Time Proves God

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

|

November 2, 2015

I love to spend my time thinking about time. That might sound rather odd to most people; however, I have come to the conclusion that if we understand time correctly, then the rest of reality starts to fall into place.

My interest in time theory began to exist when I began examining the beginning of the space-time universe. William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument captivated me and I have been studying it for several years. This argument is about beginnings and the existence of time. Many committed atheists have rejected the existence of time in an attempt to escape the theistic implications that follow from the Kalam’s logically deductive conclusion. That is to say, some have rejected the idea that time is dynamic and embraced the idea that temporal becoming is only an illusion. This is just a fancy way of saying that things do not really happen one after another.

The alternative to dynamic time (a.k.a., the A-theory of time) is static time (a.k.a., the B-theory of time). If the B-theory of time is true, then time is not “flowing” but all points on the timeline are just there. Just as every inch exists as markings on the yardstick, every event or moment just exists on the eternal block of time. On the B-theory, time is better thought of as a physical location on a four-dimensional block, instead of an event that has happened and is over with or that will happen but has not yet occurred.

Here is a short animated video that will help a beginner visualize these challenging concepts.

Dynamic time is in regards to what theoretical physicists and philosophers of time refer to as “temporal becoming.” As the theoretical physicist, Dr. Foitini Markoupolo states: “Apart from [dynamic] time, things do not happen.” For example, things would not decay, evolve, or emerge if everything is static. Nothing happens – ever – if dynamic time does not exist.

Here are three primer articles I wrote on the topic. 

Logic, Science, & God

The Kalam, Evolution, & the B-theory of Time

B-theory, Rationality, & Knowledge

My arguments above demonstrate that if one chooses to reject the concept of dynamic time and the A-theory, then it logically follows that they also must consequently reject Darwinian evolution as an explanation for the biological complexity of primates today. Moreover, they also must reject the existence of libertarian free will. As my Freethinking Argument Against Naturalism demonstrates, if one rejects libertarian free will and wishes to remain logically consistent, then they also must reject rationality and knowledge. Therefore, if one believes that evolution explains complexity and believes they are rational and possess knowledge (if they claim to “know” things), then they must reject the static B-theory model and affirm the dynamic A-theory model. This brings us to a new argument I am working on called, “The Argument from Dynamic Time.”

1- Dynamic time began to exist.

2- The cause of dynamic time must be timeless, eternal, and metaphysically necessary.

3- Apart from dynamic time things do not happen unless the cause of dynamic time is a volitional agent.

4- Volitional agents are persons.

5- Therefore, the cause of dynamic time is a timeless, eternal, and necessary person.

Allow me to explain and defend each step of the argument:

1- Dynamic time began to exist.

If one denies the first premise, they must affirm the eternal four-dimensional block and the B-theory of time. If they make this move, however, they must deny that anything really happens or changes. If nothing really changes, then Darwinian evolution is nothing more than an illusion and does not count as an explanation of primate complexity. Moreover, not only does evolution go down the drain apart from dynamic time, but so does the process of rationality leading to knowledge.

Thus, to reject premise (1), the objector is left with the heavy burden of rejecting both evolution and knowledge. Moreover, to make matters more ludicrous, the objector must affirm that he himself exists timelessly with no beginning, as he is just as eternal in the block as the eternal and static block of spacetime itself.

Now, these are three good reasons to reject eternalism and the B-theory of time. Perhaps one might argue that dynamic time can be extrapolated into past infinity. This, however, is logically impossible. If dynamic time never had an absolute beginning, then the present moment would not exist. To help illustrate why the concept of past infinity is incoherent, consider this: is it possible for someone, say a superhero with infinite jumping powers, to jump out of an infinitely tall bottomless-pit? Of course not. There is no launching pad or foundation from which to jump. When it comes to time, if the hole at ground level represents the present moment and the idea of past infinity means there is no foundation to jump from (a first moment of time), then the present moment could never be reached. The jumper could never get out of the hole because there is no starting point for him to progress upward from. Because the present moment does exist, evolution does explain complexity, and people can genuinely engage in the process of rationality to gain knowledge, it logically follows that premise (1) is true: Dynamic time began to exist!

Let us examine the next step of the argument:

2- The cause of dynamic time must be timeless, eternal, and necessary.

If dynamic time began to exist, the cause of dynamic time must be timeless, static, and therefore, eternal with no beginning (because genuine beginnings require dynamic time). This static and timeless cause of dynamic time must have no beginning because genuine beginnings require dynamic time to already be initiated. It logically follows that the cause of dynamic time is eternal. Specifically, the cause of dynamic time is eternal with no beginning.

It seems that things that actually exist eternally (with no beginning) must also exist necessarily in a metaphysical sense. If one wanted to argue that the static block of spacetime existed necessarily, an objector could counter that it is at least logically possible for the block of spacetime not to exist at all. I agree, however, if this is the case, the block of spacetime would at least exist necessarily in an ontological sense and could not fail to exist apart from an absolute dynamic time.

John Hick has demonstrated that a necessary thing must have the following essential properties:

– Eternal (with no beginning)
– Uncaused
– Indestructible
– Incorruptible

If the eternal static block theory is true, then this eternal block exists without beginning and is uncaused. If dynamic time does not exist, then this eternal block can never be destroyed or corrupted since destruction and corruption are things that happen within a changing state of affairs which are not compatible with static time.

Since things do not happen apart from time (i.e., decay), the only thing that could logically destroy the static spacetime block is another static and eternally existing thing that transcends the spacetime block. This entity, however, would have to be a very powerful volitional agent who could bring dynamic time into existence by choosing to perform an action. In this case, an action to destroy the static block of spacetime.

This brings us to our next premise:

3- Apart from dynamic time things do not happen unless the cause of dynamic time is a volitional agent.

Dynamic time itself cannot begin to exist in a timeless and changeless state. This is the case because, as the theoretical physicist, Dr. Foitini Markoupolo, has stated, “apart from [dynamic] time things do not happen.” Things do not decay or begin to emerge if dynamic time does not exist. If dynamic time does not exist, all things that do happen to exist would exist eternally with no genuine beginning and exist in a frozen and static state. Therefore, dynamic time could not even begin to exist in a frozen and eternally static state – UNLESS at least one of these eternally existing “things” is a volitional agent who can freely choose to act and bring about change.

If the cause of dynamic time exists timelessly in a static state, but can also freely choose to act, then simultaneously with the first free action (whatever it is) dynamic time begins and the clock starts ticking!

4- Volitional agents are persons.

This premise is intuitively obvious. A rock or a tree is not a volitional agent. Subatomic particles such as quarks are not volitional agents. Even if abstract objects exist (which is debatable), by definition, they are causally effete and they are not agents with the ability to act or cause things.

A volitional agent is always a person. This should not be confused with a human. Yes, humans are persons, but so is Chewbacca and Yoda in the Star Wars saga. Thus, although the cause of dynamic time cannot be a human, the cause of time must be a volitional agent and is therefore, a person.

The conclusion follows via logical deduction:

5- Therefore, the cause of dynamic time is a timeless, eternal, and necessary person.

If the premises are true, then the cause of dynamic time – which we all experience – must be a timeless, eternal, and necessary Person (this seems to require a capitol “P”). This beginningless Person is timeless sans any volitional act. However, simultaneous with this first act, this Person will forever be IN dynamic time and can logically never return to a timeless state, even if He returned to a static state. This is because the static Person who caused dynamic time to begin could never start the stopwatch again for the first time.

Therefore, this necessary Person who was eternal with no beginning in a static state is now also eternal into the infinite future of dynamic time.

This Person is God!

The Freethinking Theist,

Tim Stratton


Notes:

Here is a longer and more technical version of this argument that I crafted while debating a physicist who rejected dynamic time:

1- Things change.

2- A changing state of affairs cannot be past infinite.

3- Therefore, a first change resulted from an unchanging state of affairs.

4- Only a volitional agent can cause a change from an unchanging state of affairs.

5- Volitional agents are personal.

6- Therefore, this personal agent existed in an unchanging state of affairs.

7- Anything existing in an unchanging state of affairs never began to exist and is eternal with no beginning.

8- Therefore, the cause of the first change (and ultimately the change of affairs in which we find ourselves) is a personal agent who is eternal with no beginning and was in a changeless state of affairs logically prior to causing the first change.

 

 

 

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About the Author

Tim

Stratton

(The FreeThinking Theist)

Tim pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska-Kearney (B.A. 1997) and after working in full-time ministry for several years went on to attain his graduate degree from Biola University (M.A. 2014). Tim was recently accepted at North West University to pursue his Ph.D. in systematic theology with a focus on metaphysics.

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