Sunday, September 10, 2006

Christian Metaphysics is Best Understood Through Star Trek

For a seminary class, I am presently reading Metaphysics: Constructing a World View by William Hasker. It is an introductory text on that subject intended for seminarians. In the second chapter, Hasker addresses the two major views of causality: free will and determinism. He presents an elaborate (but I think unconvincing) argument to prove that divine foreknowledge of the choices of beings with free will contradicts divine omnipotence and omniscience. Although he doesn't use the term, he seems to be an advocate for Open Theism.

But Hasker also presents an alternative explanation -- divine timelessness:

God's existence is not everlasting; it is timeless, outside of time altogether. Boethius defined eternity as "the complete and simultaneous possession of endless life." The key word is "simultaneous": God does not live his life moment by moment, as we do; rather he has it all at once, so that for him there is no past or future, but only a single, eternal, present moment -- the "eternal now."...If God is timeless, it will not be literally true to say that God knows things before they happen; rather he knows them timelessly.

As is most things in life, metaphysics is best understood through Star Trek. In the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Commander Sisko encountered beings that lived within the Bajoran wormhole. These beings existed outside of linear time -- they lived at every moment of time simultaneously. They had difficulty understanding that humans could only exist at one moment of time at a time an then only in one direction (usually).

2 comments:

codepoke said...

Aarrgh.

Timelessness does not answer the question. It practically begs it.

The question is who makes the effective move. The argument bounces around with prevenience and totalness being talked to death, but eventually, someone has to make the move that makes the difference. Either God gives grace to all, hoping that all will accept but being dependent upon their response, or God gives such grace to some that their decision is a foregone conclusion.

Timelessness does not not change the mechanics of the situation. Either God or man makes the effective move.

John said...

Yeah, I didn't see a need for the argument, either. I didn't follow how divine foreknowledge and free will were logical inconsistencies.

But if they say it in Star Trek, then it must be true.