Time and eternity


#1

The Bishop came to Mass this morning, dignified as always. After Mass I asked Fr. David if I could doorstop the old fellow (about five years older than me, maybe) he said ‘Be mindful.’

He’s the rock climber, David, and has a firm hand on matters religious.

I asked the Bishop if he wore a watch and that took him back a little. Then I asked him if Eternity was at the end of Time.
He said he was happy I was thinking about it. I replied by saying that I’ve always thought about it.
Then he answered my question in a way I couldn’t understand, I felt like a child being told.

No, I interrupted, (time is precious on the church doorstep when the Bishop has come to say Mass), Eternity could only be at the end of Time, because the two cannot exist together.
That’s when I thanked him and left. I heard his chuckle.
We know both can exist together because *God *made Time, and God is eternal.
‘Why don’t you teach that?’ I asked him.

thanks for reading so far.

Hallejulah.


#2

It’s good you are thinking about this.

Eternity is AIUI **outside **of time, but coexists with it. Time is a physical process; only physical beings are subject to it.

That is why fallen angels cannot repent, if they repented, they’d be forgiven, but repentance requires time.

When we have spiritual bodies, we will likewise be outside of time.

ICXC NIKA


#3

We will participate in eternity, but only to a degree. We will still be temporal beings.


#4

I don’t think so. I am recalling that St Paul told us that the imperfect will put on the perfect and how could we be still temporal since decay is a function of time?Furthermore St Augustine taught that we will be fixed as the Angels who did not fall are fixed, and again “fixing” implies an idea of non-temporality.

Thoughts?

God Bless


#5

Decay is a function of time, but temporal things need not decay. Time is a measure of change, but change doesn’t necessarily imply decay. We will be fixed as the angels are fixed, and we will be perfect, but fixed and perfect how?

Our unity with God will be fixed in that it will not be broken, but we will continue to grow in that unity. Growth is a function of change, implying temporality. Temporality, not in the sense of temporariness, but in the sense of the sequential succession of change.

We will be perfect in nature, but perfection doesn’t imply changelessness. As finite beings, we will infinitely tend toward infinity, but being limited as we are, we will never reach the kind of perfection that is proper to God, the only actual infinite.

God is eternal precisely because He is actually infinite in being. We are temporal precisely because we are created, potential infinites.

Temporality is not only a physical property. Angels are not eternal. They have not always existed, nor do they exist wholly and completely within the duration of simultaneity.

God is the only being who is really eternal. We only participate in His eternality in as much as we participate in His being. That is as true for angels as it is for us. And as we cannot participate fully in His being, we cannot participate fully in His eternality. We will always be, in some sense, temporal. That is simply our nature.


#6

i just read it differently. I think that when we enter into the presence of God we enter also into the eternal now. As such our experience will be one of eternity and yet always new and original. There is no way we could ever explain it properly, but that is how it seems to me.

God Bless


#7

You say only physical beings are subject to [time.]

You say the fallen angels cannot repent because they [basically don’t have] time.

You say when we have “spiritual bodies” (whatever those are) we will be “outside” of time.

I disagree with all of this. :wink:

I have noticed, that since the Science Fiction writers have made time line stories popular, where people travel back and forth in time, everyone now treats time as if it is a sort of road with a beginning and an end.

It wasn’t always that way.

Time is merely man’s measurement of “happenings.” (in my opinion)

A year is how long the earth happens to travel around the sun, and then we have all of the logical divisions of time based on that happening.

(Now leaving out Einstein and his theories) That is all time really is, in its essence.

So, if time occurs when something happens, because you have a “time” before it happened, and a “time” after if happened, I say that time DOES exist in eternity.

For example there was a “time” before God created creation. And there is now a time before man was created. There is a time when the Last Judgment will occur. Then there will be a time when the elect will be taken to Heaven in their Glorified bodies.

So in my view, when God decided to create creation, He also created Time, since before that, God was unchanging and complete in all infinity, eternally. IOW, there is no way to measure from one happening to another. God’s thoughts are beyond our ken, so in that pre-creation sense, God DID live outside of time. But ever since then, He is “with” time, although not subject to it.

As for the fallen angels. The reason they do not repent, is not because they “don’t have time,” but because they are pure spirits, and their will’s and intellects are far superior to ours. They are not subject to gradually acquiring facts by way of the physical senses. They do not “evolve” in their opinions the way Obama and other Politicians do. They make a decision based on their intellect and will being enlightened through spiritual powers. Some of those powers are intrinsic to their spiritual being, and some of them are powered through grace. So when they rebelled, it wasn’t a hasty decision that they would later repent. It was fully enlightened act of the will which was permanent and unchanging as befits the higher nature of the angels.

So I am more of Mr Snaith’s opinion :smiley:


#8

However one can argue that time exists apart from events such that if there were no events there would still be time.

So, if time occurs when something happens, because you have a “time” before it happened, and a “time” after if happened, I say that time DOES exist in eternity.

And if we slap a number +1 after infinity, then does infinity becomes a number and no longer infinite? If there was no universe, is there time?

So in my view, when God decided to create creation, He also created Time, since before that, God was unchanging and complete in all infinity, eternally. IOW, there is no way to measure from one happening to another. God’s thoughts are beyond our ken, so in that pre-creation sense, God DID live outside of time.

I have difficulty coming to terms with words such as :

a) timeless
b) eternity
c) everlasting
d) outside of time

They sound the same, but I am sure someone can differentiate them. I couldn’t articulate the difference.

I read somewhere that God is in all times simultaneously, or instantly (past, present, future) but I am not sure whether does that mean He is outside of time. It has always been a mind boggling topic that hurts the brain.

But ever since then, He is “with” time, although not subject to it.

But the Incarnation is subject to time.


#9

Yup, Eternity encompasses all of time. IOW, time is contained within Eternity.


#10

Yup, Eternity encompasses all of time. IOW, time is contained within Eternity.


#11

Time is a measure of change. God does not change and so God is outside of time. Eternity is the absence of time. This is not my theology but St. Augustine’s.

The real issue here is that lecturing a bishop is never a good idea and I can think of about 9843 other things I would like to discuss with a Bishop rather than the nature of time and why he does not teach such an esoteric idea. The man is a pastor, a shepherd of souls first, and will be judged on how well he led his flock to heaven. Teaching about the nature of time will lead very few, if any, souls to heaven.

A successor to the Apostles deserves the utmost respect.

-Tim-


#12

Time cannot exist apart from events, because time is the measure of change. But more than that, time is an ordered sequence, the logical progression from one change to the next. Temporal increments (such as minutes, seconds, hours, etc) are arbitrary divisions, but the main idea here is that there is a logical succession of moments.

No. 1 + infinity = infinity. That’s demonstrated in infinity theory quite well. If there was no universe, no, there would be no time. Time is a function of the created universe. Outside of the universe, there is only God, and God is outside of time.

Timeless can mean different things depending on the usage. If it is in reference to God, then it refers to His eternity. If it’s used in reference to a work of art, then it means something like everlasting.

Outside of time usually means “not subject to time”, and should be understood in the context of eternity.

Everlasting is subject to time. It means it has no end, but usually implies that it had a beginning. Angels and the human soul, for example, are everlasting, while matter is not.

Eternity is essentially as you describe it below. The best description I’ve head for it is “the duration of simultaneity”. That is, all moments are present to God all at the same time, always.

Yes the Incarnation is subject to time, but since the Incarnation is the enfleshment of the Word, this means that God, the Word, has always been incarnated from His perspective, the perspective of eternity. In time, of course, the Incarnation occurred at a specific moment.

This, so much.


#13

Here is an apt aphorism that I do not necessarily agree with, but might be a good way to look at God.

“To God, all time is Now, and all space is Here.”


#14

I appreciate that, but if you don’t mind, I have some comments regarding your post.

Temporality and Eternity are antonyms. If eternity is the duration of simultaneity, then temporality (time) is the duration of procession. Time is the movement of change, the logical progression from one instance to the next. Man’s measures of time are arbitrary, but time is real.

While all of this sounds a little bit strange to me, I don’t think I disagree with any of it, per se. :slight_smile:

This is actually incorrect. Yes, angels have a superior intellect, but this is not why they cannot repent. Adam and Eve were created with the preternatural gift of infused knowledge. Their choice was not one made in ignorance (Adam’s at least, though the case may be made that Eve’s was, but it wasn’t her sin that caused the fall). Yet, Adam and Eve had the opportunity to repent.

The reason for this is the difference in nature between matter and spirit. Spirits are personal beings, and personal beings have intellect and free will. That is to say, spirits act without first being acted upon. In fact, spirits cannot be acted upon, for they manifest the principle of free action. Choice is principally an act of the spirit, and is fixed.

Matter is acted upon, and does not act of its own volition. Animals react to external stimuli, but do not have free choice.

Humans are also personal beings, but we are also animals. We have bodies and our bodies are animated by a spiritual soul. What this means for us is that we have free choice. In our fallen state, we also have unfree choice, and our intellects are darkened.

We have the possibility of repentance because, due to this body/spirit union, our free choices are not fixed, as they are for angels. When our souls are separated from our bodies in death, our choices do become fixed, and thus our eternal state (heaven or hell) become fixed. But this is precisely because our souls have been separated from our bodies, which react, and thus have no fixity in choice (which is why our choices are not fixed).

Our perfected bodies will be restored to their natural order of subjectivity of the body to the spirit, and our choices will then remain fixed, due to the primacy of the free will of our human spirit over the unfree will of the body.

We admire people who hold to their choices, despite hardship, precisely because it demonstrates a certain spiritual master over the urgings of the flesh. This is because spiritual choices are fixed, while bodily responses are not.

Repentance is available to humans due to our natures and our fallen state. Repentance is not available to angels because their natures do not allow it. It has nothing to do with knowledge.


#15

It is a fairly apt phrase. I like it, but like you, I’m not sure I agree with it. At first glance, I do, but let me consider it further.

It seems to me that space (or rather, location) and time are functions of presence. My presence always includes both a location and a time. My presence is always both here, and now. I could not say that I am present here, without referring to a time. To do so suggests I am present here, always. Likewise, I cannot say that I am present now, without referring to a place. To do so suggests I am everywhere right now. My presence is both a here and a now.

God is omnipresent. This implies a presence to all time and all places… always. But, the question we should ask is, is God present to all times and all places, or are all times and all places present to God? It seems to me that the latter is true, and not the former, since all times and places are a creation of God, and therefore have reference to Him, rather than He having reference to them.

This seems to suggest that your quote is not correct. This is because your quote implies that God doesn’t distinguish between times and places, all is simply here and now. But, if all is present to Him, then God still maintains an understanding of each moment’s and each place’s relevant position to all moments and all places, and likewise distinguishes each thing’s position and time relevant to all of the positions and times that, that thing occupies during its existence, in their correct temporal and location configurations.

Therefore, God sees all things, and all of their wheres and whens, in their correct relational orientation both to themselves through time and space, and to everything else, through time and space. He can say of a thing, it was here at this time, and it was there at that time, but all of these times and places are present to Him at once.


#16

Repentance is available to humans due to our natures and our fallen state. Repentance is not available to angels because their natures do not allow it. It has nothing to do with knowledge.

I thought that is what I said. :wink:

My wording may have been less precise. :o


#17

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