Time and Reality

Currently listening to Alison Krauss and Union Station's "Lonely Runs Both Ways," the best bluegrass there is right now...

So, I've been chewing on this for about two months now, and I think it's coming out of the hibernation of the my thought processes and into the spring of the spoken. I owe the grand structure of these thoughts to the writings of Lesslie Newbigin. The man just knows how to break things down and look at them for what they are. What I've been chewing on mainly has to do with the aspects of contextual/relative truth and absolute truth. As I began thinking about how truth can be at once constant and flexible at the same time, I believe God gave me this word picture to grab a hold of it (but do NOT believe this in any means has any of the authority of Scripture, just to be clear).

[NOTE: for more detailed thoughts on this,read this old post of mine]
The emotional heat behind the arguement between contextual and absolute truth has to do with the answer to this question, "What is reality?" and inherant in this question is "Does God exist?" Extreme relativists argue that reality cannot be perceived without each of our personal bias and is therefore not ever able to be known. This leads most to believe that a reality does not exist at all, it's a tool to keep social order. Extreme absolutists argue that there is a Reality (directed by God) and it's always constant. They believe we can know Reality, discern rules from it, and live according to it. Problems happen on both sides when Reality does in fact have qualities that are completely constant [God exists and desires loving relationships with people - Jn 3:16] and also qualities that are completely contextual [killing someone is sometimes a sin when its murder, but not when it's self-defense, it depends on the situation]. Again, I haven't really put forth a compelling arguement because it's already on this blog in a previous post.

The word picture that's become helpful to me is to think of our pursuit of perceiving Reality as coincidal with our pursuit to perceive time. Time is really an abstract concept that we've wrangled the best we can by measuring it and reaching a global agreement on how to read it. This wasn't done to "conquer" time, but to agree on it and use it accordingly. This framework of agreed-upon, measured time allows us to make simple statements like, "I'll be at the party at 7pm."

The tricky part is that time is contextual, because we have different time "zones" where the actual time of day is different from one place to the next. We even have stretches of the year when time is "moved forward" or "pushed back" one hour. The reasoning for all this is simple, we want everyone to know that AM is for when the day goes on and PM is for when the night goes on.

The true nature of time is not compromised by any of this, it's just how people understand time in context. Because even with time, there is an epicenter to which all the other zones and attempts to "save daylight" adhere, Greenwich Mean Time. GMT is always the same and everything else bases itself off of it. The tension comes when there becomes a "zone" that doesn't want to adhere to GMT, but another epicenter of time [of course, having two epicenters is impossible]. This kind of contextualism is in serious error.

What I believe has happened over the last couple of hundred years is that God [who is represented by GMT], who is the only epicenter of Reality has been cast aside, first by a few then by more, in favor of another epicenter, science and secular humanism. With science as GMT, new "time zones" have been and are being formed all across the world. A movement to reconcile both of them together is impossible, just like having two epicenters is impossible. This is the same frustration I feel when I see believers trying to argue God's existence through secular humanist arguements.

The answer, though, is not to try and take back the epicenter by force [or forceful legislation], nor to fight fire with fire [use humanist arguement to "prove" God] but through living in deep relationship with God and others, so that others may know Him through our sacrifice and service. So that others may see, feel, and know our love for our Creator and praise Him along with us. This follows the life of Jesus, and that is what we are called to do.