Critically assess the traditional Christian Concept of God being eternal.

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Critically assess the traditional Christian Concept of God being eternal. (35)

The traditional Christian concept of God’s eternity has been highly influenced by the early philosophy of Plato and his concept of the unchanging reality of the world of the Forms, and more modern philosophy of Boethius. It is argued however that the concept of God’s eternity has not only appealed to people because of the influence of early Greek philosophy, but instead Wolterstoff has suggested it appeals to people because the eternal God is different from human experience of life in the physical world. He continues, in this world the idea of God being different and always existing, as it says in the Bible, leads to philosophical understanding of God’s nature as eternal and makes believers’ conviction that God is eternal more understandable.

The Judaeo-Christian concept of God being eternal can refer to God being timeless (existing outside of time) or God being everlasting (having no beginning and no end, but time does pass for him). The Bible supports this view that God has always existed and will never cease to exist it is written “I the Lord do not change.” The classical understanding of God being eternal also suggests that God has knowledge of everything that has happened, what is happening and what will happen in the future, and he sees this all simultaneously. However philosophers argue that it is not appropriate to speak of God as ‘eternal’ because of our own understanding of the word ‘eternal’. We can only comprehend this as humans, but we cannot fully comprehend the concept of God’s eternity because all language which speaks of God is without meaning or purpose as supporters of the Vienna Circle have claimed our language is meaningless when it comes to speaking about God.

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The work of Boethius in ‘Consolation of Philosophy Book 5’ has strongly influenced Christian belief of God being eternal. Boethius argued that God is changeless and doesn’t exist in time, here he adopts the timeless view of God; “Eternity is the whole simultaneous and perfect possession of unending life”. This highlight Boethius’ view that God is wholly simple, meaning timeless and paramount to his belief is that God exists eternally and all of time is present to God at the same time. For Boethius God doesn’t see the future as it happens, instead Boethius argues all time is present ...

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