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God, time and eternity: philosophical foundations for a defence of divine timelessness

Foyle, Stuart Mark (2007) God, time and eternity: philosophical foundations for a defence of divine timelessness. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The past two decades have seen an almost exponential growth in publications on the topic of divine eternity and the general area of 'God and time'. Increasing appeal is made to arguments and resources which ranges widely through contemporary science and the philosophy of time, whilst retaining commitments to traditional historical and philosophical theology. This thesis aims to make a methodological contribution to the debate that will be of use to partisans of all views of divine temporality and atemporality, as well as to isolate more specific philosophical foundations which, it is urged, would be required for a defence of divine timelessness. In arguing for the plausibility of these foundations, a case is made for the desirability of such a defence. This thesis argues for a methodology of constraints in which the key features are, first, that the theology of divine eternity can be affected by logical constraints introduced by arguments from Outside' as well as 'inside' itself, and, second, that such a structure is reliant upon the integration of a corresponding understanding (provided by the work of Katherine Hawley) of how science might support metaphysical claims and how alleged support might be challenged. The resulting structure is offered as a general philosophical foundation for debates in the field of 'God and time’. This thesis also argues that the most vital factor in the structure is the ontological status of the present. The denial that the present should be metaphysically favoured is explored, as a general philosophical foundation for a defence of divine timelessness, through topics in language and ontology, science, and epistemology. Results from this analysis are incorporated into the overall structure advocated by the thesis, together with considerations both of their effect on the debate, and of candidates for philosophical foundations from 'inside' theology which fit within the wider methodology of constraints on the theology of divine eternity.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2007
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:32

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