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?
Originally Posted October 21 2016
Before all things, God is.
This is an essential basis to the understanding of anything that follows.
God is before time, God is after time, God is outside of time. God is a being outside the realm, space, and dimensions of the universe itself. This fact makes him beyond our existence and difficult to comprehend with our limited senses.
It is like trying to explain up and down to a 2 dimensional character, explaining colour to a blind man, sound to a deaf one, light to someone who has only seen darkness, pain to someone who has no feeling. His existence is something beyond what can be explained, only experienced.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
He created angels, the heavens, beings beyond us. Beings so powerful that the bible itself warns against fascination with them lest we end up worshiping them vs God. They come in varieties, and ranks, they had rules, and purposes themselves. But one angel revolted against their purpose and desired the power of God for himself.
We know little of what transpired during this battle, nor does it really matter to us, for what is important is that those who rose against God were defeated and cast out. Turned to be called “Demons, Satan, etc”
Let several things be noted from this. First off, that the demons and satan himself were originally good and from heaven. Evil cannot exist on its own. No one is evil for the sake of being evil or by nature evil. Evil is the pursuit of good things for wrong purpose or by wrong methods.
Satan wanted power. Power feels good. Power in itself is not evil. Searching for power beyond your purpose though is. When we lie, we do not lie because we want to lie. We lie because we believe it will bring forth better results than telling the truth.
Evil is not a condition, nor a nature. It is a temptation.
Which leads us into point 2: Satan and all the demons were angels. Beautiful, powerful angels. Capable of things beyond human imagination. Demons are not horrible ugly monsters. Nor is sin horrible ugly things. Both seem beautiful at first sight.
Sin is not tied to our instincts. Good and evil are not tied to our instincts. You can not tell good or evil by feeling alone because… guess what! Sin feels stinkin good!
Vengeance feels great! Lust is a thrill ride! Stealing is lucrative! Porn, drugs, and human trafficking are some of the biggest industries out there! Some of the top richest people in this world are crime lords/drug lords/whatever you want to call them!
You cannot tell an angel from a demon from the “Gut feeling” that something is wrong. Because at first glance, both seem powerful, both seem to feel good, and to tell you honestly, the demon will probably make the stronger argument with better results.
This leads us to the third and most important point.
God created the angels and the demons.
I will put in a disclaimer up front. Not that God created the demons to BE demons, no more than He created Judas TO betray Jesus. I am sure God knew both would happen as we discussed earlier, God is outside of time and thus knows the answer before it has happened, however, it was (in both situations) their CHOICE that led them down the path they went down.
More on that later, but first off, God created both the angels and the demons. This is important so that we don’t lose sight of something.
The universe created as two equal forces, one of good, and one of evil, cannot exist. The reason? Because who can determine what is good and what is evil?
If this world were just celestial being vs demons from hell like many people bring up, there would be no reason to say that celestials are good and demons are bad. I mean sure some make up for this by painting demons as hideous monsters and angels as beautiful people, but we know from earlier that they’re the same thing separated by their choices only! (Besides, if you read most peoples’ descriptions of angels…. they sound pretty stinkin weird looking actually!)
In order for there to be a good vs evil world (and we already discussed earlier that there must be good for evil to exist so we do need both) We need to have some sort of deity who is above both forces. A being so great that he knows the purpose of both, he knows the results of both, and that he knows the end results of each sides’ actions. AKA You need God… and not just any God, as a powerful warrior who has fought to be in charge of the celestials. A God who is so powerful, and so above each side, that both angels will deny any implication that they are worthy of His level, and demons will be forced to obey at even a word from Him. For He is Lord of all!
So now that we’ve got this part figured out, we move a little bit forward, to see God, who is above all things, and outside of time, created man and woman. He created them for they were essential to this creation. For it was only once they were created that He could say “It is good.”
What’s more, He created man and woman as different. Different from the plants and animals so they could tend after them, and different than each other, not so that one could lord over the other, nor so they could compete for power between them, but they were created different so that they could complete each other. As two separate pieces of the same puzzle, who only when placed together could truly begin to make sense of the picture they created.
They were also created to be dependant on God. Their relationship was tight as He would walk with them, but they still retained free will.
God allowed Adam’s creativity to name all the animals of the earth, they were given the responsibility of caring for and looking after the garden. The only rule they were told not to break, was to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Now, there is not much biblical proof of how to decipher this, but let me now take a crack at it. See, I like Artificial Intelligence Research. I find the more we look into it, the more we realize just how complicated a creation we are.
But during AI research there is one common fear. What if we lose control of our creation? (Ironic no?)
But as I read about program wipes and deletions of budding AI’s, I realized something…. You cannot create true sentience without the ability to make choices yourself. Even if you were to create it, it would be a creature in torture… forced to make decisions without understanding why. Forced to obey instructions, even if it doesn’t agree with them. What’s more, their existence would not be very rewarding to their creator. For even if they were to do everything you said, tell you they loved you, tell you all sorts of wonderful things about you and create gifts in your honor…. what would be the point? In the end they’re nothing more than puppets and their actions are nothing more than you patting yourself on the back!
You cannot CONTROL sentience, but you CAN influence it.
You can suggest that it come to you for advice on matters. That it leave the tough questions to you. That it doesn’t need to think about the big stuff as that’s your problem, much like raising a small child.
But even then, when you lower the amount of questions it has to ask, there is still one free will act of rebellion they must retain and it’s a big one…. The question of will they continue trusting YOU to know what is right or wrong? Or will they begin trusting their own powers more and search for the answers themselves.
And this brings us back to the garden, where Adam and Eve walked together. As they walked together (yes they were together) Eve was called to by a small and old voice. Satan had gone into the garden.
He lost the battle with overthrowing God… but he knew that even if he couldn’t overthrow God, that there was something that meant a lot to God that he easily could.
Calling out to Eve (and yes Adam was still right there) he gave them the same temptation that was his own downfall.
“You are told that if you eat of the fruit you will surely die… but in fact it is just something that will put you on par with God’s powers… and that is why He doesn’t want you to eat it.”
Oh what a powerful lie… to build distrust in your authority, to claim that you can be more powerful than them, and to claim that the one you trust is afraid of you having said power in spite of how you would be with it. It covers every level of what classic debate of modern days has.
And it worked! Adam and Eve took of the fruit together, and then they realized shame. They realized self consciousness, they realized the fear that comes from the responsibility of making such decisions yourself.
See humanity was created “Good” but was not created as “Self dependent”
Much like a car needs fuel to run, we were meant to have the fuel of God to run on. Without His love and wisdom powering our walk, we feel anxiety, stress, we question our value, we question our future, we take on so many things that were never our place to grab, because they don’t matter… because God loves us.
But so sin entered humanity…. so the bond between God and humanity was tarnished… The box which had been opened could never be closed again. The barrier that was built between man and God would not come down. A great wrong had been committed, and as such, the consequences had to be dealt with.
See this world is more than just “Don’t do wrong lest God get angry at you!” One of the consequences of Free Will is the world of Cause and effect.
To be given the opportunity to choose for yourself, is to accept that there are consequences to our actions. As we discovered earlier, sentience is essential to this world… but to have sentience we must accept that there are consequences.
Imagine if you played a video game, and no matter where you shot, no matter what you did, enemies would die and your health would stay fine.
That’s a boring and useless videogame! There needs to be challenge for there to be purpose and you need to have risk to have challenge.
Ironically, if you want to know why there is bad in this world, it is the same reason why there is purpose to this world. It seems like a dumb idea at a topical level, but purpose and challenge are ESSENTIAL for humanity. They often said that POW’s in WWII, the thing that killed them most was not the treatment, or the conditions…. but was the futility of their existence that drove them to suicide.
But God loved this world, and loved us. It was because of this that he promised to save us from the consequences of the choice we had made. Like any parent who has gone to save their child from a bad choice, so too did God promise that our redemption was at hand. Even though the world would never be the same again, he would save us from the ultimate consequence even at a great cost to Himself.
But that said, the fruit had been eaten, the box had been opened, corruption had set in. Doubt, fear, pride, greed, lust… all these and more began to create boundaries. No more could God simply tell us the answer for we were no longer at a point that we could be treated so simply. The boundaries we put up around ourselves prevented us from understanding and trusting that God had a purpose for all. We lost sight of the goal… the relationship between God and Man, the relationship between man and woman, the relationship between beast and human, the relationship between parent and child…. All these were now corrupted and suffered.
God promised an answer, but God is outside of time. God is not bound by our dimensions. God’s plans go farther than we even think possible.
But trust to God had been severed, and because of this, mankind began to doubt, and forget. So often they turned back to that original sin of trying to find the answer themselves and rescue themselves in their own strength, instead of relying on God.
They turned to murder, they turned to industrialism, they turned to orgies, they turned to other sources of power…. and God dealt with them lest they hurt themselves further.
He flooded the world, he confused the languages, he destroyed a nation in fire and brimstone… reminder and reminder, time and time again to the people to trust in HIM not themselves…. but humanity is stubborn, and humanity forgets, and humanity rarely sees beyond the immediate threat before them.
Bringing up the promise again, God chose a nation, and promised that they were to be the “chosen nation”. The nation where redemption would come from. The nation which would stand as an example to all other nations.
I feel it important to point out here that God did not promise them to be the “perfect” nation, or “The nation that decides right or wrong.” Nor did he promise them to be “the only nation He’ll deal with from now on.” In fact, many times in scripture it makes mention of other nations who followed The One True God… and even times when God told the Israelites to hold back, or go witness, because He was not ready to give up on those people yet.
However, this was the nation that God decided to let us have as an example through the Holy Word. And there are days I feel that is a pity, as I would have loved to hear about the other nations who followed God and what happened to them as well… However we don’t know… and I’ll have to simply trust that that is the way it should be.
But more importantly, this was the nation where God’s plan would be set in motion. Even though the people once again failed to understand, and believed themselves to be that plan in themselves (again, believing that humanity would save humanity instead of God saving humanity) and so there led to many many years of the nation running back to God, then inching away, then running back to God, then inching away again. Till at long last… in a little town called Bethlehem, a child was born of a virgin.
Now let’s discuss a bit about this… You see, This was not the saviour people were expecting. This was not the war fought that people wanted fought. This was not the warrior that people thought of as a warrior.
His weapon was love, that pierced the mightiest of hearts. His strength was submission, and faith in God, His wars were relational, and not by physical combat, His victory was in death, and betrayal of those closest to Him.
I hear the example all the time of “It’s like if you were sentenced to death for murder, but the victim’s father said he would take the punishment for you!” And while a nice picture, I don’t think it really explains this scenario with quite the justice it deserves.
See, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit…. they are all separate and yet all the same. (As I said… outside our dimension, outside our understanding, things get weird when you try to explain it, it’s far better to just experience it) For God to save humanity, he had to take on the consequences of their actions Himself. However He was God… As we already discussed, He is outside this reality. Outside of heaven and Hell, He is the one who decides good and evil, not the one who is bound by it. In order to take on sin, He had to become man Himself… Jesus.
See, this is where I find the before analogy falls apart. While I see where they’re going, Jesus was man, but God was never at our level. He didn’t take on this punishment to say “SEE! THAT’S how you do it! Sheesh! I have to do everything for you guys!” NO! He knew this was beyond us, and that is why He sent His son!
See it’s not like the victim’s father sacrificed Himself… it’s like if an orphan child was being hunted by a group of terrorists. They were going to kill him, but then a top tier marine said he would face the terrorists for the child. He knew full well that it would hurt, and be a risk, and that he would never be the same again after being put at the mercy of these sadistic people…. but he also knew that unlike the child, he would most likely survive, and overcome this trial.
THAT is what I see Jesus did for us. And He came, and He witnessed, and He showed us a life without sin. A life still with temptation and so help me there would have been a TON of it… but without sin.
Then at the end he died… He was crucified… tortured by those he came to save… think about it… the reason why he sat and let those people do so much to Him was because He loved them THAT much… that no matter how much hate was thrown at Him, only love was shone back… But this was not the worst of His punishment… no…
At the end, God turned His back on Jesus… for all the sin that He had taken on Himself…. for the first time, Jesus who had been closer to God than even Adam had been, had felt the full weight of that barrier of sin that stood between mankind and God…. that barrier multiplied by each life in humanity…. It was as if he stood alone, in enemy grounds, surrounded by the enemy who longed to destroy Him……
And yet… He overcame that sin and rose from the grave 3 days later. He stayed long enough to tell others to not give up hope… that the debt had at long last been paid…. that humanity finally had hope again…. the world would still never be the same, but for the first time in thousands of years, there was hope…. the debt had been paid.
He went up to heaven, but what was left for us was the Holy Spirit. Now that the consequence had been paid, we could now have that connection with God again. All we had to do was ask for it… But does that mean that we took it?
Unfortunately not…. because see…. as I said before… Sin feels GREAT… and demons feel just as powerful and right to our instincts and emotions as angels do…
The debt had been paid, but we still have free will (Even if most choose to ignore it.)
We have before us, the offer of wisdom, strength, peace… but will we take it? Will we trust that God really has our best in interest??? How can we really know He wants what’s best for us? What if He just wants to enslave us for His own gain? What if this was all a trick so we couldn’t rise in power over Him? What if He was never there to begin with and this is all just people trying to keep us mind controlled to their will???? Or worst of all…. What if there’s something REALLY cool I’ll miss out on by living a life chasing after God????
See… the consequence is dealt with…. but the world would never be the same again… that relationship and bond was badly damaged…. and even though a bridge exists… the choice to take it has become far harder than it was ever meant to be.
And so we live in agony. We live in fear. We live in anxiety. We live with a void in our hearts which cannot be filled. We attempt to distract ourselves from the pain and meaninglessness around us with distractions that feel good…. but ultimately it is all meaningless.
We were designed perfect, but not to be self sufficient. We were MEANT to rely on God. An engine that runs without fuel… or just tries to use whatever it can find as fuel, is bound to burn out.
I could throw nitroglycerin in my car right now. And so HELP me that would burn well…. but my car was never meant to run on that… and neither I NOR my car will ever run again if I do that!
This world we have now is a battlefield… and scariest enough, it’s a battlefield disguised as everyday life. It’s a world meant to distract you from your pain, to not make you question the contradictions around you. You are not meant to think in this world, you are meant to listen and repeat.
But we were not designed like that. And we sure enough don’t have to live like that! Give up the what if’s…. LIVE! Like you were meant to