Craig agrees with and "wholeheartedly endorses the bizarre...conclusion that the universe had a beginning and yet there was no time at which the universe did not exist.” What is this delightful brainteaser?
In his weekly Q & A is this question he seeks to answer:
The Law of Contradiction states that two mutually exclusive statements cannot both be true at the same time and in the same respect. The statements "God exists and the universe does not exist" and "God exists and the universe exists" are mutually exclusive statements and do not differ in respect. The only way to avoid a contradiction, if both are to be asserted, is to assert that each is true at a different time. But if we take the word "universe" to mean both space and time, and affirm that time itself had a beginning, then time only exists provided that the statement "God exists and the universe exists" is true, and time does not exist provided that the statement "God exists and the universe does not exist" is true. And if time does not exist, provided that the statement "God exists and the universe does not exist" is true, then there is no time at which that statement is true. But if that is the case, then must we not conclude that each of these statements cannot be true at different times, and so that to maintain that God existed at a time before the universe existed is self-contradictory? Would it not also lead to the conclusion that if God is the cause of the universe, the universe must co-exist eternally with Him and therefore has no beginning? Or would that only lead one to the bizarre but not necessarily self-contradictory conclusion that the universe had a beginning and yet there was no time at which the universe did not exist?Here is the confusion. Of course there was no time at which the Universe did not exist because Time itself has a beginning. Space and Time came into being simultaneously. God is not subject to Time. How can you be subject to that which you created? Remembering this will avoid such mistakes in the future.
Debunking Christianity: William Lane Craig: "This is a Delightful Brainteaser"