Evangelical Outpost has joined the intermediate state debate (cf. my contribution here). The views on the table were cessation of existence and then resurrection, an intermediate state of complete consciousness, and my own tentative suggestion that there's a conscious intermediate state but not fully conscious and not involving much of what we normally consider to go along with our conscious states now. Since it was mostly scriptural interpretation, I was keeping it at my own blog, but now that it's philosophical I'm cross-posting it at Prosblogion.
Joe says that he's surprised not to see a fourth view, that we simply cease to exist in time but don't cease to exist altogether. We live in time until we die, and then we leave time to go be with God in eternity, a timeless existence. He says he doesn't think his view conflicts with Christian scripture. I agree that his view need not conflict with scripture, but I don't think it can make any sense philosophically without conflicting with one of the most crucial Christian beliefs about God's creation of the universe.
I don't think any scripture says anything clear about this in any direct way, but the view he seems to be advocating, in its strict literal interpretation, doesn't make sense philosophically. I do want to point out that a number of theologians have said things like this, so Joe is in good company, but the view doesn't hold up philosophically.
Craig's view, as he usually states it, is that God was timeless and then entered time after creating it. This makes absolutely no sense. How can God be not at any time and then become at a time. The succession in that sentence seems to move from one time to another. At one time God is not at a time, and then at a later time God is in time. I can't see any way to make sense of that if it's taken in the way sentences like that are normally taken.
Craig is aware of this problem with the most straightforward interpretation of the way he usually words his view. When he's being more careful, he describes atemporality or eternity as a point dimension of time. There's the temporal order, which is a timeline from start and going forever without end. Then there's the atemporal dimension, which is a point, and that point is related to all time because God in that atemporal point dimension is simultaneous with the whole timeline. Apart from time, therefore, God is timeless. At the beginning of time, which causally stems from God's timeless existence and timeless act of creation, God is also in time. This is the more careful view. So God is both in time and apart from time, because God is in both realms.
I think there are still problems here, because Craig's claim now seems to me to be completely trivial. God is in time with respect to time and atemporal without time. Every time I think about that sentence I get lost in what significance it's supposed to have. I'm spatial with respect to space but not spatial when you ignore my spatial aspects. It's not Craig I'm interested in here, though, so let's get back to Joe's view.
Joe isn't saying that God was outside time and then entered it. He's saying that we're in time and then leave it. It amounts to the same thing in terms of the issue I raised above. It doesn't make any sense to say that at one time someone is in time and then at a later time is not in time. That's what Joe's view amounts to. How can it be later if it's not later but rather outside time? So what is it supposed to mean that you leave time?
Here is a view that makes more sense. We are in time until we die, and then we cease to exist in time. Later on, we will be recreated, and thus in time we are gappy beings. There's an interval in time between when we exist and when we exist again. Then you add to that a parallel time dimension that's not a line but a point. We're in that time dimension too. That's eternity.
Of course, if you hold this view then we're timeless with God and we exist apart from creation. Joe wanted to avoid a view that conflicts with Christian scripture, and this seems to have us with God apart from creation. I can't say "before creation" because nothing is before creation, but we're present in our timeless state apart from the temporal realm and thus there as God acts atemporally to create. Still, this makes more sense philosophically than the idea that we somehow are in time and then at a later time are not in time. That's self-contradictory.