Augustine famously remarked in his Confessions: 'What, then, is time? If no one asks me about it, I know; if someone asks me to explain it, I don't know' (Augustine 1991: XI.xiv). Many Christian philosophers since have followed his example. Aristotle defined time in his Physics as the measure of change, but some philosophers have accused him of getting things the wrong way round, claiming that change is the way by which we keep track of time. Christian philosophers have debated whether God is in time or not: in classical theism, God is viewed as being outside time, but contemporary Christian philosophers are divided on this question. Those that have said that God is in time have often had a motivation for rejecting Aristotle's definition, claiming that in the past there was a time when only an unchanging God existed. But perhaps if God is in time he must change, if only to have new memories. Many Christians think that on the 'last day' God will bring time to a halt, but the biblical writings seem to envisage a continuation of actions in the next life (for example, praise of God), and how can one continue to perform actions without time in which to perform them?
   See eternity
   Further reading: Augustine 1991; Ganssle 2001; Le Poidevin 1998; Le Poidevin and McBeath 1993; Prior 2003; Swinburne 1968; Tooley 1997; Zwart 1976

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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