The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Can the paradoxes between the passing and eternal nature of reality be reconciled

I often hear of Christians speak of things of this world passing, and things of heaven lasting. This seems to be something common in Eastern philosophy. I know this is a tricky topic touching on the nature of time, which is experienced as just another name for impermanence. The whole concept of past is a shadow of something that used to be, while the whole concept of future is a potential possibility. Richard Rohr places a lot of emphasis on the creation as a passing thing, referring to it as the false self, and later refers to the false self as only a part. Then Psalm 90 emphasizes the eternity of God and the temporality of mans life.

Yet at the same time I have heard of Eternity including all time. If I am correct, Einstein held to a similar theory in regard to the passing of time. According to Einstein, the separation between past, present and future is an illusion. I think Plato had a similar view. C.S. Lewis alludes to this in some of his works, particularly in the great divorce. In one section, Lewis explains that Eternity has no simple definition except for all the events that took place in time. Peter Kreeft has a similar view in his books on Heaven, and compares Eternity to a completed story.

I dont know if this is even a resolvable paradox. In the Christian tradition, they emphasize the sacredness of the material universe, and does not adhere to the gnostic views about matter. The reasoning I have heard among the more theologically educated hold that God does not just throw away what he created. Yet most spiritual teachers teach that change is a constant, and that it is not wise to get attached to anything prone to flux.