What is time? Does it really matter to know?
If we think about it there have been many individual arguments which churches and scholars have split on claiming to be unique and independent issues which really all boil down to this one specific question.
There are those who believe time to be something that has an end, yet that we are all stuck in. Afterall, it is the reality we have grown up in so why would there be anything else?
Because of this belief, they tell of how our actions have already been decided, which to them may be a great encouragement, yet to others is considered a grand tragedy. What happened to our free will? Why even try in life if all your life has been predetermined for you?
To me this argument has never made sense. Partially for why it is considered to be so foundational to our beliefs, but also because it seems like two separate arguments which have been combined into one.
Knowing the end, and controlling the end are not in themselves the same thing. In fact, orchestrating the end, and controlling the players is also not the same thing.
God knows how the world will end. He knows WHEN it will end, WHO will be there in the end, the choices you make even before you make them. So what? Are your choices then meaningless? NO! Just because He knows how your struggle will end, does not mean there is no point to your struggle. Just because in the end the world will go to pot doesn’t mean we should not fight to make it better. Just because God already knows who will go to heaven and who will not does not mean your struggles have no place!
The example I like to use is reading a comic strip (Because I like comics!) We look at a comic strip in 3-8 panels. We see the entire timeline of the comic sitting there before us. We know how the comic will end because we are outside of that timeline. Does that mean the character in panel 1 should not struggle to move forward until he reaches the final panel? NO! His struggle and our observation are not tied together at all!
Time is a dimension. This much has been brought up in religion and science alike. Yet our opinion of “dimensions” tends to differ from what they truly are.
We tend to view dimensions as “the multiverse”. A series of mirrored worlds which run parallel to each other, which in theory could be jumped between, yet should not interact with each other. When in truth, a dimension is far simpler than that!
What is a difference between 2D and 3D? Did you realize the D stands for dimension? That’s because a new dimension is simply adding a new direction to the dimension that the previous could not go to.
A stick figure in the 2D world could never comprehend the z axis of the 3D world, while you and I in the 3D world can interfere with the 2D world (though not fit our entirety within it) When we view it this way we realize that it actually is pretty similar to other things we see in the bible.
This world is temporary. Time has an end. Our souls will live on. God is outside it all. The more I think about it, the more I ponder a slightly out there observation.
I wonder what if there are other dimensions? No not the sci fi parallel dimension theory, but ACTUAL dimensions where each higher number can interact with the lesser one yet not fit within entirely. I would in fact say there can be a good argument made to there being at least 7 if not more.
Of course there are the simple ones we know of. 1st dimension is a dot, 2nd dimension is flat, 3rd dimension is our material world as we know and observe it… I would then argue that the 4th dimension is our souls. Since they will apparently be what goes beyond our bodies and our world. Since they are what are most affected by the spiritual world, by emotions, by our beliefs.
5th dimension I would say are angels and demons, since every person who has seen either has been struck down by either insanity or or just the awe struck wonder as if their strength had left them.
6th dimension I would say is time. Why do I rank it so high at this point? Because while the Bible says our souls and the angels and demons etc all will go beyond time, it also states that we are all currently bound to time. Even the devil appears to be bound TO time since it is not till the end when his punishment will come. Angels as well, being messengers of God, have brought forth prophesies, but were simply delivering messages FROM God, not showing that they knew the future themselves. It is for this reason that I would put time at the 6th.
At which point we get to the 7th (though as I said there could be more so perhaps it would be better just to call it “the top”) This would be where God is. Outside of time. The judge of right and wrong. The creator of all things. The knower of all things.
I won’t be so pompous as to say that I know better than anyone else who says anything against this theory… as in the end it really is just a theory. I will just say that I’ve yet to hear an argument that stood well against it, and that it really does put a lot of pointless arguments to rest.
In the end, whether you believe in an ironclad destiny, or a responsibility driven free will… I don’t think that really is the most important question to be asking…. because quite honestly I think the answer is “We can’t really understand it ourselves.” I mean it’s beyond ourselves with our bodies and most our senses in the 3rd dimension and spirits in the 4th (provided I am right.) Yeesh… even if I’m wrong it still doesn’t change this is something we really just don’t get…. But so what? Whether you believe God controlled what end you have, or will be helping you come to the result He knows you’ll reach… does it really change the fact that you have to live your life chasing after Him to the best of your abilities?? If you think it does I think THAT is a greater crisis than how you interpret things beyond you! God told us to follow Him! So do it!
Originally Posted March 4 2017
CS Lewis is probably one of my favourite Christian theologians (though he would probably cringe if you called him that personally). His insight and aim of his arguments are something that is rare to find these days. Any point he brings up, you have to pause and think about, because no point he brings up ever simply relates to one point of our walk. He always address issues at the core of multiple other issues…. so much so that I often find myself thinking for years on how I feel about the consequences of certain theories of his.
One theory I have always been on the border about, is the concept of “Deeper magic” to quote the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Essentially put, this is the belief that there are rules to which God Himself must obey.
Part of me always reacts to this concept in the negative, as I would always like to put God on the level that there are no limits to His actions, and nothing He must submit to. If he were to make it that physics were pancakes one day BAM it would be so! However, a part of me also can understand where CS Lewis is coming from.
If you have read through my posts enough (first of all you are insane and good at reading) but you have probably heard me talk about “The laws of reality.” This is an observation I’ve made in my thinking, and they are not so much “Laws” in the classical sense as much as things you cannot deny without creating a paradoxical situation. For instance:
“You MUST have absolutes in this world for to say that there ARE no absolutes, is within itself an absolute. This does not mean you can observe an absolute and define it soundly yourself, but that the absolute MUST exist.”
“In order to have good or light you must also have evil or darkness because these terms are comparative and you cannot have one without the other.”
“You cannot receive love without free will from the entity giving it. Otherwise it is simply self gratification which is not quite so uplifting.”
The list goes on. This is not to say that God is limited or serves something greater… simply that there are some things that are, and some things that aren’t. The deeper magic.
Note that this does not refer to the laws of physics, of death, of anything we observe. The laws of reality are something far far deeper than things we have observed and recorded. If the bible says the dead were raised, fire rained down from above, weather phenomenas happened, virgins gave birth, outnumbered armies won, seas split, etc… I see no reason why that can’t happen via the one who created all things, or other entities of greater power than humanity, but there is still what is and what isn’t.
The other reason I stay on the fence of this issue is because of Christians I know who turned away from their faith. I have known many who have, and most all say similar things. The belief that God is simply this cruel sadistic God who created a world where we had to obey Him or suffer.
Now if there is no deeper magic to this world, I would confess this is a harder issue to argue. Why did God make it that sin even existed? Why even have temptation? Why make consequences for actions? Etc
However, if the “deep magic” does exist, (please note I keep saying “Deep magic” because I like the name. Not tying this to sorcery or anything that exists due to the power of some entity) then there is quite an obvious argument to this point which brings out the opposite result to their point.
As I said above. You cannot receive love from something without free will. But also free will without the ability to make choices is a torturous existence of questioning why you do things without the power to change them. (I think we have all experienced this torture to some smaller scale, so imagine it on a huge scale.)
For God to make us mindless drones without hearts or souls would have provided nothing. For whatever we did or said, it would simply be Him speaking through a puppet to Himself. For us to have free wills without the ability to choose our lives ourselves, would have also been unrewarding and cruel. For us to have choices without consequences would not have been choices at all, for if all choices lead to the same results, you in the end walk down a linear path with no real choice at all.
But God gave us free will. He gave us choices. He gave us the ability to trust in Him, or to rebel and trust ourselves. He gave us rules, not as an ultimatum “OBEY OR SUFFER!” but as instructions. He created us, He knows how we work, He knows what tempts us, He knows what hurts us. He gave rules to help us keep ourselves healthy and happy, He gave His son to take the price of the ultimate wrong choice we made, He gave the Holy spirit so we could begin to understand the rules He had given instead of just simply blindly following them because.
If this is true then it can only mean one thing.
No! GOd does NOT want you to be a mindless drone that obeys without questioning and thinking. At least in my walk in faith I can promise you that God loves it when you asks Him questions and doubts. He loves showing you the answers to these questions and doubts and He loves how closer your faith becomes because of it!
God wants us to see the world He created. He wants us to understand how He made us, How he can use us. God does not want a bunch of mindless cultists who live their lives following a blind set of rules because let’s admit it, that kind of faith has done a lot more damage to Christianity than good.
That being said, you won’t understand everything. We’re little. We’re locked both inside time and this physical plane. There is much more to this world than we can see, know, or comprehend. ANd it’s okay to not know everything. THat is why we have God to turn to. But it’s not a stationary “Just do it because I say so” kind of relationship. We are meant to continue growing, continue learning, continue understanding!
So bad things happen in this world, not because God is cruel and we broke His ultimatum, but because He loved us enough to let us have free will even if we might abuse it. In this case, the “Deep Magic” theory does seem true, though I am certain it does not cover the entirety of this phenomena correctly. BUt that is where I am right now. You’re thoughts?