Colloquia Theologica Ottoniana (Dec 2020)

Otwartość Boga. Wieczność i wolna wola

  • Eleonore Stump

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 36


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This article is an analysis of the doctrine of divine eternity. The sources for this doctrine can be traced back to the philosophy of Boethius or Thomas Aquinas. According to the doctrine of divine eternity, the existence of God is not determined by the linear passage of time – God exists in the eternal present. From an eternal perspective, God has simultaneous access to all moments of nature’s linear time. The doctrine of divine eternity is meant to be an antidote to the alleged contradiction of God’s omniscience with the freedom of human will. However, the doctrine of divine eternity has been criticised. Recently, its effectiveness in solving philosophical problems has been undermined by Alvin Plantinga or William Hasker, among others. This work is an attempt to creatively argue against the Hasker’s position. Hasker sees his position as an alternative to classical theism as represented, for example, by Thomism. Hasker rejects Thomism for two reasons. First, the Thomistic God cannot be intimate with human beings or responsive to them. Secondly, the Thomistic view of God as timeless solves the problem of God’s foreknowledge and of the existence of free will only at the cost of making God’s timeless knowledge useless to him in interaction with the temporal world. This paper analyses Hasker’s reasoning leading to the conclusion that free will and timeless knowledge are compatible and gives reasons for concluding that his argument is itself incompatible with the doctrine of eternity. Subsequently, it has been shown that the same conclusion is made even more clearly on the basis of considerations derived from the concept of eternity. Finally, these considerations are used to challenge Hasker’s conclusion that timeless knowledge might be useless to God in directing his actions over time.