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15.4 Eternity

The logic that we have developed so far allows the Love that is God to be unchanging but to still be the desiring and producing of actions in the world.

This is because the love is taken to be in the logical class of dispositions and also because there is no logical requirement that dispositions (themselves) need to change when they produce time-varying effects. Rather, all the time variation may arise in the circumstances, occasions, or ‘triggers’ for action. More formally, this is ascribing principal causation15.5 to God, and only instrumental causation to people and objects. Both of these causations are required to produce an effect. There has to be a disposition existing as well as the circumstances in which it will tend to manifestation, though of course we (and God) can act unilaterally if there are no recipients involved.

There is a difference between causation by love itself and causation by other (derivative) dispositions, because love itself (namely God) is not changed when it acts, whereas other dispositions do usually change. The divine substance may therefore be not necessarily subject to change, according to theism. It may have existed forever in the past and may exist forever in the future.

In order, therefore, to unambiguously affirm this component of theism, let us state:

Postulate 14   God exists eternally.

Core theism asserts that eternal God has an immutable nature. The divine Love and the divine Wisdom, being the substance and the form of divinity, have permanent and immutable natures. The underlying love and the principles of wisdom do not change with time but are the same throughout all history. Everything, from the formation of the universe to the production of living creatures and to the making of rational persons, has been motivated by a constant Love, and has been governed by the immutable principles of Wisdom and hence of divine order. God, therefore, cannot become a better God with time or become a worse one. God can never be born (start to exist) and can never die. Our knowledge of the divine will change with time, of course, especially if revelations from God are progressive according to our abilities of comprehension, but the nature, love and wisdom of God remain constant during all eternity. Our emotional responses to God may similarly vary with time, especially if our spiritual maturity grows over multiple generations, but the love and character of God remain constant. The intrinsic nature of divine Love and divine Wisdom is clearly outside all of time. In terms of process ontology, there are no potentials within God for changing his own nature.15.6


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