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Chaplaincy Clark County

Monday, January 6, 2014

When I think about Heaven, God, eternity, and everything

Good morning,
I pray the day has found you well.

I started thinking about Heaven, God, eternity and everything. I thought I would share this with you. Please tell me your thoughts.

When I think about Heaven, God, eternity, and everything, I cannot help but think about time. Moreover, I think about the concept of time.

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

God created the heavens and the earth. Another way of saying this is that God created everything. When I say God created everything, time is included in this everything. This is an easy enough concept to understand. Before there was anything there was God and God started creating things, which included the heavens, and everything contained within the heavens. Now, contemplating “the heavens” it starts to bring on small headaches, which if I ruminate on it long enough will eventually bring on a nose bleed. One of the things that God created in all this was “time”.
What is time?

Webster’s dictionary defines time as:
the thing that is measured as seconds, minutes, hours, days, years, etc.
: a particular minute or hour shown by a clock
: the time in a particular area or part of the world
a : the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues
b : a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future

As we can see, time is a measurement. It has a beginning and an end. Wikipedia takes this definition and then explains it this way:

Time is a dimension in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future, and also the measure of durations of events and the intervals between them. Time has long been a major subject of study in religion, philosophy, and science, but defining it in a manner applicable to all fields without circularity has consistently eluded scholars.

God also set the limits of our lives. First, God tells us that we will die eventually.

Genesis 3:19
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
Then God tells us how long we were going to live.

Genesis 6:1
When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with[a] humans forever, for they are mortal[b]; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

When I think about eternity and time, my thoughts go to God.

God is never constrained by the things He creates. Let us unpack this for a moment.

God created the universe.

This includes the stars and the planets along with everything else.

When man started to notice that the sun rose and set everyday he noticed that there were periods of light and darkness. Man also found out that it was a lot easier to get things done when he could see what he was doing, so he preferred to do things during the time when the sun was up. He began to call this daytime. Man also found that it was easier to sleep when the sun was not burning a hole in his head. Therefore, he slept at night. Man started calling this nighttime. As “time” went by Man also noticed that the moon would change shape. Man started to notice how the moon would be big and round and then it would lose its shape as “time” went on. Than it would start to get bigger again and eventually become round again. Man also noticed that this seemed to reoccur at regular intervals. Man took notice that there were times when the day was warm and long and the day would be short and colder. That leaves would change color and drop from trees, the trees would go bare for a period of time and then start to grow leaves again. Man eventually noticed that this seemed to reoccur. Man started to measure all of this and eventually we came up with months and seasons. Months and seasons put together became “years”. Man started to see things as years went by. He saw that at first he grew and then he shrank. His hair either grew grey, fell out, or a combination of both. He also noticed that eventually people died. Man began to wonder how long people lived and began measuring a life in “Years.” Over “time”, this was not precise enough so Man started to break up the day into equal units that we eventually called “hours”. The man broke the “hours” up into “minutes and “seconds”. Eventually that was not good enough so Man broke up the “seconds” into tenths, hundredths, thousandths, millionths…It seems by this point we became obsessed with “Time” Because of this obsession, Man thinks about time a lot. Since man thinks about time a lot, Man started to assume that God thinks about time a lot. I do not know if God thinks about time a lot or even at all. Since God is all knowing, we like to use omnipotent to say that God is all knowing. We like to use the word omnipotent mainly because it makes us seem smarter. Something else we like to think about a lot, “How do we seem smarter than other people.” For some reason this has become important. The fact that there are so many smart people in the world makes me wonder why we have so many troubles that need to be worked out. I would have thought that all these smart people would have figured out the solution by now. God can think about everything at the same time, try doing that without going completely insane.

God is not constrained by time. Another way of saying this would be, “God lives outside of what we consider “Time.”

Here is an example, a rather poor example, but an example non-the-less.

Say a scientist wants to create an experiment. The scientist takes a Petri-dish puts some virus or something into the dish. For the sake of argument, let us say that this virus or something begins to grow. Let us also say that over time this virus or something gains consciousness. For the sake of this story, let us call this virus or something Descartes, mainly because I am getting tired of calling this virus or something a virus or something. One day Descartes realizes that he has a thought and says, “I think therefore I am.” Over time, Descartes begins to contemplate Life the Universe and Everything, which sounds an awful lot like a book by Douglas Adams but it is not. In this story, the virus or something had not invented the printing press yet so it would be impossible for Descartes to have read Mr. Adam’s book. Descartes starts to wonder if there is more than just what is around him and wonders if there could be a supreme being that could possibly be in charge of everything, and could possibly have even created him. There is no way for Descartes to see anything outside of the Petri-dish. In fact, the Petri-dish encompasses his entire universe. Descartes entire existence can be measured in a matter of hours, but to him it is an entire lifetime. There were many viruses or somethings before Descartes and many viruses or somethings after Descartes. Yet, virtually no time has passed in the scientist’s life. It is about now that you are seeing the flaws in this little story: one, the scientist is still constrained by time, all-be-it a much longer existence. Secondly, the scientist did not create the virus or something and all the things in its environment. The scientist did not create the Petri-dish. Nor did the scientist create the sterile gelatinous substance that allowed Descartes to live in the first place. No, some administrative person in charge of making sure the shelves were stocked with scientific stuff like plastic, or glass Petri-dishes filled with sterile gelatinous stuff bought them from some supplier that actually made Petri-dishes filled with sterile gelatinous stuff. Actually, the supplier may or may not have made the Petri-dishes and the sterile gelatinous stuff. They may have bought it from someone else who may or may not have made the Petri-dishes and sterile gelatinous stuff. Come to think of it, I have no idea who makes the Petri-dishes and sterile gelatinous stuff. As time goes by in the Petri-dish and all the other viruses or somethings contemplate Descartes thoughts on existence and come to the conclusion that there must be something bigger than just them, they start to speculate on just what that “bigger something is”. They start to wonder, “Where do we go when we die?” the whole thing about time and heaven starts up again. At no time is the scientist constrained by “their” time. Along with the fact that the scientist had no idea that there was a virus or something that had gained consciousness, after all this is just a scientist and not God.

God is not constrained by our time either. In fact, God has eternal life, a life that Christ has given to us.

Now we have to look at the word eternal. I had mentioned earlier the whole infinity thing and mathematics and there is no reason to talk about that again. Only, eternity has no beginning and no end. If it did, it would cease to be eternal and the whole “time” thing would come into being on the heavenly realm. We would no longer have eternal life but a life marked with a beginning and thus have a unit of measurement attached with it. The next thing we must look at is, “If there is no time to be constrained by is there a past and a future?

Remember what Webster’s Dictionary has to say:
a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future

Moreover, let us not forget the all-insightful Wikipedia:

Time is a dimension in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future, and also the measure of durations of events and the intervals between them. Time has long been a major subject of study in religion, philosophy, and science, but defining it in a manner applicable to all fields without circularity has consistently eluded scholars.

If God is not constrained by time and can see not only the past, the present, but the future as well in our lives, knows all the ifs, ands, and buts of what the future holds for each of us for all of us. In essence, in the realm of God everything is in the present tense. We do not live this way as we live our lives here on earth, I say here on earth because while this book may go out to different countries that have different languages it is still here on earth. My hope to sell tens of books still rests on the fact that only people from earth will read it becoming in effect a non-entity for anyone not currently living on our blue little planet.

I haven't finished it yet, I got tired of typing.

I hope it blesses your day.

Blessings,

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