fair, however, I think I should also outline some reservations which have prevented me from whole-heartedly accepting the B-series view of time.

As I understand it, the primary way in which the uni-directionality – a seeming precondition for the intelligibility divine purpose – of the B-series view of time is said to be preserved is by grounding the temporal order on the causal order, a notion which seems to harmonize quite nicely with Christian determinism. Time is the measure of change, not a medium in which change takes place. So, for example, event A is said to be “earlier than” event B because it either is a cause of event B or is simultaneous with a cause of event B.

However, if this is the case, then how can Christians regard the generation of the Son, procession of the Spirit, and creation to be eternal or timeless? For if generation, procession, or creation imply causation, then since the temporal order is grounded on the causal order rather than the reverse, it would seem to follow that these events are temporal: generation, procession, or creation would be later than that which caused them.

What about the incarnation? This is one of the older objections to divine timelessness, if I’m not mistaken. How can the Son be timeless yet act in time (assuming He did)?

I’m certainly not saying these questions have no answers, especially considering the relatively little I’ve read. I’m aware that a few Christian B-theorists have written about time and the incarnation, so it’s quite possible they have considered things I haven’t. The same goes for issues regarding time and causation.

No comments: