Wednesday 6 August 2014

Is Time inevitable? Time and pluralism versus out-of-Time and monism

The attitude to Time defines much. If Time is inevitable, always a factor - then there can be no unity of entities, no omnipotence, no omniscience... at least not in any absolute sense. Because if it takes time to know something, then knowledge is always incomplete; if it takes time to do something, then power is thereby limited.


If communication is necessary, Time is necessary; or, if things can be causally linked without need for communication - this requires that Time is not necessarily a factor.

(This is akin to the distinction between General Relativity, where Time and communication are necessary; and Quantum theories, where they are not.)

To put it another way, any doctrine of the utter unity of (say) the Holy Trinity, or God and Man, or the reality of several absolute attributes accorded to God; all depend on the reality of simultaneity - things must be able to happen at exactly the same moment, without need for communication, and without any time-lag.


Consider the Holy Trinity and the one-ness between God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost - is this a complete harmony which require communication and therefore some 'elapsing of Time'? Or is the unity one entailing a simultaneity of will and therefore no Time elapsing? - that the unity of will is therefore necessarily outside of Time.

If Time is inevitable, and communication takes Time (no matter how minuscule this Time may be - some Time must have elapsed in the process of communication), then the Holy Trinity are separate persons in communication; but if Time can be transcended, then there could in principle be a non-communicative one-ness of unity (but then the status of the Trinity as individual persons loses meaning).


Upon this distinction depends whether deification/ theosis is a matter of unity with God or relationship with God. 

Unity with God entails the reality of a state of being outside of Time - in this state God and Man are merged, and therefore in practice (given the vastness of difference) Man is absorbed into God.

But if Time is an absolute, then there can be no merging - rather the highest goals is a perfection of communication; but status as separate persons would necessarily be retained because of Time.

Any communications between God and a Man would take some Time, and the elapsing of that Time (however brief) is a mark of the separation of God and each Man.


So Time goes-with pluralism - with an irreducible multiplicity of entities in communication; while the possibility of outside-of-Time implies that reality, or at least highest reality, is a unity with no distinction of parts or persons.

And the possibility of transcending Time goes-with a Heaven of static, unchanging bliss - perfect, outside of Time; while the absolute reality of Time goes-with a Heaven of multiple persons and wills in communication - the highest satisfaction is not fixed or final, but a continuation and expansion of communication: i.e. relationship.

So, according to our attitude to Time, we get a very different concept of the highest aim of becoming Sons of God, ourselves god (deification) - and of the process towards this variously called theosis, sanctification or spiritual progression.

On the one hand, it is a movement towards a loving and blissful merging-into and assimilating-with God. This out-of-Time Heaven is unity in divinity.

Or, on the other hand, it is becoming sufficiently like God as to enter into in a close and loving and permanent relationship with Him, with other beings of similar kind (such as angels) and with other deified Men (including potentially spouses and families); and continue with theosis, and to join with the work or task of helping others to attain theosis, and participate ever more fully and widely in the relationships of divine community - which is Heaven.


It is fascinating how so much hinges on our understanding-of, and belief-in, the necessity and possibility of Time/ not-Time.


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