Yesterday I offered my reflections on the parallels between physicists’ language about order/disorder with theologians’ language about God as creator. Today I am going to look at the similarities in language surrounding spacetime and resurrection.
First, in accordance with Einstein’s theory of general relativity, try to picture space and time as fused together into one four dimension loaf of bread. In this conception, all of space and time is bound together, so whenever you move in space you are also moving in time. Now picture this: someone moving very fast through space will be moving at a slower rate through time. Say you are on a rocket traveling close to the speed of light, then in comparison with somebody here on earth, your watch would be ticking very, very slowly. Your “now” slice of bread would then be cutting at a different angle than somebody just sitting on their sofa at home.
Or think of it this way: say there is some alien way out in a distant galaxy sitting at his computer right now (as I am). Our slices of “now” in spacetime would be the same. But say my alien friend stood up to go for a bicycle ride. His movement through spacetime would drastically alter his “now” slice and would cut at a different angle through the spacetime loaf. Since he is moving, his “now” slice might be something like 10,000 years from now once you cut that slice through the entire cosmic loaf. So in a sense, even though we are living at the same times, our concept of “now” is dramatically different.
New Testament scholar and Anglican bishop speaks of the resurrection with similar images. Along with many others, he describes the resurrection of Jesus on Easter morning as the in-breaking of God’s future kingdom. Our future hope, of healing, grace, and triumph over death, is brought into the here and now. God’s future has jumped right into our midst. What’s more, as Christians, God’s future is also part of our history.
It’s as if God’s “now” slice of bread is the entire loaf. You have to get creative when thinking about spacetime, but I think it’s rather beautiful. Our Easter celebrations are not just an opportunity to sport seersucker and drink a memosa (though it is that too); Easter is the great festival in which we are reminded that God’s future promises of healing and renewal have already been brought to fruition.