Chapter X – Time
The arrow of time directs extant being to its ultimate end. The ordering in the physical cosmos, the natural organization of life, the evolution of sentient being, and the agency of rational creatures are performed continually at the expense of the general integral order of the universe, contemplated as a comprehensive system of mass and energy. It can be understood to be a compound of space, and of time; here, space is itself a composite of the main three Cartesian dimensions of length, width, and height, and time, is the fourth dimension.
Christianity is in its essence, an interpretation of human history in terms of eternity. The foundation of the Christian religion is the revelation of the Christ to the Jews during his ministry of the three years in Israel. From the Christian perspective, time has a definite direction. All of human history, from the creation of the physical universe, to the final acts of the last man on the Earth, is ordered towards the renewal of creation, and the wedding of the Christ and his Church in the new Jerusalem, at the end of time.
The Christian theological and historical understanding of time and of salvation history, takes its origin from the first creative acts transcribed by the prophet Moses, in the book of Genesis. The book of Genesis recounts the creation of Heaven and of Earth, the genesis of humanity in the emergence of the first parents, Adam and Eve, the introduction of evil into the natural created world through the Original Sin, and the first act of the murder of Abel by Cain, the apparition of the first dawn of human civilization, the commencement of the chosen people and of the divinity’s promise of fidelity, provided that it maintains faithfulness, and of the evolving relationship between God and man as evidenced in the retributions and the chastisements of Yahweh due to humanity’s infidelity. Truly, the book of Genesis is a story of man’s lost innocence and of the divine attempt to restrain the progression of human, moral, and natural evil.
The book of Genesis commences its concise and elegant account of human history with a description of the actions of the benevolent creation by the divinity with the appearance of the Heavens and of the Earth, and of the creation of light. The creation of Heaven and of Earth is significant since it signals the manifestation of the pivotal poles of the primitive creation: the spiritual and the supernatural world represented by Heaven, and the material and natural world, presented by the Earth, the starting point of the physical universe, ruled by physical matter, sentience, sensation, perception, rationality, and freedom. The creation of light also takes place on the first day. This is a notable realization since the separation of the light and of the darkness that takes place on the fourth day is understood in Catholic Christian theology, to be associated concomitantly, to the creation of the angels, and their fall from grace, as evidenced in the partition between day and night. The second and third days, relate the actual formation of the heavens and of earth, and the arrival of vegetation and of the biosphere. On the fourth day, God sets forth the creation of the two luminaries, the sun and the moon, in order to illuminate the day and the night. He also forms the stars ruled through the agency of the angels, in order to illumine the night and serve as points of navigation for human beings. It is on this day that Yahweh actually parts the light from the darkness, the good angels from the evil angels. On the fifth day, God establishes the different species of the Earth, primarily, the birds and the marine aquatic creatures; he blesses them and invites them to multiply. The sixth day witnesses the apparition of the animals of the earth, and ultimately, the creation of man, the rational bond between the natural and material universe, and the supernatural and spiritual realm. Man is created in the image of the divinity; that is, his rational immortal soul with its faculties of intellect and will, is an image of the intellect and the will of the divine personality. Man is then given dominion over the natural realm and the material world.
“ Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth. God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth.” — Genesis 1:27-28
On the seventh day of the creative week, God rests and contemplates his holy travail. The first chapter of Genesis displays an inherent structure. At the term of each act of creation, the Trinitarian God examines his work, and judges it to be “good”. Specially, the creation of man, male and female, is understood to be “very good”. This reveals the divinity’s charitable concern for inanimate, animate, and sentient being, and his affection for the inherent order between the interplay of the different elements, substances, and species. Evidently, these are metaphysical understandings and physical organizations.
The garden of Eden is the hospitable home of the first parents of humanity: Adam and Eve. Here, there occurs the moral, spiritual, and natural formation of the human persons. Adam, the representant of the human race, is formed out of the clay of the earth, of Gaia, who has her for a mother, and Yahweh as his father. Adam is presented with the animals of nature that he may name them. However, he finds in them, none that can offer him true companionship. It is here, that God puts Adam in a deep sleep and fashions a companion for Adam, woman, Eve, out of one of his ribs.
The episode of the first sin and of the entrance of evil into the natural creation is well known. God intimates the first parents with the order to eat all the fruits of the virginal garden, except the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil. Eve is tempted at the spurring of the mysterious serpent who leads her to bite into the forbidden fruit; the woman, then convinces her companion to act in similar fashion. The act is unfortunate, the two awaken in the shame of their nakedness and consequently hide from Yahweh. Angered at their betrayal, God curses both persons and casts them out of the garden. This concludes the origin of the first humanity.
The event in the garden of Eden symbolizes humanity in its attempt to violate the rights of God, as the divine Legislator. In truth, the forbiddance to eat from the tree of good and evil, is a means of trial and a test of faith in order to confirm Adam and Eve in grace and of obedience to the divinity; a reality that is evidenced by the fruit, the apple, of the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil, that stands for the test of obedience that the first parents undergo. The serpent, however, represents the fallen angel, Lucifer, chief of the rebellious angels, and father of evil. Eve, the first woman, is not exhibiting surprise at the occurrence of an animal endowed with speech. She is tempted by the prospect of her coming godhood, and hence, bites into the apple. Then, the woman gives the fruit to the man, who bites it; which reveals the fact that Adam, perhaps, revered and loved his companion, more than he revered and loved God. The fall of the first parents represents humanity’s affirmation of its self-determination in the face of the divine prerogatives and its autonomy in the realm of the moral sphere. Man, in his disobedience, at the temptation of evil, wills to decide what is good from what is evil, on his own authority; in short, man aspires to be God. The consequences spiritual, material, and human, are ruinous. Spiritually, they involve the loss of the friendship with God, the rejection and the deprivation of supernatural grace, the wound of Original Sin that stains human nature and results in ignorance, the disorder between the reason and the senses, and the powerful inclinations of inordinate human passions. Materially, and humanly, man finds himself alone in an unknown world, deprived of grace and of the regressing presence of God; man, is inflicted with having to bear the curse of toil and of difficult hardship in order to reap the fruits of the earth, for his subsistence, and in order to maintain his sustenance; woman, is cursed with the travailing pains of child birth and the age-old subjection to her companion, man; the serpent too, is cursed, to losing his limbs and crawling in shame on his belly. Nonetheless to divine justice, is adjoined divine mercy: man is offered the promise of salvation and of redemption, which is realized in time, in the triumph of the Woman who crushes the head of the serpent, and of the Man, Jesus, who operates the redemption of the human race, and obtains supernatural grace for the salvation of humanity.
Salvation history is inherently tragic, and perhaps, dramatic. The narrative in the book of Genesis reveals a humanity in constant need of divine paternal correction and of the human inability to sustain his moral life; in a sense, man is lost. The account of the first murder of Abel by his brother Cain marks the introduction of hate into the divine creation. From the moral violation of the rights of God, comes also the moral and murderous violation of the rights of man. Man turns against God, then, man turns against man. From thence, it is a descent into a moral crisis that betrays the progressive abandonment of God from human society. Man develops a rudimentary civilization, yet, becomes increasingly alone, or perhaps, communal, but conflictive. Henceforth, divine activity concerns itself with a select group of individuals and of people in order to safeguard the human patrimony of moral uprightness. The first inhabitants of the Earth revendicate their autonomy; build cities and fortifications, master metallurgy and develop the onset of religion and of arts; this leads to complete corruption and sin, and the Trinity by its authority, formulates the plan to destroy humanity. The coming of the universal flood, is a cataclysmic event that globally erases essentially all of humanity; only eight human persons are saved, Noah and his family, as well as the innocent animals. The consequences of the flood represent a change from the divine relationship between God and his creation: the divinity makes a covenant with the post-diluvian family and now also allows them to consume the flesh of the animals. Over time, corruption returns. The episodes of Sodom and Gomorrah, as well, as of the Tower of Babel, are particularly important. They present man himself, as a creature who despite divine admonitions and benevolence, is innately corrupted by sin, and incapable of achieving moral rectitude on his own powers, without special supernatural favor. From the various first patriarchs, from Noah to Abraham, and from Isaac to Joseph, a continuous pattern is formed that leads to the emergence of the Hebrew peoples, an ethnic clan directly consecrated to Yahweh by means of a continual covenant, a promise of salvation, and prosperity.
According to the current theological understandings, the primitive events of the history of the universe and of mankind recorded in the book of Genesis, are, certainly, an endeavor using popular language and human tradition to account for the origin of life, and for the naissance of humanity. In short, the first book of the Bible is essentially, mythical, voire, mythological. In Christian salvation history, the knowledge and the understanding of divine acts throughout time are significantly important. The enslavement of the Hebrew peoples in Egypt presents for God to display his divine might and bring consummate good out of slavish evil by guiding the chosen race out of Egypt, through 40 years in the desert, to the promised land of Canaan, where honey and milk abound. The Hebrews were an inherently semi-nomadic peoples of goat and cattle herders that held intimately to the traditions inherited from their forefathers. The first occurrences of human cilization and tradition, of their slavery in Egypt, were imprinted in their flesh and in their memory. For the Hebrews, and later, for the Jewish people, the prophet Moses represents the greatest leader and prophet in the history of Judaism and of Israel. The prophet was Yahweh’s mouthpiece in the proclamation of deliverance and in the achievement of freedom from the Egyptian nation. The powerful plagues and the cosmic miracles operated at his intercession testify to his charismatic power and moral sanctity. The apogee of the Mosaic era, is the theophany on mount Sinai, for forty days and forty nights, during which the finger of God writes down on tablets the Ten Commandments, the moral cornerstone and the foundation of the law of Israel. The law of Moses given on mount Sinai, establishes a covenant between Yahweh El Shaddai, and the people of Israel. Henceforth, the people of Israel are given a series of laws, codifications, and practices, in order to perform collective religious ritual, and, individual and communal moral cleansing.
The birth of Christ presents the culmination of the salvation history of the Jewish people, and of Christians in particular. The events of the life of Christ, from his blessed Nativity, to his mysterious life into his adult years, to the trying tribulation of his ministry, to his dolorous Passion, and of his glorious Resurrection and Ascension, and finally, to the definite founding of the Christian Church, are historically irreversible and essentially immutable. In the person of Jesus Christ, the possessor of the two natures, divine and human, the cause of the two intellects, divine and human, and the agent of the two wills, divine and human, salvation history, finds its consummate fulfillment. With his divine personality and his creative power, the obedient Word of Yahweh, maintains the world into being, in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit; by virtue of his divine essence, and of his relation in the Trinity, he is responsible for the creation of souls; in consequence of his divinity, he is the light, that illumines the world; as a result of his divine nature, he is responsible for the creation and of the formation of grace. The Messiah’s theandric acts, – that is, his acts considered under the joined actions of his divinity and his humanity – his innumerable teachings in his revelations of his self, his Father, and of the Paraclete, his countless miracles, his formidable knowledge of the natural world, of the inner and outer acts of rational creatures, and of his predictive and secret events in time, convey and testify to his divine election and of his divine personality and divinity. Christ’s human acts were holy and affected by the free assent to the divine will; they involved the subjection of his human willing to his divine willing – particularly, in the event of his trying and of his cross-bearing Passion in truth, the will of his holy Father – his subjugation of his divine willing to the direction and the education of his saintly parents; the submission of his human intellect to his divine intellect; his rapid acceptation in the acquisition in human learning; of his recognition of the limits of his humanity subjected to the vicissitudes of the human nature in eating and drinking, the need for sleep, and the fatigue of his limbs and of his organism; of his loving concern for his neighbor, and of his charitable actions; and the tranquil resignation in the face of suffering and death, particularly during the events of his sorrowful Passion.
The Incarnation, the wondrous entrance, and dolorous but blessed descent of the person of the Son into the world of man, and the world of the physical universe symbolizes aptly the beginning of the irrevocable adjoining between redemptive grace and human nature, of the irreversible personal union between God and Man in the Word, the Image of the Father creator, and of the indubitable marriage between eternity and time. The good news of the Christian dogma of the Incarnation is that, God has entered history, has chosen to be limited to the confines of space, and has elected to elevate time itself, characterized by change and imperfection, to the immutable nature and the perfect character of the instant of eternity. The hypostatic union, which is the union between the Christ’s divinity, and of his humanity, in the person of the Word, is the reason for his relation with time from eternity. Consequently to the hypostatic union of the incarnate Word, the divinity of Christ acts through his humanity. The sundry and holy occurrences of the life of the Christ, as child, son, rabbi, and redeemer, have infinite and eternal value, since they are adjoined to the divine Act of his Trinitarian person. From the point of view of history, Christ is the cause, the agent, and the principal actor from eternity into time. Although enclosed by time and space in his human nature, in his mode of existence as the God-Man, Christ acts outside of history and directs time to the fulfillment of the Davidic promise of the ever-lasting Jewish kingdom and of the eschatological expectation of the renovation of creation. In summary, the Christ in his person acts from eternity into time. Yet, he is at the same time, encompassed by time. The instance of the resurrection from the dead of Lazarus of Bethany by Jesus is a relevant example. Two days before Lazarus’ impending fate, the Messiah is notified of his friend’s serious sickness. Despite his disciples advices, Jesus wills to go back to Judea, even in the prospect that he might be stoned death; still, he delays his voyage to Bethany and informs his followers that he intends to wait for his friend’s death in order for the glorification of God, the blessed Trinity. Two days later, Christ arrives in Bethany and finds that the man has died. Jesus tests Martha, Lazarus’ sister, and confirms her in her faith in him.
“When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. [But] even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.” — John 11:20-27
Jesus perturbed at the Jews’ doubts and admonitions, becomes perturbed and troubled. Then, he stands before the tomb.
“Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.” — John 11:20-27
From thence, the chief priests and the Pharisees, seriously plot to bring about the Messiah’s death. Jesus’ miracle is specially significant for it displays his remarkable power over death. From the beginning, the Christ demonstrates his dominion over time and the events directly affecting human lives. He foresees the death of his friend and timely acts according to divine providence, in order to reconstitute his flesh, reincarnate his soul, and operate Lazarus’s salvation for the glory of the divinity. His predictions are true and his divine immensity acts: for Lazarus is merely in the sleep of death and the wondrous miracle attests to the resurrection and of his special knowledge of time. In a sense, Christ exhibits his certain power over death, life, creation, space, and above all, time.
The resurrection of Christ concludes the wedding between the redeemer and creation. It marks the arrival and the culmination of a novel but known principle: supernatural grace. It anticipates Christ’s renewed and continual competence over the trial of the world, the opposition of evil, and the forces of death. Jesus’ predictions come true: he fulfills the law of the Jewish Torah, confirms by his Incarnation and sufferings as servant, the oracles of the prophets of Israel, in particular, those of Isaiah, and his resurrection is a testament to his fidelity to his Church and a testament to the unyielding strength of good and of life. As such, the accomplishments of the Davidic promise of the Israel kingdom – a kingdom in Christ, which is foremost spiritual and animated by charity – and the prophecies of the prophets, reveal God’s supreme direction of human history and of his control over time itself.
The eventual demonstration of the redeemer’s authority over history and of his direction of time finds its painful expression in Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice on the Cross, the altar of the divine priest who operates in virtue of his person, the complete consummation of sin, the erasure of the primitive evil from divine memory, and the reconciliation by atonement between God and man resulting in the momentous re-dispensation of supernatural grace symbolized in the reception of the Holy Spirit, who is the dove of peace and the generator of love. The occurrence of the tribulation and of the Passion on the Cross, is an event with cosmic significance and of eternal value. In his divine personality, the incarnate Son assembles the whole of creation, and renews it in his sacrifice; the Christ restores the cosmic and the spiritual order of the created world, awaiting its expectant renewal at the end of time. Here, eternity enters time, a divine act that accesses the eternal present. In the Catholic religion, this event is expounded further. It is in the celebration of the mass and above all, in the transubstantiation – the conversion of the appearances of the bread and wine, into the substance of the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ – of the Eucharistic species, the sacrifice of Jesus is made. This instant of the Catholic mass, bears together, the Incarnational power of the Incarnate Son in the Redemptive act behind the appearances of the resurrected body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Christ. Truly, the Eucharist symbolizes the central source, the pinnacle summit, and the principled motor of the Catholic faith. It is from the essential Eucharistic sacrifice and of its accidental devotional adoration that God derives value from creation and operates the continuance, the ordering, the evolution, and the perfectioning of the cosmos, of the physical universe.
In truth, due to the appearance of primeval sin, creation has lost its perfection. The physical universe, and time, are corrupted and expect the rejuvenation of all things. Eschatology, is the prophetic knowledge and the oracle proclamation based on faith, on hope, and on charity, of the multiple test of the peoples of God throughout history, the final test and suffered tribulation of the Christian Church, and of the jubilant renovation of creation and of the physical universe at the end of time. Here, time enters eternity definitively and gloriously. This understanding of history guides religious faith, confirms Christian hope, and invites human charity. The death of God, that is the abandonment of Western civilization’s Judeo-Christian moral heritage, and the rejection of the objective moral and ethical values through subjectivism and relativism, inaugurates in reality, the times of lawlessness spoken of in Christian eschatology. It is an anti-human period in which man assumes the power of his own Legislator, a repetition and a ratification of the Sin of the Origins, in which man attempts to renew the times and the seasons and re-write the natural, physical, and biological laws, and the social norms of creation. In the Bible, the times of lawlessness signal the beginning of the end for humanity, and for the Christian, the triumphant hope in the realization of the eternal kingdom of Christ, the infinite marriage between God and creation, between the Trinity, and his chosen people, the Church. In many respects, the eschatological spirit seems to have been relegated to its sphere, its own corner of superstition and of irrationality. There is an inherent aversion, even among practicing and devout Christians for the rationality of belief in an end time; secularism, relativism, and naturalism have convinced man of the sole significance of the age, of the negligence of objective ethical norms, and of the necessary importance of scientific investigation and of the quest for the betterment of the material, social, economic, and political conditions that humanity conditions itself during the 21st century. There is an innate attitude, here, that doubts eschatological expectation as a symptom of mental and psychic instability, of intolerant and persecutory belief of the believer in the face of the retreat of religion from secular life, and in the face of the moral crisis that besets contemporary culture. Eschatology, thence, finds itself demoted to a subculture of superstition in which miracles, apparitions, and prophecy, dominate and forbear the sane intellectual, rational, and psychological development of the believer and the non-believer alike. Chiefly, comes the associated mental complexion that their occurrence contribute nothing to the practice of the faith. Too often, the instances of religious cult around a charismatic leader is portrayed as the reflection of a misguided, an extreme, a catastrophic, and a faulty interpretation of the times of the end of humanity. In reality, the attitude, then, is to exhibit no concern and to leave such considerations to the arcana theories of disrepute theologians and to the obsolete expectations of the religious folklore of people.
Really, the lack of concern for eschatological prophecy betrays the loss of the distinction and of the struggle between the Church and the world at large. In an attempt at reconciliation, the Christian Church has adopted the pattern of life of the secular age resulting in the inclination towards the re-questioning of the Judeo-Christian moral values and of the demotion of orthodoxy of belief. Still, the neglect of the dichotomy between the Church and the world, manifests the end of prophecy. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied, that, as matter of fact, eschatology is part of the deposit of the Christian faith and ought to be subjected to prudent faith in guidance with its traditional understanding by the Church.
The end of the universe, that is the special attention of eschatology reveals a consideration into time. History, and time, for that matter, represent the final unknown quantity. Man has conquered the natural world, comprehended primarily the miracle of his biological matrix, and commenced an elementary investigation into the confines of space. The answers to the question, so far, are difficult to foresee, and entirely unsatisfactory. Whereas religious belief attempts to offer predictions for the end of time, in its eschatology, scientific truth offers guidelines for the efforts to prophesy the end of the universe.
In its essence, the end of time, marks the end of hope; and in relation, to the mystery of the problem of evil in the physical universe, and the rational realm and the moral dimension of reality. Time, specifically, is a dimension of reality that can be inquired into both physically and philosophically. Physically, it is a physical quantity that is the measure of change in the macroscopic change of matter. Philosophically, it is a measure of physical change that reveals the problem of motion in the universe. Hope, seems to be, the substance of all things. In a sense, creation itself hopes: it awaits its intended end as an arrow directs towards its intended target; it awaits with hope the possibility of its renovation and the restoration of the primeval order in the physical universe; realistically, however, it understands the reality of its finality – which is, total chaos and complete disorder.
To state that creation hopes, is to affirm a metaphysical reality. Metaphysical being is a compound of essence and of existence. Being, itself, is the act of existing. Being, in inanimate extants, to animate beings, to sentient creatures, to the rational life, progresses from potentiality to act, as the arrow is constituted from its tail, and progresses linearly, to its pointed head. Hope is that which is at the origin of the process of change in the physical universe, that moves sentient life, and that animates rational being from potentiality to act. Metaphysical being, the act of existing, is, thus, the process of change, the movement that characterizes metaphysical hope. It is a character that is imprinted on matter itself: the electronic and the atomic constitution of the physical universe, the laws of chemical attraction that governs physical matter, the physical forces that interplay the ordering of the physical evolution, the biochemical functions that animate the movement of sentient life, and the movements of desire, of rationality, and of free willing that direct the rational soul, are all manifestation of hope within the limits of time. It is chemical interaction that orders the constitution and the ordering of physical matter. The attraction between the electronic wave-particle, and the atomic nucleus is a nano-metric movement that paces the existence of matter and forms the atom, the fundamental building block of all matter, and of the chemical element in particular. The replication of the deoxyribonucleic acid is an intricate system of molecular machines that act in concert in order to generate new microscopic life, a new code that will determine the genesis of novel molecules and the formation of the biological proteins, the sturdy constituent of the biological cell. The cell, itself, is a complex of macro-molecules, and sites of biological activity that is in constant growth, in continual evolution, and the source of a remarkable reproduction. There is an inherent ordering and impressive organization in all material and sentient being, from the components of the nucleus, to the foundational atom, to the unique chemical element, to the formation of macro-molecules, to the organized sites of biochemical activity, to the genius of the biological cell, to the powerful activity of fluids, tendons, muscles, and organs, to the wholesome organism, to the interplay of species in the various eco-systems, to the immense systems of galaxies, constellations, and nebulae, to the apparent infinity of the universe itself. It is this physical, chemical, and biological change that is the substance and the source of the hope of the universe. That, hope, however, is rational being.
The rational life, is characterized by sensation, perception, the life of reason and intellect, and the freedom of willing. Rational beings stand within the confines of nature and of the physical universe, and yet, are not confined by it, or rather, absolutely moved by it. Relatively, rational creatures are the principles of their own movement. Through abstraction and freedom, they actualize their desires, passions, and emotive life in the sundry expression of art and music, technology and engineering, religion and philosophy, and politics and law. Man, stands in some respects, as the apogee of the material creation; he transcends it as being a compound of matter and spirit – which is above the possibilities of integral matter and sense – a unity of body and of the rational immortal soul, and a stupendous achievement of reason and of sense. Nevertheless, man is immanent to the natural and physical universe as he is conditioned by the life of sense, limited by the experience of perception, enclosed within a changing and a quantitative body, encompassed d by the three dimensions of space and of extension, and restricted by time itself that closes the foundation of reality. It is rational hope, that sustains the visible universe, as it is through the agency of rational creatures that meaning is derived.
Hope subsists in the human soul. As matter of fact, it is in some sense, a measure of time itself. The soul, which measures time from one instant to the other instant, intimates rationally its extension. Time, is not only a quantitative dimension, it is also, a qualitative reality. All rational creatures are animated by hope. It is hope that metaphysically animates the being of the human person and governs his orientation in time. Metaphysical hope, actualizes man’s act of existence. It is an orientation that is itself related to what can be termed, rational, or spiritual hope. Hope in the rational life of man, is an orientation that directs towards a consideration of the future, of an instant in time that is immediate, or that, is remote, and has yet to come. For instance, it is this concern that actualizes the intellect and moves the will of the everyday person, who gets every morning in order to perform the daily functions of life: toileting, feeding, working, interacting with persons, whether friends or family, and generally, forming intrinsic relationships with society. Hope, is faith, which is the substance of things not seen, and the evidence of the responsibility of the rational and moral acts of a human creature. Because rational hope involves, an examination of the past, and a consideration of the future, it is a metaphysical act that subsists. Man, is the hope of the material creation and of the visible universe because he both transcends them and is contained by them, or rather, is immanent to them. Hope is the process of change in human persons both natural and human, for it involves the passing of time itself, and the expectation of the future. In the rational soul, indeed, hope, is time. Consequently, at the time when rational hope in rational creature is no longer present, the metaphysical hope in rational and sentient being, will be extinguished; metaphysically, the visible universe will cease; this will ring the end of time in rational creatures, and perhaps, in the material creation; in the predictions of physical science, this will result in a state of complete disorder and completer entropy: chaos. This chaos, chiefly, may be visited with wars, injustice, plagues, and the rebellions of nature. In Christian theology, it is the apocalypse, the revelation of the children of God, that marks the end of time and of the beginning of the renovation of the world, in the new Heaven and the new Earth, standing as the ever-lasting wedding between the Trinitarian God and his chosen people. The understanding of end time, prophecy, is really, related to the understanding of evil itself. The problem of evil, in truth, is encapsulated in the emergence of lawlessness in the end times – the abandonment of the laws and statutes of Christianity, and of the abolition of the sacred sacrifice – and the apparition of the son of perdition, the Antichrist. The problem of evil, is revealed, in the mystery of iniquity in which, man poses himself as God and seeks to re-make creation in his own image. It is the creation of a society that is humane, tolerant, and yet, totalitarian, and moved by fear.
Philosophers and theologians alike, have preoccupied themselves with the problem of evil, of its reality, and of the nature of moral sin. For the Christian, it is the knowledge of the salvation history that unfolds throughout time, that grants a comprehension of the mystery of evil. While the philosopher views evil as a contradiction of God’s inherent goodness, and as an abhorrence standing against the dignity of humanity, the theologian understands the problem as an inherent mystery to be revealed at the end of time, at the last Judgement and of the vindication of divine wisdom. Indeed, in some respects, the knowledge of time, grants insight into the knowledge of evil itself. The Christ’s sinlessness were attributed to his divine personality, the fullness of his grace and the complete possession of the moral and of the spiritual virtues, his saintly upbringing which contributed to his progress into sanctity and the holy life. At the same time, it can be stated that the knowledge of his place in the cosmic order, that is, in the plan of salvation of the divine law, and his knowledge of history in time, contributed to his sanctity. Jesus Christ, as Word and as Son, in the contemplation of the eternal Reason, comprehended the capital events of human history in time: the genesis of the human species, the origin of evil, the emergence of human civilization, the main events of the history of Israel, the time of the Davidic kingdom and of the prophets, his wondrous Incarnation, the sundry events of his daily life, his public ministry, the betrayal of his disciple and the ensuing Passion and Death, the Resurrection and the Ascension, the founding of the Church and its charismatic growth, as well as the moral, spiritual, and political struggles it faced throughout history; finally, he had knowledge of the end of time, of the last rebellion of evil, of the vindication of wisdom, and of the renewal of the created world in the new Jerusalem. The central consequences of Original Sin were, the deprivation of supernatural grace, the loss of friendship with God, the wound of Original Sin that stained human nature and resulted in ignorance, the disorder between the reason and the senses, and the inner and powerful inclinations of inordinate human passions. In Christ, the perfect Man, no such imperfections existed; above all, there existed no ignorance. In the Christian cleansed of Original Sin through baptism, the inclination to evil, spiritual, rational, moral, and sensitive, – this is termed concupiscence – remain. Through supernatural grace, the foundation of morality in the virtues, and the exercise of spiritual life, it is possible to negate the effects of Original Sin and direct on the path of sanctity. However, the eradication of ignorance through the knowledge of Christ, that is, the education of the Christian in the comprehension of Holy Writ, the understanding of Church history and of the early Fathers, and the teachings of the Magisterium, stands as serious problem. Factually, it is ignorance of time, and ignorance of the place of one’s place in the cosmic order, that is, of one’s place in the plan of salvation of eternal Reason, that are the essential part of the reality of evil. In Christ, the Messiah, it was his knowledge of the thought of God, and of his eternal Reason that moved his Incarnation, his Passion, his Death, and his Resurrection. The lack of ignorance in Christ contributed to his sinlessness. This reality was contradicted by the reality of the blessed Mother of the Christ in whom, ignorance of the major events of her life, such as the manner in which she would bear a Son, seemed incompatible with her immaculate justice and her sinless and angelic purity. However, it can be stated that, in the case of human creatures, the plan of God unfolds rationally and it is at particular points and significant events in time, that his ineffable will and his eternal plan are revealed. The example of the lives of the first apostles such as St. Peter and St. Paul are particularly relevant. In the case of St. Peter, it is the knowledge of his future role in the Church, as the Pontiff, the direct successor of the Christ in the governing of the people of God, that would constitute the foundation of his conversion. It is the instant of his betrayal of Jesus that would form the humble beginning of his certain repentance and of his increased insight into the mystery of God and of the Passion of Christ; later, at the event of Pentecost, St. Peter would in the revelation of the Holy Spirit, be moved in his will, to proclaim the gospel in new-found power and in truth. For St. Paul, it was the theophany of the Christ on the road to Damascus that would be the catalyst of his metanoia and of his ceasing of the persecution of the growing Christian Church. In time, it can be stated that the Godhead intervenes in order to provide certain and special knowledge of a given human being’s and Christian’s place in his eternal plan, that is, in the cosmic order. Conjointly, ignorance of time leads to doubt and skepticism. It is only in faith and in hope, that the knowledge of time, that is, of the future is achieved. The promise to the Hebrew people made by God’s covenant with the patriarchs, and in particular, of Abraham, formed the cornerstone of the aspirations of Israel: the Hebrews were chosen by God, to whom he revealed himself, and gave the promise of prosperity and of descendance, provided that the peoples were faithful to their covenant and saintly in their worship.