20080611

Predestination in the Light of Quantum Physics

Hey everyone,

I figured I'd give you all a blast from the past; this is an argument I wrote up for a debate back in high school...

Quantum physics basically says that we actually live in a 4 dimensional universe, and not just a 3 dimensional. The three dimensions are simple and just about everyone understands them: horizontal, vertical, and depth (in math, they're explained in terms of the x, y, and z axes). Quantum physics looks at time as a sort of fourth axis of existence, which is different from the more classical view of time. If you were to give every place in the universe coordinates using quantum physics, it would have the three coordinates of its place and its time of existence.

So to illustrate what that means (in theory), look at it this way. I'm in Africa right now, and I'm NOT in New York. But just because I'm not there doesn't mean it doesn't exist now. I'm just not there in terms of my three dimensional existence "experiencing" New York. According to quantum physics, time is sort of the same way. The past is existing "now", I'm just not there experiencing it. The future is existing "now", I'm just not there experiencing it. We as human being are limited by time just like we are limited by place: we can't be anywhere or any time other than where we are and when we are.

That's where the omnipotence of God comes in. Just like He's not limited to three dimensions (He is everywhere at once), He's not limited to time (he's at all times at once). So how do I see this working in terms of the Calvinistic view of predestination? That particular view assumes that at some previous point in time, God chose all who would be saved and come to know him. All the people who are, were, and will be Christians are so because "long ago before the foundation of the Earth" He chose them.

Are you maybe beginning to see my problem with that in light of how quantum physics works? God is in no way whatsoever limited to time. I totally one hundred per cent agree that God chooses people who will be saved (I also believe we choose him just like a bride chooses a groom, but that's beside the point). What I don't agree with is that He did it "before" in the temporal sense of the term. Why? Because that premise assumes that like us, He's limited to time. I don't believe that. I believe He's choosing people in the past "right now" just as much as He's choosing people in the present "right now" just as much as He's choosing people in the future "right now". He is at all times of existence doing all things "right now".

We as humans tend to put emphasis on the past acts of God because in the manner God created us to exist, we have a way to "see it" from what others have passed on to us and the fact that we are gifted with memory. So when you or I do anything, we assign a point in time in the past of it happening. If we chose the red shirt over the blue shirt yesterday, we think of ourselves (and correctly so) as doing it yesterday, not today, because we're not doing it now but have a memory of doing it at a particular moment before. Because we do that ourselves, we do the same thing with others. If Ben decided to buy new shoes last week, we (and he) say last week (or any point in time you may like) because he has a memory of doing it then, but he's not doing it now. So with everything we try to describe, we describe it in that light so we can understand it better (and rightfully so).

The problem I have is when you say that God has to operate like that. If you want to say He did something "before", that's totally fine because in a sense He did. But in terms of His existence He's doing it 100 years ago just as much as he's doing it 5 minutes ago just as much as he's doing it now just as much as he's doing it 10 minutes from now just as much as he's doing it 40 years from now. He is existing at all those times at once.

Is that hard to understand? Yeah, but so is the fact that he's three persons yet one God. It's all just part of the nature of our indescribable, uncontainable, and incomprehensible God. :D But, as with all aspects of his nature, we can grasp it just enough to know that we can't ever possibly truly understand it.

If thinking that God had to "choose you before" for you to be saved makes you feel better, by all means believe that. It really doesn't matter that much in my opinion. The most important aspect of Christianity is how one lives in the existence that God has given us. We can argue about these various theories till we're blue in the face, but it still doesn't change the fact that we're all commanded to live a Christ-like life and to do what the Bible commands us to do.

4 comments:

Keith said...

Cason, you've stated what I've been thinking since I was in Mr. Forlines' Systematics class, that God exists in what some call "the Eternal Now." I wanted to believe that then and asked questions in class about it and even researched the topic but got nowhere. Most theologians, including Forlines (at least back then), seem to make God non-transcendent in regard to time, that His actions and viewpoint are defined in terms of the past, present, future. Maybe I've watched too much science fiction, but I think it makes a lot of sense to consider God as existing in four dimensions. Just as He is present everywhere, He is present at all times, always in the "now" from our perspective. You're a smart guy to figure that out in high school. Good job! I enjoy your blog.

Cason said...

Thank you... :)

Speaking of science fiction, I actually came up with all that after watching a documentary in the special features of a Star Trek movie. It was a bunch of physicists discussing whether or not time travel was actually possible; most of them thought it was. I honestly thought they had a couple of screws loose, but their explanation of time in regards to quantum physics was what I got the most out of.

And of course I've refined some of my views since then too. Dad and I went at it for two hours one night, cause he was/is a part of the Forlines group. But I finally got him on my side (sort of anyway) by saying that I still believe that God does things in a linear sequence of events in eternity, just that 'time' and 'a linear sequence of events' are not the same thing. IE: just because God might be present at all of human history "right now" doesn't mean that the final judgement and satan first getting kicked out of heaven are also happening "now". ^_^

jacob said...

I remember talking about the EN view. It made the most sense to me during Bible Doctrines. i think my professor attested to believing this as well. AND I'm pretty sure he likes scifi. L8r dude.

Voyager said...

There is a reason God identified himself as "I am that I am" or closer to the original language "I be that I be." Tenseless, pure existence--not subject to time or its constraints.