I don’t know if I would take the class again.
I learned some things and I was challenged by many things. There were times when it was very exciting and times when I wanted to die. Part of me wonders if this isn’t just going to be the very nature of philosophy; the other part wonders if it isn’t something else. Only time will tell.
There are a few other things on my mind that I would like to get out for a couple of reasons. First, I want to write all of my “God and Time” thoughts out before the end of the class and the final on Wednesday. Second, a number of interesting things were really synthesized in my mind earlier when I wrote an admittedly weak paper for class. But I suppose that’s what happens when you run so low on sleep your brain can’t act creatively anymore.
I would like to talk about omniscience (also the topic of my paper for class). The easiest way of jumping into the issue is to give the quote that had me thinking this direction as soon as I read it.
…There is no known univocal answer to what is essential for us being human…”
The quote comes from Thomas Senor in his essay “Incarnation, Timelessness, and Leibniz’s Law Problems”. He really struck me with this one. I immediate wrote in the margin: “If that is the case then why do we assume we know what it takes to be divine?” The emphasis in that sentence was on the why – which is an interesting topic – but I want to focus more on the what and the how.
The most exciting part of talking about God in relation to time (or any other thing for that matter) is when scripture or practical situations are taken into account. Today we read an essay today called “Incarnation, Timeless, and Leibnez’s Law Problems” by Thomas Senor. I found it very interesting – for the practical reason I already mentioned – as well as the fact that Senor lines up with many of my own beliefs; at the very least he hints at the fact.
What I would like to pay most attention to are the parts of his essay where he referenced and discussed the incarnation (that is, Christ becoming man on earth) and how we are to deal with this issue when considering the nature of time and (especially) omniscience.
We pray to God. Some of us do. Some of us could be much better than we are (speaking mainly to myself here). We also pray for a reason. Whatever the reason is, we base our prayers on the assumption that it is worth our time to pray. The point is we pray because we believe it makes a difference.
As the discussion in God and Time today showed, not all views of time really allow for any sort of meaningful prayer – at least not the way many of us think about it.
An illustration from my philosophy professor yesterday had me really excited (although it may have just been the 30 ounces of coffee in my system at the time. Don’t ask.)
Background: we have been reading a variety of essays this week by philosophical theologians arguing for an atemporal God. There have been different ways of going about it, but the basic illustration stays the same. Think of time as a line (a timeline) on which events in our time take place. Then there is God, removed from time, and (depending on the particular philosopher) still able to act in and on our timeline. But God cannot be seen as having his own seperate timeline – God does not experience time.
Another student in class brought up something which we covered a day or so ago, that is that God is immutable (for argument’s sake) because His changing in any way would either mean (1) that He is becoming more perfect and thus wasn’t perfect before the change or (2) that He was perfect and is changing from His current perfect state. The proponent of immutability is going to use this to show that God mustn’t change or else God cannot be perfect.
God and Time is a lot to chew on. The bright side is that there are plenty of slightly off track comments and questions to keep the conversation trailing and away from the reading material for the day’s class. Unfortunately the down side is that there are plenty of slightly off track comments and questions to keep the conversation trailing and away from the reading material for the day’s class.
Funny how that works, eh?