Dimensional Perspectives – Part 1

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Have you ever tried to envision the expanse of the entire universe? City dwellers are handicapped in such an exercise as they rarely see the true sparkled glory of the night sky. I spent my teenage years in a small town of less than 11,000 people. My step-father had a ranch about seven miles south of our modest city. Even on such small scales, the difference in the night sky from our side yard in town and the back pasture on the ranch was astronomical. On the Harp ranch, the shimmering cloud of the Milky Way encrusted within and without by distant fiery jewels of splendor filled me with wonder. My side-yard view in town was but a pale representation.

I now live in a metropolitan region that is home to over 1.5 million souls. On a clear night, I can see the moon, the wing lights of the air traffic, and some stars. Imagining the universe in these circumstances usually involves regurgitating CGI produced NASA promotions or epic science fiction films. Natural or reproduced, what we see of outer space is only a fraction—and a tiny one at that—of what is out there.  Boundless space boggles the mind.

Ever imagined what lies outside the universe? Where does Heaven reside in your imagination, inside or outside of the universe? The very idea of Heaven transcending the known universe gives boundless space an edge. Edges give rise to shapes, helping us to conceptualize the nature of things even as large as the universe.

Hebrew 9:11-12
11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.
12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. NKJV [Emphasis added.]

In the physical realm, space and time are two sides of the same coin as are energy and mass. Ever try to imagine eternity? “Eternity” is a term pregnant with philosophical and theological baggage. This fact alone handicaps our imagination of it no less than city light pollution interferes with our appreciation of the night sky. But even understood as boundless time, eternity is still an infinite measure impossible to count and difficult to conceptualize. Let’s see if we can give it some edges to help us see it.

How often have you heard some scientist pontificate about the Big Bang occurring over 13 billion years ago and been stupefied by the sheer scale of what was being said? Frankly, it has seldom stopped me in my tracks. This isn’t due to me being an ardent believer in a Young Earth theory, which I am not. It is simply because time has been given edges in terms I can grasp. 13 is a number. Billion is a word. Both are easily swallowed, unless one starts to seriously consider the billions.[1] With these simple tags in tow, we can imagine a beginning and have a sense of now giving us edges to the breadth of time and helping us grapple with some of its more profound implications.

My aim in “Dimensional Perspectives” is to examine spatial and temporal dimensions as an introduction to the subject of our eternal redemption. I believe gaining perspective on space and time dimensions can encourage our faith, give us a better understanding of the reality of the spirit realm, and deepen our appreciation of the eternal sacrifice of the Son of God.

Historically speaking, the Roman authorities nailed Jesus of Nazareth to a cross and watched him die on a hillside on the outside of Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago. What is the biblical testimony of the timing this sacrifice?

Revelation 13:8
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. [Emphasis added.]

Hebrews 9:24-26
24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. [Emphasis added.]

The verses above from Revelation and Hebrews describe a singular, historic event—“but now once”—covering the entire breadth of time, from the foundation to the end of the world.[2] This marvelous paradox of one event stretching across all of time gives us a sense of the wonders of the spirit realm in which space and time have different properties than they do in the material realm. In Part 2, we’ll examine some of the basics of spatial dimensions—points, lines, squares, cubes, and hypercubes—to help us see some of the implications of this.

[1] 13.7 billion years is the estimated age of our universe according to Big Bang Theory. If we took one second to count each year, we could count for 434 years and still need seven more weeks to finish the project. This estimate of the age of the universe is extrapolated from the computation of the speed of the universe’s expansion measured with the speed of light as a constant. In the face of Faster Than Light (FTL) theories, the age estimation varies.
[2] The Greek word translated “world” in Rev. 13:8 and Heb. 9:26 is kosmos from which we get our English word “cosmos.”

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