sexta-feira, junho 22, 2007

Eternidade Finita: repensar nossa construção teologica do tempo

[Finite Eternity:]Rethinking Our Theological Construct of TimeBy J.M. Leary

In the past few centuries, the Church has struggled to keep up with the sciences. This is, of course, ironic, considering that for nearly a thousand years previous, the Church was the only reliable source for scientific advances. Mathematics, physics, biology, all have moved with incredible leaps and bounds, leaving the Church-at-large in the proverbial dust of discovery. Admittedly, worldly scientific discovery is not our job. We are to be spreading the Gospel through acts of becoming Christ, not reading the latest science journals. Right?

What troubles me is that it's as if we decided, several decades ago, to drop any attempts at relevancy in science. Sure there are well developed arguments to combat evolutionary theory, but it took well over a century after the publishing of Darwin's works for those to gain public attention, and in truth, any accuracy.

Besides, as we gather more and more evidence for God's hand in Creation, science spurns forward, breaking new boundaries and explaining away the universe, one quasi-particle at a time. The travesty of this, is how the community of scientists edge closer and closer to mystery in their discoveries, and yet the church makes no unified response.

Lets take for example, recent advances in Quantum Mechanics. At the quantum level, particle movement is based around invisible relationships. One particle reacting to the movements of another at a completely different location, with no visible connection. Particles appearing where we thought they would, whether they had a reason to or not. All great mysteries, and those are just the simpe examples.

The theological implications and explanations for these 'relationships' are vast and beautiful. Invisible forces dancing and moving together in strange, but masterful unity, acting out of an unseen will, towards an unseen goal. Sound like anyone you know? These invisible particles make up the foundations of the universe. They are what we are made of, what everything is made of.

Beyond these, lets move to something a little more tangible: Time. Time was long thought to move forward as a force, a solid line, unaltering and steady. For so long we assumed that events existed as points on this line, which had a beginning and an end. It is fascinatingly ironic that so many years after Einstein disproved this concept, fiction is still making use of the old theory to sell pop culture books and movies.

I will not go into the theory of relativity, or it's implications and the theories stemming from it. I would suggest you read this book if you'd like to know more, or visit this page for a brief introduction. For now, I would like to go into some thoughts.

Let's just assume, for a moment, that God never intended this world, or this universe to have an end, but rather that it was meant to be eternal. We were never supposed die, nor was the world ever going to be destroyed. We would live on forever, in full communion with God and His creation, here.

I believe there's an abundant source of biblical backing for this, but I’ll let you be the judge.

Assuming this, we must reassess our definition of Hell and Heaven (not reinvent, or redefine them). If we were not meant to fall, to be separate from God, then there is no place for us to go, when our bodies fail (which they were not intended to do). Yet God found a place, though it had been created for others.

"Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels!" – Jesus speaking in Matthew 25:41

Hell was never intended for us. When we die, and if we have chosen to ignore God all our lives, he grants us our choice, and sends us to the only place separate from Himself. Likewise, the humble, victorious servants will rise to be with Him in heaven until the time comes for the new earth, which will not crumble as this one.

All that to say that I believe God is not so far as outside of time, but rather he simply does not end. Likewise, we will never truly end, but just pass from the physical side of this world, into the ethereal of His, until the new earth. If God is the beginning and the end, then there is no in-between, only what is. The world started when God said it should, and it will end because of the decision of our forefather and mother. The next world will not. The next will be filled with those that long for true life in this life.

By taking full on the idea that time, in the sense of a beginning and end, only exists because of a decision of man, we are free to run alongside many of the current explorative theories of science. Let us take the straight and narrow, finding along the way not evidence that demands an answer, but Truth that is self-evident, mystery that is awe inspiring, and beauty that leaves us breathless.

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