Augustine on God and Time
1. Two Accounts of Divine Eternity
2. Timelessness: A being is timeless just if it lacks all temporal location and extension.
This captures two of the crucial aspects of Augustine’s view of God’s eternity: (i) God’s lacking a beginning or end and (ii) absence of change. While it would be true at any time that he exists, it would not be true that he exists at any given time.
3. Everlastingness: A being is everlasting just if, for any time which he exists or even at all.
An everlasting being has always existed and will always exist. Such a being may also be called sempiternal. On this view, God’s existence has neither beginning nor end, but aspects of the life of God have a beginning and an end, since God does experience temporal succession.
4. Augustine’s Argument for Divine Timelessness
If God is wholly unchanging and time depends on change, then God is timeless.
God is wholly unchanging and time depends on change. So God is timeless.
5. The Creation of Time
If time is a relation between physical objects or events, then the creation of the universe involves the creation of time.
6. Time is a relation between objects or events. So God created time.
“Where no creature is, whose motion may bring forth time, there can be no time” (Augustine, City of God, 12.15)
Answers skeptical objection: There was no time before the Universe, so the question “what was God doing before he created the universe?” is based on a false assumption. The question makes no sense if God created time. By contrast, we can rightly ask this question of God if God is in time, for then there would be a time before the universe. Problem for everlasting view: why did God wait as long as He did to create the universe?
We can only speak of God “before” creation in a non-temporal sense of God’s eminence and majesty as a being above or outside the natural...