SPEAK TO ME OF GOD – 21 – Time of science and time of faith

I report here some Christian maxims about time: sometimes they seem hard and difficult, but in reality they serve to make our life profitable and full of good fruits: do not become impatient and listen to them with love.

Reflect how fleeting the irreparable time is spent and you with it! It is always behind you that presses, and the future makes it past you. The beat of the hour is for you a continuous reminder of the passing of time and of eternity that is approaching. Time passes and never returns. If you employ it badly it is lost forever.

In eternity you will be established in that degree of love that you have achieved over time. For those who deal with the affairs of this world, time is gold, for you who care for God, time is glory that will last forever.

You are a pilgrim towards eternity; walk every day, as long as you have time. Oh, you miserable if you cling to this fleeting life and neglect the eternal!

Recover as much time as possible with a true and perfect love. Now is the time of fatigue that must be a sweet consolation for the love of Jesus crucified.

What will, O Lord, remain in the eternity of this day? Do not let it be lost unnecessarily in the abyss of time, but have an eternal repercussion in your kingdom.

But now it’s time to briefly scrutinize what science and philosophy have understood about time: man asks himself with his little reasoning: what is time?

Great challenge is to understand what we use to call by the term “time”.
For our reality, nothing is more mysterious and elusive than time; it appears to us as the greatest and unstoppable force in the universe, which inexorably accompanies us from the cradle to the grave.

What is time, then? Many philosophers, scientists, poets and artists have tried to give some answers to what is one of the great unsolved questions of man.

In the 7th century, St. Augustine in his Confessions said: “If no one asks me, I know what time is, but if I am asked to explain it, I do not know what to say”.

The well-known contemporary existentialist philosopher Martin Heidegger, when he set about writing an essay on time, stated that he lacked the words to talk about this topic.

Most of us conscious men tend to associate time with the phenomena of change and / or evolution, but perhaps there is something else underneath that escapes us in our hurry to live!

The questions are not lacking. Does time move in one direction, giving rise to a constantly changing present? Does the past still exist? If yes, where did it go? Is the future already determined, and is it waiting for us, even if we don’t know it?

It may seem strange, but classical physics has always tried to avoid this question, leaving rather the arduous task to the philosophers. The reason is probably given by the overwhelming authority of Newton and Einstein for the way they have shaped space, time and motion.

Both built models of the universe of extraordinary clarity, but then, once the structure was made, they didn’t worry too much about the foundations; and this leaves room for potential confusions.

Without a doubt, their theories are full of great truths, but both give time as something taken for granted: it is a brick like space, a primary element.

Einstein even merged it with space to create a four-dimensional “space-time”; in fact one of the great revolutions of modern physics: “relativity”, is completely focused on “Time”.

In “relativity” Einstein had eliminated the more Newtonian concept of absolute space and time, in fact much of our difficulty in understanding the theory of “relativity” comes from human reluctance to recognize that the sense of time, such as that of color , it is just our form of perceiving some things that happen around us.

As there is not really what we call “color” without our eye to receive it, so an instant, an hour a day, are indistinguishable without the events that characterize them; therefore like space we can identify it as a possible order of material objects, so time is identifiable as a possible order of events.

Eistein explained the subjectivity of time with these words: “the experiences of an individual appear to us ordered in a series of individual events, which We remember appearing to be ordered according to the criterion of front and back. Thus, for the individual, there is a subjective time of his own which is not measurable in itself ”.

We can associate numbers and events in such a way that a greater number is associated with a posterior event, rather than anterior, and this continuity can be quantified by means of a clock, which is a tool we use to count the flow of a series of events.

But whatever it is, whether the time is marked by the Bonn clock, your clock, mine, or that of an inhabitant of a planet in the Andromeda galaxy, they are always only all subjective times that conscious beings feel in relation to the environment in which they find themselves living; for example, a patient sitting in a dentist’s chair surely feels differently about the time marked by the Bonn atomic clock, compared to a listener sitting in an armchair while listening to a Mozart symphony.

Since ancient times two different conceptions of “time” have clashed, for example among the Greek Philosophers, Heraclitus claimed the necessity of the eternal flow of everything, and Parmenides argued instead that time and motion did not exist.

Few thinkers in later times took Parmenides’ ideas seriously, to find one we must get to our times; the English Julian Barbour theorist of astrophysics and of time, who argues in his thesis, that the eternal flow of Heraclitus is nothing but a rooted illusion.

His theory is that the “quantum” universe is static, existing as a series of states independent of time, governed only by their probability of existing.

Barbour says: “our notion of time derives from the observation of these states, time is our pure illusion, since the phenomena from which we deduce its existence are real, but we interpret them wrongly for the reason that the roots of our knowledge are essentially rooted in two theories of physics defined as: classical mechanics, and quantum mechanics, which give a non-holistic view of the whole, and therefore can sometimes even be misleading “.

However the theory closest to the concept of Barbour’s time is certainly quantum mechanics, since it assumes that there is not a single succession of states, but every possible succession of states, and that therefore all the possible events are present at the same time ; it is we with our mind that we decide what state to follow and / or live, while for classical mechanics time is something like an invisible thread on which events are hung in succession.

The new physics vivifies and opens new horizons towards a better understanding about the ancient enigma existing between the concepts of time, free will and determinism; in fact, Eistein’s theory of relativity opens up a vision of a universe extended over time as well as space, without taking away a certain degree of freedom of action; and quantum theory, which gives our mind such an important role, helps us to understand more deeply the question of free will since, in effect, the quantum factor has swept away the old deterministic conception of the universe, according to which everything what we do has been established by universal mechanisms even before we were born.
So what’s behind our concept of Time ????????

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Science and philosophy formulate hypotheses. Does time not exist? But for each of us, time is a concrete reality.

How can you deny that time is a wonderful gift from God? We are in a very useful dimension for our progress.

But now it remains to say how concretely to spend time profitably, and to walk in it with God; of this we will talk, God willing, tomorrow.