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TIME PASSES, AND SO DOES MAN
IT IS POSSIBLE TO GO BACK,
AND FIND THE FUTURE,
BUT THIS IN ONE WAY ONLY
The Australian, Review, March 6-7, 2010
Article by Alexander Waugh on From Eternity to Here (Sean Carroll).
The last Chapter was very long. This one is very short. So it goes.
Time, Paul Davies, states, is of great significance. To understand this, he feels in his physical world, is crucial, opens doors.
What is time ? Is it really something which one be fiddled with, go this way and that, a sort of intellectual enormity, a prodigy, uninterpretable ?
Like many physical aspects of God's creation, it has deep issues in it, and amazing results. However, as with much else, such as the bodily integrity, oneness, operability as one thing, which man has, while it uses much for this result, the result itself is not difficult to follow. In fact, its brilliance lies not least, in this, that it is extremely easy. As with other triumphs of design, that of man himself is a masterpiece of understanding; but here it is infinite, using liberty and facility on the one hand, and necessity on the other, means being fixed, or semi-fixed, and objectives being open.
Time in fact is not at all difficult to follow, once you stop making an apotheosis of particles*1, and come to the point of putting particles in place.
Then you can see time for what is its primary function in the creation, making it flow, go, follow, so that causes can lead to effects, opportunities to disasters or triumphs, skills to fruition or failure, claims to rebuttal or confirmation, love to seeking and finding and lust to seek and be bleak, with understanding to be sought and found, and voluntary distemper to be aborted in its useless limits.
You cannot turn back time, as if a rooster, just beheaded, has its head joined on again. You cannot turn back for Lady Macbeth, the inveterate folly of her useless, vainglorious ambition. The spot remains, a testimony in truth, wrought in time, but now beyond it, and its resultants follow, in time.
You cannot turn back your lack of repentance at your last breath, because your wits fail you; and your ways are not adapted to a retreat from reality in some sublimation of actuality into a movable time, going backwards, as if the book could be re-written just because we see what it is to take pen and ink.
Time is real, and its progressive nature, whether for things in themselves progressive or regressive, is not capable of termination or interference. Now this is not to say that at the particulate level, this or that fragment of some bit, may not be able to be turned back, as a stream on its course, and that examples might not be found of recurrence, eddyings or temporal swirls. It is not to say that a reaction cannot be annulled as it starts, or pre-empted as it would start, by ingestion of work by man; nor is it to insist that in the various interworkings and interlockings of features such as gravity and electromagnetism, small and large nuclear forces, there is no room for mutual adjustments at the physical level. Time may, in cases at large, be able to be moved in its dimensions or rate in some way, by other basic features of the universe. Reciprocities may occur. But simply to turn the thrust of time backwards, this is another thing, and out of the question in the world as constructed, though not of course in the imaginative mind, which might almost wish it to be so, if without God!
For this proclivity of our time, the reason is simple. God has made our globe - as De Jason Lisle, astrophysicist, points out so well in terms of expectations, predictions (pp. 63ff.), and empirical facts, in his Taking Back Astronomy; and He has done so in an astute and remarkable fashion; and its features are governed for action at the interface with man. It is not that certain things COULD not happen, in another field, but that this one has been so made that it enables our kind of life and living to proceed, as before God with multiple provisions, procedures and collocations of interactive features, enabling and stabilising the whole. It was not easy to do this; the information to achieve its doing is not to be found in the clouds, nor were its laws forged where reason is absent; but it was done.
Other universes might be imagined, other places, but this is not one of them (cf. SMR Ch. 3, Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming Chs. 4-6). With man in his mode, his mind, his life and his environment, this is the manner of it. Nothing that is done can by any means be undone. You have it, you live it, and that is it. If you wish, you may be able to redo it, but the past is not present. God can intervene, but system is not thereby aborted, merely kept under consolidated control, as anyone may do with a farm, a race-horse or a factory.
Sonorous ascriptions of enterprise concerning the universe cannot alter it. It has been created for habitation, for a dwelling place (Isaiah 48:18), and as such it proceeds, equipped for the purpose. It neither blushes nor rushes; as de Lisle points out, the stars perform with intricate precision.
There is no way out. You cannot make life eternal in this planet by pulling at its cords, nor can you re-invent history, by pushing on its knobs. The contrivances present through creation permit much; but they are not available for re-creation of universes, only for enactment in this one. The Creator creates; the creation is as made, and its environment is as created. Man in delusion readily seeks to outdo God, but he lacks the power, and with such vaunting ambition in mind,his will is merely inoculated against reason. He lacks what it takes, for such an enterprise, both in wisdom, knowledge, law-making capacity over things material, and power to stop what he starts. Despite his often flamboyant imagination, he is very like the kid in the kitchen.
To be sure, he has will and dream and investigatory power; but to investigate is not to create, unless it be some notion of what is there, with deference to what many would rather avoid! After all, the universe IS rather a present, if you seek to address it to yourself, and to seize it...
Man may imagine that he can outdo God, and make at least some sort of cosmos of operations on earth, which will bear his own imprint AS IF he were almighty; but since he is not so, pathetically being born and removed at the will of Another (except he pre-empt to depart by violence to himself, this too foreseen by the Almighty), this is mere distemper of imagination. In fact he will do just this as we see in Revelation 13-19, with II Thessalonians 2, where vaunting self-importance reaches its pinnacle, and betrays its depths; but it meets its end as does all untruth.
There is no way to destroy the past, as if by some particle wiggle, or the interaction of laws in their sites; there is only a way to overcome the guilt of its errors, the impact in heart of its faults, the confinement to judgment for its follies and the disagreeable results in broken brazenness or ruined mind, in rotten sub-soil for the spirit or in garbage collected in the heart. The sorry impact in guilt and dismemberment of integrity in the past, this however may be overcome, and it is through the creation of a new person, in a second creative act, called regeneration. It is governed by grace, worked by divine power, the same as was used in creation of man in the first place. Applied with an operational felicity, this produces peace in profundity and acknowledgement of the truth in spirit.
Time is not thereby turned back; but its pernicious products are in essence, for man thus overcome. Rag-time is not removed; but its cumulative consequences to heart, these are annulled. This is not a work of philosophically ingenious confusion, for which man in his impotence has such an urge; but one of the same power that made man, and the same love which regarded His product, with the same end of fellowship with man in love, so that he might on this earth show and find the glory of God. In this way, past the first beginning, man redeemed, may be given such graces and gifts as befit the role of children of God, by the prodigality of the lovingkindness of God. As to the human input of sin, no time will ever alter that; nothing of time will ever move it. It will not go backwards. As it was, so it is; and as it is called into action for man, so it has done.
Yet the Lord over time, who made time, space and causality, author of logic, creator of spirits, HE is able and willing both to defeat the dynamics of failure in the features and focus of faith, by which His own grace deletes the deficiencies and their offshoots, and burying the sins in the depth of the sea (Micah 7:19ff.). This is the wonder, but it is the blood of the Cross, the redemption through bearing judgment, which makes the waters of the sea an adequate image for the burial! (Hebrews 9:12-10:14).
There is no time like the present for putting an end to the misery and malady which time can produce, when it is spent without faith in God (II Corinthians 6:1ff.), the shallow laughter or the haunted depths of lostness from God. There is a time when man neglects God (as in Proverbs 1, Ecclesiastes 12), and its grief is profound. Yet there is still time for this lost time, to be redeemed in this, that what was lost is found, not in the past, but in the present because of the past, Christ's past on earth as man! For this, the future is an outcome grasped and given in advance (Ephesians 1:11), for God is always in advance of time (Isaiah 46:8ff.), as is an author of the plots, paths and persons of his books.
TELLING ABOUT TIME
In the review of the physics work, "From Eternity to Here", Waugh notes Carroll's repeated query, WHY does time move forward and not backwards as readily, WHY should not particles in their impacts and thrusts, go the other way, in the midst of interactions. Why, he is cited as asking, does the arrow of time run the way it does, for there is the concept that certain minor particle interactions are reversible.
This is not really so, in reality, but only in isolation of the mind, out of the context of the operational totalities. If it be so, it is only in concepts withdrawn from reality, which on the contrary, goes the way it does for two reasons.
Firstly, it moves as manufactured, or more aptly, created, in whatever format, subatomic, atomic, molecular, neural or mental, moral or spiritual: except there be interposition. Thus in the spiritual realm, we can interpose because we are given a spirit with which to analyse and imagine, consider and create, approve or condemn, rebel or reason or whatever else does not require either omniscience or transformational power or omnipotence. The substratum of reason and conscience and the overlay of understanding, move in the midst of neural equipment, instrumental actualities of body; and the last moves because it was made to move. It is not an orphan. As it is given to be, so it is. As it has been given information - which is never found in fact except through intelligence, naturally enough, being codified review - so it acts on that basis.
Our thoughts, when sin does not envelop, move from considerations of need and concern, interest and enquiry, to what our equipment enables us to find, and finding use, and using achieve; except in this, that the status of our equipment, like a visa for an immigrant, is crucial. It either is in contact, at spiritual level, with its Maker, for nothing comes from nothing by definition, the former lacking all things, including attachability; or it is not. If not, it tends to be like a vine tendril, ready to grip, but frustrated and shrivelled. If so, it is given support for what it is made for, and with ourselves gives in turn, through such attachment, not to a post but to the Lord of creation, support for much more, and for many others.
Things proceed in the precise way they do, because over the lowest particles, are the macro-laws, and over these are the design specifications, the interfaces of DNA and available equipment, of mentality and morality, of personality and programs, of inclination and discipline.
We are what we are, and not various substrata of law-girt bits, which have their assignments at the various levels, just as is common in our constructions, where integral combinations of analysing elements are tied into unitary production units. Trying to equate the miles of cord in an airliner with what is its operational nature is merely a micro-management delusion. These things are used, but their place is instrumental. Similarly, to seek to achieve control of the plane by the ailerons, when they merely play a part, and that directed, or by the computer system, which is merely a programmatic aid, or even by holding a gun at the head of the pilot (he can still think and will), is merely a witless wandering. Things are in place, all of them, in an integral and mobile pattern of fluency and totality which has assignable resultants because of the manner, mode, matériel, control features, and with man, control person with which they are associated. Speaking of bits*1 without their total environment of ordered, organised, directive thrust, meaning and abilities as one whole, is a sort of disintegrative substitute for constructive thought, nothing more. It has a logical name: reductionism.
In fact, what is apparently mystery to Carroll, is evidently the very fact of design, of things being functional in the way they are, and thus being constructed by the means adequate for this, and so having overall thrust in the direction to which the whole contrivance is pointed in the overall design features of the system; for to have system arise from nothing is only slightly more ludicrous logically, than to have it causatively connected to the entire abilities of what lacks all system. The alternative ? Let system arise, like a knight touched by the sword of the king, enabled; except that there is on that model, no sword, no knight and no king. Waffling with aetiologically dead concepts denies even the discipline necessary for coherent thought. No wonder then, that this repeated question, WHY does it go this way, and not backwards as we see it, is merely one down the line from the other, why was it made at all ?
The answer is not, so that it can wander, unlike the disciplined and directed ingredients within it. Divorce is no way to understand marriage! The marriage into directional facility and operational totality is so that it can proceed as planned, to operate as one whole, with the facilities and the functionalities which its creation either donates, implies or permits to be activated, depending on the case. Information does not descend from heaven, or in this model, the heavens, or elsewhere locationally; for distance neither creates nor compels, being merely a form for expression. Time is an outcome, in a system with even this potential in place, like all the rest, in one coherent, rationally investigable, total system of which one characteristic is this: as it is made to go, so it goes, and as it is oriented overall, to proceed, so it proceeds; and where there is that given option, so it opts. In time, the option arrives, with its own consequences.
Time, what is it ? is the question being surged into, likewise. Time ? it is the passageway for events, allied to the directional equipment installed in the dynamics of origin, for the instruction of equipment. It is an accrediting fashioning for the potential on the way to actuality, whether egg or force in its production. It is the point of production, the outcome scope for dynamic, the enablement for change, just as space is a limit for its extension. Seen without the etiological necessities of all the other facets of the spirit, mind, body, subtrata assemblage, as in man, it makes little sense, this time; but then that is precisely where it is NOT seen!
Energy plus potential for action - whether with particles, in reaction, or people, in response - plus capacity for thought, plus instinctive provision for a swathe of directions, and automated and semi-automated provisions for enablements for the use of the unity over them all, in terms of which the whole acts, including decisions OF thought and valuing, and FOR purpose and productiveness, as in man: these things do not go backward. Cars do not disassemble themselves, though they may crash, another matter.
Power produces its correlatives, according to what operates it, its kind and its capacities, and the will which using formulation, assembles activation. When this thrusts out its wishes, what could in itself wander around is aroused, shanghaied as it were, constructed, construed, immersed in cobbling systems which surround, each with the other, and things loose in themselves are ordered, organised and constrained. They may wear; but according as they are constructed with intent, so they move with accent.
There is no problem, so long as logic starts and ends the matter, and is not evacuated from the field of interest, while remaining in apparent operation in the mind of the investigator. THAT sort of divorce, by its very nature, leaves lonely children, a lost world. Now it IS a lost world, but not in system; rather in the integral top-end arenas of thought and spirit and morals and purpose. It is, in other words, morally as well as physically, the former not by necessity by through one of the options inbuilt, a world that does not create its types, but rather enables their deployment or their desecration. In the constricting educational and academic trend of culture, man's thought and thrust, the world moves largely in adversity to logic and love alike. It is in its major and normal formulations, degenerative, not generative, once you see beyond the selective application of talents for means to ends, themselves usually wrest hard away from the meaning of the whole, from its capacities, its implications its information fund. In fact, as there is this trend towards disastrous misdeployment overall, so is there wreckage of construction exploding amid building.
Thus, the whole tends over time to resemble an ant's nest trampled by elephants. To be sure, the ants work hard; but so do the elephants. They recover; but the elephant makes many journeys to the site.
SIn slays, creation stays, direction is outworking of what is put into the whole assemblage, whether as in man, with provision for originalities of various kinds, including original sin, and judgment, whether it be for city, civilisation, the world. Moreover, it moves in the spirit of man, in many leaders, dynamically disenchanted and romanticising as here, jointly. Movement is the outcome of the creation of each ensemble so potentiated in terms of its total arrangement, partitions and dynamics. Made for movement, it moves; enabled for expression of the impress which constructs it, it acts; disenabled by sin, the work of attenuation of connection to the Source of enablement (for nothing comes from nothing), it speaks of riddles. Indeed, being riddled with irrationality, and attributing or implying this to what rationality can grasp and apply, it is its own self-contradiction. Wrest from understanding, it finds nothing by looking in the wrong place for the wrong reason.
In principle, there are no riddles. As shown in SMR and the other sub-sets in this site. each element, once put back into its actual assemblage and functional power, and all penetrated by reason, so that one moves to where logic requires, the parts and the whole yield together coherence and meaning in terms of the propositions, premisses and perspective, as well as to the historical accounts given in the Bible. Logic, allowed to move, as noted, finds the Bible which defines the position, all confirming in mutual harmony, the realities to be faced.
That is why - as one may inspect to find - one sub-set has this name:
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS
Bible or Blight, Christ or Confusion:
The Comprehensive Resolution of Man's Intractable Problems
is Found Only in the Bible, the Word of God.
Whatever area, total or partial, we enter, this is the result; and the approaches are both many and diverse.
See on this field also,
TMR Ch. 7, esp. Section E, with Section 6.