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part IV - Freemasonry, Science and Mankind

W. M. Don Falconer PM, PDGDC

An omnipotent creator could transcend time and space in the context of eternity.


The mystery of creation


Scientists have comprehensively investigated the origins of the universe and have suggested logical solutions for the processes and time scale through which the universe has developed, including the evolution of humans, but how the inherent matter was created and the underlying purpose of the creation itself are enduring mysteries that still elude them. The ancient beliefs and mythologies of most races, in common with the creeds of the many religions established through the ages, all include traditions about the creation. Of the many traditions, the earliest written records relate to the system of religious thought and moral rectitude of the people of ancient Egypt. They are expressed in the myth of Osiris concerning events that are said to have taken place at the First Sunrise of the Zep Tepi, also referred to as the First Time of Osiris, which some investigators have dated to about 10450 BCE. These traditional creation beliefs provide an important and interesting introduction when considering the influence of space and time in the process of creation. The fundamental aspects of most creation beliefs have much in common with those of the well known creation story in Genesis, which researchers say is a restatement of earlier creation myths of the Middle East, especially those of Babylon.


The traditional story of the creation in Genesis says that God created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh day. Some believe that the story in Genesis accurately defines both the processes and the period of the creation, whilst others prefer to consider it in an allegorical context. The Genesis story of God's creation of the universe is fundamental to the creeds of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the most widely spread of the modern religions. These three religions have three important beliefs in common, which are: that God is eternal, omniscient and all powerful; that God created the universe and has a continuing interest in it; and that the soul is immortal and is destined to return to the Creator at the end of this transient existence on earth. If the creation story in Genesis is not examined solely in its context as a record of some of the most ancient beliefs concerning the creation phenomena, but also is interpreted as a narrative of the sequence of events in the creation, as distinct from the timescale of those events, then it is a surprisingly accurate reflection of the sequence of evolution revealed by modern scientific investigation.


Primitive creation beliefs


The creation beliefs of the traditional tribal societies, sometimes called the pre-literary societies, are typical of most primitive beliefs. The traditional tribal societies are groups of people among the ancient primitive races who share a common culture and set of values, but have neither a scientific knowledge nor a written tradition. The Australian Aborigines are an outstanding example of these ancient pre-literary tribal societies, having occupied Australia continuously for at least thirty thousand years with no outside influence. They once comprised more than five hundred tribes each having its own language and territory. Their religious beliefs were essentially monotheistic and were all remarkably similar, based on sphere of existence called an Eternal Dreaming. This belief visualises the beginning of the Eternal Dreaming as the formative period of the world when the Ancestral Beings came into existence, from whence all life originated. They also believe that the Eternal Dreaming will continue through all eternity and that ultimately it is identified with the Land of the Dead, to which all life is destined eventually to return.


The Ancestral Beings of the Australian Aborigines are portrayed in the myth cycles of several different corroborees that depict the creative Dreaming Tracks, which the Ancestral Beings are believed to have made across the land. Among these Ancestral Beings the central figure is the Supreme Being, who is known as the All Father. It is believed that the All Father was the original creator of all things, including all other Ancestral Beings. All of the Ancestral Beings who travelled the creative Dreaming Tracks are envisaged as subsidiaries of the creative All Father, who now lives in the Land of the Dead in the sky. It also is believed that an Ancestral Being can be the progenitor of a human group and also of a species of animal, from which the tribal totems have been derived as well as the special relationships that certain tribes have with certain animals.


The pre-literary society of the Incas of South America is particularly interesting, even though the available information is rather scanty. It is known that the Incas believed in a Supreme Being, whom they called Huiracocha, who invariably was represented by a golden idol and delegated his authority to nature-gods, including the sun, which they revered and called Inti. They also held the stars, moon, earth, sea and weather in reverence. The Incas were especially concerned with life after death and believed that spirits, which they called Huacha, dwelt in places and things and consisted of nine tribes each divided into several clans. The souls of dead rulers and nobles were considered to be particularly important. Although special places were regarded as sacred, worship was carried out in the open air. The temples and shrines were mainly used to store images of the gods and other items used in worship. The most significant of the Incan sanctuaries and probably the one best known was the Temple of the Sun at Cuzco, in Bolivia, which is at an elevation of almost 6,000 metres.


The Ameru people in Africa provide another interesting example of the myths of the pre-literary societies. They live on the slopes and plains to the east and north of Mount Kenya and are divided into nine tribes, each subdivided into several clans. The Ameru people are monotheists and believe that a Supreme Being resides alone in the sky or on the top of Mount Kenya. Their Supreme Being is regarded as the source of everything that is good, but it is their common belief that the Supreme Being should not be bothered with petty things, otherwise he might become angry. The fundamental beliefs of the Amerus are reflected in their traditional prayers, which include the following revealing passage:


"God, you created me and gave me strength.

Everything in its completeness is from God.

Give me strength and give me all things good."


A wide diversity of the primitive races, though by no means all, believe that everything in the world is interconnected spiritually and that the journey from birth through death will lead to a new life. To them the various aspects of life cannot be considered separately, because the mysterious unseen influences have an impact on all things tangible. Although they understand the normal sequence of events in everyday life and comprehend the effects of weather and the seasons, spiritual forces are seen to permeate their environment and to dominate their thoughts. The mechanical view of the universe that is often espoused by science has no place in the spirit-dominated world of the primitive pre-literary societies. Their approach to life is manifested in several of the ancient religions.


Beliefs and religion in ancient Egypt


The beliefs of ancient Egypt emerged among the pre-literary societies probably before their predynastic period, which is usually dated from about 5000 BCE to 3100 BCE. As with a majority of the prehistoric religions, the religion of ancient Egypt was basically monotheistic and founded on the cult of a Mother Goddess, who was the generating force of all things of god and man. Long before the writing of hieroglyphics had become established in about 3100 BCE or probably earlier, the beliefs in Egypt had crystallised as a religion of hope and resurrection, in what was then called Planet Egypt. The earliest of all religious records so far discovered are the Pyramid Texts in the pyramid of Unas, who was the last of the Fifth Dynasty pharaohs and ruled in about 2345 BCE. Eminent Egyptologists are of the opinion that the originals of those texts would have been written about a thousand years before they appeared in the pyramid of Unas. In 1895, when Professor E A Wallis Budge completed his translation of the Papyrus of Ani, which is a version of the Book of the Dead, he said that the texts contained proofs that they had been composed long before the days of the Pharaoh Mena, who ruled in about 3300 BCE or earlier. The true religion of ancient Egypt is typified by the cosmogeny of Annu, which is the "city of the pillar" called On referred to in the Bible and later renamed Heliopolis by the Greek pharaohs. The cosmogeny of Annu was founded on a belief in one absolute God, who was the beginning and end of all things visible and invisible.

In ancient Egypt Ra was believed to be the Absolute Spirit and was regarded as the Light and Conscience of the Universe, who was diffused in the primordial darkness of the Chaos that existed before the creation. When Ra became aware of himself in the Great Silence he called up his own image Amon, which was the Spirit of the Universe Itself. This call was the Word or Creative Power, which caused the kingdoms of space-air or Shu and movement-fire or Tefnut to materialise. They in turn generated and separated the earth Geb from the sky Nut, which received the creative forces of terrestrial and celestial life, Osiris the fertilising force and Isis the generating force, who together ended the primordial Chaos and brought the universe into equilibrium. Ra watched over humanity in the paradise of the kingdoms of Shu and Geb, until the forces of evil appeared as the destroying couple Seth and Nephthys. Ultimately Osiris and Isis, in their capacity as the life-bearing couple, overcame the repeated assaults of Seth and Nephthys and established resurrection and eternal life, which is the foundation of the myth of Osiris. Some time later Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris known as the Living One, became the first man-god who ruled Egypt as a pharaoh.

It seems that Horus was the catalyst for the belief in a Messiah, which the Israelites developed during their long sojourn in Egypt, before their exodus under the leadership of Moses. This belief in the Messiah became a fundamental tenet of Judaism and later of Christianity. The true religion of Egypt waned after the power of the pharaohs collapsed at the end of the Old Kingdom, in about 2100 BCE, when the priesthood progressively acquired supreme power and fostered polytheism among the uneducated multitude. When the devout pharaoh Akhenaten ruled from 1372 BCE to 1354 BCE, he abolished the power of the priesthood and declared the supposed functions of the multitude of gods to be void, restoring the religion of one absolute god and the belief in a resurrection. After Akhenaten’s death the priesthood regained their power and polytheism became prevalent again. Ultimately many of the true believers of the old religion were absorbed into the Coptic Christian Church. After the conquest of Egypt by the Arabs in 639-642 CE, most of the population converted to Islam and Arabic became the national language.


Creation beliefs in Hinduism


Hinduism has grown progressively over some five thousand years and is called the sanatana dharma, or the Eternal Religion, by its followers. Its beginnings predate the birth of Abraham, the progenitor of Judaism, by almost a thousand years. Hinduism has absorbed the many cultures and religions of India and also the ideals and ethics of Christianity and Islam, as well as adapting itself to a temporal existence influenced by modern evolutionary science. Hinduism is not and never was a static religion, but has always been a liberal and progressive synthesis of religious beliefs that constitutes a total way of life and conduct. Hinduism reflects the evolution of religious perception from the earliest of the primitive pre-literary societies to the present and therefore encompasses the creation beliefs established in the ancient religions.


The Hindu Scriptures are many and voluminous. They were originally written in Sanskrit over a period of more than two thousand years and are of two classes. The class comprising the Sruti, meaning what is heard, give details of the eternal truths revealed to the rishis or seers. The class comprising the Smriti, meaning what is remembered, elucidate eternal truths and contain all of the sacred texts except the Vedas. The two greatest Hindu epics are the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, which belong to the Smriti. The sacred texts are supplemented by the Vedas, meaning divine knowledge or wisdom which, when applied to the scriptures, signifies the Book of Wisdom. The earliest texts date from the Aryan invasion of India, which began on the Indo-Iranian frontier in about 2000 BCE and reached the Ganges valley by 1500 BCE. The Sruti comprise four sets of Vedas, each of which has three parts, which are called the Mantras or hymns of praise, the Brahmanas or ritual guides written in prose and the Upanishads or philosophical and mystical discourses on the spiritual truths. Individual truths are seen as manifestations of the One Truth or Reality. The Upanishads are the foundation of modern Hinduism. Its teachings are based on a search for the identity of Brahman the Eternal Being or Reality, knowledge of the Atman or True Self and the relationship between Brahman and the Atman. Every part of reality, including the Atman, is believed to be an aspect of Brahman. This search for the ultimate Reality culminates in an inner mystical experience that is reflected in the following Hindu prayer:


"From delusion lead me to truth.

From darkness lead me to light.

From death lead me to immortality."


The Trimurti of Hinduism is the triad of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Siva the Destroyer. The power to create, to preserve and to destroy are seen as the three roles of the Supreme Being, believed to be all‑embracing, all‑pervading and ever‑present. God is identified with the sum total of creation, so that while he can transcend creation he is never completely separated from it. Another significant belief is that God always creates out of himself or out of something he has already created, but never from nothing. In its primitive form Hinduism has a polytheistic element, but the images of the various deities included in those ceremonies are considered by enlightened Hindus merely to focus their devotion, because they are imaginative representations of some of the infinite aspects of God. An important concept is the law of karma, which signifies action or doing. In modern Hinduism karma is a moral interpretation of the law of action and reaction applied to both good and evil actions, but fixed in the spiritual realm. It is inextricably tied in with samsara or wheel of existence whereby the empirical self, which is distinct from the soul, is believed to transmigrate repeatedly from body to body, taking its load of karma with it. However it is also believed that this cycle ultimately can be broken when the soul, which is viewed as eternal and in some senses identical with Brahman, is delivered from its body‑soul bondage in the universe of space and time, through what is called moksha or mukti, which signifies the release of the soul from all constraints of righteousness and unrighteousness.


Creation beliefs in Taoism


Taoism is the ancient religion of China. Its roots stretch back for almost five thousand years to its traditional founder, Huang Ti, the Yellow Emperor whose reign commenced in about 2700 BCE. Tao means the Way and is a convenient term for what is often called "the Nameless". The Tao is the eternal, vast and unknowable pure spirit which existed before the universe was born, that being which permeates all things and is the mother of the cosmos and also its container and sustainer. The Tao is said to be the One, which gave birth to the Two called the yin and yang. They combined harmoniously to produce the Three, which are called the Three Treasures and produce the innumerable objects of the universe. Pure cosmic yin pertains to earth and pure cosmic yang pertains to heaven. Yin is the negative and passive principle and yang is the positive and active principle. The Three Treasures are the fundamental elements or energies called ching meaning essence, ch'i meaning vitality and shen meaning spirit, believed to be active in all levels of life from the tiniest organism to the vast macrocosm itself.


Taoism is a mysterious and charmingly poetic expression of religion combining the elements of folk‑lore and the occult sciences with mysticism, cosmology and philosophy. It is based on a belief that all the myriad objects in existence derive their being from Tao and that their illusory separateness is the result of the continuous interplay of yin and yang. Taoism is a living remnant of an ancient way of life that constitutes a quest for immortality and to enter Nirvana, where the finite being sheds the illusion of a separate existence by casting off imaginary limitations, thus returning to the Source and becoming a part of the infinite. The Tao Tsang or Taoist Canon comprises almost 5,500 volumes, of which both the I Ching or Book of Change and the Tao-te Ching or The Way and its Power are well known. The former is the traditional work recording the basis of ancient Taoism, which was passed down orally through the centuries until committed to writing. The latter is the primary canon of Taoism attributed to Laocius, the Ancient Sage better known by the pseudonym Lao-tzu, which literally means the “old philosopher”. Lao-tzu wrote the canon when requested by followers of Taoism before he retired into seclusion. He is the legendary elder contemporary of Master Confucius, but the stories of this relationship are entirely apocryphal.


Creation beliefs in Shinto


Shinto embraces the traditional religious practices of Japan, but its origins are shrouded in the mists of time. Shinto has no founder, nor any inspired writings, so that although a wide variety of thought and practice has been assimilated through the ages, no systematic doctrine has ever been developed. Shinto has similarities with the cult of the Mother Goddess in the pre-literary societies of prehistoric Egypt, with primitive Hinduism and also with the Incan religion. The fundamental traditions that had become established practice before Buddha was born in 563 BCE and Confucius was born in 551 BCE are those that are relevant to a consideration of creation. The word Shinto signifies the Way of the Kami and was coined about two thousand years ago to distinguish the Japanese traditions from both the doctrines of Buddha that originated on the Indian subcontinent and those of Confucius that originated in China.


The traditions of Shinto say that, when heaven and earth began, there was a spontaneous generation of the original kami trio, of which the principal element is called "the Lord who fills the universe", which originally was referred to as the "Lord of Central Heaven". The other two elements of the trio were respectively male and female, who were related to the generative processes and located on the high plane of heaven. These heavenly kami then generated several celestial kami that were identified with various divine qualities, the last being the creative male‑female couple called Izanagi and Izanami respectively. They were responsible for the generation of earthly objects and the earthly kami of sea and wind, of rivers and mountains, of trees and plants and also of food. Shinto is a man‑centred religion with four basic elements of worship which are: purification, offering, prayer and a sacred meal for fellowship with the kami, but only the more religiously inclined are likely to perceive any inward spiritual meaning.


Beliefs in other eastern religions


Buddhism was derived from Hinduism during its period of reaction and renaissance and its fundamental beliefs are similar to those of Hinduism. The practice of Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who was born on the borders of Nepal in about 563 BCE. Buddha is a title that signifies "the Enlightened One" and also "the Awakened One", especially when it is referred to Gautama. The enlightenment of Gautama consisted of four Truths concerning the conduct of life. The first Truth states that a condition of mental and physical suffering is an omnipresent and inherent element in the nature of life. The second Truth states that the cause of suffering is desire that is rooted in ignorance and cannot be satisfied in this mortal existence. The third Truth is that suffering ceases when desire ceases. The fourth Truth is the eightfold path that leads to the cessation of suffering. The eight steps in the eightfold path are right views; right aspirations; right speech; right conduct; right mode of livelihood; right effort; right awareness; and right concentration. An essential concept of Buddhism is Karma, which has been discussed under Hinduism and is believed to be the only human element that continues after mortal death. Another essential concept is that of impermanence, because all that exists passes through the cycle of birth, growth, decay and death to achieve a different form. Separate or individual existence is regarded as an illusion, because the self has neither beginning nor ending but is an ephemeral existence that can only culminate in Nirvana, which is an ethical state that eliminates future rebirth, extinguishes craving, removes suffering and provides a state of passionless happiness.


Confucianism is a derivative of Taoism and its fundamental beliefs are similar. The founding sage of Confucianism was K'ung Fu Tzu who was born in 551 BCE. He was called the "philosopher K'ung" and known as Confucius. As was the custom of Lao-tzu before him, Confucius wandered from court to court seeking princely support for his teachings to be put into practice, but it was not until during the reign of Emperor Wu, which began in 141 BCE, that Confucianism was accepted as the official doctrine in China. Confucianism is not a religion in the commonly accepted sense, but would be described better as an ethical system of life, which is usually called "the School" or "the Teaching". In this respect and also having regard to the methods Confucianism uses to impart its principles, it has much in common with freemasonry. Confucius wrote many books, of which the Analects would be one of the better known. It comprises a collection of his sayings and provides a trustworthy account of his interests and opinions. Like most Chinese philosophers Confucius seems to have believed in the inherent goodness of man, rather than in his innate sinfulness as depicted in the Bible. Confucius showed pleasure in ritual to impart his teachings. Although his primary interest was in the affairs of this world rather than of the next, he threw no new light on the solution of life's problems. He was a strong advocate of giving positive help to others and espoused the simple philosophy that virtue is the foundation of happiness. Confucius revered ancestors and believed in antiquity, which he admired greatly. He lived a simple life and put himself forward as a transmitter of ancient knowledge rather than as an innovator.


Fundamental beliefs in profile


We have seen that an incredibly diverse spectrum of humanity, from the earliest primitive pre‑literary societies until the present, has contemplated the purpose of creation and the meaning of life itself, the mortality of human existence and the immortality of the soul, as well as humanity's relationship with the creator. As we cannot yet put ourselves into the mind of God, the purpose of creation remains a mystery that we may not be able to comprehend during our mortal existence. But, if we believe that there is a God who was responsible for the creation of humanity and that every human being has an immortal soul, then we may be confident that in the fullness of time that which is now unknown will become known. This is a matter of faith, which the world's religions clearly indicate to have been inherent in the human psyche from time immemorial. What are believed to have been the specific steps in the creation, as well as the means whereby creation was implemented, differ in detail from religion to religion. However, the perceived variations in these beliefs seem only to reflect the inadequacies of diverse attempts to express a profound concept in mundane language, rather than to reflect fundamental differences in concept. This broad spectrum of beliefs is covered in many books, of which The World's Religions edited by Sir Norman Anderson, the Oxford Dictionary of World Religions edited by John Bowker and also The World's Religions by Ninian Smart, all would be of interest to the reader seeking a comprehensive coverage.


Whether God created out of nothing or out of himself is often subject to intense debate, suggesting that this element of belief indicates significant differences in fundamental concepts. However, as either alternative should be equally possible if the creator is omnipotent, this element of belief should not be a problem of consequence. Two other closely allied questions that are frequently and hotly debated are whether the human soul, or vital life force, is a part of God's spirit and whether God's spirit permeates the whole creation. Once again, each of these alternatives should be possible if the creator is omnipotent. However, if the creator is omniscient and intends humanity to exert some directive influence on the creation and intends the human soul ultimately to be reunited in a life hereafter, then it would be logical for the human soul to be a part of God's spirit that permeates the whole creation. Such a concept is within the compass of significant world beliefs and is not precluded by developments within modern science. Therefore it should not be dismissed lightly.


The universe – is it accident or design?


When Sir Isaac Newton published his Principia Mathematica in 1687, he synthetised all scientific advances made during the two preceding centuries and propounded his theory of gravitation. The concepts he expounded seemed able to explain the entire universe and as a result the perception of a purely mechanical universe grew in momentum. Many scientists said that God did not exist in the scheme of things, because neither a creator nor a driving force was required. This view appeared to be supported by the theory of evolution Charles Darwin advanced in The Origin of the Species by Natural Selection, the brief title of his first book published in 1859. Darwin extended his theory to include the evolution of humanity in The Descent of Man, which was published in 1871.


In 1900 Max Planck was the first to establish that all energy, including light, consists of whole units, which is the basis of quantum mechanics. Then in 1917, when Lord Ernest Rutherford investigated the structure of the atom, he found similarities to the solar system and established the nuclear theory of the atom. Advocates of a mechanical universe claimed that the nuclear theory supported their concept, but experiments in quantum mechanics have since proved that elements of subatomic matter, such as electrons, can exist either as particles or as waves and that they are influenced by the uncertainty principle established by Werner Heisenberg early in the 1920s. This uncertainty causes unpredictability and disorder, which negates the hypothesis of cause and effect that is fundamental to the theory of a purely mechanical universe.


When Albert Einstein first published his special theory of relativity in 1905, followed in 1917 by his general theory incorporating gravity, he said the space occupied by the universe is elastic and part of an expanding space‑time continuum that has finite boundaries. The proponents of a purely mechanical universe seized upon Einstein's work as proof of their theory, but Einstein said himself "I want to know how God created this world". Einstein's theory of an expanding universe was confirmed by observations made by Edwin Hubble during the 1920s, when he found by measurement that the recessional velocity of the observable galaxies increases at a rate of 32 kilometres per second per million light years. The regression of this accelerating rate of expansion is the basis of the big bang theory, the essence of which is that the universe erupted into being about 15,000 million years ago, from an initial boundary of space and time called a singularity.


Theories have been advanced to explain the big bang as a spontaneous explosion in empty space that somehow created matter by natural means, without any input of energy. However, it has not been possible to give a satisfactory explanation of such an origin in scientific terms, nor has an explosion of this kind ever been demonstrated experimentally, so the theory of a clockwork universe that is purely mechanical in operation has fallen into disfavour. The presently accepted theory is that, immediately before the big bang and at the beginning of time, all matter and all space were infinitely compressed. No theories have been advanced to explain why such an event should have occurred or to suggest its ultimate purpose. However, as it presupposes the creation of space, time and matter, it clearly does not negate the existence of a Supreme Being who created the universe. On the contrary, such a creation suggests that there must be a divine purpose, beyond present mortal comprehension. Moreover, the concept of a divine link between God and man receives convincing support from the fact that science can neither identify nor quantify that inner spirit which mysteriously endows inanimate material with the breath of life.


Space and time


It is axiomatic that both space and time must coexist before it is possible for matter to exist within them. Space and time therefore must either have existed before the primeval explosion or have been created by or at the same time as the explosion. Space is commonly taken for granted and often visualised as a limitless void, but its many implications are hard to comprehend. As far as we know, the Atomists of ancient Greece were the first to record their concepts of matter and space. Aristotle credits Leucippus of Miletus with the suggestion, made during the fifth century BCE, that matter is comprised of separate particles that can move about in space and combine together. Democritus, a pupil of Leucippus, developed the concept and named the particles atomos, meaning indivisible in Greek. John Dalton established a scientific basis for the simple Greek idea, when he introduced atoms as the name of the units of matter taking part in chemical reactions at the beginning of the nineteenth century.


In the fourth century BCE, Heraclitus believed that the cosmos is in a ceaseless state of flux and motion and said that the earth moves like a wheel on its own axis. When Nicolas Copernicus read Heraclitus's statements, it induced him to make extensive observations of the heavens, from which he concluded that the earth revolves around the sun. Copernicus published a treatise from his deathbed in 1543, changing forever man's conception of his place in the universe. The famous mathematician, astronomer and physicist, Galileo Galilei (1564‑1642), substantiated Copernicus's theories when he developed astronomical telescopes. When Galileo made his results known the Church imprisoned him for refuting the supposed divine knowledge that the earth was the centre of the universe, which the Church had taught for centuries. Galileo also discovered the constancy of the oscillation of pendulums in space. Sir Isaac Newton (1642‑1727) derived general laws for mass, force and acceleration on the basis of absolute values for space and time, which were considered to be fixed and independent of the person taking the measurements and independent of the instruments used.


Albert Einstein (1879‑1955) based his theories of relativity on the concept that uniform motion is relative and that the mass, length and time interval of an object appears to change when it moves relative to the observer. The differences are of no consequence in everyday experience, but are of great significance as the speed of light is approached. An object travelling at 90% of the speed of light would appear to any stationary observer as having shrunk by more than half, while its mass would have increased many times and its clock would seem to run at less than half speed. The concept of time as elapsing or flowing has led scientists to search for a time‑flux, but none has been discovered. An interval of time is, in effect, the sum of a series of discrete instantaneous events. It has been found that time is affected by gravity, running faster in space ships that are free from earth's gravity than it does on the earth's surface. Space and time cannot be considered independently, because when space expands or shrinks so does time. Gravity is the main force shaping the galaxies and controlling intergalactic motions, which is reflected in the theory of relativity as a distortion of the geometry of space and time, producing a curved elastic space‑time continuum of finite dimensions.


Time and eternity


It has been argued that the concept of God transcending time and space is untenable, based on the assumption that the qualities attributed to God make sense only if he is continually active in the universe, within the framework of time. However if God is omnipotent, it is logical to assume that space and time are coeval with God's existence in a state of eternity, having neither beginning nor ending. This state of affairs is more harmonious and easier to comprehend than a spontaneous creation of everything out of nothing, within a complete void. Moreover it is quite possible that ours is only one of many diverse universes, which might have been created for various reasons that as yet are unfathomable by mere mortals. If indeed there are several universes, then it seems reasonable to assume that they would not all have come into existence simultaneously.


Should either or both of these circumstances prevail, time within our universe would only be relative in relation to eternity, commencing with the primeval explosion by which our universe was created. This is comparable with the situation on earth, because time on earth is only relative in relation to the time scale of our universe, commencing with the formation of earth. With all of these factors in mind, it is entirely conceivable that an omnipotent creator could transcend time and space in the context of eternity, whilst also pervading our universe within the framework of our relative time scale. In many respects this concept is analogous to the theory of relativity and provides an elegant solution to what otherwise might seem to be insoluble. In essence, this envisages that God pervades the whole of creation, whether it is only this universe or many, whilst admitting the possibility that the soul of man is an extension of the spirit of God. These are beliefs that have been held by many eminent philosophers and countless others since the beginning of recorded history.

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