Monday, October 31, 2011

William Lane Craig vs Stephen Law Debate - Does God Exist?

Just listened to a debate between 'the world's foremost apologist' William Lane Craig and atheist Stephen Law, editor of the philosophical journal 'Think' and provost of the UK branch of the Centre for Inquiry. The debate was hosted by Premier Christian Radio and can be downloaded from their website.

The subject of the debate was "Does God Exist".

In his opening statement in favour of the existence of God, Dr Craig made three basic points:
  1. The universe cannot be eternal and infinite, therefore it must have an origin, therefore a cause, thus a creator.
  2. There are absolute morals, thus there must be an absolute morality, which must come from a transcendent being.
  3. Jesus must have been raised from the dead, if the story was made up the first witnesses would not have been women.
That's it? That's the best the world's leading apologist can offer?

In my opinion, and I'm trying not to take sides here (I'll critique the atheist argument too, below), all three points are flawed.

Well, actually, I agree with most of point 1, except that exactly the same line of reasoning may be applied to demonstrate that God cannot be either infinite or eternal. So Craig is shooting himself in the foot here, or should have been if Law had picked up on this. Also, in this part of his presentation he got bogged down in a pointless discussion of the orbits of Saturn and Jupiter which relied on the assumption that both Jupiter and Saturn had been orbiting in their current orbits for eternity - as far as I know, nobody believes this, so it is a complete 'straw man' argument.

Point 2 is more slippery. What is an 'objective' absolute moral? The reasoning (and this was more or less shared by Law) is that there are certain things which are universally morally wrong. Because this wasn't really challenged in this debate, there were no examples given, so it all became a discussion (this became the main issue in the rebuttals, see below) without a well defined subject.

I've thought through this issue a few times recently and am most of the way to convincing myself that there aren't actually any universal, objective, absolute morals. The most commonly cited (at least in the debates and discussions I have heard recently) example of something that is objectively morally wrong is the act of torturing children for fun. So lets take that and think about it. Is it absolutely, objectively, universally, in all times and places, morally wrong? Well, certainly I am against it, but I don't think its universal - there are, after all, many places and times where there are and have been no people, hence no children. But ignoring that rather trivial objection, is it ever justifiable? Well, no, but does that make it objective? And fundamentally, how does that fact require us to invoke a divine source of morality?

As I see it (at the moment, this may change) this sort of morality is a product of society and doesn't actually require a higher level moral agent. That's not to say that there is no God, only that I don't think the moral argument works as a proof of God. Society is greater than the individual and I think it is entirely reasonable to see morality as an evolved product of an evolving society. And of course, all philosophers who point to an absolute moral code which transcends culture and the individual are philosophising about life from within this society. I'm not narrowing this down to 'Western' society, but rather going to a higher level and picturing all human society as being the context of morality.

Why then is torturing children for fun morally wrong? For two primary reasons, firstly it harms the child, who would otherwise grow to be a functioning part of the wider society, and secondly because it further corrupts the harmer, further enhancing an anti-societal element in society. I believe this is a highly evolved system, but falls a long way short of requiring a divine moral code.

All other 'absolute' morals I can think of also fit the context of hindering or (with regard to good morals) enhancing human society at its highest level.

By this line of reasoning, many things we consider to be absolute morals in this day and age were not, and would not have been considered absolute morals in ages past. One of the newest absolute morals to go was racism. Contemporary society is harmed and hindered by it, but that wasn't the case in ages past, when a healthy skepticism of others not like yourself actually allowed the status quo of society to be maintained. Similarly with slavery, it is morally wrong in our society, yet was an absolute requirement of the Roman Empire, the Persian Empire, the Egyptian Empire, and so on. The issue of slavery in the bible is not a moral issue, because it was not a moral issue in society back then, it is only as society has evolved, that slavery has become a moral issue.

Thus, by my reckoning, the moral argument only requires a collective society that is considerably greater than the individual, it does not require a divine being that imposes morality on humanity. (By the way, why would God impose a morality on humans and not on any other creatures? The human/animal distinction is an artificial one, which even Dr Craig skirted around in one of his rebuttals, see below).

Craig's third point concerned the resurrection, and very simply put asserted that the resurrection event must have happened, because if it hadn't nobody would have believed the story, given that it rests on the testimony of female witnesses. I've heard a few rebuttals of this over the past few years, several of which question the basic premise - that the witness of women was scorned in 1st century society. But even leaving that aspect of the argument aside, the fact is that the women being the first to discover the lack of body in the tomb is merely part of the larger narrative, and that larger narrative was preached as gospel by men - men who themselves claimed to have seen the risen Christ. So the testimony of women objection is a bit of red herring, by itself it proves nothing. Craig made no particular further defense of the reality of the resurrection.

I agree that if you could prove (beyond reasonable doubt) the historicity of the resurrection, then that is considerable evidence in favour of the existence of God, the Father of Jesus. The problem is, in this debate Craig doesn't even attempt to do this, so his 3rd argument fails.

But what of his opponent?

Dr Law's opening statement focussed on two main points:
  1. There is an immense amount of suffering in the world, in particular animal suffering - the whole eco system of the world relies on animals killing and eating each other and some of those killings involve a ridiculously high degree of suffering. Beyond that, for most of human history, almost half of human children have died before the age of five. This is the way of the world, and does not point towards the existence of a benevolent creator god.
  2. The evil god hypothesis. Basically, this argument turns usual apologetics on its head and uses the same reasoning, as used by apologists, to propose that there is a supremely powerful but evil god as creator of the universe. The idea is to demonstrate that nobody will accept this hypothesis, so why should they accept the equal and opposite hypothesis for a good God?
This defense of atheism was less slick and less well delivered as that of Craig, so Stephen Law was up against it from the word go. Craig seemed more compelling. Also, it would appear (from the applause and general murmuring of the audience at various points in the debate) that the majority of the audience was essentially on Craig's side (the venue was a church, after all). But were the arguments any good?

The argument from suffering is quite compelling, but fails (in my opinion) because it attacks a very narrow god concept. I agree (in general terms) that the argument does a good job of demonstrating that if there is a god then he cannot be omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. The reasoning goes like this: If god is is omniscient, then he would know the level of suffering in the world, if he is omnibenevolent, then he'd want to alleviate the suffering, and if he's omnipotent, then he'd be able to alleviate the suffering. Because the suffering is not alleviated, then it follows god cannot be all three omnis. QED.

However, the argument stops there. It does not do anything to demonstrate that there is no conceivable god. Yes, it does provide good evidence against the God of fundamentalist Christianity, but it leaves room for the God concepts of several branches of more 'liberal' Christianity and other streams of belief like open theism (basically an admission that God is not omniscient).

The evil god hypothesis is also quite a compelling argument, but again attacks a very narrowly defined God concept. The argument should lead to the conclusion that there is no omnipotent, omniscient, omnimalevolent deity, and by analogy that there is also no omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent deity either. But that's as far as it goes again.

So, all in all, Law made two compelling arguments against a very narrow god concept, none of what he presented was really good enough to question the existence of a transcendent deity in general, and certainly did not and could not address the question of origins. Why are we here? Law had no answer for this.

1st round of rebuttals

Following this, Craig had an opportunity to respond to Law's statement. And this is where, in my opinion, Craig won the debate (the podcast version gave no indication of whether or not a vote was taken before or after the debate). His response to Law was flawed, but was done so well and with such apparent authority that Law's case never recovered.

Craig's rebuttal of the animal suffering issue was twofold: firstly he asserted (with appeal to named experts) that there are three forms of pain and that only humans experience type three pain (please excuse my simple summary of his argument, I wasn't taking notes when listening) and so the suffering of animals is a non-argument. Further to that, he explained that the 'predation' of some animals by others was essential to have a functioning eco-system. It was an excellent response, even if it was all a distraction away from the main point.

If he'd picked up on it, Law could have attacked this line of reasoning by picking at Craig's passing comment that suggested that other 'higher primates' as well as humans experience this type three pain. This was basically Craig blurring the line between humans and animals, and many of his moral arguments could be attacked by exploiting this. But Law went on the defensive, and didn't follow through. Furthermore, Law could have appealed to the pet owners in the audience, all of whom know, yes know, that their pets experience pain and even give them reproachful looks at the vet when they see you have allowed them to feel pain. That line of attack would have sunk Craig's assertion, at least for a portion of the audience.

Craig's response to the evil god hypothesis bolstered his case, without actually dealing with the main points of the argument. His attack was again twofold: firstly that, by definition, god is good, so an evil god is not a god. Of course, that's just an argument of semantics, but Craig was winning by this point, so it didn't matter to him. The second strand of his attack on the evil god concept was essentially his argument from morality again - there is an objective morality, in order to have this, there must be a good god providing that morality.

I think Craig's rebuttal was weak, but it didn't really matter as he was beating Law by this point and he knew it.

When Law had his chance to rebut Craig he made a considerable misstep by not responding to Craig's cosmological argument. He zeroed in on the issues surrounding morality and got bogged down in his evil god hypothesis again.

Both speakers had a second chance to rebut the other. Craig, who must have been patting himself on the back by this point, simply pointed out that by not responding to his cosmological argument Law had more of less conceded defeat on this issue. Furthermore he used Law's evil god hypothesis to suggest that Law believed in this god, hence was not really an atheist. Craig managed to muddy the waters on this issue so much that Law never managed to get back out of it, even through the whole question and answer session. Craig managed to keep the rest of the discussion bogged down in the same issues, going round in circles, and hence came out as the clear winner - not because his argument was any better, but because he knew all the tricks of making your opponent look like a fool.

Law's second rebuttal was slightly more considered and attempted to actually meet all Craig's arguments head on, but his assertion that Craig hadn't managed to demonstrate the existence of a God sounded fairly hollow.

So, all in all, it was a good debate, at least from Craig's point of view. Many believers will have gone away from that debate feeling that their beliefs were somehow validated, while the atheists will have gone away with their tails between their legs. I'm not sure anyone will have had their minds changed by the debate, but I'm not sure that's actually the real objective of these debates.

I've recently heard the opinion that apologetics is not about evangelism, its really about boosting (or maintaining) the faith of those who are already believers. I kind of think this is the case, whatever the sales pitch of these events actually is (e.g. "bring a non-believing friend").

Anyway, this made me think, and there'll be a spin-off blog posting from this along in a day or two.

9 comments:

J.D. said...

"Well, actually, I agree with most of point 1, except that exactly the same line of reasoning may be applied to demonstrate that God cannot be either infinite or eternal."

How do you figure? God and the world are very different kinds of being. Why exactly would the same line of reasoning apply to God?

"But ignoring that rather trivial objection, is it ever justifiable? Well, no, but does that make it objective?"

The objectivity of moral facts refers to their being true independently of one's individual or cultural perspective. Another way to put it is that objective facts are not determined by human beings.

But objectivity must be distinguished from the absoluteness of moral facts, which is where the question of justification comes in. It could be objectively wrong to lie, for example, but nevertheless there might be cases where lying is justified. So asking whether a certain action could ever be justified is the wrong way to go about trying to determine the objectivity of our moral evaluation of that action.

"Society is greater than the individual and I think it is entirely reasonable to see morality as an evolved product of an evolving society."

What's the scope of 'society' in your view? Is it a group of 50 people? 100? 10,000? What is this mysterious 'society'? Does it have any existence over and beyond our individual interactions? In what way is society 'greater' than the individual?

"For two primary reasons, firstly it harms the child, who would otherwise grow to be a functioning part of the wider society, and secondly because it further corrupts the harmer, further enhancing an anti-societal element in society."

And what makes it good that all children grow up to be functioning parts of the wider society (again, what's the scope of that entity exactly?)? Is your definition of harm restricted to "whatever inhibits a person from functioning in the 'wider society'"?

By that definition the people who hid Jews from the Nazis in World War II were harming themselves by not functioning well in Nazi society.

By the way, I'm exercising considerable restraint by simply raising questions about your proposals. Whoever can persuade themselves that the only thing wrong with torturing a child for fun is that it 'enhances the anti-societal element' needs a serious moral tune-up.

"I believe this is a highly evolved system, but falls a long way short of requiring a divine moral code."

By what standard of comparison do you distinguish a 'highly evolved' system from a 'less evolved' system?

"One of the newest absolute morals to go was racism. Contemporary society is harmed and hindered by it, but that wasn't the case in ages past, when a healthy skepticism of others not like yourself actually allowed the status quo of society to be maintained."

So previous societies were right to practice slavery, and the responsible moral thing to do back then was to exercise 'healthy skepticism of others not like yourself'.

You don't just need a moral tune-up, you need a complete overhaul.

Who's to say contemporary society is 'hindered' by slavery anyway? Slave labor allows for the cheap production of consumer goods, it's a convenient way to keep ethnic minorities in line and provides a convenient scape-goat when things go wrong.

"Thus, by my reckoning, the moral argument only requires a collective society that is considerably greater than the individual, it does not require a divine being that imposes morality on humanity."

You seem cavalier about the possibility of a society greater than the individual which is perverse, like Nazism or China during the Cultural Revolution, which is another symptom of moral degeneracy. Do you really mean to say that people living in those societies had a moral obligation to abide by its mandates? Whatever 'society' decides is good, is good?

Ricky Carvel said...

J.D.

Regarding Craig's point 1: He basically demonstrated that if you consider anything to be infinite or eternal then you end up with nonsensical conclusions. The argument wasn't limited to material things.

Beyond that, the reasoning boiled down to: The universe had a start, therefore it must have been God who did it. That's not good enough and, of course, begs the question where did God come from? Asserting that God is eternal and outside of time has no explanatory power as it raises more questions than it answers.

Regarding objective morality: Which objective morals are not determined by human beings? The only reason it is clear to me that torture of a child (to use the example again) is morally wrong is that the majority of people hold this to be true. I personally believe that the action is wrong. A child torturer does not. How can something be an objective moral fact if there are people who do not agree with it? The majority defines the morals. Even if the majority are not aware of it, they define the morals, which is why I spoke of 'human society' - this is the set including all people on earth and this defines what 'majority' governs morals.

This society is far greater than the individual because one person can never be a majority. It is even greater than national societies, which is why I can say that the Nazis were morally wrong with regard to the Jews. Their actions harmed the global society.

Regarding your 'considerable restraint', please don't feel the need for this. I'm big enough and old enough for the full force of your argument. Feel free to let yourself go.

Regarding the 'moral overhaul' you believe that I need. Why? What immoral things have I done? Or is questioning the source of morality itself an immoral action?

I don't disbelieve in a creator God. But I also don't think the moral argument is a good way to prove his existence. I believe morality is explicable with reference to something greater than the individual human (hence my perhaps clumsy concept of 'human society') but it does not require something/someone as big as an infinite, transcendent, holy, creator god.

Oh, and while we're at it, can you name me one immoral action that doesn't involve violence by one human on another? And then explain to me why it is immoral?

Tim said...

Great write-up, Ricky. Still haven't listened to the mp3 so this is a handy overview.

One quick point: I've heard the "torturing children for fun" line before and it irks me. Folks that use it show their ignorance from the get-go.

The "for fun" bit explicitly removes the possibility of absolute morality as it implies context and assessment of the act relative to motive. The "for fun" is added for rhetorical flourish - indeed the fact that children are in view is also contextual data and designed to evoke an instinctual response.

Simply put, the question should be is torture always objectively wrong? When you reduce it to that the issue starts to become blurrier: some folks think torture has instances when it is morally necessary (eg, to extract information to defend a large population), whereas others aren't so sure.

Truly objective morality has very little real world application. All moral acts take place in a complex web of causes and interactions. Only a moral simpleton would posit that a particular act is absolutely and for all time morally unacceptable. It implies a state of omniscience about past and future states of affairs that we simply do not possess. And merely saying that Yahweh, Zeus or Mr Pickles has that omniscience is simply begging the question.

Jake said...

Hi Ricky,

1. This argument cannot be applied to God. The argument is that there cannot be an infinite number of things. Things can be built by successive addition, subtracted, and divided. Infinites cannot.

The saturn/jupiter analogy was to show you get absurd results when subtrating infinites. Obviously the argument doesn't rely on the actually happening.

2. I think you clearly demonstarted why society can't come up with absolute morals. The rules that govern society today are different from what they were 100 years ago and will be different from what they'll be in 100 years. Absolute morals require an external source or they don't exist.

3. The female witnesses is only a small peice of the case for the resurrection. The better evidence is the survival of the early church in jerusalem based upon the fact of the first hand accounts of the resurrection. If the resurrection did not happen why were so many willing to die for it?

Ricky Carvel said...

Jake.

1. This argument cannot be applied to God. The argument is that there cannot be an infinite number of things. Things can be built by successive addition, subtracted, and divided. Infinites cannot.

Why can this argument not be applied to God? Sounds like special pleading to me. The argument is not that there cannot be an infinite number of things, the argument is that a finite number of things cannot have an infinite history of events.

So if this argument is valid, how can a triune God, existing in constant relationship, have had an infinite (eternal) past history?

The saturn/jupiter analogy was to show you get absurd results when subtrating infinites. Obviously the argument doesn't rely on the actually happening.

The Saturn/Jupiter analogy was a straw man, a distraction to make the rest of the argument seem more plausible.

2. I think you clearly demonstarted why society can't come up with absolute morals. The rules that govern society today are different from what they were 100 years ago and will be different from what they'll be in 100 years. Absolute morals require an external source or they don't exist.

Exactly. Now tell me one absolute moral that does not involve violence by one person on another. And tell me how you can be sure it is absolute.

3. The female witnesses is only a small peice of the case for the resurrection. The better evidence is the survival of the early church in jerusalem based upon the fact of the first hand accounts of the resurrection. If the resurrection did not happen why were so many willing to die for it?

In the 1820s, Joseph Smith invented the Mormon religion. Almost everyone who is not a Mormon agrees with this. He invented it. In the 1840s he was persecuted for his beliefs, was tried, locked up in prison and, eventually, murdered because of them. Why was he willing to die for his own lie? Many other people died for the same lie.

People dying for a claim does not mean that the claim is true. Lots of people dying for a claim does not make it any more likely to be true.

And anyway, what reliable and independent stories of the martyrdom of the first handful of Christians do we have? The bible tells us nothing about the fates of any of the inner group who started Christianity off. Secular history (Josephus, Tacitus, etc) tells us nothing about them either (Josephus tells us of the death of James, but he is never one of the 'founding fathers' in the bible). Tales of the deaths of Paul, Peter, etc. all come to us from 2nd century writings, most of which contain legendary elements (like Paul, moments after being beheaded, appearing with head intact to utter a prophecy against the Roman authorities). Who do we know, of those who apparently witnessed the resurrection, who was martyred for their faith?

Jake said...

Ricky,

"The argument is not that there cannot be an infinite number of things.."

Yes, this is exactly the argument. There cannot be an actual infinite.

"So if this argument is valid, how can a triune God, existing in constant relationship, have had an infinite (eternal) past history?"

That's why God is timeless, NOT that he's in time and has existed for infinity years. And per our other discussion I don't believe actions/events are required for existence.

"The Saturn/Jupiter analogy was a straw man"

No it was not, it was a mathematical example. After each rotation Jupiter gets further ahead of Saturn. As the number of Jupiter/Saturn rotations approach infinity, Jupiter becomes infinity rotations ahead of Saturn. So infinity minus infinity equals infinity. that's all it's saying. Dr. Craig never indicates that the solar system has existed or will exist for an infinite time.

"Exactly. Now tell me one absolute moral that does not involve violence by one person on another. And tell me how you can be sure it is absolute."

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, your spirit, your strength and your mind. It was confirmed by God.

"People dying for a claim does not mean that the claim is true. Lots of people dying for a claim does not make it any more likely to be true."

There's a big difference between dying for second hand information that Joseph Smith received in private and the apostles dying for first hand personal experience.

James who wrote a book of the bible, brother of Jesus, founder of the Church in Jerusalem? Not a leader?

Does Acts not demonstrate the suffering Paul experienced for his beliefs? Does Acts not document the martyrdom of Stephen?

There are independent sources for the persecution of early Christians in the writings of Tacitus and Suetonius, etc. The timing of which is not significantly later given the extreme shortage of writings at the time.

Ricky Carvel said...

Yes, this is exactly the argument. There cannot be an actual infinite.

I can't comment on what WLC's usual argument is, but in this debate his argument was that there couldn't be an infinite sequence of events.

"So if this argument is valid, how can a triune God, existing in constant relationship, have had an infinite (eternal) past history?"

That's why God is timeless, NOT that he's in time and has existed for infinity years.


OK. I accept that that there is a distinction between timeless eternity and infinite time here. The problem is that we start talking about things that have no actual meaning here. As far as I can tell, a timeless entity is as unreal a concept as an edgeless square. We can use the words, but we can't actually understand the concepts behind them.

And per our other discussion I don't believe actions/events are required for existence.

I see that, I just disagree. Well actually, existence without events is fine, but personality or entity without events is not.

"The Saturn/Jupiter analogy was a straw man"

No it was not, it was a mathematical example. After each rotation Jupiter gets further ahead of Saturn. As the number of Jupiter/Saturn rotations approach infinity, Jupiter becomes infinity rotations ahead of Saturn. So infinity minus infinity equals infinity. that's all it's saying. Dr. Craig never indicates that the solar system has existed or will exist for an infinite time.


It was a very poor mathematical example then. Even if not actually a straw man, it performed that function - it was asserted in order to be torn down.

"Exactly. Now tell me one absolute moral that does not involve violence by one person on another. And tell me how you can be sure it is absolute."

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, your spirit, your strength and your mind. It was confirmed by God.


Oooh. Good one. The problem with it is that the majority of people out there don't see it as a guiding principle. So how can it be objective and absolute if the majority don't see it? And your confirmation of it as being from God will be rejected by many. It may be absolute, but how would you convince a Hindu of this?

James who wrote a book of the bible, brother of Jesus, founder of the Church in Jerusalem? Not a leader?

Leader of the Jerusalem church a couple of decades after Christ - absolutely yes. Writer of the letter attributed to him - debatable. Present at the resurrection - no. Actual familial brother of Jesus - debatable. He has almost no part in the narrative of the NT story.

Does Acts not demonstrate the suffering Paul experienced for his beliefs? Does Acts not document the martyrdom of Stephen?

Yes it does. Neither of these were present at the resurrection. Paul had a vision but had no physical encounter with anyone.

There are independent sources for the persecution of early Christians in the writings of Tacitus and Suetonius, etc. The timing of which is not significantly later given the extreme shortage of writings at the time.

Absolutely. Christians were persecuted after a few decades. But we have no reliable information about what happened to those who apparently saw the events first hand. What if they made something up and others took what they said and lived by it - they might be willing to suffer and die for the 'truth' they lived by. Doesn't make it actually true.

Jake said...

Ricky,

"As far as I can tell, a timeless entity is as unreal a concept as an edgeless square. We can use the words, but we can't actually understand the concepts behind them."

I don't think that's true. I think CS Lewis does a great job of demonstrating this in Mere Christianity.

He describes a timeless God viewing the universe at a distance. But he doesn't see it like an astronaut would, a single snap-shot in time. He would see a whole bunch of snapshots of the universe, each representing how the universe looked at every point in time, both in the future and in the past.

Just like we see things in 3 dimensions, God sees things in (at least) 4 dimensions (I don't really understand the physics beyond 4 dimensions).

"Oooh. Good one. The problem with it is that the majority of people out there don't see it as a guiding principle. So how can it be objective and absolute if the majority don't see it? And your confirmation of it as being from God will be rejected by many. It may be absolute, but how would you convince a Hindu of this?"

I don't think a moral law has to be agreed upon. People can disagree with an absolute moral and simply be wrong. Surely you wouldn't reject rape as wrong, just because one person thought it was OK. Or even if half the world thought it was ok.

I think you are also confusing the argument a bit. The argument is about moral ontology (How can anything be deemed right or wrong?) not moral epistemology (How do we know what is right and wrong?). The people who deny that my example is from God are having an epistemological problem. It doesn't address the question: can something be right or wrong? It's asking the next question that can only be answered after we've determined whether anything can be right or wrong.

I do find Hinduism to be completely inadequate in explaining morality. It's actually the only redeeming thing about the Euthyphro delima, exposing the moral relativism in polytheism.

"...historical evidence.."

It's really hard to discuss the historical evidence in a forum like this. I guess all that I'll say is that you seem to be searching for some absolute certainty. I'm not sure if you'll ever get that purely from a natural theology exploration. But I certainly think there's enough evidence out there to have reasonable faith.

Ricky Carvel said...

I don't think that's true. I think CS Lewis does a great job of demonstrating this in Mere Christianity.

He describes a timeless God viewing the universe at a distance. But he doesn't see it like an astronaut would, a single snap-shot in time. He would see a whole bunch of snapshots of the universe, each representing how the universe looked at every point in time, both in the future and in the past.

Just like we see things in 3 dimensions, God sees things in (at least) 4 dimensions (I don't really understand the physics beyond 4 dimensions).


The CS Lewis view of God outside of time still views God as being in a timestream of some sort, although different to the one we are in. (Much like his own Narnia exists in a world with a different time stream)

In that conception, God can act and make decisions independent of our time stream, but still within his own. This is not timelessness, it is something else entirely.