Monday, December 21, 2009

Time Limits

As each new year approaches we become more contemplative, curious, and sentimental about the subject of time. Greetings cards from friends and family frequently contain expressions of disbelief that time passes so quickly.

Time is also a scriptural and a scientific concept. The Genesis creation account asserts there was a beginning. The beginning refers not only to the creation of space, matter, and energy, but also to the beginning of time itself. The New International Version passages in I Corinthians 2:7, II Timothy 1:9, and Titus 1:2 all reference actions, intentions, and characteristics of God before the beginning of time, or before time began.The New Testament, especially the Book of Revelation, suggests future events with indications that time as we now experience it will end at the onset of the New Creation. Christ, existing before the creation of the universe, is described as the Alpha and Omega, an indication of His eternal nature. Humanity, however, thinks in terms of beginnings and endings within our own frame of created time. Our universe had a beginning, and therefore, a beginning to our time dimension.

Brilliant agnostic scientist Steven Hawking acknowledges the beginning of our time dimension at the Big Bang singularity. He claims we experience life in real time, but his writings and the writings of other thinkers focus more on the concept of “imaginary” time. They claim imaginary time is actually more “real” in the sense that there would be no beginning or end. Their writings wander to esoteric topics like no boundary conditions, sum over histories, and the possibility of tiny, tightly curled extra dimensions.

At least one secular writer, Gevin Giorbran, writing about imaginary time, stated, “But I have found it interesting that Christian friends have told me the bible actually says this is a period when we will find out more and more about God.” Giorbran claimed a blend of his “spiritual and scientific beliefs” as he contemplated these issues. I do not quote Hawking or Giorbran as authoritative on these issues. Their thoughts, however, merit consideration.

Some Christians believe the New Creation may be an extension of the time dimensions and real time experiences in which we are now embedded. In the passage in I Corinthians 2:7-9 which uses the phrase “before time began,” the Apostle Paul acknowledges the inconceivability of these truths to us who live in our present universe: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

We can be sure God, as the Creator, had a special purpose in mind for this universe. This purpose was not for us to live forever in a universe running down under the Law of Entropy. It is more reasonable, according to scripture, to see our universe as a means of banishing sin and corruption finally and forever.