God, Time and paradoxes

Question 170, from Paul F

What does the Bible tell us about God’s relationship to time? I often hear people say that God is outside of time but am unsure of the grounding for such a claim.

One of the problems with Biblical translators using the word ‘eternal’ is that it implies a sense of timelessness. However, a better translation would be ‘endless duration’. The Biblical depiction of God is of a being who is not temporary, but in a sense is temporal, in that God acts within time and those actions and plans are time-bound.

Within the realms of religious philosophy there have been numerous attempts to resolve the paradox of a being that is unaffected by time, and yet interacts with a creation that is governed by time.

Some of the attempts to resolve the paradox can be summed up as: (more…)


Israel & Judah – comparing the nations

Question 169, from Geraint T

What is the difference between Israel and Judah, not just in a historical sense, but in the way they are referred to and referenced in the Bible?

The terms ‘Israel’ and ‘Judah’ refer to several different things in the Old Testament. ‘Israel’ is the new name given to the Hebrew patriarch Jacob, grandson of Abraham, after his night spent wrestling with God (the story is in Genesis chapter 32). As the ‘children of Jacob/Israel’, the Hebrews were eventually referred to corporately as ‘Israel’.

Judah is one of Jacob’s sons, and a brother to Joseph and thus becomes a founding father of one of the Hebrew tribes. Initially an unimportant people group within Southern Israel, Judah rose in importance when (more…)