Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Time Travel part 2

In short, we need to study time travel; not necessarily so we can do it; but so that we can glean Kingdom principles from its theory (if not its practice!).

No I am not nuts. Not completely.

And I have even previously written on this crazy connection; drawing on far wiser souls and scholars than myself. I will do so again this time.

But perhaps a backtrack to that previous article for context would help

At leasr hear me out here.

Some assumptions about time travel, to be mentioned here, and unpacked later:

-Memory is time travel.

-Art is time travel.

-Instant Messaging is time travel.

-Prayer is time travel.

-The Kingdom itself is time travel.

That might (?) take some of the mystique and mystery out of such a loaded topic. You have participated in most; if not all of the above, right? You are already a time traveller.

You have already travelled "backwards" in time; or more appropriately said, from the future to the past. Not "back to the future," as the movie by that title would have it; but back from the future...

That such a direction in time travel is the normative, more natural flow is not only the common assumption among scientists (); but it is a basic assumption of the Christian faith.

Excuse me?

As Fuller Seminary theologian George Eldon Ladd (no nutcase) often famously keynoted (see especially in "The Presence of the Future,"and "A Theology of the New Testament", the scriptural phrase "Kingdom of God" is essentially interchangeable with what Jesus and the Jews called "the age to come." Christ often contrasted "this age" (earthly age) with "the age to come" (eschatological, future, heavenly age.) Ladd: “The presence of the Kingdom of God was seen as God’s dynamic reign invading the present age without (completely) transforming it into the age to come. ” (p.149)

Of course, Jesus really messed up the common theological assumptions and construct of the day when he announced that the Kingdom had in part already arrived. That was radical enough. To imply that the Kingom had come, no matter how imperfectly and partially, was inevitably to insinuate that the "age to come" had dawned, and in a sense the future had begun working its way "backwards" into the present age. But to insist that it had in part arrived, but arrived in Him (Matt. 4:17, Luke 11:20) was not only a claim to Messiahship, but a statement that shook to the core and discombubulated dearly-held theological constructs that his conservative listeners were sure were unshakable.

Thomas Cahill suggests that nothing less than the core gift of the Jews to Western, even stronger, the Jewish belief that actually "made Western civilization possible" the understanding/theology that time and life are narrative; a flow from beginning to end ; from creation and the past, through the present, on to the future and consummation (not cycilically like virtually every other ancient worldview and religion would have it); and definitely, decidedly not from future to present. .

Simply, and logically it would seem; they believed the future could not, or would not, visit the present or past. No wonder they objected to a Jewish Jesus who seemed to preach that it can also flow the other way around.

However, a core doctrine of quantum physics suggests that it can.

And the very core doctrine of Christ's Christianity demands that it must.

We have already tasted the powers of the future.

Don't take my word for it, though. At this point I am only quoting the Bible!

One not versed in the debates over time and science can easily miss the matter of factly-stated, yet jarring, time-travelling, quantum physics-ish proposal of the writer of the Hebrews: Believers are "those who have already tasted... the powers of the coming age." (2:3)

Time travel, if you will.

Okay, I have some tentative followers. But you want to know what practical difference all this makes.

And how in the world is Instant Messaging equivalent to time travel?

And if it indeed is, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China; or the cost of discipleship in your town and time?


To be continued.

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