Thursday, September 08, 2005

A Bit More About Time

Almost certainly God is not in time. His life does not consist of moments following one another. If a million people are praying to Him at ten-thirty tonight, He need not listen to them all in that one little snippet which we call ten-thirty. Ten-thirty--and every other moment from the beginning of the world--is always the Present for Him. If you like to put it that way, He has all eternity in which to listen to the split second of prayer put up by a pilot as his plane crashes in flames.

That is difficult, I know. Let me try to give something, not the same, but a bit like it. Suppose I am writing a novel. I write 'Mary laid down her work; next moment came a knock at the door!' For Mary who has to live in the imaginary time of my story there is no interval between putting down the work and hearing the knock. But I, who am Mary's maker, do not live in that imaginary time at all. Between writing the first half of that sentence and the second, I might sit down for three hours and think steadily about Mary. I could think about Mary as if she were the only character in the book and for as long as I pleased, and the hours I spent in doing so would not appear in Mary's time (the time inside the story) at all.
~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952)


On this day:

1947 Lewis appears on the cover of Time magazine, with the caption "Oxford's C.S. Lewis, His Heresy: Christianity"

1958 Reflections on the Psalms is published by Geoffrey Bles, London.

3 Comment(s):

At Fri Sep 09, 02:31:00 AM EST, Blogger MrKimi said...

Wow! How appropriate. I posted to this entry just this morning and it has gone so here I am again, or is it just time playing tricks and I am here the first time? :-) (duh! just noticed the new word verification)

Anyway this territory fascinates me because like imaginary numbers (root -1) I know I will never understand it. Our brains use time to think. Without time can anything think? Feel? Exist?

Once again faith has to paper over the cracks.

At Fri Sep 09, 05:04:00 AM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

Yes, I had to turn on the word verification because all of a sudden the spammers had discovered BlogSpot. Evil, clever spammers!

I find the book-writing analogy particularly helpful. Another brilliantly simple illustration to help explain a very difficult concept.

At Sat Sep 10, 02:46:00 PM EST, Blogger Martin LaBar said...

Some thinkers have speculated that simple animals, say an oyster, have no experience of time. We don't know that, of course.


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