God and time

churchgeekchurchgeek Shipmate
I've been wondering about this lately, and am hoping some folks here - especially those with some scientific background - can elucidate it for me.

My current understanding is that due to relativity, it makes no sense to speak of a common time between distant points in the universe - e.g., that something could happen at the "same time" here on earth and on a planet out in some distant galaxy. I'm sure that's oversimplified, but I'm not a scientist. So I'm hoping for some clarification on that.

What I'm wondering is, what does that do to traditional ideas about God's relationship to time? Traditionally, God has been said to be "outside time," in "eternity" (which apparently can have events happen in it and yet be outside time).

I probably need a refresher in the relationship between space and time, or time and matter. I can google that, but feel free to speak to that as well.

The old theological assumptions were built on what seems to me a spatial metaphor - that God is somehow "above" or "outside" the cosmos, able to see it all at once, including time. As far as I can tell, that assumption still is pretty embedded in theology. Open & Relational Theology (ORT) - in regards to the "open" part - argues that God's future is genuinely open; that God is within time. But if God is in relationship (the second part of ORT) with every one of God's creatures, including all the inanimate matter throughout the universe/multiverse, then how can God be in time in any meaningful way? And does our current understanding of time, space, and matter affect the more traditional view?
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Comments

  • ArethosemyfeetArethosemyfeet Shipmate
    edited May 3
    I've always considered that the discovery that time is bound up with the laws of this universe accords with the idea that God is not bound by it. [Disclosure: I'm professionally qualified in Theoretical Physics but barely count as an interested amateur in theology]
  • From a perspective I developed in an ill-gotten youth involving all night arguments over science, poetry, love and war, it was that we haven't quite got the metaphors to understand some things, like that light could be a particle or wave, that a being outside of time might read history like from a book or fast-forwarding and rewinding a movie at will. And that a dog might was well contemplate the mind of Newton*.


    * full quote is “I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton.” (Charles Darwin, 1860, letter to Asa gray)
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    I agree that the traditional view is compatible with relativity and the view that God is within time is not.
    That said, the 'outside time' or 'outside space' are only helpful metaphors if we combine them with the metaphor that God is inside each moment of time and space at the same time so to speak. That's why we rather speak of God as omnipresent rather than omniabsent.

    Anyway, I'll try to clarify why there is no common time across the universe. It's been a while since I did this.
    We can define before and after as a matter of potential cause and effect. If something could cause an effect then it comes before the effect. Now causation can't travel faster than the speed of light. So let's imagine a spaceship: Kirk has just come onto the bridge of the Enterprise. Everything Kirk can see because the light has reached the Enterprise is in the past. Everywhere that can see Kirk coming onto the bridge because the light from the Enterprise is in the future. In between, which Kirk can't see yet, and which can't see Kirk yet, is neither past nor future.

    A consequence is that anything you can see happening right now is happening right now for you: but that's not true the other way around. For you they're happening right now, but for them you see them happening in their future.

    Say one of those events that is neither past nor future is Janeway coming onto the bridge of the Voyager. Different planets and spaceships that are watching will see Kirk and Janeway coming onto their bridges at different times. Now, depending on how fast the Enterprise and the Voyager are moving relative to those planets, or how fast the other spaceships are moving, some of them will see Kirk come onto his bridge before they see Janeway, and some will see Janeway first. There is no absolute order independent of time, space, and velocity, in which the two captains come onto the bridge. So if God has no position and velocity in the universe, then as far as God is concerned there can be no absolute order of events in the universe.
  • churchgeek wrote: »
    My current understanding is that due to relativity, it makes no sense to speak of a common time between distant points in the universe - e.g., that something could happen at the "same time" here on earth and on a planet out in some distant galaxy. I'm sure that's oversimplified, but I'm not a scientist. So I'm hoping for some clarification on that.

    Time is a property of the universe, and the amount of time that passes for you depends on your path through the universe. Consider, for example, the famous "twin paradox" - take a pair of twins, leave one at home, and send the other on a ride on a spaceship at a significant fraction of the speed of light for a few years. When the travelling twin returns to Earth, he'll find that less time has passed for him (and so he is younger) than his twin who didn't go anywhere.

    And you're absolutely right - if an event happens in two different places, then whether I observe them to happen at the same time or not depends on where I am and on how I'm moving.

    But because time is a property of the universe, it doesn't make sense to talk about things like "what happened before the universe began", and if God is not bound by the universe (and he can't be both bound by the universe and also be God), then all time is presumably visible to him.
  • churchgeekchurchgeek Shipmate
    Thanks everyone! I hope if this topic interests anyone, folks will explore it further, including areas I didn't ask about in the OP.

    @Dafyd - I particularly appreciate the Star Trek-based explanation. (I've used Star Trek to explain things in theology classes before - my poor students!)
  • QuestorQuestor Shipmate
    God, who created Time and Space,. is outside Time and Space.
    'I am Who am' states this as clearly as possible.
    You do not create time and space and place yourself inside these limitations.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    Now, depending on how fast the Enterprise and the Voyager are moving relative to those planets, or how fast the other spaceships are moving, some of them will see Kirk come onto his bridge before they see Janeway, and some will see Janeway first. There is no absolute order independent of time, space, and velocity, in which the two captains come onto the bridge.
    Though this is correct in that different observers see events at different distances in different ways, it doesn't mean all options are available. No observer (within the confines of space-time) will see Kirk walk backwards off the bridge of the Enterprise, nor simultaneously see Janeway in her quarters and on the bridge of Voyager and every point between, cause still precedes effect.

    Which, of course, immediately raises the question of whether God exists within the confines of space-time or not?

    For many theologians and philosophers God is Transcendent, He doesn't exist within the confines of space-time but is wholly out side - our metaphors (as always) fail but God being on high looking down and being able to see the whole world at once is a common one, expand that to space-time rather than just space and He sees Janeway at all points between her quarters and the bridge, and all others at all points in their lives. He's omniscient because He sees all things, not just the surface but right down to the smallest detail, even into human hearts and minds. He's omnipotent because He can reach down and tweak anything He wants knowing in the most minute detail the effect that will have because He's already seen it. As I understand it, this is a view of God that many find appealing ... personally I'm not sure why.

    IMO, the God of the Bible isn't like this. The Bible presents a God who is with us, God who travels with us, who mourns with us when we fail, who rejoices with us when with His help we succeed, who is as surprised as us at new discoveries. A God who watches each new episode of our lives for the first time, not a God who has watched the same episodes of Star Trek so often that He can quote every line, who doesn't say "this is where Scotty fixes the transporter in the nick of time" but right up to the moment where Kirk and Spock dematerialise is wondering "how will they get off that starship before the warp core explodes?". Emmanuel, God With Us, is central to the Christian gospel.
  • QuestorQuestor Shipmate
    The Bible presents a God who is with us, God who travels with us, who mourns with us when we fail, who rejoices with us when with His help we succeed, who is as surprised as us at new discoveries.
    Indeed this is a rational reading of the Bible texts, but does the Almighty God, create time and space and then restrict Himself to the limits of time and space?
    What happened to I am who am
    Before time began I am?
    If God created time, where was He before time began?
  • Questor wrote: »
    Indeed this is a rational reading of the Bible texts, but does the Almighty God, create time and space and then restrict Himself to the limits of time and space?

    I can see anywhere in the room. I can go anywhere in the room. If I choose to be in one corner of the room hugging a small, sad child who needs comfort, I do not deny my ability to go elsewhere.
  • Questor wrote: »
    <snip>

    If God created time, where was He before time began?

    Outside time, and inside time as well. At the same time, because God.

  • churchgeekchurchgeek Shipmate
    I agree that the God of the Bible is very much as @Alan Cresswell has described. However, that might be a socially/historically-conditioned understanding of God. As is the God of the "omnis," the God Christians derived from roughly equal parts Israelite/Jewish religion and Greek philosophy and the experience of Jesus of Nazareth.

    @Questor 's question can be answered in the Incarnation as "YES, absolutely." But apart from the Incarnation, perhaps the answer is no, although God is described as having intervened in history quite a lot, somehow, and to have been pretty present to people. Of course we can't know the physics involved, even if the text is literally true, when God is said to speak audibly to Samuel, or to appear in a burning bush to Moses or as angelic visitors to Abram. How God had a deep philosophical and theological discussion with Job, we don't know. We can play with the possibilities, though. (Isn't that something both scientists and theologians do?)

    Within more classical/orthodox theology, I've long been attracted to Molinism as a way to think about God's foreknowledge. The problem is that if God knows the future, we are not free in any meaningful sense. E.g., if God knows I'm going to mow the lawn on Tuesday, am I free to do otherwise? Molina said that God actually knows all possible outcomes of every decision any creature could possibly make. OK, God is infinite. Interestingly, this maps onto modal realism a bit. In each new world that comes into existence each time a choice is made, creatures in that world are actually free; but their choices will all be actualized - in different, new worlds. Which to me is mind-boggling. In pop culture, alternate universes always have the same characters in them, in the same general configuration of relationships, but if multiple worlds are actual, we must be to the point where many of them don't resemble each other at all anymore. So what is God doing with all those worlds? Will God somehow actualize the future of one of them but not the rest? (To our minds, that might mean all the same actors but different choices all resolved back to a single set of choices and consequences, but as I said, we must have quite a few worlds in which creatures come into existence that don't exist in a single other world.)

    Sorry, that might be a bit of a tangent. Perhaps we can leave multiple worlds aside, except to the extent that if not real, they do represent all the possibilities our universe could have taken and still could take.

  • QuestorQuestor Shipmate
    The Bible presents a God who is with us, God who travels with us, who mourns with us when we fail, who rejoices with us when with His help we succeed, who is as surprised as us at new discoveries.

    This is a dangerous can of worms....

    He is there at the beginning of time and space and is there at the end of time and space. He is not part of His own creation He does not see time unravel before Him.
    That would be to reducing God to being an observer of His own creation,

    God is He who alone exists of Himself and is outside time and space.

    The big mystery is why God created the universe containing sinful man, who then needed redemption......

  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Maybe God becoming Incarnate is the means through which God is both the Biblical God who travels with us through Time and the Transcendent God who knows infinite possibilities. And for the Transcendent God Incarnation is built into his being from eternity, not just into the first century AD.
  • Questor wrote: »
    <snip>

    The big mystery is why God created the universe containing sinful man, who then needed redemption...

    Well, quite.

    I suppose the stock answer is *Free Will*.

  • Questor wrote: »
    He is there at the beginning of time and space and is there at the end of time and space. He is not part of His own creation He does not see time unravel before Him.
    That would be to reducing God to being an observer of His own creation,
    On the other hand, if God is entirely transcendent and views all that is, that was and will be at once isn't that also reducing God to being a mere observer? If God is involved in Creation, if He directs the physical development of the universe or shows interest and concern with the lives of His creatures (as I believe He is) then He can't just be an observer in creation. Rather than just the author of the play, He's also an actor ... except it's not a play that's been written but one that the actors write as they go.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited May 3
    Hmm. Creation is a work in progress, not a fait accompli ?
  • churchgeekchurchgeek Shipmate

    I suppose the stock answer is *Free Will*.

    Hm, stock answers are no fun.
  • Hmm. Creation is a work in progress, not a fait accompli ?
    The physical creation we all observe is dynamic - the very fabric of the universe is expanding, the surface of our planet is in constant motion building new mountain chains and opening or closing oceans, biological life is constantly evolving and adapting to new environments. The physical creation certainly looks like a work in progress.

    Or, if we consider humanity then in Christ we are being made like Christ, only in Christ will humanity be created in the image of God. We certainly aren't there yet. The creation of humanity in the image of God also looks like a work in progress.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Now, depending on how fast the Enterprise and the Voyager are moving relative to those planets, or how fast the other spaceships are moving, some of them will see Kirk come onto his bridge before they see Janeway, and some will see Janeway first. There is no absolute order independent of time, space, and velocity, in which the two captains come onto the bridge.
    Though this is correct in that different observers see events at different distances in different ways, it doesn't mean all options are available. No observer (within the confines of space-time) will see Kirk walk backwards off the bridge of the Enterprise, nor simultaneously see Janeway in her quarters and on the bridge of Voyager and every point between, cause still precedes effect.
    It is true that every observer will see all events within all causal chains in the right order for those causal chain. The question arises for independent causal chains: those events which are not yet in a potential causal relationship with each other. As I understand it, no entity subject to the usual constraints of space and time can be aware of those events until information is transmitted to them.
    Further, for any entity that becomes aware of those events, either they become aware of the events in one order or the other, or they become aware of them simultaneously.
    Supposing God is not bounded by space, but only becomes aware of events as they become.
    If God becomes aware of those events in either one order or the other, that would imply a single privileged reference frame for the universe. As I understand it, while I suppose one couldn't rule out the existence of a privileged reference frame, special and general relativity give us good reason to believe that there is no such thing. They point us to a world in which all the indications are of no privileged reference frame. The metaphysical properties would have absolutely no physical effect.
    On the other hand, suppose God becomes aware of all events that are outside causal relationship to each other simultaneously. For any cause and effect where the time between is insufficient for light to travel to the other side of the universe, there is some event on the other side of the universe that is outside causal relationship to both. Therefore, God would become aware of both cause and effect simultaneously - and by extension God becomes aware of all events in the universe simultaneously.
    For many theologians and philosophers God is Transcendent, He doesn't exist within the confines of space-time but is wholly out side - our metaphors (as always) fail but God being on high looking down and being able to see the whole world at once is a common one, expand that to space-time rather than just space and He sees Janeway at all points between her quarters and the bridge, and all others at all points in their lives.
    IMO, the God of the Bible isn't like this. The Bible presents a God who is with us, God who travels with us, who mourns with us when we fail, who rejoices with us when with His help we succeed, who is as surprised as us at new discoveries.
    (I don't think the God of the Bible is ever surprised, are they? That's not just a matter of what is contingently described. As much as God might mourn and rejoice with us, I think the general presentation of God in the Bible is that nothing surprises God.)

    At the moment I'm rereading Madame Bovary. I know it ends unhappily. That doesn't stop me from hoping and fearing for Emma, and for that matter Charles and Berthe.

    Most theologians have worked to show that these two perspectives are not incompatible. As always the problem with the first perspective is that our metaphors inevitably apply concepts of space and time that make God out to be distant and impassive. In our understanding, when we say someone is outside a building or a town or a country or planet we are saying that they are bound by space: they are distant from anything happening within. But for God being unbound by space means rather that God is infinitesimally close to everything simultaneously.
  • edited May 4
    Personal experience isn't data. But it sure seems to persuade. Those who really feel divine presence "know" about the involved god. Others will find God a spectator who is distant and doesn't get personally involved, and many of them will decide not to bother with a god who doesn't seem bothered with them. I'm spending much of my time with the latter group these past few years: they're doing things for others and doing so by their initiative. An agnostic bunch, who do a lot of it better than church people in my observation. They don't talk about belief. They do things.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    But because time is a property of the universe, it doesn't make sense to talk about things like "what happened before the universe began", and if God is not bound by the universe (and he can't be both bound by the universe and also be God), then all time is presumably visible to him.

    That's pretty much where I come from. God, as creator of the universe, may enter it and participate in it should He wish to. But a creator is essentially external to the creation.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    God is not inside time. Time is inside God.
  • The best recent work on time - that is a real head messer - is Carlo Rovelli - the order of time. What he argues is that time does not exist. It is a human invention - and that comes from a physicist, who works through the implicatiosn of this for physics.

    If time is a human invention - and his arguments do make a lot of sense - then God is definitively outside time. And our world and existence is far more convoluted and peculiar than we could imagine.
  • QuestorQuestor Shipmate
    Time does not exist without change.
    We observe the moon go round the earth, hence the month.
    The earth rotates on it's axis once a day.
    The earth goes round the sun in what we call a year.
    As time passes we observe change, the seasons, we grow older etc..
    It is not a figment of our imagination let alone an invention.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I don't find Rovelli compelling either but it needs more than "no it isn't!"

  • QuestorQuestor Shipmate
    Further to the above:
    Check Wikipedia Atomic Clock which defines time in terms of the vibrations of an atom.
    These are unchanging and have allowed us to define time to an absurd degree of accuracy.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Questor wrote: »
    Further to the above:
    Check Wikipedia Atomic Clock which defines time in terms of the vibrations of an atom.
    These are unchanging and have allowed us to define time to an absurd degree of accuracy.

    They are only unchanging in a local frame of reference. If I stick one of these atomic clocks in a close orbit around a heavy mass it will not keep time with one on earth. Or if I send it out into space and back again.
  • QuestorQuestor Shipmate
    Albert Einstein dealt with this in his theory of relativity.
    I think we are in a realm of physics which is certainly beyond me.
    Funny things happen when you approach the speed of light.
    Are you a physics graduate by any chance?
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Questor wrote: »
    Albert Einstein dealt with this in his theory of relativity.

    That's what I was referring to. Rovelli knows this as well and doesn't find it contradicts his hypothesis. I don't think there's anything obvious that can be thrown at it; if there's a flaw in the reasoning it will be in the detail..
    I think we are in a realm of physics which is certainly beyond me.
    Funny things happen when you approach the speed of light.
    Are you a physics graduate by any chance?

    Nah. Just a fascinated amateur. I can't handle the maths. Son #1 seems to be managing it somehow, doing double Maths A levels... I can't make any sense of any maths he does now...

  • QuestorQuestor Shipmate
    Stephen Hawking in his Brief History of Time wrote about time.
    I think we are both out of our depth and pursuing a mirage having no bearing with God, unless you think God is the ultimate black hole (weak joke).
    God is obviously outside time and space.
    What ever we say about God is wrong.
    God is beyond our understanding.

  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Philosophers, professional and amateur, have a bad habit of saying, X is an illusion, when what they mean is that a common way of thinking about X is mistaken.
  • [disclaimer: I've not read Rovelli, nor any description of what he argues]

    I suspect @Dafyd is right ... "time is a human invention" could easily be "common ways of thinking about time are human inventions". As humans we live and think in three spatial dimensions and we tend towards considering time to be somehow different (probably because we can change how we move through space, we can turn around and walk back the way we came, but our journey through time is only in one direction). Relativity shows that time is just a fourth dimension fundamentally no different from the three spatial dimensions, our inability to change our motion through time doesn't change that fundamental fact. Treating time as different is a human adaptation that allows us to comprehend normal life, to judge the speed of a herd of antelope so we can be in the best position to kill one for our dinner when they reach a good place for an ambush and the like.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited May 4
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Now, depending on how fast the Enterprise and the Voyager are moving relative to those planets, or how fast the other spaceships are moving, some of them will see Kirk come onto his bridge before they see Janeway, and some will see Janeway first. There is no absolute order independent of time, space, and velocity, in which the two captains come onto the bridge.
    Though this is correct in that different observers see events at different distances in different ways, it doesn't mean all options are available. No observer (within the confines of space-time) will see Kirk walk backwards off the bridge of the Enterprise, nor simultaneously see Janeway in her quarters and on the bridge of Voyager and every point between, cause still precedes effect.

    Which, of course, immediately raises the question of whether God exists within the confines of space-time or not?

    For many theologians and philosophers God is Transcendent, He doesn't exist within the confines of space-time but is wholly out side - our metaphors (as always) fail but God being on high looking down and being able to see the whole world at once is a common one, expand that to space-time rather than just space and He sees Janeway at all points between her quarters and the bridge, and all others at all points in their lives. He's omniscient because He sees all things, not just the surface but right down to the smallest detail, even into human hearts and minds. He's omnipotent because He can reach down and tweak anything He wants knowing in the most minute detail the effect that will have because He's already seen it. As I understand it, this is a view of God that many find appealing ... personally I'm not sure why.

    IMO, the God of the Bible isn't like this. The Bible presents a God who is with us, God who travels with us, who mourns with us when we fail, who rejoices with us when with His help we succeed, who is as surprised as us at new discoveries. A God who watches each new episode of our lives for the first time, not a God who has watched the same episodes of Star Trek so often that He can quote every line, who doesn't say "this is where Scotty fixes the transporter in the nick of time" but right up to the moment where Kirk and Spock dematerialise is wondering "how will they get off that starship before the warp core explodes?". Emmanuel, God With Us, is central to the Christian gospel.

    Wah HOO! For decades, at least 15 years, I thought you were in the other completely bizarre camp. Sorry!

    The infinite now of creation has been in God for eternity.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    Can any language whose sense is based on verbs with tenses possibly discuss the infinite?
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Kwesi wrote: »
    Can any language whose sense is based on verbs with tenses possibly discuss the infinite?

    Maths does it all the time.
  • Well, full marks to all of you for trying to discuss what must surely be one of the most difficult threads on these boards!

    It's all mostly beyond me, but for some reason I'm reminded of the words of Rev Richard Hooker (1554-1600). I first heard these read at a said Eucharist, in a village church in the Cotswolds, many years ago, on 3rd November - the day on which Hooker is commemorated in the C of E:

    Dangerous it were for the feeble brain of man to wade far into the doings of the Most High, whom although to know be life, and joy to make mention of his name, yet our soundest knowledge is to know that we know him not indeed as he is, neither can know him, and our safest eloquence concerning him is our silence, when we confess without confession that his glory is inexplicable, his greatness above our capacity and reach. He is above, and we upon earth; therefore it behoveth our words to be wary and few.
  • But no sooner had we eaten fruit of the tree of knowledge, we then fermented it, got drunk, wore clothes, killed our siblings, and everything's gone up and downhill ever since.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited May 4
    /slight tangent/

    I could never comprehend WHY God put that tree in the Garden, and then told Adam and Eve not to eat its fruit. He'd have done better not to plant the thing in the first place, no?

    Mind you, as Dr Hooker says, our soundest knowledge is to know that we know [God] not...
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Kwesi wrote: »
    Can any language whose sense is based on verbs with tenses possibly discuss the infinite?

    What has tense got to do with infinity? Apart from the fact it gets more infinite over time of course.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited May 4
    Questor wrote: »
    The Bible presents a God who is with us, God who travels with us, who mourns with us when we fail, who rejoices with us when with His help we succeed, who is as surprised as us at new discoveries.

    This is a dangerous can of worms....

    He is there at the beginning of time and space and is there at the end of time and space. He is not part of His own creation He does not see time unravel before Him.
    That would be to reducing God to being an observer of His own creation,

    God is He who alone exists of Himself and is outside time and space.

    The big mystery is why God created the universe containing sinful man, who then needed redemption......

    As God changeth not He has always created from eternity. And all that has gone before is gone and none of what is to come has come. In Him. Not outside.

    As for the big mystery, He has no choice.
  • SusanDorisSusanDoris Shipmate
    Very interesting.
    As far as I'm concerned, I think it is quite reasonable to think that, if by some chance, another anomal on some far, far distant world is taking some action at this very moment, it is happening at exactly the same time, give or take a moment to allow for the expansion of space.

    Also I think that the idea of God began with the human species.
  • Questor wrote: »
    I think we are in a realm of physics which is certainly beyond me.
    Funny things happen when you approach the speed of light.
    Are you a physics graduate by any chance?

    The ship has a number of posters with higher degrees in all kinds of subjects, including physics.

    The things that happen as you approach the speed of light are only "funny" because they differ from our everyday experience. It's rather like trying to apply "common sense" to the quantum regime. It doesn't work - not because there aren't physical laws operating on the quantum scale, or because they don't make sense, but because they're very different from our normal daily experience on which we base our "common sense".

    As an example, you're familiar with throwing a ball (tennis, cricket, whatever you like). (Sorry, @KarlLB !) Your common sense and experience tells you that that ball has a trajectory - it follows a path through space, and its speed and position are pretty well described by rather simple equations that we learn about at school.

    In the quantum limit, it doesn't make sense to think like that. Particles do not have trajectories that are difficult or impossible to measure - they just don't have trajectories. That's not a concept that exists in the quantum limit.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited May 4
    When a cricket ball is bowled by me it doesn't seem to follow any laws of physics at all but goes where it fancies.

    The only thing you can say is if I don't know where it's going, what chance does the batsman have?

    Spent half an hour in the nets this lunchtime wondering how it's possible to be quite this bad :(

    /tangent.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    Martin54: What has tense got to do with infinity?

    I think that was the point I was trying to make. KarlLB, however, holds that the language or symbols of mathematics resolves the problem. (On reflection, perhaps I'm confusing eternity with infinity. Apologies).
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Kwesi wrote: »
    Martin54: What has tense got to do with infinity?

    I think that was the point I was trying to make. KarlLB, however, holds that the language or symbols of mathematics resolves the problem. (On reflection, perhaps I'm confusing eternity with infinity. Apologies).

    Easily done @Kwesi. Eternity is an infinite amount of time after all. So, the point you were trying to make concerns tense and eternity? Many people see eternity as timelessness, I can't, except figuratively for stasis, boredom; I can only see it as infinite time, which there obviously has been already, whether God encompasses it or not: Nothing changes qualitatively overall. It can't.
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    Given that time is so bound up with our notions of causality, I'm wondering if a being who is outside time can cause anything at all (in the common meaning of the word).
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    But then isn't the point of the Trinity that while the Father may be controlling everything from outside time, Jesus entered and left at fairly well-defined moments, while the Spirit experiences time with us ?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited May 4
    Russ wrote: »
    Given that time is so bound up with our notions of causality, I'm wondering if a being who is outside time can cause anything at all (in the common meaning of the word).

    Eternity is as old as God. He causes it by causing nature, and supernature, for eternity. According to the prevenient laws of physics of course.
  • churchgeekchurchgeek Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Most theologians have worked to show that these two perspectives are not incompatible.

    No quibble with what you're saying generally, but this "Most theologians have worked...." amuses me. I'm not even sure we have a count on how many theologians there are/have been, much less a means to figure out what most of them have worked on. ;)
    Personal experience isn't data.

    Depends on what you're studying, and what discipline you're in. For theology, personal experience absolutely is a source - maybe not "data," unless you're cataloging personal experiences for some reason. In the soft and hard sciences, I can imagine there would be reasons to use personal experiences as data, but that would be a "self-reporting" kind of survey, I suppose.

    Human beings generally aren't computers; it's not a flaw that our personal experience convinces us - it's a feature. That's how our brains evolved to work. For the sciences, of course you have to find more objective ways to measure things.

    For theology, personal experience is among the sources which also include Scripture, tradition, reason, and culture (although personal experience and culture are sometimes subsumed under "reason").
  • Martin54 wrote: »
    Eternity is an infinite amount of time after all.
    Is it? Is eternity just time never ending? Or, is eternity something other than time? If eternity is where God is, where He existed before* time and the rest of the physical universe was created, then it can't be just an infinite extension of part of creation.

    * if that word makes any sense in that context, but poverty of language doesn't seem to provide me with a better word.
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