f The Wittenberg Door: October 2006

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Was Time Created?

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Dr. Peter May has a fine article at bethinking.org titled, Has Science Disproved God? In it he fortifies the Cosmological argument with scientific discovery.

I do have one disagreement, though. In his article, Dr. May suggests that time is a created thing:

We cannot speak about time before time existed. God, if he created the universe, must live outside of space and time.

Time as the Movement of a Clock

For scientists such as Einstein or Hawking, time must be physical because their worldview rules-out the existence of abstract entities. Therefore, they ascribe a beginning to time and describe it as, basically, the movement of the hands of the clock.

Christians too typically fall into this line of reasoning when they speak of God being “outside of time.” Time is seen as a creation of God that will someday be done away with. Until then, He will content Himself with being a sort of jack-in-the-box, jumping in and out of this box called time.

Eternal Now?

Another Christian explanation of God and time, sometimes called “eternal now,” was held by many of our Church Fathers, including Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, and Methodius.

This view puts God in a window overlooking a parade—the ever-present spectator, God is perched high-above, observing all events at once. Consequently, the creation of the earth, the crucifixion of Christ, and the consummation of the age are all happening at one time. As if all events were thrown into a cosmic Cuisinart.

Not only is there no hint of this in the Scriptures, there is, it seems to me, the problem of us experiencing something that God couldn’t, such as what it’s like to actually have a singular now, and what it’s like to have an experience of past events.

I heard someone say once that time is the stuff that keeps everything from happening at once. It seems that this would be true for God too.


There is certainly a created aspect of time. But is it exclusively so? I don’t think believe it is. There seems to be an uncreated element that is a necessary consequence of God’s existence. Consider this: Time is usually defined as duration—that which passes between events. It seems to me that there is something else to consider: sequence, which includes the events themselves. Here’s what I mean:

There are two types of sequence: logical and temporal. An example of a logical sequence would be counting, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. “2” logically follows “1.”

A temporal sequence would be a simple recounting of events. For example, if I numbered four popsicle sticks and then randomly laid them out, they might turnout like this: 4, 2, 1, 3. That’s a temporal sequence.


Before God created the material universe there was a before. Before denotes a temporal sequence and is a hallmark of time. Therefore, since there was a before preceding the creation of the material universe, then time could not been part of that creation.

Here’s something else to consider: before that creation, God created a certain number of angles; and before He created them, He set a fixed number in His mind. This involves counting—logical sequences. Since God is not material, and since He is counting and creating, then neither logical nor temporal sequences are material; and since they necessarily precede his creative work, they themselves cannot be created; hence time cannot be material nor created.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Embracing Doubt

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I have long contended that Atheists are intellectually lazy when it comes to their Atheism. It is because of this sloth that they are typified by poor arguments, name calling, and straw-man tactics. (For an example of this, read the exchange I had with an Atheist from Las Vegas at the The Lazy Atheist – Part One post.)

Case in point is Andrew Sullivan’s recent article in Time magazine, When Not Seeing Is Believing. In it he wants us “fundamentalist” Christians to abandon our dogmas and adopt some sort of Christian Agnosticism. He also wants us to abandon the concept of truth with a big “T” (correspondence) with truth with a little “t” (opinion, thinly veiled). As usual, no arguments are given. He simply spends five-pages-worth of our time telling us his wishes. (Ah, if only wishes were horses . . .)

Clear Christian Thinking

I commend to you a post by Melinda over at the Stand to Reason blog titled, Embracing Doubt. She does a great job of clearing away the fog of Mr. Sullivan’s vacuous thinking. Here’s an excerpt:

Sullivan uses the now familiar distinction of claiming to know lower "t" truth and capital "T" truth. The former kind of knowledge is supposedly more modest and less offensive, while the former is arrogant and absolute leading to all kinds of problems in the world. Not surprisingly, Sullivan goes on several paragraphs later in the article to tell us what the truth of things are and what "true faith" is. He sure talks like he's telling us about the way things really are, not just his perspective, because he's appealing to others to abandon their arrogance and embrace the doubt that will end all our conflict. Sullivan sounds pretty sure of his view when I read his article, but you see, that's okay with me. I'm interested in hearing his ideas and having a lively disagreement with the goal of persuading each other when we disagree. He sounds just as sure as the Christians he's critiquing, but that's juts fine. We can hardly escape the conviction that our own beliefs are correct. There is no such thing as the false distinction between "t" and "T" truth. That claims purports to be the way things are - "T" truth. We're all in that same boat, it's just that some of the passengers want to take pot shots at the others, which is really how I perceive Sullivan's criticisms.

You can read the rest of the post here.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

New Blog: The Broken Messenger

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Yesterday, I happened into a local “Christian” bookstore. It was all too typical: lots of trinkets, little substance. (I looked long-and-hard to find the “Theology” section. I finally found a few books—very few—under the heading “Finances.”) They had “gospel” tee shirts, bumper stickers, bubble gum, etc. But truly, how many of the store’s shoppers really know what the gospel is?

Protestants today have become overcome by Arminian theology, anti-creedalism, and anti-intellectualism. Because of this, most Protestants have no idea what the gospel is, hence the gospel boxer shorts.

It is within this vacuum that a misplaced political activism has grown. After losing the true message of the doing-and-dying of Christ, Christians are instead turning to moralism and legislation. Don’t get me wrong, we are to fulfill the Cultural Mandate and participate in our society, and that includes trying to further just and moral legislation. But it is not a replacement for the Great Commission, nor is an ungodly intermixing permissible.

The Broken Messenger

It is with delight that I ran across the blog, The Broken Messenger—a blog that features great theology and insightful commentary. Along the lines of what I was just writing is a post titled, Religious Right Hypocrisy. Here’s an excerpt:

In all this it seems that we have chosen the lesser, easier route. And we are completely hypocritical in several ways. First, we exalt politics over Christ. We have placed Kingdom work under civil work. Second, we work for the sake of morality, rather than performing the joyful work of faith for the sake of Jesus. We are perfectly content in having a Desperate Housewives Democracy (just stuff it down, put on a good front and keep all that evil in the bedroom of your heart) while giving the appearance of godliness while denying its power. Third, we carry a message that reveres a political party while remaining mute about the greatest Name under heaven. It’s all about the party, stupid. Making much of Jesus is thought to be best left to the preacher in the pulpit and that old peeling bumper sticker on the back of your Jetta.

You can read the rest here.