Eternity: Time without end (Where will you spend eternity?)

Definitions of eternity

# time without end
# a state of eternal existence believed in some religions to characterize the afterlife
# a seemingly endless time interval (waiting)

While in the popular mind, eternity often simply means existence for a limitless amount of time, many have used it to refer to a timeless existence altogether outside time.

Theists say that God is eternally existent. How this is understood depends on which definition of eternity is used. On one hand, God may exist in eternity, a timeless existence where categories of past, present, and future just do not apply. On the other hand, God will exist for or through eternity, or at all times, having already existed for an infinite amount of time and continuing to exist for an infinite amount of time. One other definition states that God exists outside the human concept of time, but also inside of time. The reasoning for this definition is that if God did not exist both outside time and inside time, God would not be able to interact with humans.

By a relational view of time God would exist timelessly and independently ‘prior’ to creation; at creation, which he has willed from eternity to appear temporally, time begins, and God subjects himself to time by being related to changing things but in on the other hand, as the Newtonian would say, God exists in absolute time changelessly and independently prior to creation and that creation simply marks the first event in time.

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion II (1971), 246-9.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s