Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

March 20, 2003

Whitworth, Gonzaga to Present Conference on ‘God and Time'

Gonzaga University and Whitworth College will sponsor the third annual Physics & the God of Abraham conference March 31-April 2, with three lecture events at Gonzaga and one at Whitworth. All lectures are free and open to the public.

The third in a series of conferences addressing connections between modern science and Judeo-Christian theology, this year's lectures will address what contemporary physics reveals about time and its relationship to the traditional theistic conception of God as eternal and active in temporal matters. The purpose of the program is to provide university faculty and students, as well as the general public, the opportunity to learn from recent work that has been conducted on the relationship of theistic religion and modern physics.

The series is sponsored by the Faith and Reason Institute at Gonzaga, the Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith and Learning at Whitworth, and Betty Wheeler.

The schedule of lectures follows:

'Fundamental Questions About God's Relation to Time'
Eric Kincanon, Professor of Physics, Gonzaga University
Monday, March 31, 7 p.m., Room 143 -- Gonzaga University School of Law

This lecture will address the main questions that are typically raised in discussions about God and time. These questions will be reviewed by looking at the answers that classical temporalists and atemporalists would give. This will lead to a discussion of such topics as creation, subjective vs. objective time, divine foreknowledge, and some modern models of time. The talk is intended as an introduction to some of the ideas and issues that will appear in other talks during the week.

‘Beyond the Big Bang'
William Lane Craig, Research Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology
Tuesday, April 1, 7 p.m., Barbieri Courtroom -- Gonzaga University School of Law

In response to the question, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" the great German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716) postulated the existence of a metaphysically necessary being which supplies the sufficient reason for the existence of everything. Leibniz identified this being with God. Skeptics such as 18th-centeury Scottish philosopher David Hume countered that perhaps the universe itself is the metaphysically necessary being sought by Leibniz. Craig will address discoveries in astronomy and astrophysics during the past century that suggest the universe lacks at least one property of a necessary being: eternality. This finding supports Leibniz's contention that the universe is not necessary in its existence but depends on a being that transcends the space-time world and that brought it into existence.

'God and Time'
William Lane Craig, Research Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology
Wednesday, April 2, 7 p.m., Seeley G. Mudd Chapel -- Whitworth College

As a necessary being, God must exist eternally - without beginning or end. However, philosophers disagree on the precise nature of eternal existence. Does God transcend time altogether or is He everlasting throughout all time? Arguments pro and con are discussed, and a plausible model for understanding God's relationship to time is put forth.

'The Unconditioned, Creation, and Time'
Rev. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., President, Gonzaga University
Thursday, April 3, 7 p.m., Barbieri Courtroom -- Gonzaga University School of Law

Contemporary Big Bang cosmology is open to a pre-Big Bang unified era which may have been constituted by highly unusual phenomena such as multidimensional superstrings and quantum gravity. The Rev. Spitzer will discuss some fundamental properties of time that apply to these early eras and discuss their implications for universal creation by a "causative power transcending universal space-time asymmetry."

Contacts:

Brian Clayton, associate professor of philosophy at Gonzaga University, (509) 323-6744 or clayton@calvin.gonzaga.edu.

Dale Soden, director of the Weyerhaeuser Center for Christian Faith and Learning at Whitworth College, (509) 777-4433 or dsoden@whitworth.edu.

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