I began our New Years Eve Late Night Mass (Which begins at 11:15 PM) with the observation that we begin this Mass in one year, and end in another. New Years Eve features the mysterious passage from one year to another. In a way I suppose it is no more mysterious than the passage from Tuesday to Wednesday or from 10:00 AM to 10:01 AM.
In one sense, nothing could be simpler than time. What time is it? It is 1:15. Simple! But time has mysteries about it.
What is time? Some say it is merely a measure of change. But that doesn’t really make a lot of sense since change doesn’t happen at a steady pace at all.
Some say it is just another way of clocking distance in the space/time continuum. Time and distance surely are related. To look out at the stars at night is to look into the past, for is has taken sometimes millions of years for the light of many stars to reach us through the vacuum and vast distances of space. Even the light of the sun is eight minutes old before it reaches us.
But there’s just more to time than distance and we all know it. The Greeks had several words for time. Chronos was clock-time. Kairos was a complex notion of time as experienced subjectively. Thus ten minutes can seem like an hour or an hour pass swiftly. Further things can seem fitting at certain times and not at others. Kairos is thus an elastic notion of time. And lastly there is Aeon (eternity, or the fullness of time). More on Aeon below.
Yes, every New Year I ponder the mystery of time, I guess because time is so much on our mind. And as I ponder time, I am mindful that most of us think we know what time is, until we are actually asked to define it in some meaningful way. Something makes me think of what St Augustine once said about another mystery (the Trinity). And thus if someone asks me to define time I am tempted to say with Augustine: If you don’t ask me, I know. If you ask me, I don’t know. So time, while plain at one level is mysterious at other levels.
I cannot list all such mysteries, but consider a few puzzlements about time.
- The Mystery of Time’s Elasticity – We like to think that time is unvarying. 10 minutes here, is the same as 10 minutes there. But science has largely disproved that. For example, as an object approaches the speed of light, time slows down. Further, strong gravitational forces also slow down time. On a very large planet with stronger gravitational forces I would age less rapidly than on a smaller planet. Granted, it would take a huge difference in speed or gravity to be able to observe a big difference, but the Law of Relativity does demonstrate that time does not pass equally everywhere. In a way it is almost symbolized by a large, lumbering elephant compared to a tiny little mouse. As the mouse scurries across the floor (pursued by my cat!) the speed is amazing, almost as if the mouse were in a different time frame.
- The Mystery of Lifespans – And speaking of animals, why are life spans so different? My cat Daniel is, like me, a mammal. He has heart and lungs, a very similar physiology to me in most respects. Yet his clock is set to 15 years, my clock is set to 80 years. Certain turtles can live up to 150 years, Many types of parrots can live to be over 100. Other birds live only 10 to 15 years. Most fish live only a few years, but Carp (a fish) live up to 100 years. And so on. We all see to have a clock, a designated life span. But that life span seems quite variable even among very similar species. We seem to carry the mystery of time in us. I have never heard a satisfying answer to the wide variability of life spans.
- The Mystery of our “inner clock.” Most of our demarcations of time are clearly rooted in the celestial cycle. Thus, a “day” is the cycle of the sun, as is a year. A month (a least originally) is rooted in the cycle of the moon, and “month” is just a mispronunciation of “moonth.” Seasons too follow the Sun’s trajectory in relation to the horizon and length of day. But more mysterious is the 7-day cycle we call the “week.” Where does it come from? Anthropologically most cultures manifest a need to “reset the clock” every seven days. The Genesis account of creation in seven days, surely influenced the Judeo-Christian culture, but other cultures show a similar tendency of seven days. Where does the seven day week come from? Mysterious. But we seem, as humans to have some inner clock in this regard.
- The Mystery of Eternity – Lastly there is the mystery of what we call “eternity.” Most people misunderstand the word eternity simply to mean a long, long, time. But that is not what is meant by the word. When the Greeks coined the word eternity, (Aeon) they meant by it “the fullness of time.” That is to say, Eternity is the past, present and future all being experienced at once. I cannot tell you what this is like, but I can illustrate it. Look at the clock to the upper right. The time is 1:15 in the afternoon. That means that 10:00 AM is in the past and 6:00 pm is in the future. But consider the dot at the center of the clock and see that at that spot 10 AM, 1:15 PM, and 6 PM are all the same, they are equally present to the center. We live our life in serial time, on the outer edge of the clock. But God does not. God lives in eternity. God lives in the fullness of time. For God, past, and future are the same as the present. God is not “waiting” for things to happen. All things just are. God is not waiting and wondering if you or I will get to heaven. He is not watching history unfold like a movie. In eternity, 10,000 years ago is just as present as 10,000 years from now. Scripture hints at God’s eternity in numerous passages. For example, But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. (2 Peter 3:8). Psalm 139 says, Your eyes foresaw my actions; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be. (Ps 139, 15). Psalm 90 says, For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. (Ps 90:4). And then there is simply the God’s name: “I AM” In this Name, there is no past, no future, just an eternal now, the present tense. Jesus declared to the crowds, “Before Abraham ever was, I AM.” (John 8:58). So here is the most awesome mystery of time, the fullness of time, eternity.
Ponder God’s glory and the mystery of time!
Here’s a remarkable video on the mystery of time.
40 Replies to “Does anybody really know what time it is? A meditation on the mystery of time.”
Thank you for acknowledging these mysteries of time. When I was 12 yrs. old I had a sort of premonition that I would live to be 100. Since I might actually have to live with my body for that long, I have really tried to take care of myself. But only God truly understands time. Jesus walked on water and I dog paddle along…
Daniel is a nice name for a cat. I think there was a cat named Daniel on Mr. Rogers.
As always, you are several ‘light years’ ahead of me in your depth of thought. I have contemplated these things too, but not nearly to the extent that you have. I suspect that you have much more to say about time, but are limited by the standard size of the blog.
My thoughts on time have touched on yours but then veer off to thinking about how it must have been for Jesus, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, to come to earth in human form, as we have just celebrated His birth and live for 33 years under the constraints of TIME while still remaining fully God and fully man.
I have no doubt that you have thought of this too but did not want to overwhelm us with too much, all at one ‘time’ You have put me into a philosophical frame of mind and also a funny one, full of puns. I am feeling ‘punny’ because it is SO true how “Time was made for man, not man for time.”, and how God transcends all time and space because they are BOTH ‘now’ for the great I AM.
I listen to “The Miracle of Love Rosary” by Kitty Cleveland and Fr. Robert Cavalier. There is one part that goes, “Before the world was made and time began, I loved you.” This always gives me cause for meditation that the world and time began at the same ‘time’. Then I go on to think that when the world ends, ‘time’ will also end, and we will be in eternity. So this makes me strive all the more to cooperate with God so that I may spend eternity with Him, rather than without Him.
Our words truly do fall short for this type of meditation. As you have written in other blogs, eternity will not be boring. I look forward to spending all eternity contemplating God and never even making a dent in understanding the great I AM.
I feel that part of our lack of understanding, of time, is perceiving the “cause and effect” as the thing itself. Time is not the numbers, hands and other parts of a clock or; numbers separated by a punctuation mark in digitally expressed time; but, a thing which these measure or describe.
Somewhat like voltage and amperage are not readouts on an electrical guage. Even calculations can be lacking because wattage is not so much the product of multiplying voltage with amperage but, that which is found by multiplying these two. Could be some disputes on this, third/last, one and I look forward to seeing them.
As for the universal tendency to adopt seven days as a week – it reminds me of something I read about our perception of grasping sets of numbers as a unit. Seven numerals used to be what was called a telephone number – until area codes were added to even local calls. However the area code is a separate concept (geographical) that adds the two dimensions of area. Three actually but, we find it convenient to regard it as two which risks seeing the three as two – somewhat like seeing cause and effect as the thing itself. Or the tendency which some people have to regard the Holy Spirit as an attachment rather than a Divine Person.
Same area code as mine (on a landline) is nearby. Or functionally nearby as in part of our locality if the observer is close to the outer edge of the locality. A different area code is further away.
Now there are two units; the three digit area code and the seven telephone numbers. Also the first three, of the seven, used to indicate separate areas within the overall locality but, lately I have encountered overlaps.
Trying to build a foundation, rather that drifting into excessive words, the quantity of up to seven is easily perceived, by most, as a unit. Once we go to eight or more this perception tends to be stretched to a distraction caused by another tendency to pause and reflect. So, seven is regarded, and used, as the quantity of a set of smaller units that can conveniantly be used on the next level. Eight would cross a threshold level and become inconvenient. Also, three (area code) and seven ( telephone number) is a third level or, a group of groups. That’s about the best that I can recall the claim of what I read.
I think that the variance of passage of a uniform time length has to do with fulfillment. Pulling nails from the parts of a dismantled falsework and an hour can appear to drag. Dismantling a complex falsework (such as a concrete form around concrete which has reached first cure) and the hour can fly by as I constantly balance safety and speed of accomplishment. Fulfillment is often seen as having fun and, sometimes it is, but this is so limited.
Listening to the same old sermon and time may seem to slow down. Inject something which upsets my pre-conceived notions and offer to broaden my understanding and time flies by. Give a locked in and final definition of the new aspect; when a mystery seems involved; and I find myself in a harsh imbalance of seemingly fulfillment which clashes with what I suspect is beyond all of us and I both want to be there (to listen to the new thing) and to leave so that I can be in awe at the mystery.
You also mention the space/time continuum and it reminds me of something noticeable almost a year ago at an event, seemingly appropriatly called a “Miracles Rally”
I’d seen many illustration like the first one given at http://www.ws5.com/spacetime/ to show how gravity interacted with (or resulted from interaction with?) space and time.
At the rally there were little jars with a rubby ducky floating in them. Cute but, something else came up. If the ducky drifted near the edge of the jar (and there seemed to be an overwhelming tendency to do so) it would accelerate to the edge before the distortion (of the water surface) got very close to the edge. In the illustration the acceleration happens at the edge of the distortion which is around the planet – further from the planet than the distortion in the water that clung to the ducky.
This brought back reflections of something I did with some soapy water, that I’d saved after drying dishes for my mother – back before my teen years. When I showed my mother how the bubbles leapt together and that was how gravity worked she appeared indulgent, but detached. When I tried to tell people that the leap took place before the distortions got “in range” and that the perception of space, time, gravity needed more research there were many adults who told me that Einstein (my favourite hero figure) was not really a physicist but, actually, a mathematician and that I should give up my interest in physics and work toward becoming a mathematician. Someone seemed to disagree because, a few years later, I got my all time favourite Christmas present – namely a text book set for early teen years that told the process of how the first nuclear reactor (Manhatten project) came about.
The incident with the soap bubbles approximately co-incides with my decision to attend church regularly on Sundays. The church attendance lasted three years but the physics interest was mostly squashed much quicker.
People used to wonder how I could possibly have a dual interest in a religious faith and a scrutinizing thing like science and I couldn’t answer it at the time. A couple of years ago a social worker, of my aquaintance, asked about that and I was able to respond that both are supposed to be a search for truth and should be compatable; at least in my estimation. Upon proofreading I see how the last statement makes me feel not so bad about drifting from faith to science in a faith based internetary.
There is a phrase that really fits this blog and makes me ponder: “The more you know, the less you know.”
Hi Steve Sorry for the late reply. I am just getting back to my blog after some time away. I just read your post and I must say, THANK YOU. You’ve inipsred me to reach out to others at church. This is something I’ve been struggling with, as I have started attending a new church as of late, and I have to really push myself to talk to anyone at the church. I sometimes prefer to just come, worship, learn, and run home to continue worshipping or to spend time in Scripture. I cut my conversations short when people strike up conversation, in an attempt to withdraw back into myself. Thanks for reminding me that there may be people I can reach out to, talk to, encourage, love.
For me, “time” is an artificial convention to express our confusion. NOW is the point of contact we have with Eternity. NOW is, in a sense, “forever” insomuch as it partakes of Eternity. “Time” is just the way we measure how things change outside of Eternity. But, I really don’t know, this is just the way I think of it.
David, you are spot on. This is how I expressed it in my post on the Kalam argument at CatholicStand.com:
Time in physics is a linear mathematical variable used to express the measurement of one motion as the comparison of it to another motion.
In contrast to conceptual time, real time, which is the qualitative now of mutability, lacks extension, including the conceptual extension of an algebraic, Cartesian variable.
Space and time are not realities, but mathematical conceptualizations. The human, mental concepts of space and time correspond analogically to the relational location and to the relational motion of material things, respectively.
well said gentleman.
Time, first and foremost, refers to a concept associated via the brain. Its all in your head. Its a subjective and artificial concept. The referent of time has no shape, is not elastic, cannot stretch or change. Only physical objects can perform actions. Time does not refer to an object of existence: Divine, spiritual, or physical. Time is not a noun of reality. Time is no mystery at all. The concept just needs to be defined in order to be used consistently in a dissertation. The so called mystery of time stems from our laziness to define the term in no uncertain words. The scientists haven’t proven anything about time since time refers to an artificial concept associated in their puny and often ridiculous brains. Time doesnt speed up or slow down period since time can’t move. Only objects (that which has shape) can move. Concepts can’t move, change, stretch, etc. Concepts are relations between two or more objects associated by the brain.
Time refers to a metric of motion. Motion is two or more locations of an object. We arbitrarily decide upon a scalar quantity to measure two or more locations of objects with the purpose of organizing our lives and our ideas. God provided ways of easily measuring motion by placing Earth in relation to the Sun, the Moon in relation to the Earth and so on.
The West is addicted to time. God does not transcend time since time refers to an idea. It is impossible to ‘move beyond’ an idea related by a human brain. All one can say is that God defies our well-defined notions of time as well as space for that matter. Space is a concept that resolves to nothing.
Augustine led the West into a romance with Time. And its our fault that we let scientists and theologians shove their ridiculous notions of time down our throats.
How distorted is man’s thinking by our present situation! Without the fall of Adam, there would be no need for time. Time, then, is that opportunity given by God to men to do penance.
This is an important thought. What was time in Eden?
Time is a special case of infinity.
Since Infinity is ‘tthe perfect Totality of the PRESENT’ Then time must be what remains if you take the Present out!
The Present being the point where the Past meets the Future
There is a prayer which I think is called the “univeral prayer” that has the statement that we should never forget the “shortness of time or the length of eternity”. On another note: Thanks, Peter for the statement: “… the tendency which some people have to regard the Holy Spirit as an attachment rather than a Divine Person.” How true!
Thank you Msgr.
Is it true when a priest visited Einstein to ask about order in universe.Einstein switch the t
alk to Our Lord.
He wanted to know about the Mass.then he statdd that Christ must be timeless and infinite.
Not being subject to Time, God is unchanging: His Nature, so to speak, is fixed.
Since the Incarnation ‘occurred within our time-frame’, in that we can point to a specific reckoning such as 5 BC; we tend to think that is the ‘moment’ in which God took upon a creature’s nature. God ‘became’ Man.
But, if God is eternal, that is ‘the fulfillment of Time’; then a creature’s nature has/is always been a part of His nature also. It may explain, not the ‘mechanics’ of the Trinity, but perhaps the ‘why’ there was the nature of God as a Trinity, to reflect that attribute or composition. It would definitely illuminate the concept that we were made in His image.
And it explains part of the mystery of becoming, as the Bride of Christ, parts of His Body: if God is unchanging.
He says, “I knew you before you were formed”, and “I will always be with you”.
The Sons of God rejoiced at the moment of Creation…was that just the angels, or was that speaking of us?
As heirs and sons of an eternal Kingdom, I would tend to think so.
There is something tremendously awesome in that moment of the crucifixion, where Christ’s nature, as a creature, dies upon that cross. To separate from Life, and Life being the upholding of the Holy Spirit.
Christ felt the weight of the wages of Sin, which is removal from God’s Presence.
As the New Adam, that became our representation of our sins separating us from God.
That ‘moment’ of Resurrection, becomes our moment when we are united to Christ in Baptism.
Conversely, the Fall is perhaps the signifier of when entropy entered the universe, as Death. A stain upon the nature of Time; when ‘duration’ distorted from an infinite unfolding of a fractal universe, into a linear sequence of processes. The ‘fullness’ of eternity was ‘broken down’ into increments, becoming the playing field in which processes could reflect changes in nature; instead of being ‘fixed’ as it would be in an eternal realm.
Which incidentally answers ‘why can’t the fallen angels be saved?”. They were never a corporal creature to have the physical linearity that allows such things as a change of nature, which is necessary for the Process of Salvation to operate within.
Sometimes when we meditate upon the Mystery of the Love shared within the Trinity, we have a tendency to feel ‘left out’, and tend to reflect on the love of God towards us as being perhaps an ‘afterthought’.
But, as incorporated as the Body of Christ, if Christ has always been ‘First Fruits of many’, then that has always been us standing within the Presence of the Trinity; and no less loved.
How could God not love Himself, His nature is of Love…and by extension, not love us?
It’s called Mystery, but God don’t ever change.
As I read recently: “God is love, and so nothing that is against His Will can be love.” That is how He may not love us… if we act against His Will. That is why it is so important to confess and repent of our sins.
Dear Monsignor Pope: Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and Happy New Year! Or,…is it Happy Old/New/Same Year with a different number? Well, may Our Lord be our Present, forever, Gonzalo
Fascinating. Thank you Monsignor. Our time has a yesterday, today and a tomorrow. In the next life we will be on the angels’ clock with a before and after, but no more need for yesterdays or tomorrows. As Saint Augustine put it, the “now” for creatures is illusive. WHen you try to seize it, it has passed. Time disappears in our dreams, does it not? Change, in our dreams, is measureless, except by before and after. Wow, what is eternity going to be like when we live in the “now” of the beatific vision???
The notion that light from distant stars has taken many millions of years to reach us is based upon the assumption that the speed of light is constant. However, based on observation and measurement over a relatively short period of time, (forty years), this theory is being increasingly challenged in some quarters, and it has been proposed that the speed of light is a mere fraction of what it was at the instant of the creation of the universe. Should this ever prove to be correct, this would mean that the light from even the most distant stars has taken not millions, but merely thousands of years to reach us. This in turn suggests that the material universe is rapidly winding down, and when “all the lights go out” (fater the Last Judgement?), time will no longer exist.
I love the way that Science does that. A lot of time I get in debates with materialist and atheists who talk about “settled science” and I have often questioned them what they are really referring to. In my own brief life of 52 years, we have gone from the steady state universe to the expanding universe, from Newtonian certainties to quantum etc…. pretty major shifts. I respect true science when it is a bit more humble in its claims and I doubt some of the the more blustery amateurs who talk about settled science. True science it seems will always question itself.
That is correct. The great scientists like Galileo, Newton, Faraday and Einstein had humility when facing Nature.
“True science it seems will always question itself.” I find this to be a very inspiring statement and have added it to my humility file. As I’ve previously suggested here – science may be called “uncertain” by some but; what it actually expresses is our uncertain grasp of what things truly are … beyond our pre-conceived notions. When the religious leaders of another day were told that truth would set us free they expressed, and clung to, an illusion of truth but were called on it by being reminded of the sin which is always around us, and which exposes the lie in the illusion. John 8:31-34. The fact that I don’t recall ever hearing verse 34 in a sermon (or any expression of this lesson) and didn’t encounter it until reading the Bible from beginning to end, appears to show how thorough is the long standing desire to show truth as “settled”
The earlier comment, on settled science, seems like recent efforts to undo science and replace it with some vague thing of the same name. Once recently, at a food court there was a fry cook who was constantly juggling the quantities of french fried potatoes which he was putting through stages. If there were too many readied for the final stage they would go to waste. If there were not enough then customers would have to wait a longer time and may go to other counters.
Upon my comment of how well he did the task, of balancing the stages, he called it a science. It seemed to be lacking in the facts and other suitable information and appeared, to me, to be more like an art. I didn’t feel like getting into a debate with him, since I wanted to eat my fries while they were fresh, but I wondered what would happen if assessing science by the standards of art became acceptable.
So many obstructions into seeking truth coming up lately. At the local library I used to use their internet access and could open two windows at once (side by each) so as to compare by shifting my gaze from one to another. Recently I tried to do this but found that the program currently there would only open two tabs so that I had to close one, in order to see the other, and close the second in order to see the first.
Going back to the symbol that opened the first window, and trying to open a second window, didn’t help. Upon doing that the program automatically went to the first and opened a new tab so that comparing two items became the (slightly) more complex task which was like constanly turning a page – instead of readily shifting the gaze. This may seem small but, so many things like it are popping up as a “settled science” contributes to the emergence of a static society like the one endorsed by the people in John 8:31-34.
This may seem quite discouraging but, such things as this; and others like incidents of the destructive hacking of the ADW blog not so long ago; amount to evil daring to drift from the shadows toward the light.
In such things as, “the smile in the face and the knife in the back” the smile is become successively more apparent as the superficial thing it really is and the knife is becoming much more noticeable.
During World War II the Brits hung on in their bomb shelters night after night as enemy aeroplanes seemed to control the skies and hope seemed far away. However a handful of fighter pilots continued to knock these planes out bit by bit as Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister of the time) coined the phrase, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few” and the tide was gradually turned by the pilots and by the workers who returned to their factories in the mornings – in spite of many a sleepless night in the shelters.
Persecution of Christianity seems to be decreasing but, is it being gradually replaced by something else as so many, who used to stick to the truths of Christian principles, accept the insertion of warm and fuzzy pseudo philosophies of a universal religion? A universal religion with superficial challenges that feel good but do no good?
I hang on to a love of truth “Just For Today” and if that doesn’t work then “Just For One Hour” This has worked for me in free-ing me from a “seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” when I accepted assurances that God’s Grace would be sufficient for what I could not do for myself. The British people accepted Churchill’s assurances that they would win and … they won. Acceptance that God has a plan that is better than mine and better than all the false trickery of evil.
“…it has been proposed that the speed of light is a mere fraction of what it was at the instant of the creation of the universe. Should this ever prove to be correct, this would mean that the light from even the most distant stars has taken not millions, but merely thousands of years to reach us.”
If the speed of light is now a fraction of what it was, wouldn’t that mean that instead of taking 1 million years to reach Earth, it is actually taking 1 million + years to reach us? Otherwise it seems that the speed of light would be faster than at the instant of creation. I know that in the end, it doesn’t matter, I just want to be sure I am understanding the proposition correctly.
Either way, it is very interesting how, as Msgr. Pope says, Science tends question itself.
I remember as an 8-year-old watching the clock as the minute hand went round and round, waiting for class to be over. It was always so many minutes from “now”. That got me to wondering when “now” was, exactly. I never got that answered to my satisfaction.
I agree with Stewart Davies. Bravo. If we believe Genesis like children, with the Faith, we would believe that God created the stars and their light shining on the earth on the third day. Just as He created the seed bearing plants and trees, not seeds without the mature tree. Which came first the chicken or the egg? The chicken. To what purpose would God create the firmament waiting millions of years for it to develop. He created the laws of the universe, He is not dependent on them. The universe was created for man. It was all in place for Adam and Eve.
I believe that the concept of seven days came from the number celestial bodies that can be seen with the naked eye: eg Sun, moon, …. Saturn . As for area codes, they only make sense in the dial pulse world. Cities (states) were assigned code based on their population. Pulse phones at max, could do 10 pulses per second. If one could reduce the pulses (time) calling a large city (New York 212, or Los Angeles 213) the phones companies would save money on equipment purchases. Here was an example were time is money. As always, Msgr, your words start my day, God Bless you,
I have come to the conclusion, Monsignior that time is intimately related to our redemption is the opportunity we are given to be with God. I am 72 years of age but when pople ask me how old I am I tell them I am approximately two thousand and thirteen years old since my love for the Lord has made m6 timy time on this earth to be present in the life of Christ and his phis Eucharistic presence. BC he was present in the Blessed Trinity, AD he is not only present in the the Blessed Trinity but mmmakes himself present for us mysteriously like time is in our present moment, so perhaps, just perhaps… time has nothing to do with Christ since he is also God, and God is not in time, Christ the Second person of the Trinity the one tha has a lot to do with time… Could it be that the new heaven and the new the earth he spoke about, has already been created. A lot of food for thought…
I would speculate that eternity is light and time is darkness, The light shines amongst the darkness and the darkness comprehends it not. Darkness reflects light and becomes a creature of time and space. The mystery of inner clocks varying in species probably has more to do with God’s evolutionary creation of the food chain. I am sure He knew what he was doing. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelette. Bottom line, go into a quiet place,close you eyes and be one with the eternal Light. Leave the darkness of time for dust and moth to consume. It’s not rocket science, it’s sacred.
The comments about the topic of time are interesting.
The closest answer will be the one that applies Occam’s razor.
Perfection knows no “time”, only corruption (all things are perishable). Time is just another word for corruption (sin and death) and right now we live in the realm of corruption. We can try to understand time and all its effects on us and our surroundings (the universe and vast space, etc.) but we are really only trying to “measure” the effects of corruption. When Perfection comes, corruption (time) will cease to exist. That is why the coming of Christ is so important, He ends corruption, He conquers sin and death, He brings us into Perfection and out of the corruption of sin and death. When we are risen and given our incorruptible (Perfect) bodies there will be no sin, no death, no time, there will be only Perfection (the absence of corruption) which is eternity.
1 Corinthians 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Revelation 21:1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Msgr. Pope, you make an error in #1, time’s elasticity. It is a common error. Time does not slow down for an observer moving very fast relative to you or for an observer in free fall in an intense gravitational field. It is better to say that observers disagree about their elapsed time measurements. E.g., an astronaut who bails out of a spacecraft near a black hole will count a finite number of ticks on his Timex — say 37 seconds — before he crosses the event horizon, but an observer on Earth, if they could see his watch, would never see that 37th tick. The observer on Earth would see theor clocks go to infinity before they saw the 37th tick. They disagree.
As for eternity, I think Jacques has a good view. I always think of the Eucharist as a window in time, so that we are miraculously present to the moment of crucifixion. But if you want to refine your view of eternity, slide over to CU and ask a physicist there about the Wick rotation and Euclidean time. It is a tool for calculating quantum tunneling, but really turns the concept of time and eternity sideways. It’ll give you a lot to think about! 😀
It slows down relative to the observers on earth.
Incorrect. It is best to say the observers disagree. Time always goes at 60 minute per hour in ones local neighborhood. But observers in different neighborhoods, different states of motion might disagree, as in the astronaut example I gave you. Contact me if you want further expert guidance.
But the main point of your article is quite legit and good: time is a riddle and always worth thought.
Brian, I’m afraid you have misunderstood the proposition. As you know, there is an inverse relationship between the velocity of an object and the time required to traverse a given distance. If it is ideed the case that the speed of light, currently estimated to be approximately 186,000 miles/sec, is only a fraction of the original velocity of light at the moment the universe first came into existence, (this was first proposed by a Soviet physicist in 1927, and in recent times has been supported by Setterfield and Norman and others), then light from distant stars would have travelled a far greater distance in the early universe than if the speed of light had always been a constant 186,000 miles/sec.
As an aside, this would hold true for the entire electromagnetic spectrum, including radio-isotope decay. Therefore objects that apparently date from remotest antiquity according ro radiocarbon dating methods, (which are already of questionable reliablity in many instances), would thus be of far more recent origin.
Yeah, well, all I know is that we need to get the kids out the door at 10:10 am for mass on Sundays or we’re late.
Well, now I know why my daughter’s and my concepts of “10 minutes” are so different. I am thinking chronos, and she is thinking kairos.
I have a great many thoughts about time and like many, find myself pondering the implications as I settle into middle age. First off, I have come to believe that the ideas of ‘clocks,’ ‘calendars,’ and time simply do not correspond to God’s. We cannot begin to fathom the Lord’s idea of time and it is folly if we do. That said, I have to believe that Jesus was just here in terms of the Lord’s rendering of time. I have to believe that this same idea of time is as incomprehensible to we humans as the internet, cars or microwaves are to my pet goldfish.
That said, it has occurred to me that while we believe that the human race is on a par with God the Almighty and that our time here is worth elongating if at all possible, it strikes me that if life here is a blink of an eye to God, then our entire thinking about life and the length or shortness of it must be skewed.
I don’t have all of the answers, but it seems to me that all we can do is live our lives as God has prescribed and trust Him in all other regards. To a believer, this world is not ‘ours.’
In Genesis, it says men lived hundreds of years, and then at some point that was taken away by God, so they would live only the proverbial ‘four score and ten’. Scholars look on living till 500 or 800 as a myth, but maybe it could be true. Science says this is impossible, but think about it. What if today, the AIDS virus were to become contagious, say by mosquito bites? And if no treatments had been developed. People would be born with AIDS, catching it from their mothers, develop immuno-deficiencies, and die in their 20’s if not sooner from various illnesses. Millenia from now people would read about an age when folks lived into their 80’s and 90’s older, but they would dismiss it as fantasy, an impossibility.
On another note, it is interesting that Augustine realized, 1600 years before Einstein and the big bang, that time was a part of the physical universe, and that it had a beginning.
Earth time = a measure of life on earth. Real time is no time at all. History is today and tomorrow is yesterday. Events takes place within what we call or consider time but time really never changes or moves.
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