Fun with Eternity/Time

Wrote this a while back… I put it in the Natural Sciences forum (figured only folks who go in here would find this interesting) but it is closer to sci-fi speculation… You can sorta see from this paper why I would find Schopenhauer’s “idea” compelling…


I feel that the beginning of time, from our perspective, (if there is a beginning) is a physical thing, beginning at the point when all things physical sprang into existence and simultaneously began to move. Because material existence demands movement…if you go past the beginning of physical movement, everything physical ceases to exist, because existance requires movement. There can be no absolute zero or zero entropy in material reality, they are merely concepts…if they were a reality as we read, we would not be here. How can you physically travel past that point, into negative energy/movement?..I think it is impossible…I think it is impossible to have a physical moment before that point, although all things are possible in the imagination, and I hear weird things about quantum physics. But I do not necessarily know that time itself is physical, having a beginning. I think it is, from my ignoramus perspective, possible to think of real time as something of which the material universe exists inside…to think of time as pure, unmoving, nonphysical, nonspacial existence. The escalator or blackboard in the essay below, titled, “Flawed Concept of Time”.

There can be no “minus infinity” in any scenario, because if there were, there would be no infinity. “…(A) potential infinite is always finite. A potential infinite can increase forever and it will never become an actual infinite. Adding one more member to a finite set, no matter how often this is done, will simply result in a larger finite set.” --Moreland, J. P. Scaling the Secular City. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987 If a set can be added to (increased), or if there is any room left to fill, it is finite. If you can add (or subtract) one second to eternity (eternity plus or minus one second), you have made eternity a finite, measurable block of time. If you can add one inch to an infinite distance (infinity plus one inch), you have turned the infinite into the finite (translation: there never was an eternity or an infinite distance, or you wouldn’t have been able to add to them. You cannot accelerate up to infinite mph, or heat something up to infinite degrees Fahrenheit. What is the mph right before you reach infinite mph, or the degree right before infinite degrees Fahrenheit? Also keep in mind that our concept of “infinite” or “eternal” is rooted in our experience in this physical universe. We can not speak of an infinite set or an eternity of time which is not somehow defined by the physical universe. We can not refer to eternity as outside of time, when we ask if the universe has no beginning or end.

You cannot fully cross the entirety of an infinite distance, because it has no start or finish, just like zero entropy and absolute zero are merely concepts, and it is impossible to reach infinite mph or degrees. But could there be a traversable, finite section within that infinite distance (there must be), an infinite number of traversable, finite sections? You cannot describe eternity as a measurable block of time, because there is no beginning or end. But could there be a measurable block of time within eternity (there must be), an infinite number of measurable blocks of time? Just because we can’t traverse it in its totality doesn’t mean we can’t exist inside it finitely, or that it doesn’t exist.


Let’s say you have 4 moments in your life. Moment 1 is your birth, moment 4 is your death. You are currently at moment 3, and would like to undo a moral wrong committed by you in moment 2. What really matters is what you are doing with your life this very moment, you are not the same person that you are traveling back to. You2 is the person responsible for that which you3 regrets and desires to change (forgive your2, and understand now the meaning behind ‘original sin’!). However, if you were to travel back to moment 2 from moment 3, you would be traveling to a moment before you existed in moment 3. It would be like going back to before you existed (before moment 1) or going forward past the end of your existence (after moment 4). If you3 looked you2 in the eyes, you would be two different people with two different nervous systems observing from two different perspectives of existence. Your matter has existed as long as the existence of matter. Your body is just a momentary combination of it. Imagine if all separate moments of you (the combination of matter with a will) were looking yourselves in the eyes. Since the matter of your body does recycle itself, from moment to moment, your body changes. So when you3 looks you2 in the eyes, you are not identical matter observing eachother, you are more like identical twins observing eachother. Later I will address the question, “Is it possible for identical matter to exist twice in the same moment?” But for now we’ll assume it is possible. (Strobel or Rucker seems to think it would cause an explosion if the matter shared the same space. Maybe that is the explanation for the Big Bang?)

You cannot intuitively have moment 2A which you3 didn’t effect because you3 didn’t exist yet, and then a moment 2B which you3 shows up in, dead-set on correcting you2’s wrong. You cannot observe two totally different experiences in one now. But, what if you can have both a 2A and a 2B? You go ahead and go back and change moment 2A, which likely sets off chain-reactions which change all the moments which follow, to include replacing moment 3A with moment 3B. One example is that if you3 corrects you2A’s wrong, then it never happens, creating a moment 3B in which there is no motivation to go back and change moment 2A. Here comes the mind-boggler: This means you never travel back in time to moment 2A, so moments 2B and 3B never happen, and you’d still be able to travel back from moment 3A to moment 2A in order to change it–over and over and over (I believe this mind-boggler is based on some false assumptions, which I’ll get into soon). Returning to the original point, if you cannot observe more than one now, then there cannot be more than one beginning to the universe (if there is one). Every physical cause-and-effect-based moment is a beginning to all the reactive moments which follow. If someone somehow travels past Beginning A, it and all moments after would be like they never happened, replaced with Beginning B and its unique chain-reaction. So what did Beginning B’s new chain reaction replace, if Beginning A never happened? But, compare Beginning A and B with moment 2 A and B. If Beginning A would never happen, reasonably you can conclude neither would moment 2A happen. If Beginning A did happen and was passed up by the time-traveler, then did moment 2A happen? I think the confusion may be due to some of our assumptions about reality. It has to do with a belief that once we have observed something, it is a part of an unchangeable archive called “the past,” “history,” or, “memory.” You3A, now existing in 2B’s section of the Chain-Reaction, has a memory of moments 2A and 3A–but in material, causative reality, moment 2A became 2B, and 3A is now 3B. You2A and you3A remain the same people (twins, not identical matter…I suppose their matter could be called you2B and you3B), experiencing a different chain-reaction. You3A is now the only material eye-witness that 2A and 3A actually happened. Noone else in moments 2B or 3B realize a trip was ever made, or that anything changed. (Forget that you2A and you3A are now existing together…let 3A face those consequences, ha ha!) The confusion also has to do with a false-assumption that time moves forward with the chain-reaction of matter, and that it has a memory archive like ours which is impossible to alter. Consider the following:

The force of gravity does not itself fall down, it attracts the apple down to the earth. No action ever effects the moments which precede it, chain reactions just keep moving “forward” (down to the earth), never in reverse (up to the sky). Maybe we erroneously see time moving forward in the same way we see the sun rising? Maybe we move forward through time the way we revolve around the sun, or an apple obeys gravity? I think what we call forward-moving time is the chain reaction of matter through space. Traveling back in time is like running the wrong way really fast up/down an escalator, whereas traveling into the future is like running the right way faster than the speed of an escalator. The unmoving escalator is time-space, each step on the escalator represents matter in time-space, and the speed of the escalator represents the chain-reaction (cause and effect) of matter through space. Once you stop running, you will continue to move at the speed and in the direction the steps on the escalator are going, while the escalator itself is stationary. It not forward-moving time. There is no such thing as time which moves. So, there is no beginning at which time starts, and no ending at which time stops. You can erase the chalk and start over, but the chalkboard remains the same. When the Twilight Zone featured a time-stopping/starting watch, it was actually featuring a movement-stopping/starting watch (except for the movements of the man and his watch, of coarse!) (Too bad he broke it and could not make anything start moving again. Oops!) Clocks and calendars track our movement through time, not how fast time is passing. Going back to the example of changing moment 2A–The reason you can have 2A which you3A didn’t effect is because you are rearranging matter, not time. It is like braiding a braid, and the four moments of you (you1, you2, you3, and you4) are represented in four beads which you add as you go along. When you get to you3, you take you3 out of the braid and glue it to you2 (they share the same moment in the chain-reaction). You cut off the hair (chain reaction) between you2 and you3, and after you3, then attach a new chain-reaction extension after you2 and you3. That there is a new reaction does not mean that the old chain never happened, or that you2 and you3 are going to become unglued. You3A didn’t travel back in TIME and change TIME, but retraced the steps of a chain reaction and made a new chain. To suggest that the removal of 3A means the trip was never made is an example of backwards causality, which is…drumroll…illogical. The following are some illustrations using lines to represent the forward-movement of the chain reaction through time.

-----> -----> -----> -----> ----->
1A 2A 3A 2B 3B

Now, as it concerns the paradoxes mentioned in Rudy Rucker’s “The Fourth Dimension…”, here is an illustration of the two minute time-machine paradox (no paradox) on p. 170:

-----> -----> -----> -----> -----> -----> ----->
11:55a 11:59a 12:00a 12:01a 11:59b 12:00b 12:01b
1 ship 1 ship 1 ship 1 leaves 2 ships 2 ships 2 stay

p. 167 #1…Zone 36 dies, Zone 50 carries on in his place, never to return, because there is nothing to fix.
p. 168 #2…A dollar wouldn’t show up on Tuesday, they never win the bet.
p. 174 #1…The historian–new chain-reaction.
p. 174 #2…Goodcheese couple would never find Cynthia, and Cynthia would never send herself back in time, unless the closed causal loop is a result of a naturally-born Cynthia sending her cloned baby back in time, creating a new chain-reaction. Example in next paragraph (in book) is an example of reverse-causality–wouldn’t happen.

Added note: I’ll continue using the escalator illustration…spacetime is the escalator, the steps are matter. What I am suggesting is that the escalator always existed, and that even though there was a beginning to the movement of the steps, it does not imply the escalator itself had a beginning.

I still have Rucker’s book if you want to know the specific scenarios I was answering.

–other perspectives are welcome… especially if you back it up with “hard” sciene in layman’s terms…

Hi Nell:

Mathematically, the following statements are misleading and incorrect respectively.

  1. Adding one more member to a finite set, no matter how often this is done, will simply result in a larger finite set." --Moreland, J. P.

  2. If a set can be added to (increased), or if there is any room left to fill, it is finite.

The first statement I believe is intended to make you conclude that the Counting numbers are finite.

The following is a simple classical proof that the Counting numbers are not finite.

  1. Assume that the Counting numbers are finite.
  2. The set above has a largest number. Call it N. This is by the ordering property.
  3. The number N + 1 is a member of that set. From the definition of the Counting numbers.
  4. Since N + 1 is greater than N, we have a contradiction. Therefore our assumption is wrong.
  5. Therefore the Counting numbers are infinite.

The only possible flaw with this argument is in the inherent assumption:
Not(Not A) is equal to A. This assumption is the same as the requirement of Mathematical Logic to be Boolean. Virtually all working Mathematicians believe that Mathematics is Boolean. There is a tiny percent or Mathematician called Intuitionists that believe that Mathematics is a multi valued logic, where the mathematical statement A can have the values True, False or Undetermined. The consequences of accepting the Intuitionists position would be staggering to the body of Mathematics. We would have to throw out all proofs by Induction (I am speaking formally) and most existence proofs.

As to claim 2, following the same proof as above, the set of even numbers is infinite. If you add the number 1 to it, then it will continue to be infinite.

Frankly, I think that if one holds a minority position, one ought to expressly state their under lying assumptions.

Nell, the escalator is driving me kinda dizzy.
Is there an alternative? This is an interesting reading so will study it when I find some time.

Somewhere out there, you’re still breathing your first breath of air. Somewhere out there, you’re already breathing your last. You are conscious at every point – but not conscious of every point. This is why prophecy is possible. The future already exists to us, and we still exist to the future. If God intervenes for you to experience in mind (which is spiritual, and so does not violate thermodynamics laws when it experiences moments in addition to the current one) something you will not fully experience until some point in the future – it was always meant for you to be prepared for that future event – nothing in time has changed from the original order of events. Feeling free to choose is a gift sewn into the fabric of life. It doesn’t always feel like a gift, for various reasons too numerous to list here. But, without such a gift, we cannot come to know love. I am talking about a higher, super-natural love – God’s defining characteristic. Those whose hearts have grown cold are under the crippling delusion, as I once was, that love is the need for affiliation driving reproduction (merely a pointer, that), or just another “higher” human art form, or an comfort blanket depended upon by the weak. To live as God has called us is to love with His holy strength. I was barely existing, and I pity who I used to be… but He loved me even when I was still Her, so… I will love Her, too. ANYway… back to the nifty grooviness of time →

Some changes to my comments on Rucker’s paradoxes [large font](keeping in mind that these changes still reflect the view in the essay… just in a way that makes more sense – my view is obviously different now)[/large font]:

p. 167 #1…Zone 36 dies, Zone 50 carries on in his place, never to return, because there is
nothing to fix. (I didn’t change anything about this one.)

p. 168 #2…The only explanation is that the dollar arrived from an old chain-reaction in which they did send the dollar back – a reaction which was over-written by the new chain reaction in which the dollar was not sent (what was not over-written, was that the dollar arrived).

p. 170… The two minute time-machine paradox is a genuine paradox, which does not however rule out time-travel in all instances. Too bad the sensor got involved.

p. 174 #1…Originally it was the inventor, but now it is the historian–new chain-reaction.

p. 174 #2…Perhaps a closed causal loop has overwritten an old chain in which a naturally-born baby Cynthia was sent back in time by her natural parents, or in which an adult Cynthia (who did not grow up with the Goodcheese couple) sent her cloned self-baby back in time, in either case creating a new chain-reaction in which that baby grows up to clone herself and send herself back, yet again.

The next paragraph (in the book) would have a similar explanation to 174 #2 – someone besides Rucker (another time-traveler, or God, for whatever reason) would have to insert the time machine into the universe at some point. The part told in the paragraph is simply the latest chain. NOTE: I don’t recommend Rucker’s book!!!

time is…infinite. no beggining, and no end.

there is no such thing as nothing, the only possibility is infinity.

what is possible within infinity?
is free-will possible?
or is infinity simply something that we are and our life and everyting around us is infinity, and infinity is something that simply IS so it cannot be altered by ‘free-will’?

or is infinity the very definition of ‘free-will’?

im not sure, but i hope for the latter.

If you were hoping I would reply, I apologize that I don’t have anything to say that I haven’t said. I don’t mean to be snooty, I am just short on time. Take care.

Time is potentially infinite. We can always think of the next point in time but we cannot actualize infinity, literally no beginning no end because as Aristotle said there is always something left over from the thinking when it comes to actual infinity.

We can think of a series that runs on beyond our thinking but we cannot actualize the infinite series completely.

I’m not officially back yet. I’m recreating here – I apologize (not really).


On time: If you have read (if not, I don’t recommend, for ethical reasons) “Watchmen” (Moore/Gibbons) – refer to page 28 of chapter 4 (and the preceding pages from Mars, for build-up). Maybe just go in to some store and turn right to that section, then, when done reading it, reshelve it.

It shows, rather than tells, how the past, present, and future, from a perspective which humans do not consistently maintain – is, has been, will always be.

“Jon” considers that there may be no “watchmaker” directing all of it – but there is.

I only refer you to “Watchmen” because it is the only thing I’ve read in print so far (which isn’t saying much) that correctly explains it in simple terms.

On infinity: You can slice things up infinitely–you don’t have to wait for it to actualize. A potential infinite is always finite, because an actual infinite cannot be added to or subtracted from.

I may have said that before.

Take care.

Mr. Kebop (I thought of something):

Why? What would change in your world if the latter were not true (I guess this may depend on your conception of God)? That we have the ability to feel choosing says a lot (what can we learn without that feeling?). Start from there.

Take care.

Well you ask what would change in my life? The truth is nothing would change, my perception of my life (unfortunetly) cannot actually change the course of it. My actions are what (i hope) can change the course of my life.
However…what unsettles me…is that it is possible that even in this God-less world (that i believe we live in), that everything is pre-determined or rather unchangeble.

Obviously I cannot know the true nature of infinite just as you cannot know the true nature of God, but I hope that my destiny can be decided by me.

I mean I feel that I have the power of decision because if I really wanted to prove to you that I have the power of decision I could just drive straight into oncoming traffic!! That would be my decision wouldn’t it!? I have the power to decide whether I live or die!!! well the dilemma and the reality of it all is that…i really don’t know.

But if you were able to somehow (even though its impossible to do so) prove to me that my life was completely pre-determined…
that would be like the shepard telling the sheep that they were raised, fed, and fattened, so that one day they would be shaved and butchered and made into delicious cutlets…no choice Mr. Sheep its cutlets for you!!
ah yes, and then they will be served to God on a dinner plate, prepared just the way He likes it.

In my personal opinion the existence of God does not prove that there is any form of pre-determination at all, I think that if God went to all the trouble of making human beings…these extremely complex creatures with amazing potential…it would be an awful waste of time to plan their entire lives out for them.

Hi, Mr. Kebop.

Hm. You say that like you know what God has planned? What if the end (which, to Him, has already happened, has always been happening, will always happen) – is much brighter?

If that were true (that we’re a waste of time in God’s eyes)… we wouldn’t be here.

And… here we are.

I don’t think it bugs Him if you feel you have genuine free will. I certainly have no problem with it. He gave us that freedom for a reason.

Take care.

Yes, well perhaps the cutlets sounded a bit harsh, so you are suggesting that he instead might be sending us to an amusement park?

Perhaps you misinterpreted what I said, I did not mean to say that God thinks that we are a waste of time, I just think that it would be a waste of time to create something of such intellect and possibility and instead of seeing what it is capable of, give it one path that it cannot stray from as a matter of determinism. I was suggesting that God (if such a thing exist) does not interfere with human affairs.

I’m not quite sure if you believe in free-will or determinism.
Or is it that you believe in a mixture of the two?

What exactly do you mean? Do you mean in a deterministic God-governed universe that a human being has the choice of whether or not their life is determined by a higher power?
I didn’t know that was possible…to me that seems like a contradiction.
But perhaps I don’t fully understand what you are talking about.
Care to enlighten me?

Here’s the short version… (I believe we feel like we make choices – and I believe those choices are known by God from beyond cause and effect.)

From within (like a director who takes a roll in his own film) and beyond cause and effect, God is involved in that which, to Him, is a completed masterpiece.

An answered prayer seems as if God changed something in the time line – took out a bad event and replaced it with a good one. In reality, He created the timeline complete with the will to pray and the prayer answered – there never was a bad event needing replacing – merely an abstract anticipation of a bad event which was never actually going to happen.

Answered prayer is one way God relates with us… breaks the ice… introduces Himself… one way for us to get to know Him. It is not, therefore, futile to pray within this finished work (which we experience as a work in progress). Prayer, and the answering of it, is, rather, one of the maestro’s techniques.

You may enjoy reading Romans 9:14-24; 11:25-36. There’s much more to read than that – just grab a concordance and study Bible – any church whose staff is walking with God will hook you up with a Bible if you can’t purchase one yourself.

Regarding your PM – you asked a lot of good questions. Think of God as the nerdy professor who wishes his students would ask a billion questions after class – but they always seem to have something else going on. He will wow you, if you give Him the chance.

I’m going to try to stay gone 'til September. Mi familia requires attention. :^) Grace and peace to you.

(really quick – regarding ‘seeing what it is capable of’ – He knows. He’s going to show us – not the other way around.)

Take care.

I believe there are two types of time. Natural time, the passing of the seasons, night into day and artificial time, seconds, minutes, hours. Type 2 is a purely artificial creation and therefore has no real bearing on the natural flow of time since the big bang.

My quick opinion about time, before reading all of this thread is:

Time exists because of and is relative to motion which is change.

Atoms each have a vibration speed and consist of subatomic waves that also have a motion/wave speed.

Waves and particles are each vibrations of the Aether, side A of the water-surface-like Aether vibrations = particle. Side B of the water-surface-like Aether vibrations = waves.

Atoms are wave/particle structures, made of energy, which is a wave/vibration.

Time is a property of motion.
Motion is a property of energy.
Matter is made of energy.

Time exists where change exists.

If I am wrong then please set me strait. :wink:


I have a friend named Phill. I call him “Ol’ Phill.” sometimes, too. You’ll have to settle on whether both your examples are natural or artificial – or – both (and why). You are just mentioning markers: the sun, and the second hand. While the sun is natural, and the second hand is man-made, they are both one and the same in reference to measuring movement: markers.

– Dan~

I really wish I knew whether you were wrong or right (I thought ether went out a long time ago?). Maybe one o’ these days I’ll be able to study physics. I hope. I only get to catch documentaries on M theory and chaos and whatnot on the science channels now and then… and they don’t go into the math, which, I feel, could possibly be illuminating. But, I think God is taking me in a different direction.

That’s assuming you were addressing your post at me, the author of the original post in this thread.

God bless both of you.