Volume 81, Issue 3, Summer 2007
Anselm and His Islamic Contempories on Divine Necessity and Eternity
Anselm holds that God is simple, eternal, and immutable, and that He creates “necessarily”—He “must” create this world. Avicenna and Averroes made the same claims, and derived as entailments that God neither knows singulars nor interacts with the spatio-temporal universe. I argue that Anselm avoids these unpalatable
consequences by being the first philosopher to adopt, clearly and consciously, a four-dimensionalist understanding of time, in which all of time is genuinely present to divine eternity. This enables him to defend the divine perfections in question, and the claim that God creates “necessarily,” while still maintaining the position that God knows singulars and acts in the physical world—in one, immutable, and eternal act.