God and Time

2022 Summer Seminar: God and the Spacetime Manifold

Dates: June 13-24, 2022

Seminar Directors: Dean Zimmerman (Rutgers), Brian Leftow (Rutgers), Katherin Rogers (University of Delaware). 

 

Overview of Seminar: 

Supported by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation, God and the Spacetime Manifold will focus on the following question: how do competing scientific theories about the nature of time and the structure of the spacetime manifold comport with different theological conceptions of God’s relationship to time and God’s plans for creation? Part of the work of the seminar will be squarely in the philosophy of science: to bring metaphysical disagreements about the nature of time into contact with contemporary scientific theories about time. The purely theological challenge will be to understand alternative conceptions of God’s relationship to the temporal order and their motivations in the religious traditions with which they are associated. The two topics must then be connected. Some views about God’s timelessness or temporality will fit better with one or another metaphysical view of time and—since metaphysical and physical views of time cannot be neatly disentangled—also with one or another scientific theory about the nature of time.  

 

Days will typically include five hours of seminar sessions, spread over the morning and afternoon, with one or two lead speakers, and often several visitors present for discussion. Participants who are already working on papers on the topic of God and time will be strongly encouraged to present works-in-progress during evening workshop sessions as well. We expect to be able to organize 3-6 such evening sessions over the course of the 10-day seminar.

 

Topics, seminar leaders, and discussants:

Topics: 

  • Theological desiderata and the metaphysics of time
  • Special relativity, general relativity, and the shape of the spacetime manifold
  • Relativity, the A-theory of time, and God’s experience of time
  • Eternity, transcendence, and God’s point of view
  • Relativity and the open future
  • Substantivalism, relationalism, and divine dependence
  • The metaphysics of the wave-function and higher-dimensional space
  • Entropy and eschatology—the beginning and end of time 
  • Disconnected spacetime manifolds and creation

Seminar Leaders and Discussants:

  • Dean Zimmerman
  • Brian Leftow
  • Katherin Rogers
  • Tim Maudlin
  • Craig Callendar
  • Alexander Pruss
  • Jenann Ismael
  • Oliver Pooley
  • Jill North
  • Alyssa Ney
  • David Albert
  • Klaas Kraay
 

Information for Applicants:

Eligibility:

  • The seminar is open to professional philosophers and advanced graduate students.

Room, Board, and Travel:

Acceptance to the summer school includes room and board at the conference hotel and a stipend to help with travel.

How to apply:

For a guarantee of full consideration, interested applicants should submit the following materials via this form no later than January 1, 2022:

  • 2-5 page CV
  • A .pdf, .doc, or .docx document containing a short statement (2000 words or less) that answers the following questions:
    • Why are you interested in attending this summer seminar and what do you hope to gain by participating in it?
    • How will attending the seminar benefit your future research? Please include a brief description of any relevant publications, works in progress, and anticipated future projects.
    • How will attending the seminar augment your teaching? If applicable, please include a brief description of any courses you currently teach or are working on constructing that would benefit from your participation in the seminar. 
    • What skills, experiences, or perspectives do you bring to the table that equip you to participate in this seminar and contribute to its learning community?
  • Graduate students who wish to apply should also supply contact information for two references.

Contact Information:

If you have questions please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.