Wednesday, March 18, 2015
By Carisia H. Switala, MTS – Harvard University Divinity School
Author of Eternity’s Secret: What the Bible & Science Have to Say About Time.
I assume most people are aware of the recent “Voice of an Angel” story reported on the news about an 18-month old girl who was found alive in an overturned car 14 hours after it crashed in a Utah river. The four police officers who rescued the little girl said they heard a woman’s voice calling out for help. However, the girl’s mother died in the crash and there were no other people in the car. The officers really believe something otherworldly took place. Perhaps this story is a good example of the temporal and eternal dimensions of time merging together allowing the mother to call for help from the unseen dimension.
After years of research, I came to the realization that time is an elusive concept. Most individuals believe that looking at their watch and hurrying to get to work on time is the extent to which this concept is relevant. However, in my opinion, time is so much more than a measurement of sequential events. For many years, philosophers and scientists have been trying to explain time. The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, believed that time is the measurement of change. Whereas Sir Isaac Newton, an influential seventeenth century English physicist and natural philosopher, believed that space was a static container and time was an absolute flow. Newton hypothesized that absolute time exists independently of any observer and moves forward at a steady pace throughout the universe. He also thought that humans perceive ordinary time as a measurement of objects in motion like the sun.
Saint Augustine, an early Christian theologian and philosopher, believed that time was only in the mind and a human invention that cannot be applied to the universe or to God. Augustine’s view was that God existed in a timeless void. However, as the human mind evolved into a thinking machine that applies science to philosophical questions, the idea of relativity introduced the opinion that time is a physical dimension governed by physical laws. This opened up a more expansive view of the world and the universe.
I believe that the ancient idea of eternity, endless time, is a very profound and complex aspect of the subject. What seems like the passage of time in a changing world is but an illusion in a three-dimensional space.
It is difficult for humans to visualize space. The standard human experience of space can be described in terms of three dimensions: width, depth, and height. Once the fourth dimension of time is added to the equation, parallel dimensions and universes become a clearer possibility in a space-time continuum. This advancement in thought and knowledge reveals the endless nature of time and the continuation of life, defusing the idea of a timeless void. It is a perspective that views eternity as endless time, not the absence of time as Saint Augustine suggested.
We measure the passage of time in seconds, minutes, hours, and years, but this doesn’t mean that time flows at a constant rate. Just as the water in a river rushes or slows depending on the size of the channel, time flows at different rates in different places. Einstein believed that the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously. In other words, time is relative. So relativity makes it possible, with the proper technology, such as a very fast spaceship, for one person to experience several days while another person simultaneously experiences only a few hours or minutes.
After I delved into scientific theory, I discovered that the idea of parallel universes in quantum mechanics suggests that all possible quantum events can occur in mutually exclusive histories. These alternate, or parallel, histories would form a branching tree, symbolizing all possible outcomes of any interaction. If all possibilities exist, any paradoxes could be explained by having the paradoxical events happening in different universes. This concept leads to the conclusion that time travel is possible, and a time traveler should certainly end up in a different history than the one he or she started from. Hence, relativity and ancient notions of time variation and parallel universes are very similar.
My research into philosophy, theology and science inspired me to merge scientific and religious views about time into one reality of infinite time. The Bible contains many time-centered passages and reveals eternity to humanity. Science is also on the verge of discovering the possibility of opening up the fourth dimension of time in order to make breakthroughs in time travel. When these two disciplines work together, who knows what incredible insights into the seen and unseen dimensions of the universe will be revealed. The result will most likely be humanity’s inspiration to attain absolute knowledge of the mysteries of eternity.
The new paradigm of time I discerned is endless time. It encompasses the eternal dimension of the universe that allows for infinite life. This dimension contains the unending transformations of nonstop creation. And life doesn’t have to start in the temporal world in order to be infinite because life is eternal and therefore has no starting point. The illusions of the third dimension emanate from a static view of space and time where objects exist and events take place in a linear sequence. Perhaps one day the next brilliant scientist will be able to mathematically prove the existence of eternity.
Carisia H. Switala, MTS
To purchase the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/MTS-Carisia-H.-Switala/e/B00RUC6KGY