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God, Einstein And Time


AletheiaRivers
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I was reading about Open Theology (or what has been called Process Lite) on Christianity Today's websight.

 

I came across a thought and decided I wanted to share it here and hopefully get some feedback.

 

The debate between Christopher Hall and John Sanders over openness theology properly focuses on Scripture, but as a scientist, I am troubled that some of Sanders's statements are incompatible with modern science.

 

He says that God's knowledge of the future is not really limited because "the 'future' does not yet exist so there is nothing 'there' to be known. … God knows all that can be known, and to say that it is a limitation for God not to know 'nothing' is ridiculous."

 

The actual existence of past, present, and future is required by Einstein's theory of relativity. All space and time form a four-dimensional continuum that simply exists; the theory does not permit time to be treated as a dimension in which the future is open or incomplete. The theory of relativity has measurable consequences and has been validated by rigorous experimental tests. It is only with great trepidation that one should abandon it.

 

From a Christian point of view, it is reasonable to conclude that the temporal and the spatial extent of our universe were created together, and thus the entire four-dimensional structure resides before its Creator in an eternal present. Thus our modern scientific understanding of the nature of time fits quite well with the Christian tradition that God has knowledge of all time, past, present, and future: "Before Abraham was, I am."

 

Who agrees that God exists outside space/time and sees all of space/time as an "eternal now" allowing God to see the future? Why do you feel that way? How do you relate to a God that is so completely removed from the Universe? Do you believe in predestination? To what extent?

 

For those of you who are process thinkers or panentheists: How do you reconcile the theory of relativity with your views? Was Einstein wrong about time?

 

I've had feelings over the past few years that there is no "time" per se. That reality is an eternal now (as opposed to being viewed remotely by God as an eternal now), and that God is panentheistically present in the "nowness".

 

I start to feel great trepidation, as the quote above suggests, that I might be disagreeing with Einstein and just about every physicist out there. :blink:

 

Thanks for reading and hopefully, responding.

 

Aletheia

 

(Edited for formatting errors)

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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Alitheia,

 

Well, you know Einstein couldn't have gotten everything right, right? It almost seems too elementary to discuss doesn't it? Don't we experience the past as unchangeable, and the future as possible? To say that God knows the future as though all possibilities have been actualized, would be to say that there is no freedom and God is ignorant of the possible.

 

Anyway, Einstein's theory has been re-examined lately and it appears to be problematic.

 

Here's a site showing the problems:

http://xxx.lanl.gov/ftp/physics/papers/041...412/0412039.pdf

 

Don

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It almost seems too elementary to discuss doesn't it?

 

I'm trying to decide if you meant that as a pun or if you were being dismissively snide? It's so hard to tell someone's intentions in this medium. I hope it was the former and that I am misreading you.

 

To say that God knows the future as though all possibilities have been actualized, would be to say that there is no freedom

 

But this is what many believe, even unintentionally, because they don't "follow a thought to it's logical conclusion".

 

I figured that most people that come to forum like this might have thought about the (or are in the process of thinking about the) "big picture" and so maybe I might get more thorough, thoughtfull answers and opinions than if I went and posted the question on a fundie board.

 

Aletheia

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It almost seems too elementary to discuss doesn't it?

 

I'm trying to decide if you meant that as a pun or if you were being dismissively snide? It's so hard to tell someone's intentions in this medium. I hope it was the former and that I am misreading you.

 

To say that God knows the future as though all possibilities have been actualized, would be to say that there is no freedom

 

But this is what many believe, even unintentionally, because they don't "follow a thought to it's logical conclusion".

 

I figured that most people that come to forum like this might have thought about the (or are in the process of thinking about the) "big picture" and so maybe I might get more thorough, thoughtfull answers and opinions than if I went and posted the question on a fundie board.

 

Aletheia

Oh no,no,no,no!! Not dismissively snide!

 

Were you able to look at the url?

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Were you able to look at the url?

 

I just "finished" it. I put quotes around finished because, holy crap that made my head hurt! :huh:

 

We are now in the position of understanding that space is a different phenomenon from time, that they are not necessarily fused into some spacetime amalgam, and that the spacetime ontology has been one of the greatest blunders in physics.

 

Finally! I'm not nutters after all. My husband thought I was very strange the first time I said that time didn't exist.

 

I never realized/appreciated that under Einstein, space wasn't thought of as having structure.

 

Is there a "Quantum Foam for Dummies" book out there? :blink:

 

Aletheia

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My current take on this (subject to change, of course) is that what God created when the first expression was uttered was the potential for everything and anything to exist as form.

 

What time provides is the media within which this expression of God's creation can become manifest.

 

What does God know? I haven't a clue. I suspect God has infinite knowledge of the potential of and for all things, but because the machinery set into motion at the moment of creation resulted in beings with ideas and ego and will and the knowledge and means to impact the universe through decisions and choices made (this being what is really meant by man being made "in god's image" perhaps?), what becomes manifest as form is always changing in ways not directly dictated by God.

 

I don't see God as some sort of cosmic "director" seeing to it that a set script is acted out. I do see God as experiencing all of creation through the created. I believe that in this way God completely experiences the fullness of life through the living nature of all creation; our purpose is perhaps to fully open up to this experience.

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Science and inspiration are working together to describe the path of pure consciousness from the invisible to the visible and then from the physical struggle of matter back to the inner peace and happiness of pure consciousness. Science recognizes some religious principles that are universal and intangible, but its main purpose is to support the tangible values that have already been discovered because science is measurement, description and classification of natural development. It describes life in action, but does not dare to say what the purpose of life is intended to perform. We accept the invisible principles of science because the deductions made can be proven, and the results are observable. The scientist is the grammarian who classifies the different words in an essay and identifies them as nouns, verbs or objects. He can describe the words in relation to one another, but he does not venture to say whether the essay is good or bad in respect to literature, philosophy or art; therefore, science does not give us a philosophy of life. Remember, the scientist is a grammarian he doesn’t supply a conclusion to an essay. Modern science does look at the facts it has collected and make ingenious guesses though, for example the electron. The scientists tried to understand the mechanism of an atom and they have formed pictures of a mechanism, which could be responsible for all the things observed in their limited instruments, but they are never quite sure because the pictures keep changing, as the instruments get better. Therefore, we see scientific knowledge as speculative on what the scientist sees that could be experimentally applicable to the physical world. Religion on the other hand is not so much knowledge either as it is belief. It takes another person’s internal experiences and forms

ideas on ethics and morality using symbolic forms that are speculative about the experience. Sometimes we are betrayed by the ideas in science and religion, because people stumble and are merely human so skepticism can be healthy, when we consider the source, but we cannot doubt everything. We must believe in our own capacity to know, speculate, be good, and all will be well. We must believe in our moral and spiritual qualities, our capacity to love and our commitment to know who we really are so we can begin to develop our spiritual consciousness.

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