August 10, 2010

The Movement of God - 3

Basic Physics says Movement is change in position, over time. “Time” however, does not truly exist. And space, as it turns out, is not actually physical. But, wait. Let’s take one thing at a time.

As we most often speak of it, Time is simply an artificial, human-made system of measurement. As we usually think of it, Time is merely an illusion of order, cast upon chaos – an illusion we cast by comparing all kinds of random and inconstant movements (which is, virtually all movement) against one or two of the very few things in the universe whose movements do seem completely predictable.

The only basis for counting "a second" is that we divide sunlight by 24, 60 and 60 again. How arbitrary! Atomic clocks may have replaced sundials, but neither atoms nor stars can explain why we use such things to measure all other movement. As Einstein(*) might have put it, our perception of time shifts considerably depending on which moving things we’re comparing.

In other words, there really is no such thing as time. There is only movement.

So let's think about movement itself, and how it takes place.

To be continued...

------------------------------
(*) That business of Einstein's with clocks on rockets is about ticking motion, not Time per se. The fact is, if you move really fast, ticking motion slows down. Atomic clocks on airplanes going 600 mph proved that it does. Now, I have no idea why that happens, but I know what does not happen. To say “time” slows down is just a manner of speaking. It’s all just relative motion – what Einstein called inertial frames – which is what (I'm told) Special Relativity is actually based on.

14 comments:

DUANE DOUGLAS said...

"As we most often speak of it, Time is simply an artificial, human-made system of measurement."
If you are saying what I think you are saying, I think I disagree here Bill. I can accept that God Is before time, that is, outside of time, He Is, everywhere every time all at once. But He did create time as we know it. "And the evening and the morning were the first day" before there was any other consciousness to recognize it. So time is very real. In His incarnation, Jesus proceeded from His conception to His resurrection in human time.
Or have I gone awry someplace er a.... sometime oh, uh... or notime?
Just my $.02.

DUANE

ps I'm enjoying this excersize.
pps my youtube nom is celestialarium referring to the time space universe that Father Son and Holy Spirit preside over forever.
I hve an awesome photo of it at my blog: Yep the whole time-space thing.

Bill said...

Hey, Duane. Always nice to meet another brother. Glancing at your Foreknown Elect blog, I see perhaps why this subject is right up your alley. Looking forward to some good conversation:

IMHO, it doesn't make much sense to say God is in "every time". God cannot be in the future NOW, unless the future already exists, as something (some place, some when) He can be "in". And the future does not yet exist.

Say that God can move faster than those rockets. Say that God can move faster than the speed of light. Say that God can move so fast, all Earthly movements slow down, to his perspective.

But do not put God in a place that does not yet exist. It is not limiting Him to say God cannot be "outside" something that is not a thing.

"The evening and the morning were the first day."

Once stars were spinning, God (or Moses) could certainly label their effects. But shall we suppose God Almighty used the Hebrew word for "day", before there were human speakers on Earth? If so, perhaps God taught Hebrew to Adam, and Adam's language remained unscattered through Babel, eventually passing itself down to Moses. Maybe so. But what did Moses mean, in Gen.1?

God *did* give us the sun, moon & stars as a way for human beings to uphold some consistency. "For signs, and for seasons, for days and for years". Whether God passed those words down to Adam, to Moses, or whether God simply designed it and Moses is being poetic - doesn't matter at this point - either way, I still think my point holds.

Yes, God wanted us to be able to measure time, to some degree. But we've become slaves to hours, minutes, and seconds. Our finances, our work schedules, our physics equations, our speed limit laws - everything *we* set up goes by these artificial divisions of something that isn't really a thing.

The sun 'rises' and 'falls', as Earth spins. That's all simply motion. The light spreads, then recedes. Then it happens again.

I like to think God knew we'd need at least some basic order in life. In fact, Genesis 1 is about how God ordered the world, for our sake. I think we probably agree on that much.

Jesus grew, physically, at the same rate of biological speed as other humans grow. In about the time of twelve solar revolutions by Earth, Jesus had grown into what we would call a "twelve year old". But if you can imagine life at the Equator, or life with no seasons, and no calendar, Jesus' physical body would have grown at just the same rate of speed. That's biological motion, on a cellular level.

But getting back to the hard part...

You said God is "every time all at once." I know that's a popular conception. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to me.

I'd greatly appreciate if you'd care to try and explain that.

Thanks in advance. I'm enjoying this also.

DUANE DOUGLAS said...

Wow! Nice reply Bill, I'm blessed.
Ok, by your response, I see that in your statement, the emphasis is "As we most often speak of it...measurement". You do believe in chronological time, as do I.

Regarding the other question, the concept (which I admit to having difficulty with)came to me through Dr. Anthony Badger, an associate of GES*. Some of my ideas in foreknown-elect were inspired by his writing on TULIP.
He contends that chronos did not exist until God created it: Not "time as we know it", but (if I understand correctly) before and after. As an example, what "has not yet happened" is true to all of creation, but before Abraham was I Am. The Lord God preceeds us through life, not as a great prognosticator, a cosmic "Punxatawny Phil". His foreknowledge is not based on inexhaustible knowledge of what has been and what is, but is already there and so He can accurately foretell what will be (no wonder Thomists need election and the "unmoved mover" to ensure that God does not make a mistake). He can only be omniscient (including all "future") if He Is there. He knows the end from the beginning.

It is humanly difficult for the our mind to conceptualize. That is why I took a picture of it ;0).
It looks like the time-space continuum in a fishbowl and God (Father Son and Holy Spirit of course) looking in from outside.**
At the same time He is not outside, but being omnipresent, His fullness is in very corner of creation, even in that quark you here tell about.
As Dr Badger contends, "If that is the case, the question as to what came before or after (as in the lapsarian proposals) become moot. ...the logical progression of these proposals...depreciate and ignore what we know about God's omniscience as related to the co-harmonious qualities of eternality, omniscience, and immutability."
God ALWAYS knew who would believe, and elected that one from "before time".

* I am not wed to the GES gospel myself. I find it too restrictive.
** My picture of the celestialarium both optical and verbal are in my blog here:

http://freegracelife.blogspot.com/2009/10/for-our-god-is-consuming-fire.html

DUANE DOUGLAS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DUANE DOUGLAS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DUANE DOUGLAS said...

Sorry Bill, my browser hiccupped, and I triple posted. It let me delete one of the extras.

Bill said...

He contends that chronos did not exist until God created it: Not "time as we know it", but (if I understand correctly) before and after.

Define "it" however you like, and call it whatever you like, but Time is not an IT. Time is no such thing as a thing. "Time" is merely a matter of perception. And as for "before and after" - although we cannot comprehend anything existing before God existed, God very much does (must) have some sense of Himself. If that sense is ongoing, and whether or not it *develops*, then God experiences moments which pass by, before and after one another.

Next...

He can only be omniscient (including all "future") if He Is there. He knows the end from the beginning.

I agree. This seems logical. IF, however, there simply is no such thing as the "future", then God is not limited to be ignorant of "it". The future is not an IT, any more than Time is. The future is not a "there" (a place) either.

Next...

I'm afraid I have no idea what Thomists believe, but a nonexistent future seems to leave God with only two ways of certainty about things that WILL come to pass: (1) he sees all dynamic parameters with perfect four-dimensional awareness, and is very good at extending those trajectories to make predictions; and/or (2) He simply influences some variables to make sure they go the way he wants them to go.

And finally...

I have no idea what all this does to anyone's doctrine of the elect. I plead absolute ignorance as to what Paul meant about that, also.

But whatever the scripture means by "predestined" or "elect"... it can't be that God looks back from the future. So it simply must be something else. Again, no idea what!

DUANE DOUGLAS said...

Hi again Bill,
I like your "I have no idea"s.
Many a theologian probably has nightmares of having "no idea" instead of nightmares of being naked (exposed) in public. There are mountains of knowledge that the Lord will simply have to reveal to me in eternity, because I will continue to "have no clue".

"...a nonexistent future seems to leave God with only two ways of certainty about things that WILL come to pass: (1) he sees all dynamic parameters with perfect four-dimensional awareness, and is very good at extending those trajectories to make predictions; and/or (2) He simply influences some variables to make sure they go the way he wants them to go."

Yeah. I don't like my choices here.
Even if 1 & 2 are combined and multiplied, God would still be prognosticating a la "The Old Farmer's Almanac" (using large computer models and copius meteorological history to predict the weather). And adding some rain making in there.

No, I can't pretend to comprehend it, and I still think of it sequentially, but I believe He is already there. I believe that in God the timeline does not stop at present (nor, rather crawling along "one second" at a time), but is infinite, "eternal" in both directions.
That is why in my blog I expressed upon realizing this that He seems alien to me. He knows, has always known exactly what I would do feel think pray. The concept of Him interacting with me is strange, because He can not react to my actions in a human sense, because re-action implies acting on new information. New information implies adding to God's knowledge. That's why I brought up Thomas Aquinas. In his world God is immutable. To add to His knowledge would be to change God.
God already knows, because He is there. This makes God a quantum factor bigger than I ever conceived Him before. He had to reassure me that He really does care for infinitessimal me.*

That is far superior to the concept of the immutable God having to choose which ones would be saved and who would be eternally damned because "what He does not control He is not sovereign over".

The alternative is to throw out the Augustinian frameworks of God's omniscence and immutability, and argue from the persective that "the elect" is Jesus, not the multitudes that God has chosen to trust Him.
That is what Scottish Theology does (See Bobby Grow Here:
http://evangelicalcalvinist.com/)

*My understanding of the basis for the Trinitarian God's love for me, and all creation is here:

www.brandfcoffee.blogspot.com
bring your own coffee, and read the 3 most recent blogs if you've a mind to.

Bill said...

I believe He is already there

Feel free, but you may as well believe he wears yellow boots made of gopher skin. There is no there.

The concept of Him interacting with me is strange

I'm beginning to realize, that is precisely part of the problem.

To add to His knowledge would be to change God.

No. God is Life. How can he not Grow? He never changes, but he does increase.

If Creation is in Him, which it is, and If He formed Adam from the dust, which He did, and if He formed Eve from Adam's side, which He did... then did not all that forming (building) take place in Him?

And if the Tree of Life and the River of Life were once in a garden, and yet John saw them both surrounded by a great city - presumably one built by God... then did not something within God's reality find itself to increase?

So, "to add to God's knowledge" seems possible, and yet what can we do that he might not have imagined us doing, before we had done so?

God does not change, but he does increase.

Does God "learn"? Ah, that is a whole other question...

At any rate, adding knowledge would not be the same as "change".

Aquinas, schmaquinas. ;-)

Bill said...

"what He does not control He is not sovereign over"

Who is that you're quoting?

It's silly, whoever said it. It betrays a fundamental misidentification of sovereignty with "control".

A good manager can maintain all authority without micromanaging.

DUANE DOUGLAS said...

Who is that you're quoting?

As a direct quote, perhaps no one. But it certainly has been an argument leveraged against me for predestination. I have already spent too much time arguing for the opposition, so I won't take any more. I agree with you.

Regarding whether God is bound to the present, I can not argue further. You seem to think my contention is silly. I know that there are people far smarter and better educated than am I, who inform me. Some learn from the bible:
http://www.faithalone.org/journal/2003ii/badger.pdf
Others learn from philosophy:
http://www.iep.utm.edu/god-time/

I have neither the time nor the inclination: too many fish to fry. But I do enjoy your work, and lurk here regularly.

Bill said...

"Louise got offended when I used the word vomit, but to me, that's what her dinner tasted like." ;-)

In all seriousness, brother Duane, I think you're much too smart to make silly contentions. I just think this is a blind spot which has long been ingrained among those "far smarter and better educated" than both of us.

The question may depend on one's working definition of "omniscience". If God knows everything, does that include everything which has not yet happened? Answer "yes", and the future must already exist. But if the future does not already exist, then God is still perfectly omniscient.

He is bound by nothing. He simply is, and His Time is always Now.

At any rate, you've been very gracious and I enjoyed the back and forth immensely.

Thanks very much.

DUANE DOUGLAS said...

Same back atcha Bill. I aint goin' no-where. Like I said, you have some interesting things to say.
(sshhh...just a little advice...STAY AWAY FROM LOUISE'S HOUSE AT DINNER TIME!!!!)

Bill said...

lol
:-)

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