chapter  8
37 Pages

The Justification of the Doctrine of Timelessness: Anselm

ByNelson Pike

This chapter argues that it is not at all clear that the doctrine of God's timelessness can be justified by reference to a logical connection between 'God is a being a greater than which cannot be conceived' and 'God is timeless'. First, Anselm would probably deny that, 'God is the greatest of all beings' and 'God is the supreme being', are logically necessary truths. Secondly, even if we were to admit that 'God is the greatest of all beings', and 'God is the supreme being' are necessary truths, this is not the message conveyed in the formula 'God is a being a greater than which cannot be conceived'. The chapter examines a specific interpretation of 'greater' that has been proposed in the contemporary literature on Anselm's theology. A fully adequate interpretation of 'greater' would be one that renders Anselm's formula capable of entailing all of the divine attribution-statements usually endorsed within the Judeo-Christian religious tradition.