God and Time

March 18, 2010 - Leave a Response

The relationship between God and time has fascinated philosophers and theologians alike for thousands of years. The question of whether The Supreme Being is everlastingly temporal or eternally timeless has often been viewed as essential to understanding His nature. This is because time is widely seen as the most fundamental facet of reality. However, this whole analytical endeavour has often been undertaken with the assumption that time exists. In my view, this assumption is deeply flawed.

I trust that it is universally agreed upon that concrete actualities can have no relationship to mere abstractions. God is a concrete actuality (I.E. a real being) and I hold that time is a mere abstraction (I.E. a mental construct having no objective reality). In his essay The Unreality of Time, J. M. E. McTaggart showed that the predicates of time are self-contradictory. McTaggart distinguished positions in time into two main categories: the A series (past, present, future) and the B series (earlier, later). In the following extract, he explains the problems that arise from the A series distinction.

“Past, present, and future are incompatible determinations. Every event must be one or the other, but no event can be more than one. This is essential to the meaning of the terms. And, if it were not so, the A series would be insufficient to give us, in combination with the C series, the result of time. For time, as we have seen, involves change, and the only change we can get is from future to present, and from present to past.

The characteristics, therefore, are incompatible. But every event has them all. If M is past, it has been present and future. If it is future, it will be present and past. If it is present, it has been future and will be past. Thus all the three incompatible terms are predicable of each event which is obviously inconsistent with their being incompatible, and inconsistent with their producing change.

It may seem that this can easily be explained. Indeed it has been impossible to state the difficulty without almost giving the explanation, since our language has verb-forms for the past, present, and future, but no form that is common to all three. It is never true, the answer will run, that M is present, past and future. It is present, will be past, and has been future. Or it is past, and has been future and present, or again is future and will be present and past. The characteristics are only incompatible when they are simultaneous, and there is no contradiction to this in the fact that each term has all of them successively.

But this explanation involves a vicious circle. For it assumes the existence of time in order to account for the way in which moments are past, present and future. Time then must be pre-supposed to account for the A series. But we have already seen that the A series has to be assumed in order to account for time. Accordingly the A series has to be pre-supposed in order to account for the A series. And this is clearly a vicious circle. “

There are also problems with the seemingly more intuitive B series:

“It would, I suppose, be universally admitted that time involves change. A particular thing, indeed, may exist unchanged through any amount of time. But when we ask what we mean by saying that there were different moments of time, or a certain duration of time, through which the thing was the same, we find that we mean that it remained the same while other things were changing. A universe in which nothing whatever changed (including the thoughts of the conscious beings in it) would be a timeless universe.

If, then, a B series without an A series can constitute time, change must be possible without an A series. Let us suppose that the distinction of past, present and future does not apply to reality. Can change apply to reality? What is it that changes?

Could we say that, in a time which formed a B series but not an A series, the change consisted in the fact that an event ceased to be an event, while another event began to be an event? If this were the case, we should certainly have got a change.

But this is impossible. An event can never cease to be an event. It can never get out of any time series in which it once is. If N is ever earlier than O and later than M, it will always be, and has always been, earlier than O and later than M, since the relations of earlier and later are permanent. And as, by our present hypothesis, time is constituted by a B series alone, N will always have a position in a time series, and has always had one.{1} That is, it will always be, and has always been, an event, and cannot begin or cease to be an event. “

What the above passages indicate is that when time is intellectually scrutinized, one finds that the concept is inherently circular and absurd. Therefore, it would be correct to view time as unreal. Having established this, how does the unreality of time change the way we should view God?

Well, we surmise that God can be neither inside or outside of time, given that there is nothing of which to be “in” or “out”. I have already stated that God, The Ultimate Reality, can only have relations to other real things. Thus, He has relationships with His creatures (including humans) as The Creator. His creatures are actualities because God decided make them “actual” by creating them. However, abstractions like time, numbers and so forth are purely subjective potentialities which have no objective ontological status.

It should, however, be noted that although time is not objectively real, it is still proper to use time-related language. For although when we use words such as “before” “after” “future” or “past” we are not referring to predicates of a real thing, because of the fact that there are no sufficient terms to employ as alternatives, we must continue to use temporal language. Therefore, we can still use the word “Eternal” to describe that fact that God has always existed. It’s just that “Eternal” should no longer be understood as “timeless” but rather as “not born or created”. This would be a more accurate understanding.


Islam: The Straight and Narrow

November 13, 2009 - Leave a Response

In today’s world of blind materialism, the idea that there is an objectively right way to live one’s life is seen by many as foolish. The prevalence of secularism has given rise to the notion that we must focus on enjoying life to fullest because “You only live once”, as they say. Sadly, people have become deluded by such notions. The reality is that there is a right way to live, it’s called Islam.

Islam is an amazingly comprehensive way of life. There is not a single facet of the human condition which has not been addressed by the religion. From personal hygiene to economics, the attention to detail is astounding. Moreover, all the things that Islam forbids (for example, alcohol) are the sources of the ills of secular societies which allow them. The denial of the afterlife has caused secular cultures to encourage indulgence for its own sake. Advertisements implore you to find happiness in the products they attempt to sell.

But all this will come to an abrupt end on the Day of Judgement. Islam is the straight and narrow, leading to everlasting bliss. All other paths are part of the wide and crooked, leading to destruction.

Lamenting more than sixty years of Zionist oppression

September 21, 2009 - Leave a Response

The Palestinian people have suffered for decades at the hands of “Israel”  and still the world at large is blinded by the propaganda of Zionism. Opposition to Zionism continues to be erroneously equated with antisemitism in order to quiet legitimate criticism of an evil regime. The conflict is by no means an even one. While the Zionist entity has fighter jets at its disposal along with an array of other weapons, desperate Palestinians must resort to throwing stones or using the indiscriminate tactic of suicide bombing.  Having made the discrepancies clear,  I don’t believe killing yourself and others is going to make the regime give up. In fact, they use it as an excuse to gain sympathy from the West

The issue will be resolved once and for all when the Mahdi comes, but until then, we can only hope to keep the truth alive.  One day, Palestine will be free.

The Madness of Moral Relativism

September 19, 2009 - Leave a Response

A couple of days ago I came across the story of a 12 year old boy who wanted a sex change. This boy’s parents were supportive of this, and as an initial solution before the drastic step of an operation, they sent him to school in a dress.

This got me thinking about the absurdities of secularist morality. Things like this only happen in places where there is no absolute moral framework. Why on earth would these parents indulge the boy’s confusion? It is wholly irresponsible.

Psychologists seemingly have a name to legitimize every “disorder” these days. If anybody were to suggest that some of those don’t actually exist, (the case I mentioned above is labeled “Gender Identity disorder”) I suspect they’d be dismissed as ignorant. Nothing is ludicrous to the so-called experts if it is given the veneer of “science”.

When morality becomes relative,  you open the door to a range of murky areas and find yourself in a quagmire of dilemmas. As a Muslim, it’s hard for me not to feel a sense of moral superiority when I hear stories like this, because I know Islam is clear on everything. I can never be blinded by secular society’s constant moral shifts, because my religion doesn’t change.