I am intrigued, fascinated, and haunted by the concept of “time and space.” I understand it enough to discuss it…and discourse about it…but I know so little about it—I suspect because I am so caught up in it. I think one dimension of the biblical notion of “the fall” was a “fall” into time and space, a world of limits, a world of certain death. But mankind hates his suspicion of these limitations and so fashions schemes and fantasies in which he pretends that he is not subservient to this, or any limit.
Let me suggest one writer from the evangelical pantheon who has some very interesting things to say about this precise issue. Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Creation and Fall noted, “Because thinking desires to penetrate to the beginning and cannot do so, all thinking crumbles into dust, it runs aground upon itself, it breaks to pieces…” “Thinking or reason” will take us only so far and then we are left with primordial nothingness which offers us faith or nihilism. And let me reiterate, Bonhoeffer was a Christian who is in the evangelical pantheon so he can’t be dismissed as a nihilist!
I have a lovely poem to share regarding this general subject:
Navigating by the Light of a Minor Planet
by Jessica Goodfellow
The trouble with belief in endlessness is
it requires a belief in beginninglessness.
Consider friction, entropy, perpetual motion.
And the trouble with holding to both is that
belief in endlessness requires a certain hope
while belief in beginninglessness ends in the absence of hope.
Or maybe it’s vice versa. Luckily,
belief in a thing is not the thing itself.
We can have the concept of origin, but no origin.
Here we are then: in a world where logic doesn’t function,
or else emotions can’t be trusted. Maybe both.
All known tools of navigation require an origin.
Otherwise, there is only endless relativity and then
what’s the point of navigation, in a space where
it’s hard to be lost, and even harder not to be?
Saying “I don’t want to be here” is not the same
as saying “I want to not be here.” It rains
and it rains and it rains the things I haven’t said.