Master of Arts (MA)
Primary Subject Area
Religion, Philosophy of; Theology
Eternality, Immutability, time, God, Paul Helm
Campbell, Ronnie P., "The Eternality of the Immutable God in the Thought of Paul Helm: a Critical Analysis" (2008). Masters Theses. 28.
Paul Helm, professor of theology and philosophy at Highland Theological Institute, has written extensively on God’s relation to time. Following in the tradition of Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, and Aquinas, Helm upholds God’s temporal mode of existence as timelessness. This thesis seeks to determine whether Helm and other eternalists are justified in holding that God’s temporal mode of existence is atemporal in light of the doctrines of incarnation and creation. Central to this inquiry is whether God is strongly immutable. In conclusion, this thesis argues that while the divine timeless view is coherent, it rests on an untenable notion of strong immutability. Scripture teaches that God is immutable in His essence, character, decree, plan and purposes, yet, it also affirms that God changes in His actions and in His relationships toward his creatures. Furthermore, in order to maintain the divine timeless view, Helm and other eternalists must appeal to a B-theory of time, which raises several philosophical and theological objections. Lastly, this thesis argues for a synthesis approach to God’s temporal mode of existence.