Is God Outside of Time?

Short answer is “Nope!”

A longer and far more thoughtful answer deserves a careful and reflective read. Roger Olson challenges this popular notion that God is timeless and gets the mental juices flowing. Reasons God cannot be timeless include a being who “cannot interact with temporal beings.” That would be us. If God is timeless, then he cannot respond to our prayers. In fact, a timeless God cannot be a relational God and that, my friends, means a timeless God is incapable of love! A few have proffered some kind of hybrid notion that God is timeless before creation and enters into time after creation, which is just another way of defending a timeless God. Olson (rightly, IMO) pushes back on this idea as well. I highly recommend Olson’s post to you. He writes:

Nowhere does the biblical story of God, the biblical narrative that identifies God for us, and upon which classical Christian theology claims to be based, say or even hint that God is “outside of time” or “timeless” or that all times are “simultaneously before the eyes of God.” This view of God’s eternity entered into Christian theology from Greek philosophy which regarded time as imperfection. Greek philosophy was notoriously negative with regard to time. Hebrew thought was not; it regarded time and history as the framework for God’s action.


For an even more rigorous defense of a temporal God, see Garrett DeWeese‘s God and the Nature of Time and his “Timeless God, Tenseless Time” in Philosophia Christi, Vol. 2, No. 1, Summer, 2000.

See also “Time, Eternity, and the Trinity: A Trinitarian Analogical Understanding of Time and Eternity”

4 thoughts on “Is God Outside of Time?”

  1. I’m a lay person. Maybe timelessness wasn’t a good word to use but when we consider a Being with no beginning and no end, who is omnipresent … maybe a Being without time restraints would be more appropriate

  2. I am confused. Why exactly would God be unable to respond to prayers if by nature he existed outside of time?

  3. Thanks for stopping in and for your question, D. Leach. Seems to me that a prayer request is something that occurs in time and the answer would follow after the request. It’s not at all clear to me how a timeless God could “respond” to any prompting (note the temporal term) if not first entering into time.

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