There is a story of a man who spoke to God, and said “Is it true that to you, a penny is the same as a million dollars, and a second is the same as a million years?”. God replied, “Yes, that is true”, to which the man said, “Well then, would you give me a penny?”.
God said, “In a second”.
If there is an order of importance in our perceived dimensions, I would suggest that the most important is time. Without time, there is no past or future, no measure of life. We regulate our existence in terms of time. Our methods of measuring time are in many ways themselves a measure of civilization. At first, we measured time in days, by the passage of the Sun from horizon to horizon, the intervals of day and night. As we progressed, we recorded the cycle of seasons, the moon was our calendar.
With industry and travel, the need to break the day into hours became necessary. Sundials gave way to mechanical clocks, and we realized that the sun was directly above us at varying times, so we developed conventions of local time so everyone in a town would observe the same hours and minutes. In travel, we found that our clock did not seem to remain accurate as we traveled East or West. The establishment of Greenwich Mean Time in 1675 created a “universal” reference, crucial to navigation, but useless as a world time, the Sun rises in New York around noon GMT. As technology advanced, particularly the railroads of the United States, time zones were established to allow specified regions to maintain a local time in sync with other regions. Without timezones, transcontinental train service would have been disastrous, with train schedules based on points of origin intersecting trains would have been prone to collision.
Today, we can measure time in increments so small that we can measure the interval of travel by photons between two points on Earth. We can measure our past with a certain sense of accuracy back to the creation of the universe, and in doing we can see that without time, there is no universe.
All of this brings me to a central argument among religious denominations, and most fiercely with the non religious. Did God create the world in seven days? The non believer extrapolates the argument to be “If he didn’t do it in seven days, he didn’t do it at all”. Evolution is considered proof of the period of time involved in creation, and therefore proof that God did not create the Earth and the Universe. It is all, essentially, an argument about time.
You may be among the enlightened, who can understand that if Jesus could openly discuss the fact that he spoke to the masses in parables, it is altogether possible that as God laid out the old testament and the story of creation, he was using parables as well. A reading of the first chapter of Genesis seems to have the aspects of creation in order, and even though “Let there be light” is commonly understood to be the creation of our Sun, I see it as the “Big Bang”, the beginning of time. The stars, our sun, and our moon, are not created until the fourth day, so I’m taking it God wasn’t using a sun dial to measure those first three days.
That’s right. When it says “and there was evening and morning, one day” all it really says is that there was an interval between the “days”. It doesn’t say at all how long the “days” were, nor does it refer to time in any way, such as “Round about noon God created birds”.
If I tell you that I’m making curry for dinner, do I need to explain the process? There are a number of ingredients, and they must be prepared and mixed and heated in a particular fashion, but all the information you need is “The curry will be ready by six”. So it is with the creation of life. If you are a “creationist” do you know the process God used to create life in its various forms? If it was as simple as God just blinking his eyes, would he not have created all life in one blink? If you are an “evolutionist”, same question. Does the possibility that God directed evolution to create human beings negate your beliefs? Is the fact that Dinosaurs are not mentioned in the Bible any different than me not mentioning that I let the dough rise and then punched it down when I tell you that I made bread?
Are we all just characters in a Swiftian war of Lilliput and Blefuscu? The simple fact is we exist. If we believe in God, then we should not be arguing amongst ourselves about one of his acts over others. If we happen to believe in Evolution, it serves as no excuse for disbelief in God. If you don’t believe in God, first off thank you for reading this, and secondly, is there any point in arguments about proof of God? Don’t you recognize the impossibility of the position of proving a negative?
Are the differences in all our beliefs worthy of a single tear? If anyone is superior, shouldn’t they be be capable of finding a peaceful resolution to the differences?
Just because I believe differently than you doesn’t mean I believe you are wrong.