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Lucas, John R. “The Temporality of God."

John Lucas defends the temporality of God against both traditional theism and the difficulties raised by relativity and quantum cosmology. For Lucas, the temporality of God is essential if we are to claim that God is personal and therefore conscious of the passage of time. Against traditional orthodoxy and deism, Lucas cites both Barth and process theology in support of divine temporality. Moreover, the Biblical witness is unalterably to a God who acts in specific ways. Though God may be beyond time in the sense that time was created by God, Lucas insists that God is not timeless.

But how can God experience the world in time if physics undercuts the temporality of the world? Lucas argues that while special relativity on its own provides no absolute temporal reference frame, it is consistent with the possibility that one exists, such as the cosmic background radiation. This in turn might provide a reference-frame by which God has temporal knowledge of the world.

What about the creation of the universe by God? Lucas points out that the proposals by Hartle and Hawking and by Vilenkin explain the origin of the universe not as a result of conditions existing before the Big Bang, but as an instantiation of important rational desiderata. This reflects a parallel move in the philosophy of science in which the kind of explanation sought shifts from a deductive-nomological explanation (in which temporally antecedent conditions evolve through covering laws) to a top-down explanation (i.e., the instantiation of desiderata). Lucas concludes that time can be thought of modally as a transition from possibility to actuality.

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