For God the future becomes the present

byron_south_omnipresent_hi_res1

I might be crazy. Just thinking out loud.

What would ‘past’ and ‘future’ be for someone whose ‘present’ experience was existentially satisfied in every self-constituting way (that is, in every way important to and definitive for personal identity and existential fulfillment)? The ‘past’ couldn’t be remembered with any sense of regret, longing, or pinning for what was or what might have been. It would cast no shadow upon the present, nor could it suggest any correction or alternative to it. Whatever the past would be to the present, however one’s ‘memory’ might figure into the satisfaction of the present, it would not define the present by means of contrasting it to unfulfilled desire or counterfactual reasoning (what ‘might have’ been but is not). (Rom 8.18 comes to mind.)

Likewise the future could not interpose itself into the satisfaction of the present by casting upon its bliss any expectation or desire for a satisfaction not present. The future (so far as it might be conceived in the present) would be entirely the product of present bliss, a realm of possibilities that express (but do not constitute an improvement upon) the present. The future would become the present, as opposed to the present becoming the future.

I think of God’s relationship to ‘time’ along such lines. Where time constitutes a kind of metaphysical presupposition for our existence (we’re temporal in a prerequisite sort of way), God (being necessary) could not sustain that kind of relationship to time. There are no metaphysical presuppositions to uncreated being. That goes without saying. In that sense time flows from God.

On a similar note, consider God’s relationship to ‘space’, which is the relation of an undivided mind to divided points or spatial locations. God’s experience of the world couldn’t be spatial in the way ours is. My conscious experience is spatially finite, located at some points in space but not at other points in space. But God is not so located. All locations are equally present to him in the undivided unity of his being. All God is is present to all spatial locations, and all spatial locations are equally present to God. There is no distance in God between any spatial location and another. This is all I take omnipresence to be. Though God perfectly apprehends the distinctions between spatial locations (i.e., being omnipresent doesn’t collapse all spatial locations in one spatial location for God), God is not collapsible to the distance between location and location as we are.

Prayer: Teach me, God, to rest my weary wanderings (and my wonderings) in your present presence. Keep me always mindful of the unchanging truth that no matter where or how far from you I run, I run in you, that all that you are is the world in which I travel.

(Cartoon here.)

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