Time, Predestination, and God

Being a fan of Doctor Who, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the possibilities of time travel and the various theories there are about it.

One of the more popular ideas in SF (because it provides more possibilities) is in having multiple timelines, branching any time anyone has a choice about anything. Itís the whole, “What would happen if I had turned right instead of left” thing. Me, I don’t believe it works this way, simply because I believe God is perfect and the multiple timelines theory would mean there was some branch where God was less than (or even not at all) perfect.

So for me, time is linear, with no splitting. So what does this mean for the idea of predestination and free will? Well, that’s where it gets tricky.

For example, your past is set. You decided you would read this post (at least this far). If you were able to go back in time, you would know what decision you would make as far as reading this post, before you had made the decision. Wild, eh?

This brings us to one of the classic time travel paradoxes, killing your own grandfather. The idea is that if you went back in time and inadvertently killed your grandfather before he had a chance to sire your father, you would never be born, in which case you would never go back to kill your grandfather, in which case you would be born, etc, etc. Since time is static (at least the past is, from your current perspective) this really isnít possible. You can’t go back and kill your grandfather simply because you didn’t. I’ve no idea what prevented it, but since you know your grandfather didn’t die before siring your father, you will never be successful in accomplishing the killing. Maybe you got held up in traffic. If you try, I guess you could find out, but since it wont work, why waste the time?

In order for anyone to travel through time, they would have to move out of the dimension of time. (Wha?) No, I don’t know how to do it. Think of it like this. Take a 2 dimensional surface, like a desk. Moving your rolodex from one place to another in those 2 dimensions is simply a matter of sliding it. At all times, it remains in those two dimensions. If you pick up your rolodex to move it, you remove it from those specific 2 dimensions, using a third, then return to the two dimensions.

Now just add the third and fourth dimensions, within which we all live. If you want to move to another point in the fourth dimension (time) since is moves inexorably in one direction, you would need to move outside of time. Get it? (honestly, it makes my head hurt)

Because of all this, including the dichotomy of our having free will (agency) and God having absolute command of everything that happens, this leads me to believe that God can exist, somehow, outside of time. Off the desk. From this vantage, he can see the entirety of our lives just as we will be able to once we are at the end of our lives.

I know itís got problems, like the idea that God could affect all of our decisions to make us go one way or another (within the confines of our personal inclinations to do such things), but this is where I am right now. This is one of those big things I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to prove, but really look froward to learning in the afterlife.

I, personally, would love to time travel, but I’ve not yet dropped off a time travel device to me yet, so maybe I will be able to later, when the time is right.


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