Caryn’s 23 things – and then some

Racing into Library 2.0 with LOL and others

Predestination?

Wow, I’ve missed a couple of Lents on this, haven’t I!  Oh, well, I’ve been going to Bible study right along.

I was raised partly #Presbyterian (I just looked for the entry on my religious history to link to, but I don’t see one – I can’t imagine I never wrote it!), but I didn’t know until fairly recently that they are #Predestinationists.  What reminded me of this is that as part of my Lenten reading this year, I’m reading a book that was the text for one of my Sunday school classes in high school, called Will the Real Phony Please Stand Up?  It’s a study of the letter of James in the New Testament.  I’ve only just started it, but already I’ve encountered the concept that God knows what we’re going to do, what’s going to come of it, and whether we’ll get to Heaven or not because of our accumulated actions.  This makes the whole philosphy clearer to me!

[later – found it: http://carynw.xanga.com/569211552/musing/]

I’ve always thought #predestination was a very weird concept, and I’ve always wondered why Predestinationists were often among the strictest Christians.  Why bother, I’ve always thought, if God has already assigned you to Heaven or hell?  Go with the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll, and let the chips fall where they may (or rather, are going to anyway).  This book, though, has made me actually see what it is.  It is a belief that one’s fate is predestined only in the sense mentioned above, that God knows what you’re going to do, and therefore where you’re going to end up.  However,  I believe that God sees the entirety of #Eternity, including all of time and of our lives, and can watch us “in action,” as it were.  Boethius, whom I’ve referred to in this blog (http://carynw.xanga.com/449300975/2-am-musing/), had a great simile for this: Imagine God watching all of us like a person watches a sports match.  Just because you watch someone do something doesn’t mean you’re making them do it, and the same with God.  Just because Te knows what’s going to happen, that doesn’t mean Te is making it happen.  We do still have free will, and can decide our own actions, and it is as a result of these actions that our fate is decided.  God isn’t assigning us anywhere – we have free will, and we can use it as we please.

It turns out that Predestinationism is just more or less what I think, but viewed through a lens of time rather than Eternity.  It does explain, I guess, why they’re so strict, anyway, but I think a more expansive view of free will and what we do with it is warranted.

March 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Time

I’ve been percolating this entry for a while, so I hope I can remember what I’ve thought of saying!

I’ve written about Eternity, but I haven’t really said much about time.  A couple of events have occurred lately that have made me think more about it.

I was talking to a co-worker who’s fresh out of college.  She mentioned something, then wasn’t sure if I would get it.  She looked at me uncertainly, and said, “Uh, I don’t want to be insulting or anything, but you seem like you might be around my mom’s age?”  I said, yes, probably; I’m 49.  She looked a little nonplussed for a minute, and blurted out “My mom’s older than that!”  I was tickled – it was the first time in my life, I think, anyone has ever thought I was older than I am!

Since I’ll be turning 50 this year, last month I got my AARP letter.  You kind of have to know me to understand that it really doesn’t bother me – anyone who knew me when I turned 40 may have a clue about it, but most people don’t believe that anyone actually likes getting older.  My husband once accused me of actually wanting to get old and die, but that’s not really it.  It’s not time for that yet.

During December, I’m a Christmas nut.  Starting small on the first Sunday in Advent (or December 1, whichever comes first), and gaining speed fast, I immerse myself in C’mas: I listen only to C’mas music, wear C’mas clothes, read only mysteries set at C’mas time (if you’d like a list of them, I’d be glad to send it to you!), and deck the house.  The rest of the year, though, you’d think I don’t like it at all.  I’ll go out of my way (a little bit, anyway) to avoid reading a book or watching a movie set at C’mas, and C’mas music out of season makes me antsy.  In August, when the catalogs start coming, my husband starts trying to sing, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” but I don’t let him until after my birthday in October.  Right around my birthday, red and green start competing with orange and black in the store decorations (hideous, for about a week!), and all the malls are draped in tinsel and lights.  I growl.  It’s not time yet!  I don’t want people rushing it.  Fall is my favorite time of year – can’t they give me time to enjoy it, and not try to rush it out of the way to get to C’mas?  My husband calls me Scrooge from then until Advent, at which time I quickly start getting into the idea.  It’s the same thing with aging – I’m not in a hurry to get old, or to die at whatever age, but when it’s time to be 40, or 50, or 90, or going to Heaven, that’s what I want to be doing.

Another thing that has made me think about time is Lent, which started this past Wednesday.  The cycle of the Church year is all about time, with specific times, like Lent or Christmas, to do specific things.  But since God is about Eternity, and we’re supposed to be getting ready for Eternity ourselves, why would the Church put such emphasis on time?  It’s not that
you can’t be sorry for your sins, or thankful for Christ, at other
times of the year, but the Church sets apart times to be sure these
things get accomplished.  Although we’ll be in Eternity when we leave here, we’re not there yet.  Time and our inclinations make us forget (or “forget,” depending) to think about the things that will help us prepare for Eternity, and not get them done.  If we spend no time thinking about our relationship with God, how much are we going to enjoy being one with God forever?  It may be that God doesn’t punish us for not going to church or for not believing – it may be that if you haven’t gotten used to the idea of living as God wants you to, you just can’t “do” Heaven.  That sounds more likely to me – even though the Old Testament, and parts of the New, concentrate a lot on anger and punishment, I don’t think that’s what God is like.  If I’m wrong, I guess you won’t see me in Heaven, but I think we’ll be seeing each other and most of the other people we’ve known (and haven’t).

So, what is it going to be like, living in Eternity as people who’ve grown up living in time?  I wonder if it will take us a while to get used to it, or if we’ll take to it like ducks to water, as our natural habitat.  It seems to me that people who try to rule time, like Type A’s, who are always rushing around doing “time management” and getting three times as much done as anyone else, probably will have a hard time dealing with it.  But maybe, people who’ve moved with time, and forgotten to do stuff on time but taken each moment as it comes, will greet the Eternal Now with joy.

February 10, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Visualizing God as a hypersphere (continued)

One thing in Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land
that it took me a while to get was toward the end, when Jubal assures
each of his goddaughters, completely honestly and sincerely, that she
is the best girl in the world.  But how can more than one be
“best?”  Now when I’m cuddling my cats, I tell each of them that
it is the best cat.  And it’s true – each of them, including the
ones I used to have who have died, is the best.  And I realized
that this is how God regards each of us.

That’s one reason for visualizing God as a hypersphere.  Just as
each point on the surface of a sphere can be designated as the center
of the surface, each member of God’s creation occupies the center of
God’s love and regard.  The fact that this can apply to all
members at once brings in the “hyper” part, and requires
infinity/eternity to work.  In i/e (easier to type!), things don’t
have to add up exactly.  Three persons can be one God, and
infinite created beings can each, uniquely, be the most dearly loved.

April 8, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 AM musing

Stargate has been doing some
neat things with alternate universes and alternate dimensions, and
making a distinction between them, which I think is warranted.  A
couple of years ago, I discovered string theory, which would support
both ideas.  I need to find an actual book on it, written for the
non-physicist.  I don’t have anything like the math needed to
understand physics, but I’ve always intuited it.  Probably partly
because of my sterling 7th-grade math teacher, Miss Bishop, who
assigned me, as a final project, a report on topology.  Once
you’ve encountered Moebius strips and Klein bottles at an early age, I
think it conditions your brain to think about string theory, chaos
theory, and the infinity/eternity continuum (analagous to the
space-time continuum, as infinity is to space and eternity is to time,
however analogous they actually are).  One thing I’ve been
fiddling with for several years is the question of whether, and if so,
in what way, time is related to eternity.  Sometimes I think it’s
a subset (although I’m absolutely positive that eternity is NOT just a
whole lot of time), but sometimes I think there’s no relation at all.

Lent is coming up – Ash Wednesday is this week.  I have to be sure and borrow a friend’s copy of Boethius’ Consolations of Philosophy,
and also see if I can find the slender but good introduction to Hegel’s
Christian philosophy which I checked out of the library last
Lent.  In Book 3 of the Boethius, it looks like he figured out the
heliocentric solar system – he’s talking about how we look at life and
it looks so random, but it’s just that we’re all orbiting the center,
which is God.  From God’s perspective, he says, everything is
going in lovely circles, but since we’re moving in them, we can’t
tell.  Did he know about the planets, with their “retrograde”
orbits?  He may have anticipated Galileo by 1,000 years!  He
also made the clearest case I’ve ever seen for solving the problem of
free will on the one hand, and God’s knowledge of what’s going to
happen on the other.

Meanwhile, string theory is Hegelian.  I get so excited thinking about this sort of thing!

February 26, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I use a meditation technique I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone
using before – SF on TV (and somewhat in books).  It often helps
me think of concepts that are hard to get a handle on.

There’s a Dr. Who episode that I really love (“The Last Battlefield,” Sylvester McCoy).  The Doctor (Dr. Who
is the name of the show, not the character) is a time traveler who can
go to any time, past or future.  In this episode, he meets some
people who greet him with great familiarity, but he knows he’s never
met them.  It turns out that at some point in his personal future,
he visited their past.  Now he knows that, whatever else happens,
he’ll meet them some day, and they won’t know him.  God, of
course, would have perceived the relationship in its entirety all
along.  After you’ve wrapped your mind around that a couple of
times, eternity is a lot easier to think about!

February 2, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments