Zimmerman received his bachelor's degree from Mankato State University in 1987 in French, philosophy, and English. He went on to receive a Master of Arts degree from Brown University in 1990 and then a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the same institution in 1992, where he worked with Jaegwon Kim and Roderick Chisholm. He taught at the University of Notre Dame and Syracuse University prior to joining Rutgers University, where he is also now Director of the Rutgers Center for the Philosophy of Religion. Zimmerman is a Christian and a member of the Society of Christian Philosophers. He also serves on the Board of Advisors of the Marc Sanders Foundation, which awards prizes for outstanding work in philosophy.
Zimmerman is an influential figure in contemporary metaphysics, and has worked on issues in the philosophy of time, on personhood and material constitution, the metaphysics of mind. In philosophy of religion, Zimmerman has worked on divine foreknowledge and human free will, and God and time.
He is also a keyboardist for the band Jigs and the Pigs.