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Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion Volume 8$
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Jonathan L. Kvanvig

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198806967

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198806967.001.0001

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‘Eternity Shut in a Span’: The Times of God Incarnate

‘Eternity Shut in a Span’: The Times of God Incarnate

(p.207) 9 ‘Eternity Shut in a Span’: The Times of God Incarnate
Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion Volume 8

Robin Le Poidevin

Oxford University Press

Consider these central tenets of the Christian creeds: God the Father is the creator of all things; God the Son is of one substance with the Father; the Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Is there a tension between these? Perhaps. Consider the following: ‘if the Father is creator of all things including time, then he must be in some sense outside time. And as the Son is of one substance with the Father, then he too must be outside time. But becoming incarnate is to come to be in time, and no timeless being can become temporal.’ We may call this problem ‘the temporal paradox of the incarnation.’ This paper argues that the problem is especially acute on a substantivalist conception of (space-)time, according to which(space-)time is independent of its contents, and it explores an alternative, reductionist picture which offers a resolution of the temporal paradox of the incarnation.

Keywords:   Incarnation, time, timelessness, creation, substantivalism

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