A couple years ago when researching the relation between God and time I ran across an interesting argument that still confuses me. I have read much on this subject from most of the conflicting views and have never found anyone who even attempted to treat it. Now this may mean one of three things. Either I am horribly stupid and the answer is obvious to everyone but me or that I have not happened to find the answers that have been already written or maybe, just maybe it is an area that theologians have strayed away from answering. I don’t know and am reluctant to think of the last option. But enough babbling and let me lay out the argument for you
1 God knows what time it is right now in Chicago (say 12:41 pm).
2 God will know what time it is in Chicago when it becomes 12:42 pm.
3 Therefore God’s knowledge will change or he does not know what time it is in Chicago.
4 God’s knowledge does not change therefore He does not know what time it is right now in Chicago.
This argument is of course operating from the assumption that God’s knowledge cannot change. Which I do believe but I want to show how one who denies this could argue.
1 God knows what time it is right now in Chicago.
2 God will know what time it is in Chicago when it becomes 12:42.
3 Therefore God’s Knowledge changed or He does not know what time it is in Chicago.
4 God knows what time it is in Chicago therefore His knowledge will change when it becomes 12:42
If I left you in the dark and you are wondering what in the world I am meaning let me explain. The central question is this. Does God know what time it is right now? If we say yes then next minute has His knowledge changed? Meaning if God knows it is 12:41 right now and then He knows it is 12:42 right now has His knowledge changed? If we ascribe to God knowledge of the present time it seems we must choose one of only two options. And they each seem pretty dangerous to me. 1 God does know the present moment and His knowledge does change. Thus we have a progression of thought in God which means time in God. We would then have to throw out all the verses that speak of God being outside the constraints of our time. 2 God does not know the present moment but from His vantage point outside of time in the ‘Eternal Now’ looks on all time as if it were all occurring simultaneously.
So enough hubbub from the open theists about whether or not the future exists. More importantly does the present exist? It is not that I am questioning whether the things we do are really being done by us. We definitely do them. All the things we see and do are real. But is the construct that we interpret them thru, ie time, with its progression of events truly occurring as we think it is? Is it really a linear framework with things occurring in a progression?
I know everything I am saying seems bizarrely stupid and right now you are positive my parents must have dropped me on my head when I was a child (which is true by the way). But remember the logic. If time is true in the ultimate sense (meaning that time is real and does indeed pass along a linear framework and is really progressing as we think) then the present is real and thus an item of knowledge. God knows all things so He must know the present. Tomorrow or even the next nanosecond rolls around and God’s knowledge has changed. It seems we are stuck in a pretty pickle. I have theories about how we might resolve this problem. One is to call time a framework God made for us but that the way we see it is all an illusion ultimately. I don’t like this view at all though. You could also say that maybe the present is the one item of knowledge God has that does change and thus avoid some major bumps but if logical you will run back into the brick wall of logic that demands beings of changing knowledge are inside of time. Or one could say that God is time-bound and thus this whole argument would be inapplicable. But then you would run into a host of scriptures that I believe demand that we see God as being outside time and time being a creation of His. As a final alternative one can just say that this whole thing is a mystery and wait for eternity to get it all sorted out. Perhaps this last option is the best one.