Does God exist outside of time?

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Desdichado

Senior Member
Feb 9, 2014
7,522
205
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#1
Thread title says it all. I don't know which way to go on this one.

Give reasons why/why not.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
6,377
907
113
#3
Thread title says it all. I don't know which way to go on this one.

Give reasons why/why not.
Time and space mean nothing to God, who says that Heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool, and that He is from eternity to eternity. God is a Spirit, and cannot be limited or bound in any way whatsoever. Thus a thousand years for God are as one day, and one day is as a thousand years.
 

PennEd

Senior Member
Apr 22, 2013
5,365
971
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#4
In the beginning.... Right there we have the start of the Universe's time. So as far as OUR time goes, the Creator is obviously outside of it. Does He have His OWN form of time? Maybe.

1000 yrs are like a day.
 

Noose

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2016
1,777
227
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#5
1.Everything that exists, exists within God- God is a mind. yet God does exist within time, if he takes limitation.

2.Time doesn't exist- it is a construct of the mind like every other measurement e.g Liters/Kilograms; rather, they only exist within a mind- our mind which is a subset of God (came from or was part of God).
Do not believe them when they say 'Time' is an actual thing that came from big bang, nope it didn't just liters or kilograms didn't.

When God said '..let the lights (heavenly bodies) be for times and seasons.." He knew that in our minds we would make use of the relation between the earth's movement against a visible sun and moon (lights) and in our mind create a rate (measurement) called 'Time' because we are able to see and count how many times we come across the sun. Without the mind, time doesn't exist.

Example 1: An observer in a rotating room will not experience time until some object in that room is stationery so that the observer can count how many times they come across the object thereby creating the impression in their mind of time passage because they can relate to the time passage.

Example 2: An observer in a dark room will not experience time because they can't use their eyes and mind to relate to passage of events.

So actually, the main purpose that the sun was created and so visible is to number our days here on earth, other uses of the sun are secondary- this means that Time is for man, not God.


God's existence is not something we can talk about- God is a spirit/mind; means He is immaterial and was never created and will never cease to exist. Existence is only with relation to things that have a beginning, that's why God refers to Himself in time before time (beginning) as ancient of days- we can't understand.

And all immaterial things share these properties; something like darkness- it was never created and is immaterial. Does it exist within time or outside time?
 

trofimus

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2015
10,103
602
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#6
1. What is time?

2. What does it mean to be outside or inside of it?

Then, we can find some answers.
 

notuptome

Senior Member
May 17, 2013
12,418
959
113
#9
Gods habitation is eternity. God inhabits all of eternity all the time. God is without beginning and without end.

For the cause of Christ
Roger
 

maxwel

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2013
7,411
549
113
#10
Let's define our terms... I'm with Trofimus here:

Before we ask if God can be "outside of time", let's define what time is.

Oh, and dictionary definitions don't really count, because philosophers and scientists have all been debating this for thousands of years... and they still can't agree on what time even is.


So let's start there.

Before we talk about God's relationship to this thing called time,
let's see if we can define this thing.


What is it?


Let's go at it this way:
1. What IS time.
2. What is the Bible's view on time.
3. What does the Bible say about God's relationship to time.




 
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Desdichado

Senior Member
Feb 9, 2014
7,522
205
63
#11
I'm rather hung up on this. Unsure what the best definition of time would be.

Let's define our terms... I'm with Trofimus here:

Before we ask if God can be "outside of time", let's define what time is.

Oh, and dictionary definitions don't really count, because philosophers and scientists have all been debating this for thousands of years... and they still can't agree on what time even is.


So let's start there.

Before we talk about God's relationship to this thing called time,
let's see if we can define this thing.


What is it?


Let's go at it this way:
1. What IS time.
2. What is the Bible's view on time.
3. What does the Bible say about God's relationship to time.




 
T

Tinuviel

Guest
#12
C. S. Lewis suggested that God was outside of time in his book, Mere Christianity. He is arguing from a logical perspective--a logic he felt did not contradict the Bible. Prepare for the very lengthy quotation:

In the last chapter I had to touch on the subject of prayer, and while that is still fresh in your mind and my own, I should like to deal with a difficulty that some people find about the whole idea of prayer. A man put it to me by saying "I can believe in God all right, but what I cannot swallow is the idea of Him attending to several hundred million human beings who are all addressing Him at the same moment." And I have found that quite a lot of people feel this.

Now, the first thing to notice is that the whole sting of it comes in the words at the same moment. Most of us can imagine God attending to any number of applicants if only they came one by one and He had an endless time to do it in. So what is really at the back of this difficulty is the idea of God having to fit too many things into one moment of time.

Well that is of course what happens to us. Our life comes to us moment by moment One moment disappears before the next comes along: and there is room for very little in each. That is what Time is like. And of course you and I tend to take it for granted that this Time series—this arrangement of past, present and future—is not simply the way life comes to us but the way all things really exist We tend to assume that the whole universe and God Himself are always moving on from past to future just as we do. But many learned men do not agree with that. It was the Theologians who first started the idea that some things are not in Time at all: later the Philosophers took it over: and now some of the scientists are doing the same.

Almost certainly God is not in Time. His life does not consist of moments following one another. If a million people are praying to Him at ten-thirty tonight, He need not listen to them all in that one little snippet which we call ten-thirty. Ten-thirty—and every other moment from the beginning of the world—is always the Present for Him. If you like to put it that way, He has all eternity in which to listen to the split second of prayer put up by a pilot as his plane crashes in flames.

That is difficult, I know. Let me try to give something, not the same, but a bit like it. Suppose I am writing a novel. I write "Mary laid down her work; next moment came a knock at the door!" For Mary who has to live in the imaginary time of my story there is no interval between putting down the work and hearing the knock. But I, who am Mary's maker, do not live in that imaginary time at all. Between writing the first half of that sentence and the second, I might sit down for three hours and think steadily about Mary. I could think about Mary as if she were the only character in the book and for as long as I pleased, and the hours I spent in doing so would not appear in Mary's time (the time inside the story) at all.

This is not a perfect illustration, of course. But it may give just a glimpse of what I believe to be the truth. God is not hurried along in the Time-stream of this universe any more than an author is hurried along in the imaginary time of his own novel He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass. You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created. When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only man in the world.

The way in which my illustration breaks down is this. In it the author gets out of one Time-series (that of the novel) only by going into another Time-series (the real one). But God, I believe, does not live in a Time-series at all. His life is not dribbled out moment by moment like ours: with Him it is, so to speak, still 1920 and already 1960. For His life is Himself.

If you picture Time as a straight line along which we have to travel, then you must picture God as the whole page on which the line is drawn. We come to the parts of the line one by one: we have to leave A behind before we get to B, and cannot reach C until we leave B behind. God, from above or outside or all round, contains the whole line, and sees it all.

The idea is worth trying to grasp because it removes some apparent difficulties in Christianity. Before I became a Christian one of my objections was as follows. The Christians said that the eternal God who is everywhere and keeps the whole universe going, once became a human being. Well then, said I, how did the whole universe keep going while He was a baby, or while He was asleep? How could He at the same time be God who knows everything and also a man asking his disciples "Who touched me?"

You will notice that the sting lay in the time words: "While He was a baby"—"How could He at the same time?" In other words I was assuming that Christ's life as God was in time, and that His life as the man Jesus in Palestine was a shorter period taken out of that time—just as my service in the army was a shorter period taken out of my total life.
And that is how most of us perhaps tend to think about it. We picture God living through a period when His human life was still in the future: then coming to a period when it was present: then going on to a period when He could look back on it as something in the past. But probably these ideas correspond to nothing in the actual facts.

You cannot fit Christ's earthly life in Palestine into any time-relations with His life as God beyond all space and time. It is really, I suggest, a timeless truth about God that human nature, and the human experience of weakness and sleep and ignorance, are somehow included in His whole divine life. This human life in God is from our point of view a particular period in the history of our world (from the year A.D. one till the Crucifixion). We therefore imagine it is also a period in the history of God's own existence. But God has no history.

He is too completely and utterly real to have one. For, of course, to have a history means losing part of your reality (because it had already slipped away into the past) and not yet having another part (because it is still in the future): in fact having nothing but the tiny little present, which has gone before you can speak about it. God forbid we should think God was like that. Even we may hope not to be always rationed in that way.

Another difficulty we get if we believe God to be in time is this. Everyone who believes in God at all believes that He knows what you and I are going to do tomorrow. But if He knows I am going to do so-and-so, how can I be free to do otherwise? Well, here once again, the difficulty comes from thinking that God is progressing along the Time-line like us: the only difference being that He can see ahead and we cannot.

Well, if that were true, if God foresaw our acts, it would be very hard to understand how we could be free not to do them. But suppose God is outside and above the Time-line. In that case, what we call "tomorrow" is visible to Him in just the same way as what we call "today." All the days are "Now" for Him. He does not remember you doing things yesterday; He simply sees you doing them, because, though you have lost yesterday. He has not.

He does not "foresee" you doing things tomorrow; He simply sees you doing them: because, though tomorrow is not yet there for you, it is for Him. You never supposed that your actions at this moment were any less free because God knows what you are doing. Well, He knows your tomorrow's actions in just the same way—because He is already in tomorrow and can simply watch you. In a sense, He does not know your action till you have done it: but then the moment at which you have done it is already "Now" for Him.

This idea has helped me a good deal. If it does not help you, leave it alone. It is a "Christian idea" in the sense that great and wise Christians have held it and there is nothing in it contrary to Christianity. But it is not in the Bible or any of the creeds. You can be a perfectly good Christian without accepting it, or indeed without thinking of the matter at all

 

maxwel

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2013
7,411
549
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#13
Time is essentially, more or less, a non-spatial property generated by the existence of tensed facts, such as "earlier than" and "later than."

It has nothing to do with space or locality.

So... it would be hard for God to have some "spatial" relationship to it, like being "outside" of it.
It isn't a "place" you can be outside of.

But that's getting ahead.

If we define time, more or less, as a property generated by the existence of "earlier than" and "later than"... then we would next look to the bible to see how it deals with tensed events. This would show us what God thinks of time, and how God and man interact with time... if at all.
 

maxwel

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2013
7,411
549
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#14
Tinuviel,

Good post from C.S. Lewis.

I like C.S. Lewis very much, but I think he makes a logical error in presuming God must be "existing" simultaneously throughout time in order to know the future. This simply isn't logically necessary.

God's property of omniscience is traditionally understood to mean God has knowledge of all true propositions.
Since God is an infinite being, and not like us, there is no necessary reason he would have to simultaneously exist in the future in order to have knowledge of the future.
(For you and I to know the future, we would have to be IN the future, and SEE it. But there is no reason to think God needs to acquire knowledge in this way.)

I think C.S. Lewis makes a mistake of logic here.
The most he can do is state a hypothesis which "might be", as there is no "necessary" reason for God to gain future knowledge in this way.

This also traps Lewis into the "B Theory" of time, which is very popular right now, but which is NOT shown in the Bible, and which we don't experience in our own lives, and which we don't really have any reason to believe.




In short, I appreciate Lewis very much, but many people disagree with him on both his view of time, and on his view that this particular relationship to time is necessary in order for God to have omniscience.
 
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Desdichado

Senior Member
Feb 9, 2014
7,522
205
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#15
That was more or less my misgiving when I went through MC the second time.

Tinuviel,

Good post from C.S. Lewis.

I like C.S. Lewis very much, but I think he makes a logical error in presuming God must be "existing" simultaneously throughout time in order to know the future. This simply isn't logically necessary.

God's property of omniscience is traditionally understood to mean God has knowledge of all true propositions.
Since God is an infinite being, and not like us, there is no necessary reason he would have to simultaneously exist in the future in order to have knowledge of the future.
(For you and I to know the future, we would have to be IN the future, and SEE it. But there is no reason to think God needs to acquire knowledge in this way.)

I think C.S. Lewis makes a mistake of logic here.
The most he can do is state a hypothesis which "might be", as there is no "necessary" reason for God to gain future knowledge in this way.

This also traps Lewis into the "B Theory" of time, which is very popular right now, but which is NOT shown in the Bible, and which we don't experience in our own lives, and which we don't really have any reason to believe.




In short, I appreciate Lewis very much, but many people disagree with him on both his view of time, and on his view that this particular relationship to time is necessary in order for God to have omniscience.
 

BenFTW

Senior Member
Oct 7, 2012
4,179
425
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#16
Tinuviel,

Good post from C.S. Lewis.

I like C.S. Lewis very much, but I think he makes a logical error in presuming God must be "existing" simultaneously throughout time in order to know the future. This simply isn't logically necessary.

God's property of omniscience is traditionally understood to mean God has knowledge of all true propositions.
Since God is an infinite being, and not like us, there is no necessary reason he would have to simultaneously exist in the future in order to have knowledge of the future.
(For you and I to know the future, we would have to be IN the future, and SEE it. But there is no reason to think God needs to acquire knowledge in this way.)

I think C.S. Lewis makes a mistake of logic here.
The most he can do is state a hypothesis which "might be", as there is no "necessary" reason for God to gain future knowledge in this way.

This also traps Lewis into the "B Theory" of time, which is very popular right now, but which is NOT shown in the Bible, and which we don't experience in our own lives, and which we don't really have any reason to believe.




In short, I appreciate Lewis very much, but many people disagree with him on both his view of time, and on his view that this particular relationship to time is necessary in order for God to have omniscience.
Could it be calculated? This person does this, so then this will happen, and because this happened this necessarily happens. I've heard it said that God knows all possible futures. For example...

2 Kings 13:18-19 King James Version (KJV)

18 And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed.
19 And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.

He could've won, but he didn't do the action enough times that would've given him the victory. This was an alternate reality, if you will. Or, we can speculate that this isn't saying something so great but is simply relaying the facts. Maybe no different than saying, had you not watched that movie you wouldn't have been sad. Cause and effect, not prophetic.

Knowing the calculations then, of what will result from decisions, does that then mean there really are other possibilities that could've happened, or simply knowledge of them, as opposed to them possibly being carried out? Knowing what will happen as a result of a decision doesn't mean that such a decision was ever going to be made, or could've been made.

God knowing the hearts of men, knowing them through and through, I suppose we could say He makes a hypothesis, but one that is concrete. Do we surprise God?

I know this, not all prophecy is a foretelling of the future, but a forthtelling. Meaning that God makes what He says will happen, happen. He divinely intervenes, creating the desired result. Not that He just knows the future, but He creates the future.




 

Deade

Called of God
Dec 17, 2017
4,695
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#17
Okay, you want details. Albert Einstein's theory of the space-time continuum states that without matter, time does not exist. But visible matter is not the only matter. There is also dark matter that is completely invisible to us. That dark matter: I can't get my head around that. How this all fits together I don't think our finite minds could understand. We can't even comprehend the Holy Spirit which is God's omnipresence and omniscience. That is what allows Him to hear all those prayers at once.



 

MattforJesus

Senior Member
Apr 15, 2017
1,464
130
63
#18
Thread title says it all. I don't know which way to go on this one.

Give reasons why/why not.
Does God exist outside of time, which there is no time with God, and before He created anything there is no time, for God is eternal having no beginning and no end so there is no time with God.

Time only refers to creation and God's plan of salvation is on a time table.

When He started creation, time started, but not for God, but concerning the creation, and one day God's time table will be over, and there will be no more time concerning His creation, for the saints are for eternity, and the new heaven, and new earth, the New Jerusalem are eternal.

There cannot be time when everything is eternal, and when God created the angels there was no time for they are eternal, but when He started creation time started.

No time, and then a time table for how long creation took, and a time table of 6000 years that God allotted humans to dwell on earth to take a people out of this world for Him, and a time of 1000 years that Jesus will reign on earth, and then this heaven and earth shall dissolve, and shall not be remembered, nor come to mind, and then no time.

Time only concerns the creation, and when all that God created concerning the things now are gone, except for the humans that are with God, then time no more.

Also I look at time as an eroding of things for it is physical, but that which does not erode there is no time to apply to it.

Time does not apply to God, but He still abides by time concerning His creation for all is on a time table until the New Jerusalem, and then eternity which there cannot be time for nothing is scheduled, but it is the same forever, and there is no sun, or moon there, no days, and the Lamb is the light of it that will always shine.

Concerning the creation things are scheduled so there is time, before creation nothing scheduled so no time, and in the New Jerusalem nothing is scheduled so no time.

The sun coming up, and down, and up again, concerns a day, but before creation there is no sun, so there is no time, and after this earth, and heaven pass away, there is no sun, so there is no time, for there is nothing to establish a day.

Time only refers to the creation from start to finish, and then no time.

But time does not apply to God, for there was nothing scheduled until the creation, and time does not apply to God because He is eternal, and cannot erode away because He is a Spirit not made from anything physical.
 

BenFTW

Senior Member
Oct 7, 2012
4,179
425
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#19
Okay, you want details. Albert Einstein's theory of the space-time continuum states that without matter, time does not exist. But visible matter is not the only matter. There is also dark matter that is completely invisible to us. That dark matter: I can't get my head around that. How this all fits together I don't think our finite minds could understand. We can't even comprehend the Holy Spirit which is God's omnipresence and omniscience. That is what allows Him to hear all those prayers at once.



Its kind of crazy to think that the Holy Spirit could hold a million, if not a billion, (or infinite) conversations at the same time and not be impeded with discussion. To think He can speak to me at the same time He is speaking to believers around the world, and maintaining cognizance with each person, is fairly mind-blowing.
 

Cee

Senior Member
May 14, 2010
2,159
460
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#20
I say yes, my first thought is in order for God to create time, He must exist uncreated outside of it.

Scripture says, He knows the end from the beginning. So He can know time outside of the linear way we function inside of it.

He’s also the first and the last. So He puts Himself as the “book-ends” of all Creation. Showing He is superior to it and it exists through Him. And time is part of His creation.

Also, He upholds all things, all here can be all in this present moment, but it can also encapsulate all things in all moments, past, present, and future. If He upholds all things He exists outside of them and inside them. God is the all in all.
 
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