Theology and Relativity

Earlier this week I was having coffee (okay, it was Hot Chocolate) with the Rev’d Jon Connell (@ConnellJon) of Good Shepherd Anglican Church here in Edmonton. One thing we discussed (which I am certain anyone listening in must have had a WTF moment) was how modern concepts of time, via Relativity, force us to rethink (but not abandon or reconsider) several Theological positions of the Church. Let me Explain.

In the 20th Century a physicist by the name of Albert Einstein (you may have heard of him), changed the concept we have of time when he developed two theories: Special Relativity and General Relativity. In both Theories (which I won’t dive into) there is a prediction of Time Dilation. Time, is thus, not absolute and depends on a frame of reference. For me, this raises a bit of a question: How does God experience time?

No, really. How exactly does a Supreme being of infinite power, knowledge and benevolence experience Time. I am heard a few (like Jon) state that God might not experience time at all; He could simply be experiencing every moment of existence all at once. Now, Jon is currently not the first person to state this (sorry to pop your bubble Jon, if you had one). However, with Relativity does mean the Church as to think about the consequences of time not being absolute.

What does this mean for Christ’s Second Coming? Is Christ, in some ways, still buried in his tomb while he is leading the souls of the departed out of Infernos in the so-called Harrowing of Hell? Is he waiting for us so he can Resurrect us with him… which of course already happened. Is the Sacrifice of Christ ongoing because he is, in some way, still on the Cross?

In terms of Christology it comes to something truly marvelous: As God has become man in Jesus Christ this means that God has had to experience Linear time as one of us. How truly awesome is that God was not just willing to take on flesh but then have to experience everything that came with it such as getting ill, pooping, and yes even the dreaded experience of Linear time.

Anyhow, that is my little bone. If you want to call me a heretic for writing this please have the decently to look up Relativity and a few things on temporal mechanics before demanding my Bishop have me burnt at the stake.

In Christ,