Time and Eternity
: A Study of the ‘Accidental Temporalist’ View

  • Robert Keith Loftin

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (awarded by OU/Aberdeen)


I explicate the model of divine eternality developed by William Lane Craig—
‘accidental temporalism’—and defend its plausibility. In chapter one I provide an overview of several foundational issues relevant to the development of my thesis (e.g., methodology, the relevant biblical data, and key definitions).
In chapter two I trace the development within the Christian philosophical
theological tradition of the two major views of God’s relationship to time: atemporalism and temporalism. This survey draws out several concepts influential in the tradition— e.g., Neo-Platonism, divine simplicity, and the emerging importance of the metaphysical nature of time—as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the traditional views. This reveals the motivation for accidental temporalism. Having thus set the stage for accidental temporalism, in chapter three I offer an exposition of accidental temporalism. This involves a philosophical consideration of the metaphysical nature of time itself and the implications for Craig’s affirmation of the dynamic theory of time. In chapter four I evaluate, on their own terms, several purely analytical
philosophical objections which have been raised against accidental temporalism. I begin with two peremptory objections taken from the professional literature. I also develop two original objections, in response to which I consider possible responses. In chapter five I assume the plausibility of accidental temporalism and advance the discussion by arguing that accidental temporalism is not only internally consistent but possesses tremendous explanatory power and scope. I consider accidental temporalism’s implications for familiar theological problems as well as challenges to the coherence of
Christian theology. Chapter six concludes the thesis by offering a summary of the overall argument and drawing a few modest conclusions for the God and time discussion. I will also point out some possibilities for future research emerging from this project.
Date of Award4 Feb 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Edinburgh
SupervisorRobert Shillaker (Supervisor) & Gerald Bray (Supervisor)

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