It's a matter of time. Time and Matter: Substantivalism vs Relationism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by humblethinker, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. humblethinker

    humblethinker
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    Due to recent discussions on the board about 'time' I'd like to argue my currently held theory of time. I subscribe to Relationism as described below. I know of no argument that would render Relationism to be unscriptural.

    There are two traditionally rival views about the nature of time: Substantivalism and Relationism

    Substantivalism:
    Space and time exist as independent substances, i.e. they are
    existing particulars in their own right, over and above the material
    content of the universe. Space and time are continuous and
    pervasive media that extend everywhere and everywhen.

    Relationism:
    Space and time do not exist as independent substances, there is only
    the material content of the universe. Space and time are merely
    defined through spatiotemporal relations among the material objects
    in the universe.​

    In all of our discussions on the board the usage of the term 'time' seems to be a point of confusion for some, which simply obfuscates our attempted discussion. In the following case that I am putting forward I hope to help keep our discussion clear and understandable. To this end I will refer to 'space' and 'distance' as interchangeable words for the same idea. I will likewise refer to 'time' and 'duration' as interchangeable words for the same idea. For this post I will favor the term 'duration' instead of 'time' and at no occasion will I use 'time' to mean 'metered or marked time'. In Genesis we have 'duration' prior to the reference of metered time (even at that, Genesis 1:14b does not indicate that God created metered time at all… I propose that all types of metered time that we know of is man's referential 'naming', much in the same way that Adam named the beasts, but I digress… that is for another thread!) , so, there was duration prior to the celestial objects that were created 'for signs' a la 'metering'.

    I do not believe that 'duration' is a created thing. It can be said that time is the 'distance' between two events. The act of spanning between the two events accounts for the sensation of duration. The fact that we actually have the two events I'm referring to is all that is required for us to appreciate the idea of sequence and duration. Since we have the two events, what results concomitantly is 'relation' and in this example the relation is understood as 'duration'. With this understanding we can easily see how that in an existence void of finite beings, the idea of metered time is at best trivial. For two eternal beings to use the vocabulary of 'metered time' would be of little meaning. The only significant way to discuss events in relation to each other would be to refer to the order of occurrence, ie. before, during and after. While there would indeed be duration, referring to it with a vocabulary of an exact metering would be, again, at best trivial. However, in an existence where there are sentient beings which are aware that they had a 'beginning' and will experience some sort of a perceived and eventual 'end', the references to duration in a metered sense now has great significance, at least in the minds of those finite beings.

    In much the same way, I do not believe that distance is a created thing. It can be said that distance is the 'time' between two objects. The act of spanning between the two objects gives the sensation of motion. The fact that we actually have the two objects I'm referring to is all that is required for us to appreciate the idea of distance and motion. Since we have the two objects, what results concomitantly is 'relation' and the relation is understood as 'distance', ie. space.

    So, time and space are not created, they are a necessarily resultant relation of events and objects. Since time and space are not created things they will not cease to exist, since forevermore there will be things and events. If things and events were to be done away with then it seems to follow that space and time would no longer exist. But, to say that all space and time will come to an end and be nonexistent while yet keeping an opinion that there will still be objects and/or events, this seems just contradictory and absurd.

    Your thoughts and musings in reply are much appreciated.
     
  2. humblethinker

    humblethinker
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    Sources

    Sources and References:
    Space, Time, and Spacetime, Part I: from Newton's bucket to Einstein's hole

    Genesis 1 (KJV)
    14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
    15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
    16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
    17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
    18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
    19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

    Genesis 1 (ESV)
    14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,[f] and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
     
  3. Yeshua1

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    Did God exist as a truine being by Himself, that he was all that was, before he chose to create time/space/energy/matter in this Universe?

    that from our frame of reference, keep undoing backwards in time, we end up past time itself even existing, just God Himself "in the beginning"?
     
  4. humblethinker

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    I'm not sure how to speculate or answer the question whether there ever was a time "that he was all that was". It seems like the answer is easily 'yes' but when I try to grasp that idea with my mind's hand to in order to analyze it, the idea is no longer in my grasp so I fail at the task.

    I understand that God has always been a triune being and that because of this trinity of otherness (yet still unity), it is the case that relation, sequence and passage existed prior to creation. Jesus spoke of the love and glory that was given and received (John 17) at least between the Father and the Son prior to creation and this is proof of relation, sequence and passage.

    I take Gen1:1's "In the beginning" to mean in the beginning of the project of the creation of this universe.

    You said, "before he chose to create time/space/energy/matter in this Universe?" I don't view time and space as I've defined it in my OP as created things.
     
  5. Yeshua1

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    Space/matter/energy existed after God created them in the Universe creation, but didn't time itself 'start" with first sin of satan? That Sin came into creation, and that caused the time constant as we know it to happen?

    And understand how our finite minds cannot understand god existing before anything else did, but isn't that to be understand by faith, believing what has been revelaed by God in the bible?
     
  6. OldRegular

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    Before everyone gets too excited about the OP they should ask themselves: How is time measured?
     
  7. humblethinker

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    By a sequence of events with equal durations between them, no?
     
  8. Yeshua1

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    as time always been, is it constant, does God operate outside/within it?
     
  9. MB

    MB
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    There cannot be action or movement with out time.
    MB
     
  10. freeatlast

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    Time is a result of an eternal God without beginning of days or end of time.
     
  11. HeirofSalvation

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    By the movement of an object through space.
     
  12. Yeshua1

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    can God exist outside of time, before there was even time?
     
  13. Yeshua1

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    was time/space etc before the Creation of the Universe, or part of the created universe, built into it by God?
     
  14. humblethinker

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    Good question.

    I propose that time (of some sort... very possibly different than ours) existed prior to the Creation of the Universe and that the time that our universe experiences is, at the least, due to and derived from the time that God experiences. The duration (time) that God experienced prior to creation existed/exists because God exists as a triune being in relation to each another. If God were not a trinity of persons then there would be more reason to believe in an 'eternal now' (timeless existence) and conversely, since God is a trinity of persons then there is more reason to believe that there is not an 'eternal now' (timeless existence).
     
  15. freeatlast

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    There has always been time.
     
  16. MB

    MB
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    Nothing exist out side of time. God would not be eternal with out time. "Eternal" is a reference to endless time. God is with in time where the difference is, is that God is omnipresent. In other words everywhere in all times at the same time.
    MB
     
  17. Yeshua1

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    IF time and Space are as eternal as God... what did he actually create "In the beginning", and how can he be ONLY etrnal self existent being/Force etc?

    Doesn't the Creator HAVE to exist before any of His creations?
     
  18. Yeshua1

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    So time is actually before God, or as eternal as God? Would that make him confined/restricted to it as we are?
     
  19. Yeshua1

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    ONLY God is eternal!
     
  20. freeatlast

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    Can you prove that with some scripture please?
     

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