• 1
    Dirk Baltzly contends that Proclus' work on the eternity of the world was not intended as an attack on Christian theology. See Baltzly , ‘Proclus’, in Graham Oppy and Nick Trakakis (eds) The History of Western Philosophy of Religion Volume 1: Ancient Philosophy of Religion (Durham: Acumen Publishing Limited, 2009), 265. However, Proclus' Platonic Theology was an attempt to justify pagan thought which was being threatened by the rise of Christianity. See Christoph Helmig and Carlos Steel , ‘Proclus’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), <>.
  • 2
    There are several clear statements on presentism in Philoponus' treatise against Proclus. For instance, ‘all things have their existence in the present.’ John Philoponus , Against Proclus On the Eternity of the World 12–18, translated by James Wilberding (London: Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd., 2006), 79. This is in the midst of a discussion where Philoponus is arguing that God must have knowledge of the present. God ‘will not even know whether He Himself exists, if He does not know the present. For He too, exists.’
  • 3
    John Philoponus , Against Proclus On the Eternity of the World 1–5, translated by Michael Share (London: Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd., 2004), 42, 50, and 64. As Philoponus portrays Proclus' argument, there are actually a few different subtleties. The second horn of the dilemma isn't simply that God is not perfect. Proclus goes on to argue that this less than perfect god must have been created by an actual perfect God. Within Aristotlian thought, immutability and necessity are seen as equivalent, as are contingency and mutability. The assumption, then, is that if the Christian God suffers any change, He must be contingent. For those of us living after John Duns Scotus it is hard to see how necessity and immutability are equivalent.
  • 4
    Augustine makes similar claims about divine simplicity throughout The Trinity VI. Also, Lombard, Sentences I, Dist. VIII.3. ‘The same substance alone is properly and truly simple in which there is no diversity or change or multiplicity of parts, or accidents, or of any other forms.’ Lombard is explicitly following several Christian theologians: Augustine, Hilary of Pointers, Boethius, and Jerome.
  • 5
    John Philoponus , Against Proclus On the Eternity of the World 12–18, 65.
  • 6
    Philoponus , Against Proclus 1–5, 64.
  • 7
    Philoponus , Against Proclus 1–5, 1941.
  • 8
    Philoponus , Against Proclus 1–5, 6978.
  • 9
    Philoponus , Against Proclus 1–5, 42.
  • 10
    Philoponus , Against Proclus 1–5, 63. Bracketed words are inserted by the translator Michael Share.
  • 11
    Philoponus , Against Proclus 1–5, 42. Bracketed words are inserted by the translator.
  • 12
    Philoponus , Against Proclus 1–5, 4446.
  • 13
    Bonaventure makes a similar move in his In Il Sent. d.1, a.1,q.2. Aquinas makes a different move to this objection in Quaestiones Disputatae de Veritate QII.14. Instead of drawing the distinction in actuality, Aquinas says that the divine act of knowing is perfect in itself and is distinct from the act of willing. Only the willing brings things into existence. His move then becomes very similar to Philoponus. But he then goes on to note that since God is simple, there is no real distinction between God's knowing and willing. Further, he even says that God's thoughts bring things into existence. As I shall discuss shortly, this commitment to simplicity undermines the rejoinder.
  • 14
    Philoponus , Against Proclus 1–5, 54. Bracketed words are inserted by the translator.
  • 15
    Quentin Smith and L. Nathan Oaklander , Time, Change and Freedom: An Introduction to Metaphysics (London: Routledge, 1995), 21.
  • 16
    Philoponus , Against Proclus 1–5, 54.
  • 17
    Robin Le Poidevin , Travels in Four Dimensions: The Enigmas of Space and Time (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 114115.
  • 18
    Philoponus , Against Proclus 1–5, 54.
  • 19
    Philoponus , Against Proclus 1–5, 62. Bracketed words are inserted by the translator.
  • 20
    Philoponus , Against Proclus 1–5, 62. Bracketed words are inserted by the translator.
  • 21
    J.R. Lucas , The Future: An Essay on God, Temporality and Truth (Cambridge: Basil Blackwell Inc., 1989), 8.
  • 22
    Lucas , The Future, 213.
  • 23
    Anselm concurs that conceptual distinctions are foreign to the simple God. See Incarnation of the Word VII.
  • 24
    Though, strictly speaking, on four-dimensional eternalism there is no such thing as past, present and future since all moments of time exist.
  • 25
    Rogers , Perfect Being Theology (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2000), 2426.
  • 26
    Rogers , Perfect Being Theology, 27.
  • 27
    Rogers , Perfect Being Theology, 29.
  • 28
    Rogers , Perfect Being Theology, 30.
  • 29
    Rogers , Perfect Being Theology, 32.
  • 30
    Rogers , Perfect Being Theology, 5556.
  • 31
    Rogers , ‘Anselmian Eternalism: The Presence of a Timeless God’, Faith and Philosophy 24 (January 2007), 7. She makes it very clear that God's omniscience is not based on propositions or divine intentions.
  • 32
    Rogers , ‘Anselmian Eternalism’, 6.
  • 33
    Rogers , ‘Anselmian Eternalism’, 2.
  • 34
    Rogers , ‘Anselmian Eternalism’, 8.
  • 35
    Rogers , ‘Anselmian Eternalism’, 9.
  • 36
    Rogers , Perfect Being Theology, 109.
  • 37
    Rogers , ‘Anselm on Eternity as the Fifth Dimension’, Saint Anselm Journal 3 (2006), 3.
  • 38
    Rogers , Perfect Being Theology, 33.
  • 39
    Rogers , Perfect Being Theology, 3435.
  • 40
    Rogers , Perfect Being Theology, 36.
  • 41
    Rogers , Perfect Being Theology , 37.
  • 42
    Rogers , The Anselmian Approach to God and Creation (Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1997), 48.
  • 43
    Rogers , The Ansemlian Approach, 48.
  • 44
    Rogers , ‘Anselmian Eternalism’, 10.
  • 45
    Rogers , The Anselmian Approach, 4548.
  • 46
    Rogers , The Anselmian Approach, 48.
  • 47
    Philoponus , Against Proclus 1–5, 6668. Bonaventure concurs in Il Sent. d.1, a.1,q.2. See also Aquinas Summa Contra Gentiles I.86. Of course, these thinkers are also committed to divine simplicity and pure act, so it may suffer an inconsistency.
  • 48
    Rogers , Perfect Being Theology , 3138.
  • 49
    John of Damascus, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book I.7.
  • 50
    William Lane Craig , God, Time, and Eternity: The Coherence of Theism II (London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001), 254.
  • 51
    For a contemporary defense of presentism see Craig Bourne , A Future for Presentism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).
  • 52
    Thomas Morris , Anselmian Explorations: Essays in Philosophical Theology (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1987), chapter 9. Walter Schultz , ‘Toward a Realist Modal Structuralism’, Philosophia Christi 12 (2010).
  • 53
    T.F. Torrance , The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1996), 207209.
  • 54
    Keith Ward , Rational Theology and the Creativity of God (Oxford: Basil Blackwell Publisher, 1982), 161.
  • 55
    See Trenton Merricks , Truth and Ontology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). Thomas Crisp Presentism and the Grounding Objection’, Nous 41 (2007): 118137. Bradley Monton and Brian Kierland Presentism and the Objection From Being-Supervenience’, Australian Journal of Philosophy 85 (3): 485497.
  • 56
    Schultz , ‘Toward a Realist Modal Structuralism’, 112115.
  • 57
    For one contemporary defense of the traditional account see Jeffrey Brower Making Sense of Divine Simplicity’, in Faith and Philosophy 25 (2008): 330. Thomas Morris argues that divine simplicity is unnecessary in order to account for the divine nature. See Anselmian Explorations, ch 6. As I understand it, if one is an essentialist, she has no need of divine simplicity.
  • 58
    Jay Wesley Richards , The Untamed God: A Philosophical Exploration of Divine Perfection, Simplicity and Immutability (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 217.
  • 59
    One could follow John Duns Scotus and take infinity to be an upper limit, or follow Aquinas and take it to be unsurpassable.
  • 60
    Timothy O'Connor , Theism and Ultimate Explanation: The Necessary Shape of Contingency (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), 132.
  • 61
    Richard Cross , Duns Scotus on God (Burlington: Ashgate Publishing, 2005), ch 6. Also, Frederic Copleston A History of Philosophy Volume II: Medieval Philosophy from Augustine to Duns Scotus (New York: Double Day, 1993), 508510.
  • 62
    Richard Swinburne , ‘How the Divine Properties Fit Together: Reply to Gwiazda’, in Religious Studies 45 (2009): 495498.
  • 63
    Peter Lombard , Sentences Book I, Distinction XXX.1.1. ‘For there are some things which are said of God in time and which are fitting for him in time without any change on his part. These are said relatively, according to an accident which does not befall God, but which befalls creatures, such as creator, lord, refuge, giver or granted, and suchlike.’ See also Augustine The Trinity V. Thomas Aquinas Summa Contra Gentiles II.12–14.
  • 64
    Torrance , The Christian God , 208.
  • 65
    In fact it seems to me that the perfection of endurance is one of the perfections Anselm finds in creatures and then predicates of God in the Monologiun. For more on this see Robert Pasnau On Existing All at Once’, in eds. Christian Tapp and Edmund Runggaldier God, Eternity, and Time (Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2011).
  • 66
    Temporal parts as understood on a four-dimensionalist ontology. This is where objects persist through time by having parts that exist at those times. On presentism, objects endure through time by being wholly present at each moment of their existence.
  • 67
    Brian Leftow suggests that divine simplicity can say this too in his ‘The Roots of Eternity’, Religious Studies 24 (1989), 197. What Leftow has neglected is that even conceptual distinctions are odious on the traditional doctrine of divine simplicity.
  • 68
    For more on this see Keith Yandell , ‘An Essay in Particularist Philosophy of Religion: A Metaphysical Structure for the Doctrine of the Trinity’, in Thomas McCall and Michael C. Rea (eds) These Three are One: Philosophical and Theological Essays on the Doctrine of the Trinity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • 69
    Some might object to the claim that the divine persons are ‘three centers of consciousness’ on the grounds that this is anachronistic. There are at least two possible responses to this. First, so what? Our concept of ‘person’ has developed precisely because of the divine revelation that God is triune. Second, the anachronism is far from obvious. The notion that a person is a rational substance/thinking thing, with free will can be found in John of Damascus, Maximus the Confessor, and Boethius, to name but a few. There are two obvious differences between human persons and divine persons that I can see, but none of these is in regards to being a center of consciousness. First, the divine persons are one in will, they always act together ad extra. Human persons can and often do will differently. Second, divine persons necessarily exist in a perichoretic relation to one another such that they cannot exist apart from each other. Human persons clearly can and do exist separated from each other. Perhaps human persons only flourish when they exist in community, but a human person does not fail to be a human when they exist apart from a community or when loved ones die. For a different defense of the claim that the three persons are three centers of consciousness see Thomas McCall , Which Trinity? Whose Monotheism? Philosophical and Systematic Theologians on the Metaphysics of Trinitarian Theology (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing CO., 2010), 236241.
  • 70
    Thomas Morris , Anselmian Explorations, 85ff. John Feinberg No One Like Him: The Doctrine of God (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2001), 264275.
  • 71
    Richards , The Untamed God, 200201.
  • 72
    Aquinas , Summa Theologiea , I.Q13.2.
  • 73
    Brian Leftow , ‘Why Perfect Being Theology?International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 69 (2011), 103118.