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Multidimensionality of time, space, paradise, eternity and heaven


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#1 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 02:56 PM

Kusanagi wrote:

I thought paradise does not have time or it is outside time so Adam wouldn't have an age nor is it important.


Time is an aspect of all that is created including Adam & Eve before the Fall.

Except that time in paradise and in the renewed creation is free of corruption; ie it does not measure the degeneration of things towards their death and destruction which is an aspect of time as we now know it.

After all, as they say of the renewed state: 'from glory to glory.' ie all things are moving towards their fulfillment in Christ. Which suggests time but of a renewed kind.

As long as there is movement- and all created things do and will especially in the renewed state have movement- there is time of a sort.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#2 Father David Moser

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 08:07 PM

I thought paradise does not have time or it is outside time so Adam wouldn't have an age nor is it important.


Time is part of creation - as is paradise, therefore, time does exist in paradise and paradise exists in time. However, we have no way of knowing how time flowed in paradise - fast, slow, forward backward, upside down or inside out. With the observations and predictions of the theory of relativity, we can see that the rate at which time flows can be variable thus opening the door to such a possibility. OTOH, the fall is a catastrophic event which created a discontinuity between the present state of the universe and the prefall universe. In the prefall universe, corruption, as we know it, did not exist, nor, i think, could we say that all things tended towards chaos (as the laws of thermodynamics predict). Our only scientific and cultural and historical observations are post fall and all of our generalizations about the way the universe interacts (including the way time flows) is the result of post-fall data. I think it would be a mistake to assume that our observations about the post-fall universe can extend backwards past the fall to inform assumptions about the pre-fall universe.

Thus, while I am certain that paradise and time coexist in each other, I am not at all certain that we can know or define what their relationship might be.

Fr David Moser

#3 Peter S.

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 10:29 PM

Time is part of creation - as is paradise, therefore, time does exist in paradise and paradise exists in time. However, we have no way of knowing how time flowed in paradise - fast, slow, forward backward, upside down or inside out. With the observations and predictions of the theory of relativity, we can see that the rate at which time flows can be variable thus opening the door to such a possibility. OTOH, the fall is a catastrophic event which created a discontinuity between the present state of the universe and the prefall universe. In the prefall universe, corruption, as we know it, did not exist, nor, i think, could we say that all things tended towards chaos (as the laws of thermodynamics predict). Our only scientific and cultural and historical observations are post fall and all of our generalizations about the way the universe interacts (including the way time flows) is the result of post-fall data. I think it would be a mistake to assume that our observations about the post-fall universe can extend backwards past the fall to inform assumptions about the pre-fall universe.

Thus, while I am certain that paradise and time coexist in each other, I am not at all certain that we can know or define what their relationship might be.

Fr David Moser


I thought paradise was in another dimesion. As heaven/eternity is in another dimension, but without time.
But paradise and time might have coexisted with time as a dimension in it. Time is a dimension isnt it? (Space is another. No time without space.)
I have heard that here on earth "there is only now", actually, and that time does not exist, if I understood this correctly. What have been and what comes after do not exist. There is only now. What have existed we only know about.

I believe in heaven there is only "now", but that is something different than paradise and this world.

Peter

#4 Father David Moser

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 11:25 PM

I thought paradise was in another dimesion. As heaven/eternity is in another dimension, but without time.


Possibly, but I really don't have any evidence to say one way or the other. Paradise in "another dimension" really doesn't make much sense in a mathematical or physical term for a couple of reasons. "Another dimension" would be without length, breadth or depth or time - so of what then would it consist. In all the models that I've read about, there is no such thing as an "isolated" dimension - one without the others. The dimensions all interact with one another even though we cannot necessarily directly perceive those dimensions. It just doesn't work for me at all, but then my knowledge of multidimensional math is pretty limited (mostly to the 4 dimensions that we directly perceive) and my awareness of other postulated dimensions is garnered from reading popular articles about quantum physics (which depends on their existence to explain the extreme phenomena observed.)

I would have a hard time saying that "heaven/eternity is in another dimension" since that would imply that eternity is created. I do not know that "eternity" is a place or that it is created or uncreated. To make any such statement about "heaven/eternity" goes far far beyond any even remote basis in either patristics or science.

If you have some patristic or scriptural evidence to support this speculation, I would be glad to listen.

Fr David Moser

#5 Anna Stickles

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 03:33 AM

Michael and I were talking the other day about the fact that Heidegger postulated that time is a result of self-reflective consciousness.

Fr Raphael has gotten out of the question of 'time' as something that in itself exists and simply seems to be saying that change occurs. Either the change toward death and decay or the change toward deification.

What then is time? Is it something that merely exists in our imagination because we view our own lives like a movie on TV from a third person perspective rather then simply living in the Now that exists? Or is it a real something, a dimension that has some physical existence or meaning outside our mind?

This definition from the Philokalia brings up a lot of questions I think.

#6 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 02:22 PM

Anna Stickles wrote:

What then is time? Is it something that merely exists in our imagination because we view our own lives like a movie on TV from a third person perspective rather then simply living in the Now that exists? Or is it a real something, a dimension that has some physical existence or meaning outside our mind?



I think that time is an intrinsic aspect of created being.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#7 Peter S.

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 02:54 PM

Possibly, but I really don't have any evidence to say one way or the other. Paradise in "another dimension" really doesn't make much sense in a mathematical or physical term for a couple of reasons. "Another dimension" would be without length, breadth or depth or time - so of what then would it consist. In all the models that I've read about, there is no such thing as an "isolated" dimension - one without the others. The dimensions all interact with one another even though we cannot necessarily directly perceive those dimensions. It just doesn't work for me at all, but then my knowledge of multidimensional math is pretty limited (mostly to the 4 dimensions that we directly perceive) and my awareness of other postulated dimensions is garnered from reading popular articles about quantum physics (which depends on their existence to explain the extreme phenomena observed.)

I would have a hard time saying that "heaven/eternity is in another dimension" since that would imply that eternity is created. I do not know that "eternity" is a place or that it is created or uncreated. To make any such statement about "heaven/eternity" goes far far beyond any even remote basis in either patristics or science.

If you have some patristic or scriptural evidence to support this speculation, I would be glad to listen.

Fr David Moser


Sorry, I only rely of what I have heard from clergy, (not in sermons). Maybe he didnt meant dimension as science understand it.

I dont know what spirit is, but Jesus said that we shall be as the "angels in heaven" Matt22:29-31. And angels are spiritual beings.

(That there is only "now", I heard at St. Tikhons.)

Peter

Edited by Peter S., 18 January 2009 - 03:09 PM.


#8 Owen Jones

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 03:02 PM

By is this discussion "heavy!"

This is the key phrase from the definition in the Philokalia:

certain texts, especially in St Maximos the Confessor, also use the term aeon in a connected but more specific way, to denote a level intermediate between eternity in the full sense and time as known to us in our present experience....

The key word is "intermediate." Man is an intermediate being. Another translation would be in between. I am assuming that the Greek word here is metaxy. Man exists in a realm in between world and heaven, time and eternity, mortality and immortality, imperfection and perfection, etc. This is never drawn out doctrinally or definitionally so far as I know in Maximos or elsewhere. One has to go to a brief description in Plato's Symposium. Understanding this experiential reality, experiencing it, is key to understanding our faith, our liturgical doctrine and experience, and so on. It is helpful in avoiding a whole number of misconceptions, even heresies that can creep in that usually involve some form of objectivizing of spiritual reality on the one hand or subjectivizing on the other. Man is neither a subject nor an object. Nor is God.

As for an "eternal now," this strikes me as a kind of mish mash of pop Buddhism, New Ageism, and pop psychology. One can have an experience of serenity in which all of the senses are utterly focused on God's grace in the present moment, but that is different.

I think a related key concept from the definition in the Philokalia is that the Fall is equated with a corruption of sense perception. Which means that salvation involves the restoration of our sense perception to its true, healthy, ordered function. So that we can see God, both in things, and in the processes and events that occur relationally in between, and the participation of all of these "things" as part and parcel of the whole.

Time, for the Christian, is the passing away of things, or the experience of the passing quality of existence in tension with the experience of lasting. There is much in St. Maximos on this tension in between the lasting and passing away of existence, expressed in the symbol "eighth day."

#9 Paul Cowan

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 08:47 PM

Understanding this experiential reality, experiencing it, is key to understanding our faith, our liturgical doctrine and experience, and so on.


Dr. McCoy: Perhaps Spock, we could discuss your experience of death?
Mr. Spock: It would be impossible to discuss this with you Doctor without a common frame of reference.
Dr. McCoy: You mean I have to die before we could talk about life and death?

from Star Trek IV The voyage Home

By is this discussion "heavy!"


Or not.

#10 Anna Stickles

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 12:42 AM

a kind of mish mash of pop Buddhism, New Ageism, and pop psychology.


Maybe just too much existentialism and Zen.

#11 Robert Hegwood

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 03:13 PM

It was mentioned a bit earlier in this thread that the effects of the fall constituted a catastrophic break/change in the universe before and after. We have some sense of what the fall did to us and to life here with us on little old earth. But what about out there amongst all that vast beyond imagining creation outside of earth and its immediate precincts. Did the fall also have some effect on stars and galaxies hundreds of millions, even billions of lightyears away from us? In short did the fall impact all material creation no matter how far removed from us? And if so what might the nature of that be?

#12 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 03:55 PM

We can sympathise with St Augustine when he said, ‘I know what time is until someone asks me to explain what it is, and then I don’t know what it is’ (Confessions, XI.14.17).

We presumably wish to concern ourselves with time in relation to our Orthodox faith. Therefore, we should not (even if we could) focus on the science and philosophy of time. In any case, the philosophers cannot agree what time is. That said, we should consider views of time in so far as these bear on our concern. The ancient Greek philosophers (so I have read) did not generally consider that time was linear; they thought that time was circular, without beginning or end (though Plato talked about time being created as a moving image of eternity: see his Timmaeus). Aristotle agreed though with Plato (see Physics). For the Christian, the circular view of time could not be correct because it does not admit eschatology, nor does it match the assertion that God created everything, including time.

The Old Testament has a radically different view of time which is essentially linear. The Children of Israel moved from Egypt to the Promised Land, a figure for all humanity and for the spiritual life of each individual. Instead of events being determined by time, time was determined by events; events were the constituents of time. (Such is still the view in African societies).

The coming of Christ into the world caused a radical amendment to the Old Testament view of time. This is closely linked with our view of Theophany and the other epiphanic events such as the Transfiguration. Eschatology is not only of the future but is ever-present: the kingdom of God has come and is here now within us (if we admit it). St Basil the Great linked time and space and considered there to be not only past present and future but also a degree of circularity. But this circularity is repetition along linear time (see On the Holy Spirit). This is physical time, what we may term chronos. But there is also eternity which we may say has a sense of kairos. This is the spiritual dimension to time. Pre-eminently, it allows us to know that the Eucharist is not repeated afresh but is the one, bloodless sacrifice made present whenever and wherever the Divine Liturgy is served. The lack of this aspect of time in Protestant thinking is a hindrance to Protestants who cannot accept that Christ gave His Body and Blood to His disciples before the Crucifixion and Resurrection so that the Eucharist cannot be really the Body and Blood of the Lord. The Divine Liturgy takes place both in chronos and kairos or eternity. How else could we account for the presence of angels and saints at the Divine Liturgy? It is in this spiritual time that we can talk of Sunday as both the first and the eighth day (St Basil). It also is why we can say at the feasts, such as Theophany, ‘Today Christ has come to be baptized in Jordan; today John touches the head of the Master’ (Feast of Theophany, Matins). It is why we can feel affinity with saints of greatly different times. It is also why in icons, for instance in the usual Deisis icon, we see Christ is with His Mother, the Archangels, St John the Baptist, and, say, St Nicholas and St Sergius of Radonezh. It is noteworthy that the offices of the days and weeks are not determined by dates but by the diurnal cycle. They refer to time in this way, not by clock time. The Divine Liturgy, however, does not mention this cycle of time since it is of eternal as well as physical time.

There is also the concept of the everlasting. Physical time and eternity are created. But everlasting is uncreated, and of it we can know nothing (St Basil). Thus we can only say that the Son of God was ‘begotten of the Father before all ages’ without knowing what that means. God is beyond time and eternity.

Edited by Andreas Moran, 19 January 2009 - 04:15 PM.


#13 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 04:07 PM

It was mentioned a bit earlier in this thread that the effects of the fall constituted a catastrophic break/change in the universe before and after. We have some sense of what the fall did to us and to life here with us on little old earth. But what about out there amongst all that vast beyond imagining creation outside of earth and its immediate precincts. Did the fall also have some effect on stars and galaxies hundreds of millions, even billions of lightyears away from us? In short did the fall impact all material creation no matter how far removed from us? And if so what might the nature of that be?


I think the best we can come up with can only be conjecture and speculate. The hymnody of the Church often sings that "all of Creation groans...". Are there any conditionals put on "all"? As in all-inclusive of absolutely everything or merely including that which we are aware of? How can we really know? Conversely, C. S. Lewis, in his "Space Trilogy" conjectures that perhaps the damage was localized to the "silent planet" (earth) and did not necessarily affect God's plans elsewhere. Hard to say on "this" side of that "great divide". An interesting idea, but we certainly should not confuse the fictional work of a popular writer meant to entertain with the theological writings of the Fathers meant to illuminate. I doubt we will come to any all-convincing conclusions here.

Herman the hypothetical Pooh

#14 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 09:15 PM

Robert Hegwood

Did the fall also have some effect on stars and galaxies hundreds of millions, even billions of lightyears away from us? In short did the fall impact all material creation no matter how far removed from us? And if so what might the nature of that be?


Well I suppose the most immediate effect of the Fall has been death and destruction.

If when astronauts reach the farthest reaches of space they discover that they never die there and nothing ever degenerates; and sinful passion plays no part either; then in this part of space the Fall would have had no effect.

More likely though no matter where we go in the universe the effects of the Fall will be evident.

Unless we live in Christ.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#15 Paul Cowan

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 01:11 AM

More likely though no matter where we go in the universe the effects of the Fall will be evident.


This goes without saying Fr. Because by the time we get there, we will have brought the result of the Fall with us there. As the saying goes, where ever you go, there you are.

#16 Ryan

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 03:55 AM

Maybe just too much existentialism and Zen.


Actually, authentic Zen Buddhism also rejects a reduction to the "eternal now"... of course, it's hard to find any authentic Zen in the West.

#17 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 04:16 AM

certain texts, especially in St Maximos the Confessor, also use the term aeon in a connected but more specific way, to denote a level intermediate between eternity in the full sense and time as known to us in our present experience....


The term 'aeon' is to be identified with 'eternity'. 'Aidion' is used to denote 'everlasting'.

#18 Peter S.

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 07:58 PM

Dr. McCoy: Perhaps Spock, we could discuss your experience of death?
Mr. Spock: It would be impossible to discuss this with you Doctor without a common frame of reference.
Dr. McCoy: You mean I have to die before we could talk about life and death?

from Star Trek IV The voyage Home



Or not.


Jesus was taken up into the third heaven. 2.Cor12,2. And as I know there are at least nine heavens. How do we know that? By experience I think.

Elder Cleopa tells that St. Paul was taken up in to the third heaven in contemplative prayer/godly vision. He didnt know wether he was in the body or not. How can elder Cleopa be so sure of that? By experience. Dr. McCoy didnt experience anything like these.

I think this is relevant for these themes, but unless you experience something it is speculation.

Peter

Edited by Peter S., 20 January 2009 - 08:16 PM.


#19 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 09:10 PM

Elder Cleopa tells that St. Paul was taken up in to the third heaven in contemplative prayer/godly vision. He didnt know wether he was in the body or not. How can elder Cleopa be so sure of that? By experience. Dr. McCoy didnt experience anything like these. I think this is relevant for these themes, but unless you experience something it is speculation.


We also have proof of the "likeness" of heaven through a very rare and not much circulated vita of Saint Andrew the Fool-for-Christ that is in Constantinople. They have an English translation of this available online via the Harvard University Library but it is an explanation by a non-Orthodox postgraduate so should be read with that awareness.

In Saint Andrews vita, he too is taken up and whether he was in the body or not he could not be sure ... some people speculate whether Saint Andrew is real or whether he is merely a literary creation. To all those who doubt, I will personally put my opinion forward and say, from experience, he is real ... and therefore these writings to me are also very real. Saint Andrew intercede with our foolishness!

#20 Owen Jones

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 12:40 PM

The passage of time is actually an experience of the tension in between that which is lasting and that which is passing away. Without that experience, time is just repetition. Not really the same as circularity. Then there is history, which is something quite different. History imposes meaning on the passage of time. And there are all kinds of different experiences relating to the idea of history. One idea is that history culminates in the present. This is the idea behind King lists.

One of the problems I think for many Orthodox Christians is that there is a conflict between our faith, and our experience of time and history in the "modern" secular sense, which has immanentized the Christian experience of making spiritual progress from this world to the next. In the secularized "world view," if one is not experiencing progress in one's mundane existence, it creates a crisis. One prays, go to Church, but nothing really happens. Nothing is getting "better!" Things are supposed to get better! That crisis in thinking is the result of the secular ideology of history imposing itself on our consciousness.

Unfortunately, preachers do not address such things. Their sermons are quite pedestrian for the most part. Make sure you go to Church frequently. Attend to the sacraments of the Church, etc. But the intellectual conflicts arise and cause problems that are not addressed. Christianity is an intellectual religion, in the sense that it provides the intellect with an ordered vision of reality as a whole in which each of us plays a vital role. In fact, the least of us plays an even more vital role than the people who "make" history.

We are told from childhood that we must make a difference. But this is something counter to the Christian vision. It means we are supposed to work to make the world a better place, which is a gnostic inversion of the Christian vision. Then, when things don't get better, no matter how hard we have tried, it leads to all kinds of spiritual disorder.




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