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Does God have a future? Questions regarding God's eternity in dialogue with medieval and modern theology

Jensen, A. (2010) Does God have a future? Questions regarding God's eternity in dialogue with medieval and modern theology. In: 2010 ANZATS Conference 2010, 7 - 9 July 2010, University of Melbourne, Melbourne


This paper discusses the relation between God's eternity and time. It begins with a discussion of the modern awareness that the world evolves, and of the theistic premise that we can draw conclusions about the nature of God from our observation of creation. As Arthur Lovejoy points out in his The Great Chain of Being , until the 18th century creation was perceived as static and, essentially, immutable. Consequently, God was understood as immutable. However, once the understanding grew that the world is evolving, God began to be understood as changeable. This attitude can be seen in process theology as well as in contemporary authors such as Richard Swinburne and Keith Ward. Process theology's emphasis on the immanence of God will be welcomed. However, the paper will criticise its sole focus on divine immanence at the expense of divine transcendence. Against this background, the paper discusses different understandings of God's eternity, namely the medieval understanding that God's eternity means that all time is present before God's mind in one timeless instance, and the modern understanding that understands God's eternity as God being present in every moment of time. The paper argues that the understanding of God's eternity as timeless is to be preferred, but that it needs to be supplemented with a strong understanding of divine immanence. It concludes with some observations about history as the unfolding of the divine purpose and the hope for humankind arising from this.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Conference Website:
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