Beyond Time

File:Icon with Christ enthroned. Painted by Emmanuel Tzanes. 1664. (8384475988).jpg

I posted a link to last week’s science fiction review on another social media platform, and a friend commented thus:

Reminds me of a time travel philosophical question I heard the other day. (Jimmy Akins Mysterious world podcast). A baptized historian who loves history makes a time machine and travels back in time to the Colossus of Rhodes and he dies in that time. Does he go to the bosom of Abraham or to heaven?

Jimmy argued that he would go to heaven as baptism leaves an indelible mark on the soul, which transcends time and space as it’s the spiritual soul. His second argument is God did and can permit people into heaven before the resurrection of Christ. As in the prophet Elijah was taken into heaven as described into the biblical account and not to the bosom of Abraham. I thought it was interesting philosophical query.

And as I was thinking about the comment, I wondered why we would assume the afterlife is on the same timetable as the material world. 

God created time from the progression of days as described in Genesis 1. On the other end of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures is this testimony:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away … (Revelation 21:1a)

Another clue from the final chapter of the Bible, perhaps:

Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever. (22:5)

If night is no more, then day ceases to be defined, and day after day has no more meaning in the experience of the blessed. 

I’ll go one or two steps deeper into Jimmy Akins’ argument. After death, we have the modern image of being greeted by the saints and angels, and hopefully our loved ones who have passed before us. But if the experience of the new heaven and earth is beyond the old, it may be beyond time as well. Not only might we see previous generations, but after the moment of death we will see our descendants as well–the countless generations of martyrs and saints and disciples whom, while we were alive, were yet to be born and live in the mortal universe.

If any reader here knows of a similar speculation, it would be Liam, most likely. Thoughts?

Image credit.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Beyond Time

  1. Liam says:

    Oh, theological speculation re if/how the timelessness of heaven is experienced creatures is an old chestnut, but I’d have to dig to remember what I’ve seen written!

    One other note in modern terminology: while the light of the created order participates in entropy, the *uncreated* Light of the Godhead does not. There has long been a strong emphasis in the Eastern theological tradition on that uncreated Light being part of the theophany at the Transfiguration. One can chew on the implications of that for a long time.

  2. Liam says:

    A good search word is: aeviternity.

    And Aquinas is a helpful starting reference point:

    https://ccel.org/ccel/aquinas/summa/summa.FP_Q10_A5.html

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