A WELL-ROOTED PERSPECTIVE: The eternal nature of eternity | Lifestyle


“For me, reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.”

— C.S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity”

In the Book of Exodus, the Lord God of Israel says to Moses and Aaron in Egypt: “…Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household…” And so it began… the wrinkle in time that is the space between Passover and the Christian day of the Resurrection, which is reckoned by way of the temporal time-space continuum as happening between Nisan 14 and 17 in accordance with the Hebrew calendar, the ancient lunar one and the one to reckon with when dealing with the actual anniversaries of biblical events. But here is what I’d like to contemplate regarding these two biblical events: the conceptual possibility that in the span of these three days the limitlessness of eternity can be brought into a more stunning sense of focus.

How can such a thing be done? Measure the limitlessness of eternity in the tiny expanse of just three days, you ask? Is it likewise possible to imagine the scale of one drop of water as related to all the drops of water to be found in all of the oceans.. and rivers… and lakes… and streams of the Earth? And let’s not forget the rain, that which is falling as well as that which has not yet fallen. Yes, I believe that we can. That we may. That we might. If we are thoughtful and willing.

How, then, do we weigh, in our finite minds, the enormity of things eternal? Scientifically? Mathematically? With a calculator or a microscope or a telescope? With sonar or radar? We may as well ask ourselves the question: “Where is that which is Absolutely Absolute to be found in a universe that screams of the relativity of all things?” The problem is, with such tools as Man has created, only that which is observable can be measured. We seem to often forget that, thinking that “Only That Which Is Observable” is all that exists. I believe that Absolute Truth can be encountered, but not with the tools which measure only that which can be touched, tasted, seen, heard, or smelled. The Observable is, relatively speaking, relatively easy to deal with. It is the Unobservable that is hard to contemplate, hence, to measure, hence, easily thrown overboard like the babe with the bathwater. And yet, does being “unobservable” deem a thing nonexistent? Or merely ignored? A Materialist says “Yes, it is nonexistent… because seeing, etc., is believing.” The Immaterialist says “No, it is not necessarily nonexistent, just unable to be observed by materialistic means.”

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy” says Hamlet to his friend, and he was right. “But Shakespeare is no scientist!” some might say. ‘Tis true, but, then again, as science is only able to measure that which is observable, it’s irrelevant to the Bard’s objectives, at least in Hamlet’s case.

The Nobel-winning physicist Niels Bohr went so far as to admit that the notion of things unobservable being real was a logical outcome:

“The fact that religions through the ages have spoken in images, parables, and paradoxes means simply that there are no other ways of grasping the reality to which they refer. But that does not mean that it is not a genuine reality.” [Comment published in “Physics and Beyond: Encounters and Conversations”]

And so, as the great physicist describes, there are, logically speaking, “more things in heaven and earth” than that which is readily observable. Just how “far” is the distance from Passover to the day of Resurrection, really? Join me next time as we move from the subject of that which separates us from a more focused, sensate view of Things Eternal, toward a suspected bridge between the two: the very, very, ever-so-very real… world of metaphor.

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