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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Theophysical conundrum: Time, sin, and the universe

Here's something that I've been wondering about for awhile now (actually going on three years). Maybe it's time to let others ponder it too...

We're told in Genesis 5:1 that "When Adam had lived 130 years..." (as the New International Version words it) that he gave birth to his son Seth. This is the first time in scripture that we are told that a person had lived a certain number of years. A few verses later it says that Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.

But are those the years total that Adam lived... or only the years following the Fall, and the entrance of sin into the world?

Because compared to the other antedeluvians, who were born after the Fall, Adam had a fairly equal lifespan. But if the 930 years is the total amount of time that Adam lived, from his creation until death, then Adam was short-changed by God in addition to the punishment of eventual physical demise. Either that, or it suggests that Adam had a finite lifespan from the very beginning whether he sinned or not: a notion strongly contradicted by the Bible.

Could it be that when the Bible gives us the years Adam lived, that these are only the years after the Fall? Because it otherwise makes no sense to give an age for something that is inherently ageless. Unless something happens to that thing or person that does bestow age upon it.

So here's what I'm thinking might have happened...

The time before the Fall was, in terms of quantum physics, an entirely different universe than the one we know of today. It was one that had the quality of being a procession of events, but it was not one that had the quality of time as we understand it. The chief characteristic of time in our universe is entropy: the disordered breakdown and decay of all matter and energy. But that might not have been the way things always were. There's also no way of knowing what that previous universe - the "sinless universe" - was like based on what we can observe today: it's like the ultimate black hole information paradox.

So if this is true, it's possible that per our understanding (though that would certainly break down in the context of the physics of this previous universe) that Adam and Eve could have lived hundreds or thousands of years in a perfect state before the Fall. Maybe a lot more than that. Conversely, they could have sinned just weeks or days or conceivably even minutes following their creation.

Thinking along those lines, Adam could have been alone without a wife for a very long "time" before Eve was brought to him. There's just now way of knowing though. Not from our perspective. But that's possible, too.

And then, only after the Fall... which would have also been the introduction of entropy into the universe, and the beginning of the physical realm as we have come to understand it... would it be appropriate to assign a chronological age to Adam.

Does this mean that Adam possibly edges-out or even blows away Methuselah for oldest human to ever live? No it doesn't, because we're still only talking about age after the beginning of an entropic universe: Methuselah still keeps that title, with no foreseeable competition anytime soon.

Yes, I really do meditate upon simultaneous matters of deep theology and quantum mechanics in the course of my daily musings. It's almost enough to drive one insane. Wait a sec...


Anonymous said...

I think about things like that, too. And that is a brainbuster. My friend and I look forward to the Heavenly FAQ board where we can get the answers to all our questions, though, I'm sure, when we are changed and our bodies are glorified, that knowledge is downloaded or something.

In my opinion, since Christ is called The Second Adam and His public ministry was three-and-a-half years, I lean toward thinking Adam's life prior to the Fall as he walked in the cool of the evening with God, was three-and-a-half years. I also contend that Eve was created pretty soon after he was (not immediately, but the same day after the animals were presented and named), as it says in Genesis 1:27 (I think -- I'm at work and the nearest Bible is in my car), "male and female created He them". Then again, I'm of the opinion that Adam didn't have blood until the Fall, either, which I think is much more of a brainbuster than whether or not he had a belly-button.

Call me crazy.

Chris Knight said...

No that's not crazy at all! I like the thought that Adam's time in the perfect state of creation was analogous to Christ's time on Earth, in the fall state. Makes perfect sense :-)