© 2020

Change, the Arrow of Time, and Divine Eternity in Light of Relativity Theory


Part of the Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion book series (PFPR)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Daniel Saudek
    Pages 1-7
  3. Relativity Theory and the Passage of Time

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. Daniel Saudek
      Pages 11-28
    3. Daniel Saudek
      Pages 45-60
    4. Daniel Saudek
      Pages 77-82
    5. Daniel Saudek
      Pages 83-97
    6. Daniel Saudek
      Pages 111-131
    7. Daniel Saudek
      Pages 133-142
    8. Daniel Saudek
      Pages 143-149
  4. God, Change, and Time

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 151-151
    2. Daniel Saudek
      Pages 153-160
    3. Daniel Saudek
      Pages 161-169
    4. Daniel Saudek
      Pages 171-174
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 175-216

About this book


This book has two aims; first, to provide a new account of time's arrow in light of relativity theory; second, to explain how God, being eternal, relates to our world, marked as it is by change and time.

In part one, Saudek argues that time is not the expansive universal 'wave' that is appears to be, but nor are we living in an unchanging block. Rather, time is real but local: there are infinitely many arrows of time in the universe, each with their own fixed past and open future. This model is based on the ontology of substances which can exist in different states, marked by different properties. On this basis, a derivation of temporal precedence and of the asymmetry between the fixed past and the open future is provided. Time's arrow is thus 'attached' to substances, and is therefore a local rather than global phenomenon, though by no means an illusory or merely subjective one.

In part two, this model is then applied to the perennial questions concerning the relationship between divine eternity and the temporal world: How can my future choices be free if God already knows what I will do? Can God act if He is not in time? Through the lens of relativity theory, such questions are shown to appear in a completely new light. The book combines insights from theoretical physics with ancient and contemporary philosophy into a unique synthesis, broaching a wealth of key issues including the arrow of time, the evolution of the cosmos, and a physics-based defence of eternalism in philosophical theology. 


Arrow of Time Relativity Theory Eternity God Substance temporal being cosmic A-theory block universe causation divine action special relativity general relativity

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sankt GeorgenFrankfurt am MainGermany

About the authors

Daniel Saudek lectures in philosophy at the universities of Konstanz and Sankt Georgen, Germany, and works as a consultant for the natural sciences for the Diocese of Limburg, Germany. He has published widely in the philosophy of science, in the field of science and theology, as well as in social and environmental ethics.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Change, the Arrow of Time, and Divine Eternity in Light of Relativity Theory
  • Authors Daniel Saudek
  • Series Title Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Frontiers in Philosophy of Religion
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-38410-4
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-38413-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-38411-1
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XI, 216
  • Number of Illustrations 7 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Religion
    Philosophy of Science
  • Buy this book on publisher's site