Science in Christian Perspective

Letter to the Editor


God, Eternity, Time and Personality

David F. Siemens, Jr.
ASA Fellow
2703 E. Kenwood St.
Mesa, AZ 85213-2384

From: PSCF 49 (June 1997): 140.

Karl M. Busen, in "Eternity and the Personal God" (March 1997, pp. 40-49), presents an interesting solution to some problems raised in recent discussions of the nature of the deity. However, when we examine the presuppositions of the difficulties, we may ask whether a solution is necessary.

First, on an unmarked sheet of quadrille paper, a spot has no determined coordinates. Any origin and any unit per square may be assigned. Similarly, if we posit an extended, empty four-dimensional space-time continuum and ask what the coordinates of a point within it are, there is no answer unless, beyond the continuum, we have appropriate scales to which we can refer the point. Time 1 or objective time is one dimension of the continuum, or a similar dimension within other scientific disciplines.

If the continuum contains material entities, then we can reasonably ask for relative coordinates. Indeed, within science, we may ask for no better. However, such a specification of time requires that we deal with creation, not the Creator.

Time 2 or subjective time requires a person, someone who is aware of change. But it is a logical fallacy to turn this around in order to claim that personhood implies Time 2. This last is required for the problem Dr. Busen intends to answer. As a matter of fact, human personality involves Time 2. But we have not established that the only type of personality which we can demonstrate empirically, namely our own, exhausts the limits of personhood. May I suggest an analogy here. Neither integers nor real numbers exhaust the meaning of "number," nor do imaginary and mixed numbers. There are also transfinite numbers with very different characteristics. Theism requires at least a "transfinite" being. Thus, requiring all personality to involve change is applying finite characteristics to the Infinite.

From these considerations it follows that neither Time 1 nor Time 2 is even marginally relevant to considerations of a personal God, especially the deity revealed in Scripture and recognized by traditional orthodoxy. For those who have constructed a deity in their own image,1 the problem remains.

1See Siemens, "Don't Tar Van Till: A Response to Anderson and Mills," PSCF (March 1997): 70.