Time And A Created Universe

 
Childhood for me was a period of adventurous reading including Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. Ingrained in my memory is an image of the White Rabbit, dressed in a waistcoat and carrying about a humongous-sized pocket watch. He makes his appearance early in the book and seems to set a tone by saying, “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!” The illustration in the book is etched in my mind and may have had some influence on my later reflections about time.

I am speculating that few people would argue with the concept that all life forms exist as developing entities that are superimposed on an intangible flow we call time. As self-conscious humans, we seem to have an innate awareness of the advance of “something” where change can be perceived as rather sudden and dramatic or almost imperceptible. Our lives are lived with this backdrop of measured, forward advance in units ranging from nanoseconds to eons. We are all familiar with our time-reckoning devices such as clocks and calendars as everyday aids to help govern our daily behaviors through the passage of our lives.

Time seems to complement the everyday spatial dimensions of length, width, and height and is sometimes called the fourth dimension. It is also inextricably interwoven with the extra-theoretical spatial dimensions numbered in the teens. To say that space, matter, and energy issued forth in a microsecond from a primal point simply boggles one’s mind. But astrophysicists and cosmologists claim they have the mathematical formulae in keeping with a model known as the Big Bang that led to the creation of space as well as the energy and matter occupying it.

Astronomers talk about the fabric of space-time being distorted relative to the presence of an object whose mass is great in terms of the gravitational force involved, often analogized as a bowling ball sitting upon a flexible net with the ball sinking downward into the net. Then there is the pronounced slowing of time near the event horizon of a black hole in space. Weirder yet is the concept of two matched or paired subatomic particles, one spinning in one direction and its pair-mate spinning in the other. If you are able to alter the spin of one particle, the spin of the other is affected instantaneously even if the particles were separated across the distance of the known universe. This has been called, “spooky action at a distance.” It would be innumerable orders of magnitude faster than the speed of light at 186,000 miles per second!

I cannot fully understand the advanced mathematics that undergird the more popular cosmological models of our universe’s creation an estimated 13.7 billion years ago, its evolutionary development, and its dynamic operation. In simple conceptual forms, I can only partially grasp what the models might be saying. To ponder such matters is a gripping human endeavor for some of us. But the science of all this represents only one side of the existential coin, so to speak. The other side of that coin pulls us toward the meaning of life, toward an awareness of some creative force or Prime Mover often called God, and asking questions such as “why” and “how” that abound in the minds of truly curious and seeking human beings. Humans possess not only a self-consciousness but many also become aware of their other-consciousness that seeks a relationship in knowing this Prime Mover. The result may be a feeling of comfort through sensing a pervasive divine presence as the “reason for all that exists with you being part of it.”

Cosmological matters like these have also been the subjects of myriad philosophers, theologians, thinkers and speculators for millennia. Perhaps what has needed to be said has already been said, but we cannot discount new or alternative ways of saying it. It is a human desire to continue contemplating that portion of our timeline called the future. To deeply think about such matters comprises the true nature of being human and can give us hope and solace.

Pondering the difficult-to-define dimension known as time is perhaps where philosophical thoughts are bridged to one’s own spirituality and any communal religious beliefs or convictions. Time is a mystery. It is the subject of many a poet. It goes to the core of each person’s spiritual nature. And many of the major religions give voice to our earthly challenges and struggles with a glimmer into an eternity to come.

It has been said that we can only live our lives in the present, that what has happened is in the past, and that the future is yet to be realized. That is the enigma of time. That is a reality. And for me, it seems to bring about a desire to live my life fully, to love and accept being loved, and to be all that I can be as a created human being in a time-driven world that is part of an eternal cosmos, the depths of which are endless. When we put ourselves in perspective, we can be humbled and awed at the same time as if gazing upon the face of God.

Time — a mysterious reality whether it be of an ephemeral or cosmic duration. It’s as if the Cheshire Cat in Alice’s Wonderland is staring downward at me from some lofty perch with the wryest of grins.

In a vivid dream, I find myself on a wooden sailing ship as a mariner of old
I begin a voyage eastward from some tropical island in the equatorial realm
Final destination unknown but I know I must complete a wind-driven course
The tempest waves often beset me as some sort of ill-journeyed companions
I struggle to maintain the course, but sea waters are lapping up around me
The winds subside and the fair weather seas give me respite from my ordeals
The journey takes me to many lands and ports of varied cultures and peoples
The adventures prove exciting and I’m spurred onward to future tomorrows
The stars seem to guide me in the absence of a Sun that’s so yellow-bright
The sailed venture becomes years of love of living and learning, but longing
For it’s my home port that I yearn for, departed from decades ago in the past
My course continues and on the horizon ahead lies the shore of my launch
I navigate my vessel forward and aim for the spot I left too many years ago
I have come full circle on my time voyage of sailing these unknown waters
I awaken from a protracted dream and slumbered state with eyes wide-open
Maybe I experienced a time journey and circumnavigated the universe itself!
How deep the mystery of time goes, a thought to ponder, difficult to fathom
As a given and unchanging reality, it’s like a tide to be ridden into the future

Review & Commentary