The Evolution of Eternity

Timelessness was once about God but has now pervaded the frontiers of physics

We humans have repeatedly contemplated the idea of living forever in myths, fairy tales, philosophy, religion and science. More recently, however, skeptics of the benefits of eternal life have abounded. Bernard Williams famously argued that immortality would inevitably get boring.  But whether or not he was right, the temporal limits of our lives – that we are born at some time, and that we die at some time – are some of our most defining characteristics. Life as we know it would be very different if it wasn’t finite in its temporal extent.

Not so for the God of Christianity. According to the Bible, God “is before all things” (Col. 1:17), and God’s “years have no end” (Ps. 102:27). God is, in a word, eternal. That’s a very different way to be from ours. And it’s not surprising that God’s relationship to time is thought to be so utterly different. After all, God is supposed to be the creator of the universe, the ultimate being that controls and watches o

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