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Posts Tagged ‘time’

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void…

One of the things I love about how God created the world is that He both created from nothing, spoke things straight into existence, – and also formed things.  This is something true of God.  He is abundantly powerful, and everything has its source in Him.  He is the Alpha.  And also, He is a God of life, of living and growing and progressing and moving.  He is the Omega, both Beginning and End.  He is the eternal I AM, but He created a world of experience – not just existence.

When God created the world, He began a story.  When God created Adam, Adam was fully formed and when God breathed into him the breath of life, that is when Adam became a living being.  But God started with Adam a dominion, a mandate, a command, a purpose.  That purpose is being unfurled still, across the generations, covenant to covenant.  Each life is like this, too.  God forms us in our mothers’ wombs.  He begins our stories, and we don’t come into this life “finished” or complete.  Our purposes are yet unfulfilled.

I don’t always like it, that God takes time.  That God begins with seeds that must sprout and grow and blossom before they bear fruit – that is hard for me to wait on.  But it is beautiful.  It is glorious in that we get to partake of imitating God, of acting and producing.

These thoughts coalesced as I thought about Pope Francis’s recent comments about the nature of evolution.  I don’t know the intent of his comments; I’m pretty sure I disagree with some parts of them.  Maybe he was pointing out that even evolution and the big bang don’t have an explanation for the beginning of things.  But the concept of evolution: that things once started do tend to develop – this is not inconsistent with what we know of God.  He starts things that change.  “He created beings and allowed them to develop according to the internal laws that He gave to each one, so that they were able to develop and to arrive and [sic] their fullness of being,” said Pope Francis, “… [God is] the Creator who gives being to all things.”

I don’t believe God started the world with the Big Bang.  I don’t believe He started humanity from a single-celled organism in a primal soup.  Maybe, though, the appeal is for all of us, evolutionist or creationist, to recognize this truth about our world as God has set us in it: that we’re progressing towards the end of the story.  And, as Pope Francis went on to say, “Therefore the scientist, and above all the Christian scientist*, must adopt the approach of posing questions regarding the future of humanity and of the earth, and, of being free and responsible, helping to prepare it and preserve it, to eliminate risks to the environment of both a natural and human nature. But, at the same time, the scientist must be motivated by the confidence that nature hides, in her evolutionary** mechanisms, potentialities for intelligence and freedom to discover and realise, to achieve the development that is in the plan of the Creator. So, while limited, the action of humanity is part of God’s power and is able to build a world suited to his dual corporal and spiritual life; to build a human world for all human beings and not for a group or a class of privileged persons. This hope and trust in God, the Creator of nature, and in the capacity of the human spirit can offer the researcher a new energy and profound serenity…”

To God be all glory.

*I suggest this applies to humans, to Christians, and to Christian scientists; it is not exclusive to researchers (see Genesis 1:28)

**I am not sure whether in the context, the term “evolutionary” is exclusively referring to the scientific theory of evolution.  I am inspired only by the aspect of evolution in this definition: “any process of formation or growth; development”.

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I like circles.  Hula-hoops.  Rings.  Pi.  Domes.  Time travel.  Except that’s more of a spiral…

When I am embarrassed or flustered, I go in circles.  Literally.  I’ll do a little spin, adjust my hair, and be back to business.  Like a new start.

But really, circles don’t have starts.  And that’s what I really like.  Fresh beginnings.  Forgiveness.  History.

And I like endings.  Hope has to do with endings.  Fulfillment.  Consummation.  Happily ever after.  Completion.

The thing I don’t like about beginnings and endings is that there has to be time in between.  Waiting.  Remembering.  Continuing.  Perseverance.  Diligence.  It isn’t that I really dislike those things; they’re just hard.

It seems that for hope to exist, time has to be linear.  We can’t go in circles.  Chesterton described insanity as a circle.  Think about it.  Most of our natural laws follow the principle of cause and effect.  Order.

And God had the wisdom to describe Himself not as a circle, but as Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, First and Last, Author and Finisher.  He it is that gives us starts.  Quickening.  Initiation.  (We love Him because He first loved us.)  And He is there at the end, pulling us to completion.  To joy and peace.  Because of Him we have an ending, and it is happy.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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I have a friend, my age, who is married.  To most 25 year olds, this is not surprising.  But I mean what I say, that I have ONE friend who is married and my age.  So she holds a special place in my row of confidants.  Loving her has never been hard, and envying her is unthinkable.  Her story is beautiful, and I treasure it.

The tale her life weaves is different from mine, and that is good.  She was married 4 and a half years ago, but she remembers before.  More than once she has encouraged me to embrace the days God gives me, as He gives them.  Before she was married, she spent time on tour with a Christian conference, interning with a youth ministry, and on a mission in Thailand.  She doesn’t regret ending those things to become a wife and a mom (a busy mom – 5 kids!), but she values them for what they were to her, and values them more for being special to that season of her life.

Just this month, out to eat delicious Italian food and celebrate that significantly frightening birthday of mine when I turned 25, she repeated her exhortation.  This time she made clear that she doesn’t think the only way to make the most of one’s singleness is mission trips.  Her life isn’t the only way.  Her story is hers.  In fact, she said she rather likes having me live close!  “One day you’ll look back, and this time will seem short.  You’ll wonder why you worried.”  I didn’t tell her I worried.  Good friends don’t have to be told, I guess.

But I pondered for a moment.  The waiting hasn’t been short.  I don’t ever want to forget that, because that cheapens this time.  For years I have been enduring hope, striving for hope – and patience and faith.  This has to be for a reason.  God is doing work in me; I haven’t stalled in this in-between season of singleness.  And He is doing work around me, through me.  Living at home, I have an impact on my family.  Being single, as my friend said, I get to spend more time with friends.  And who knows what God is up to with the man who will be my husband some day.

Though her time of singleness was short and cram-packed, mine is long and also full.  I don’t want to call this time fleeting, not only because of all that it contains, but because of what it represents.  There is a sacredness to waiting, something to be attained through practicing it. Without delayed gratification, there is no hope.  If one has everything one wants before you think to desire it, there is no desire.

But hope and desire were not made merely to serve romance.  Experiencing hope and desire and something about time that I still don’t understand – these train me for my walk with God.

We use words like thirst to describe how our souls long for God because God made us to sense need for water.  “God deals with us as with sons” – “for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?”  If God had not given us fathers willing to spank us, how would we know to relate to God this way?  So also, this yearning time, and stillness time point me to the yearning I ought to have for God.  Do I put my trust in His action?  Am I catching my breath every day thinking that He might come?  Is my imagination captivated by His promises?

This turns back again and says more.  I’m not the only one waiting.  God is waiting.  Just as He chose to love, and chose to suffer, and chose to be tempted, and chose to be born and to die, He has chosen to wait.  Eternal God has put Himself in time.  And time is not yet full.  In exercising waiting and containing myself to hope, I am learning about God’s hope and God’s waiting.  He has patience.

There is a praise song that alights on me like a vision of radiance.  “We will dance on the streets that are golden: the glorious Bride and the Great Son of Man…”  Think of the joy with which the Bridegroom will dance among His Bride, with which He will feast with her.  If that will be his joy, this strangeness called time will be part of his payment.  He knows that future and is waiting with eager expectation for the day and hour only His Father knows.  Somehow to think of God’s joy makes me want that more than I want it for myself.

Jesus is no Peter Pan, who lives only for the moment, forgetting past and future.  No, to live with an eye on the future that can only be reached by walking the present, that is grown up.  It is mature and sober.  But the joy it produces is most free and most giddy.  There is nothing unsure in the joy, even the excruciating joy of this waiting.  Peter Pan might enjoy the moment, but that is all he has; he must be ready for a turn of events.  The joy of Christ – and His Bride with Him – will be everlasting.

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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How Old?

A friend asked me how old I was.  Age is such a strange thought to this fan of time (and time travel).  I don’t like talking about it: ashamed to be so old, timid for being so young.  Strangers sound surprised to find out how old I am – or that I’m older than the rest of my brothers and sisters.  Yet when someone asks, I can’t think of a good reason to avoid answering, so I brave their shock and say that I am twenty-four. 

Two dozen years old and my life is mostly the same as when I was sixteen.  though I am not the same.  When years don’t go as expected, measuring progress is hard.  Some friends matching my years have several children.  Many are married.  A few have stacks of degrees, houses, favorite places to travel.  There’s all this comparison. 

In my wiser moments, I see through the silliness.  My change has been in my forge, not in escaping it.  Transition has happened.  In the old days girls my age were growing up by saying good-bye to parents, brothers, sisters.  God has given me a different challenge: to say good-bye to friends, learning better than ever to build up the family in which I was raised – am still being raised.  I don’t regret my choices, believing I have walked by faith.

“Maybe by the time I’m your age, I’ll be grown up.”  So I used to think, a starry-eyed child imagining life with a locker and football games and a car of your own.  High school was not nearly as packaged and complete as I thought.  So college must be the time, those golden-days of figuring life out, knowing always the right step to take and words to say.  I skipped college, but from what I observed, just after high school is the time to nostalgically cling to a life more laid-out than any of the wild options parading now: ah! the good old days when I was on top of the world as a high school senior.  Well then, college must just be an excuse to stay young; surely after college age, by the age of 22 or so, everyone must be moving along their life-course, certain of their calling, seizing their days.  No, not true either.  I’m not blaming those I observed, being equally lost and struggling to have contentment and faith in the midst of abandoned expectations. 

I’m learning not to do life as Lisa being a twenty-four-year-old, but as Lisa, who is twenty-four.  There is no role for me to play, no definition that excludes me from being grown up when I do one thing, or initiates me into the club if I do another.  Life is not without its direction.  Maybe this was the message all along, that our plan of progression through aging is built on the wrong priorities.  I serve a rather radical and creative God, author of stories.  There is a clear purpose to Lisa as she is today.  Lisa laughs, loves, and serves.  I get to learn, and lean into challenges.  Friends mean so much to me, and I try to pour myself into them.  I believe God is able to speak and wants to speak, so I listen for Him, taking His dares though they hurt and are hard. 

Even if I had the life my “older” friends have, I don’t think I’d have everything figured out like I wish I would.  Some situations would leave me wishing I had more experience and education.  Time yields adventure to hearts open to grow, and I don’t ever want to be satisfied with who I am, this mortal creature.  So there is balance, between accepting that who I am today is reality, so I don’t have to “act my age;” and pressing on for the goal of being like my good Lord Jesus. 

“Remember your Creator in the days when you are young.”

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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This is an exercising post. I want you to stand up and try the following:
Look at your clock.
Jump. You probably moved up and down.
Slide left. Slide back to the right.
Slide forward. Slide backward.
Stand still.
Step left. Step right. You probably moved both up-and-down and left, up-and-down and right.
Look at the clock. How much time has passed?

Refer back to your exercises to help you answer the following questions.
Can you move in one dimension?
Can you move in two dimensions?
Can you move in three dimensions?
Can you do any of those without moving through time?

In science today, there are four accepted dimensions. We tend to call these space-time. There are three spatial dimensions (sideways, forward, vertical), and one dimension for time. These four dimensions are connected, sometimes in mysterious ways allowing for the concepts of wormholes and time travel. More practically, these connections are used in Einstein’s famous Special Theory of Relativity and General Theory of Relativity, which are applied all over physics today with some very helpful results.

I don’t know if this is Einstein’s own illustration, or some textbook writer’s, but the principle belongs to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity: Time is relative. This is proven, supposedly, by the fact that if you were to throw a clock at the speed of light (something no one has done), the hands would shorten, and thus they would travel the dial at a different speed. Since we use a clock to measure time, obviously time is relative to the speed at which one is traveling. That is what a physics book once taught me. What nonsense! The measurement of time does not equal time. Time is not contained in the length of the hands on a clock; it is described by them. So while I’m not arguing necessarily that time is not relative, I am saying that the reasons we think it is are less than persuasive.

In the very least, we ought not classify time in the exact category as the spatial dimensions, because, as shown, we can move in any one of those dimensions without moving in another one. We can also move in two or even three of those dimensions, but the choice is ours. Human experience has not produced a circumstance in which anything has moved in a spatial dimension without moving in time. In fact, we cannot even fail to move spatially and keep ourselves still in the “dimension” of time. Hypothetically we could stand still in time, moving outside of time or existing without time. But there is no observational evidence of this phenomenon.

So I remain a little skeptical of the description of our universe as four-dimensional (let alone boasting more dimensions, as some theoretical physicists like to suggest). How tied is our matter and energy reality to time? What is time? Is it linear? Does perception define time? What is the meaning of action, thought, or existence outside of time? Can time really accelerate? Can it change direction? Some physicists are suggesting, based on observations, that space is actually stretching. Can time stretch?

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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Spring is My Lady’s Domain

Spring is my lady’s domain

Autumn the field of her brother

Winter waits on yarning old women

Summer sweeps in young children’s laughter.

 

Time is the tale of seasons

Space present in jumbles of ways

My friends dance in the streets of lifetime

God catches men home full by joy-worn days.

 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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Lately I’ve been in a state of mind that can soak up information, and comes up with really good questions – well I think they’re interesting, leading me to more and more questions (and occasionally to comprehension).  One field that’s been appealing this week is physics.  I’m reading a book, Reinventing Gravity, that has me thinking about the basics of physics – and marvelling at how much of our universe we humans don’t understand. 
 
So I would be ok with exhaustive comments answering the following questions, or referrals to books or websites that could help me understand these things.  I took physics in high school, no problem, and have given a great deal of skeptical thought to Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity.  This is because I’m fairly convinced the speed of light is not constant.  So if you mention the speed of light in your answer, I’ll probably enjoy it more.  I understand that I’m missing a few levels of knowledge between high school physics and the edges of theoretical physics I’m trying to reach.  Give me your best shot. 
 
You can also use the comment section to add your own questions.  The compilation of questions is great food for thought and theory. 
 
Some physics questions:
Are forces energy? 
What is light? 
     Does it have a constant velocity? 
     Is its speed constant? 
     If the velocity of light is not constant, what force acts on it? 
          What is the equal and opposite reaction? (Whence is the energy subtracted?)
 
What is electricity? 
What is magnetism?
 
What is heat? 
     Is it motion in and of molecules,
     or that which causes motion in and of molecules,
     or the output of motion in and of molecules?
 
What is gravity? 
How is gravity related to attraction and acceleration (gravitational mass and inertial mass)?     
     What is the significance of the relationship? 
     Does the resistance or escape of an object from gravity take any energy away from the gravity-exerting objects? 
     Does gravity curve space, or is it the effect of curved space? 
 
If gravity is the effect of curved space, what makes space curved? 
     Matter and energy? 
     Is anything else (such as time) curved by these things as well? 
     If spacetime can be curved, what else can be done to it? 
 
Can spacetime be stretched? 
     If spacetime can be stretched, what stretches it? 
     Are opposing forces of gravity like Curling brooms, creating a smooth path for matter and energy? 
 
 
How do permittivity and permeability relate energy, electricity, gravity, and matter? 
     What does density have to do with them? 
     What force causes nature to abhor a vacuum?  
 
 
(To quote The Little Mermaid), What is fire and how does it burn? 
     Must fire produce light? 
     Can light be produced without fire/burning? 
     Must fire produce heat? 
     Are there other ways to convert matter to energy? 
 
Oh my goodness, does time have to come into this? 
     How is time related to the measurement of time? 
          Must there be a direct correlation?
 
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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