We are evolution's time travellers
We are all time travellers. More than that, we are exquisite, living time machines, each of us. in our bodies and in our minds, we carry an extraordinary history. From the moment of conception until the moment of death, our human development unfolds as a pattern of evolution. Miracle upon miracle happens. “Part of our genetic code has time travelled billions of years since primitive life first appeared on earth. The 70 or 80 years of the individual human lifespan is miniscule by comparison. Yet human history can change through one unique life well-lived; even one unique moment can prove decisive, the single moment of action or insight. It is as if all life itself has concentrated upon this moment. Everything leads to the ‘now’ of decision, what de Chardin described as the Omega Point. It is not blind chance that guides life to it.
Scientifically speaking, however, it is hard to study and understand this psychological moment. A universal ‘now’ is elusive to catch. It may not exist at all. Albert Einstein called time itself a persistent and stubborn illusion. Why is that so? Whatever happened to ‘now’?
When we look up at the sky, the light from the sun is about 8 minutes old, light from the next closest star 4.3 years old, and the light from the closest galaxy to our Milky Way is already 2 million years old. What we experience as ‘now’ is mostly very old information. The night sky presents us with a breathtaking panorama of time. We can and do strangely experience in an instant the presence of time past.
Time is inextricably bound up with human perception. The Bible hints at possibilities, and of course the Greek philosophers much more so. The story doesn’t end with the insights of antiquity, of course. There is so much more to consider that has been generated in modern scientific discourse. Through God’s long processes of evolution, star dust and light beams have forged in us a capacity to reflect on the universe. And when that moral self-awareness clashes with the authorities of state, religion, and science, all hell breaks loose. In a curious way, it is that which sends us back to re-examine the Biblical story of the two Adams. This is explored in the video below Genesis Through the Lens of Faith or the Lens of Science.
For further thoughts on time and space look at the sermon collection page The Time Travellers.