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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Monday, August 18, 2008
Consciousness And The Will...
Though my consciousness is only aware of the present, my memory and intellect allow me to note the passage of time. I recall starting this post moments ago, though that moment has passed - yet the freshness of it in my memory, my sense of reason, and even the continuity of my memory between now and then tells me that only a short time has passed since I began typing this thought out.

I am always and ever riding through time between two fronts - behind me is the past, and before me is the future, and I am betwixt the two in the present. I am not aware of any events in the future, though I may anticipate events, as I anticipate ending this post in a few minutes - but I am not there yet, and as such I have no awareness of what that time will be like - though I can probably speculate with some precision. Likewise, though I can remember things in the past, my awareness is not in the past, it is always in the present - in fact the only way I am aware of my past is because it has left it's imprint on my mind, and I am able to (in the present) examine that imprint that has been left on my mind.

It should be self evident (to most of us) that our consciousness - our awareness if you will - is limited to the present. We can contemplate the past and the future by virtue of our reason and memory, but any such contemplation takes place in the present, where our consciousness dwells.

We could say that our consciousness is therefore limited by both time and location - that is, we are only really conscious in any one place at any given time.

Given this truth, consider the decision making process, with respect to our awareness moving through time and space. We become aware of some need to make a decision, and information is gathered into our memory, and we, in the present, consider this information, so that even our considerations become memory - and eventually, at some point, our information, and reexamination of information provides us with enough impetus to decide something - and then even that decision is in the past, and now just a memory upon which we may act, but we can also change our mind, since the decision is no longer present, but has passed.

But let us pretend for a moment, that our consciousness was not limited to that infinitely small instant between the past and the future, that vacuous slice between what was and what is to be - and instead let't pretend that our awareness stretched out over say, ten seconds into the future, and again, ten seconds into the past - so that our awareness spanned a full twenty seconds of time, rather than just an every fleeting instant...

In order to do this mental exercise properly, first consider that I am already aware of what has happened in the past ten seconds. Yet I am aware of it through my memory of the past ten seconds - it is not the same as if my consciousness were there "still" - for if I remember the past, it is my present consciousness sifting through the impressions of the past that are left in my memories - it isn't that my consciousness is there, it just remembers (in the now) being there in the past. Thus, we don't want to make the mistake of imagining our consciousness being merely a perfect recollection of the past, or a perfect augury of the future as contemplated by the same stuck-in-the-present awareness - rather we want to extend our awareness ten seconds either way.

If that were possible, we would mark our reality according to our awareness - that is, I can say I am here in Winnipeg, on this date at such and such a time, and in one second, that will change by one second, etc. If my awareness stretched over twenty seconds - the perspective of my reality would change radically.

Anything that happened within that twenty seconds encompassed by my awareness would be "now" to me. Consider therefore the concept of change...

We readily understand change since our awareness is limited to the instantaneous - that is, because (for us) everything moves from present to the past as soon as it is happens - we regard change as something that doesn't happen in the instant, but happens over time. If our awareness however, stretched over time, our perception of change would be radically different.

Consider the opening of a can of pop if our consciousness were there both before the can was opened, and after - and in every moment in between. The "opening" of the can would not be seen in that moment as a changeable thing - but as a single, unchanged, reality. That is, if our awareness stretched over the whole event, the event itself would be, in our awareness at least - immutable - at least during the interval wherein our consciousness was aware.

Thus, if in the stretch of our consciousness we "will" to open the pop can, and do so before the deed has moved beyond the scope of our conscious awareness - we can say that our will was immutable - unchanging and unchangeable during our awareness - for if we were going to change our mind, that change would be in our awareness so that our will would reflect that change and not our present course of action. Thus, because our consciousness stretches over time, whatever happens in the expanse of our consciousness is immutable, and whatever is determined during that time cannot be changed during the interval of our consciousness.

We don't normally think in these terms, so I don't expect everyone to follow the reasoning - but for those of you who persevere, I suggest now that God, who is unchanging and immutable, and who knows the beginning from the end, is not merely living like you and I - with a consciousness that is only aware in the present, so that His understanding of the past is just the bringing of that (substantial) intellect to bear upon the contemplation of remembered history, nor is his knowledge of the future merely bringing the same intellect to bear on infinite possibilities - or worse, on merely foretelling what is going to happen, as though the future were something that God hadn't already created, but was something God was moving into just like the rest of us, and was only aware of because of some ability to look forward into a time that didn't exist even for Himself yet.

I say, God's consciousness is eternal and infinite. He is not isolated, as we are, in one time and in one space - for such restrictions can only apply within creation where such things as time and location exist. God, who existed when there was not "when" and where there was no "where" cannot be boxed by such concepts - and the best word we can use to describe God's relationship to creation is with words like 'transcendent' or 'alien' or, 'outside of' - the bible uses words like 'Holy, Holy, Holy!' He does not sit in one place at one time, and another place at another time as though he were a created being living in creation - but rather God transcends time and space; His consciousness is not bound by the ideas of time and space.

When scripture teaches that God sees the end from the beginning - it isn't painting a picture of a creature who, trapped in time and space, is looking forward in both to another time in space, and is able to "see" all the stuff that is in between. Rather it is describing the perspective of an eternal awareness - there is just as much of God's consciousness here and now, as there will be someone else and later, or was elsewhere before. God doesn't go anywhere, He -is- everywhere. He doesn't learn anything new, because in God's consciousness, there is nothing new - He is aware in every moment so that His will is not something that is decided at some point in time, and changes later - but rather is settled from eternity.

God's will is not mutable, never changes, never flutters or fades - it is the same yesterday, today, and forever, because in God's consciousness, these distinctions do not come outside of his ever-present awareness.


posted by Daniel @ 9:12 AM  
  • At 2:01 PM, August 18, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    Of course, if you are inclined to think of God as a super-human, who is stuck in the present with the rest of us, and whose foreknowledge is reduced to a beggarly "looking forward" in time, as though His awareness were like ours - bound to creation - then you will probably find this post awkward, to say the least.

  • At 5:13 PM, August 18, 2008, Blogger David said…

    You just had to get that out before your brain exploded, didn't you?

  • At 6:55 PM, August 18, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    Actually, I was listening to the confession of Augustine (in MP3) that you linked to a while back, and in the.. I don't know.. 12th book? He starts thinking out loud about time, and that caused me to think a bit more about time - and the consequences of having a consciousness that worked apart from the boundaries of time. I am surprised I even posted it - given that in the last 20 posts I have written, I have only actually "published" three or so. I tend to get bogged down in the post long before I am finished, then I never finish. I should give you access to the blog so you can see what sort of nonsense doesn't see the light of day!

  • At 7:17 PM, August 18, 2008, Blogger David said…

    Right -- like reading what you do post doesn't take long enough.

    I wish more bloggers would ditch most of their posts.

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