Thursday, April 18, 2024

Time and Christianity

 From Catholic Exchange:

In Confessions, Augustine provided a model of personal time that provides each person with a model of the individual experience of the life and significance of Christ that has little to do with formal chronologies, history, and public events. It depends upon the old Greek idea of the Logos as developed by Philo Judaeus of Alexandria and the Apostle John. Philo wrote of the Logos: God creates “at once, not merely by uttering a command, but by even thinking of it” (Philo, n.d., III.13). And John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1).

Logos simply exists at all times but by taking on flesh enters into time, interacts with time, bringing light into time, whereas before there was only darkness. Darkness, time, yields to lightness, eternity. Ignorance yields to knowledge. Time is darkness because we cannot see what lies ahead. The future is unknown, and the past a memory. The present is a brief momentary anticipation of what might be. But if light enters darkness, if timeless enters time, then the path forward is brightened, made aware to us, lighting the way in the darkness. The future, always dark, is opened to light, and complete ignorance gives way to some knowledge of what will be. Not what might be. Because the night implies ignorance, implies that we are still guessing based on experience. No, now we know what will be thanks to the light.

All cultures have struggled to know the Logos. Polytheistic peoples conceived of a divinity that was inherent in nature, controlling all things, encompassing past, present, and future. The Hebrews identified it as Yahweh. The Greeks as the mind, the infinite, the good—the Logos. Asian philosophy called it the Way, the source, the Brahma. Christianity offers a unique perspective, that of a Transcendent Being that acts in time without being confined by it, acting subtly upon the self, connecting the self to the transcendent—a direct physical and spiritual connection. (Read more.)


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