Rawlings School of Divinity


Master of Arts in Religion (MAR)


Thomas Provenzola

Primary Subject Area

Philosophy; Religion, Philosophy of; Theology


Time, Temporality, Phenomenology, Existential, Fore-ignorance, Foreknowledge


Investigation into the nature of time is commonly taken to be a necessary precursor to the study of God's temporal status. These studies involve metaphysical concerns within the philosophy of time that focus on the logical structure of tensed statements about the future. Taking a different approach, this paper investigates the nature of temporality, rather than time, and proceeds via a phenomenological methodology. This often-overlooked methodology, it is argued, is preeminent over the metaphysical methodology. When the results of the two methods conflict the phenomenological methodology should dominate discussion. Proceeding with the more powerful method, it is argued that temporality, as opposed to time itself, is the experience of temporal becoming and is sufficiently explained in terms of ignorance concerning a certain set of otherwise non-temporal thoughts. Differential access to these sets of thoughts is the means by which they are recognized as past, present, or future. Thus, fore-ignorance alone is sufficient to create the sensation of A-series time, the sensation of temporal becoming. This holds true regardless of the actual ontological status of time and suggests that there is an important distinction between two species of A-series, one metaphysical and one existential. This distinction is not mutually exclusive, however, since the nature and status of one does not necessarily affect the other. Therefore, regardless of God's relationship to metaphysical time, theories concerning his existential temporality are independent of it and carry their own implications. When comparing foreknowledge and temporality as existentials, then, metaphysical concerns may be left behind. Given this situation, it is concluded that there must be a categorical prohibition that limits the way in which foreknowledge may be combined with temporality in the same conception of God. This is because fore-ignorance is in direct conflict with foreknowledge for any subject. The natural enemy of this approach, Molinism, receives extensive treatment.