A skeptic has posed the following two logical statements as an attempt to refute God’s atemporality:
1.) God, an atemporal being, created the Universe.
2.) Creation is a temporal processes because X cannot cause Y to come into being unless X existed temporally prior to Y.
3.) If God existed prior to the creation of the Universe he is a temporal being.
4.) Since God is atemporal, God cannot be the creator the Universe.
A1) A timeless being would be without the proposition of past and future.
A2.) But to be omniscient, God must know the past and future.
A3.) Hence a God that is atemporal and omniscient cannot logically exist.
Response: We must first realize how to define time. Time is not a state of being, as in something that one is in or out of. Neither man nor God is “in time” in the same sense as being in a shower or in a car. Rather, time is a measurement of change. “15 minutes” is only relevant when it measures a certain amount of movement of the earth in relation to the sun. So time measures change, and if there was a thing that never changed, it would be timeless. The concept “four” does not get older and has no before and after.
Therefore when we speak of God being timeless we mean that God does not change. He is the same; He knows everything, so he cannot observe things, get smarter, or figure out problems. He does not decay, so He does not get older. He had no beginning and was not created, so He does not age. Only things with beginnings that get older can be spoken of as aging. So God is timeless because He does not change. Time is a measurement of change, and God does not change.
The syllogism above is invalid for several reasons. First, it equivocates on what time is measuring. Premise 1 speaks of God being atemporal in being. This speaks of God’s essence; it does not speak of any creation He made. Premise 2 speaks of God’s actions, not His essence. Likewise, A1 again speaks of God’s essence, while A2 speaks not of God’s knowledge of Himself, but God’s knowledge of created things, for only created things have befores and afters. So both of the logical statements above make false conclusions, equivocating between statements about God’s nature and God’s actions or knowledge of His effects.
Second, both logical statements are not presented in formal logical syllogisms, which introduces the fallacies I am mentioning here.
Third, statement 3 mentions God’s existence and His creative act. If we say that God existed prior to the creation of the universe, we have only spoken of the causal relationship of God to the universe, not of God’s being. Statement 3 compares God’s relationship to the universe with God’s nature within Himself, which is an invalid comparison. It could be that God’s personal essence is timeless (unchanging) within His being, but He is still prior to the things He caused, the universe. God’s nature could be timeless, while He is still logically prior to the effect He generated. Therefore 3 is invalid, causing 4 to be invalid also.
In summary, there is no connection between God’s causing of creation and whether His essence experiences change. The universe experiences change, therefore it can be spoken of as before it was created and after it was created, but since God’s essence never changes, He cannot be spoken of as having a before or after in His nature. There is also no connection between God’s knowledge of a temporal thing and whether God’s nature experiences the change that is necessary to measure time. Neither statements above are presented in valid syllogisms.