Time and Space
by Bob Hunt, Ph.D.
I have always been intrigued and challenged by The URANTIA
Book discussions of time and space. These presentations have motivated me
to seek out books and articles on these subjects. Many of these are consistent
with the information in The URANTIA Book and offer examples or theories
that provide further insight into the sometimes tantalizing possibilities
suggested in various places in The URANTIA Book. I have selected some examples
that illustrate this as the basis for this presentation.
I will juxtapose URANTIA Book quotations with related discussions
from a variety of recent sources, most of which are on the accompanying
bibliography. At the same time, I am attempting here to better understand
the associated concepts by the selection and organization of the material.
I will begin by examining some descriptions of time and space from The URANTIA
Book and elsewhere. Please note that all quotations with a page number indicated
and no other attribution are from The URANTIA Book. In some instances, these
are not complete sentences, only phrases.
TIME--the moving image of eternity (*2021)
SPACE--the fleeting shadow of Paradise realities (*2021)
These are poetic, but lacking in specificity.
TIME--a succession of instants (*1297)
SPACE--a system of associated points (*1297)
These are more specific but still in need of development.
TIME--the succession-arrangement whereby events are recognized
and segregated (*1439)
SPACE--a property of all material bodies when a body moves
through space, it also takes all its properties with it, even the space
which is in and of such a moving body (*1297)
Suppose we travel back in time about three centuries and
note what the 17th century German mathematician Leibniz wrote:
SPACE is the order of coexistence whereas TIME is the order
of successive existence. (Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, 1646-1716)
Two URANTIA Book references deal with the combination of
time and space. From Paper 106, Universe Levels of Reality, it states:
Time and space (are) man's greatest aids to relative reality
perception and yet his most formidable obstacles to complete reality perception.
From Paper 118, Supreme and Ultimate--Time and Space:
Time and Space--a conjoined mechanism of the master universe the
devices whereby finite creatures are enabled to coexist in the cosmos with
the Infinite. Finite creatures are effectively insulated from the absolute
levels by time and space. (*1303)
Let's focus briefly on "time" and some recent
writings from physicists. Fred Wolf, in his 1984 book Star Wave, which is
subtitled Mind, Consciousness and Quantum Physics, writes:
There has never been an adequate definition, a clear metaphor,
or even a good physical picture of what time is.
He goes on to say, "In quantum mechanics, time is
not an observable phenomenon; it is only an extraneous ordering parameter."
Paul Davies in his book, The Cosmic Blueprint, published
this year, in a section called "Whatever happened to time?" observes:
Time exists merely as a parameter for gauging the interval
David R. Griffin, in the Preface to Physics and the Ultimate
Significance of Time, a 1986 publication of essays and discussion, states:
The notion that physics is in some fundamental sense `timeless'
has been widely accepted.
It may be helpful before moving on to space to mention
a time interval of significance in quantum physics.
Shortest meaningful lapse of time:
Planck Time = 5.36 x 10-44sec
Chronon = 10-23sec
The time required for light to travel the radius of an
Suppose we turn for a brief, but somewhat longer, time
interval to space. First, another statement from Fred Wolf and then one
from Paper 12, The Universe of Universes:
In quantum mechanics, space is an observable. To observe
space, we need the observer and the observed. Their separation is `space.'
Space is, from the human viewpoint, nothing--negative;
it exists only as related to something positive and nonspatial. Space is,
however, real. (*133)
In his discourse at Carthage on time and space, Jesus stated:
Space is not merely an intellectual concept of the variation
in relatedness of universe objects. (*1439)
Then, from Paper 118, Supreme and Ultimate --Time and Space:
The real difficulty we have in understanding space on the
material level is due to the fact that, while material bodies exist in space,
space also exists in these same material bodies. (*1297)
The concept of space includes extension and measure. For
the quantum level, we should know this:
Shortest meaningful space measurement:
Planck Length = 1.61 x 1033 cm
(21 powers of 10 smaller than the diameter of an atomic
Planck, by the way, is Max Planck who, in 1899, discovered
Planck's constant which, when combined with the velocity of light and Newton's
gravitational constant, establishes a system of units that sets the scale
for quantum gravity.
Planck's Constant, /h
Newton's Gravitational Constant, g
Velocity of Light, c
System of units for Quantum Gravity
In reference to this scale, Bryce DeWitt makes this observation
in an article entitled "Quantum Gravity" that appeared in Scientific
American in December, 1983:
To probe these scales of distance and time experimentally,
using instruments built with present technology, one would need a particle
accelerator the size of the galaxy!
In his 1980 book, Quantum Theory and Gravitation, John
At Planck length, the effects of quantum gravity make our
notions of `before' and `after' meaningless.
At Planck length, all geometric concepts break down, including
connectedness, containment, locality, and especially order, and one is therefore
forced into a set of assumptions prior to any kind of geometry.
Now let's explore some connections between time and space.
In Paper 106, Universe Levels of Reality, we read:
Without time sensitivity, no evolutionary creature could
possibly perceive the relations of sequence. (*1173) and
Without space preception, no creature could fathom the
relations of simultaneity. (*1173)
This is a puzzling statement since "simultaneity"
means, basically, "at the same time." A quotation from Fred Wolf
is helpful. "When we say we are measuring space, we are simultaneously
measuring two or more locations. It would not make sense to measure the
distance between a point where one end of an object is at noon and a point
where the other end is at midnight. Thus, the measure of space implies the
single instant. It implies what we call `now.'" Then, Wolf makes these
NOW = SPACE = THE OBSERVED
HERE = TIME = THE OBSERVER
He also offers this geometrical analogy:
NOW is a line, surface or solid
HERE is a point.
All lines, surfaces and solids can be generated from a
SPACE IS GENERATABLE FROM TIME.
The latter statement is consistent with one made by Jesus
in his discourse on time and space:
Space is measured by time, not time by space. (*1439)
Jesus goes on to say:
The confusion of the scientist grows out of failure to
recognize the reality of space. (*1439)
The concept of motion is a link between time and space.
From Paper 12:
Time comes by virtue of motion and because mind is inherently
aware of sequentiality. (*134)
Wolf writes that "We do not observe time we observe
motionwe infer time by comparing movementsthe sweep second hand does not
sweep time; it sweeps space periodically." He goes on to say:
When we say we are observing the passing of timewe are
observing the 'movement' of our own thought processes.
Two additional quotations from Paper 12 are helpful here:
Relationships to time do not exist without motion in space,
but consciousness of time does. Sequentiality can consciousize time even
in the absence of motion. (*135)
Man's mind is less time-bound than space-bound because
of the inherent nature of mind. (*135)
Some of the difficulties associated with analysis of time
are discussed by physicist David Bohm in his book Wholeness and the Implicate
Order and in a recent paper, "Time, the Implicate Order, and Pre-Space."
I regard Bohm as the leading theorist on this and related topics. His ideas
are consistent with information and suggestions in The URANTIA Book.
Consider the distinction of past, present, and future.
In general, what we are conscious of as now is already past, even if only
by a fraction of a second. The conscious content of the moment is therefore
of that which is past and gone. The future is not yet. The present is but
it cannot be specified in words or thoughts, without its slipping into the
past. When a future moment comes a similar situation will prevail. Therefore,
from the past of the present we may be able to predict, at most, the past
of the future. The actual immediate present is always the unknown.
All possibilities of prediction evidently depend on the
assumption that the movement is sufficiently slow, regular, and unambiguously
related to what comes next, that the difference between the time to which
our perceptions and knowledge actually refer and the present makes no significant
[However] according to modern physics, microprocesses are
very fast, irregular, and ambiguously related to what comes next. Indeed,
it is not in general possible to relate the specifiable information content
unambiguously to succeeding events (this is just the essential meaning of
the Heisenberg uncertainty relations). The relevance of the usual motions
of time may be questioned. What seems to be called for is that we recognize
the "point event" of relativity theory cannot in general have
an unambiguous meaning.
To expand on both the concept and the experience of time,
consider this excerpt from Jesus' discourse:
to man time appears as a succession of events; but as man
ascends, as he progresses inward, the enlarging view of this event procession
is such that it is discerned more and more in its wholeness. That which
formerly appeared as a succession of events then will be viewed as a whole
and perfectly related cycle; in this way will circular simultaneity increasingly
displace the onetime consciousness of the linear sequence of events. (*1439)
This ties in with the following statement from Paper 118:
"The Gods are related to time as an experience in
eternity. In the evolutionary universes eternity is temporal everlastingness--the
everlasting now." (*1295)
Fred Wolf writes that "The closest we come to observing
time is observing what Buddhists call 'being-time.' Everything that is,
is, was and will be. Every moment remains motionless and frozen. Past, present
and future represent a map for the perusal of the all-seeing being-time."
When I mentioned to a friend that I was preparing this
talk, he gave me this definition of time:
TIME IS THE STUFF THAT KEEPS EVERYTHING FROM HAPPENING
AT ONCE. --Anonymous
Returning to the observations of David Bohm, he writes,
in comparing the points of view of relativity theory and quantum theory:
Relativity theory describes time-space as completely analyzable
down to dimensionless points related by absolute causal lawsthere is no
possibility of giving meaning to a moment 'now'.
However, quantum theory suggests a concept of overlapping
moments with extension and duration in space and time, embedded in a broader
context, and governed by the quantum-mechanical wave function.
Thus, as with a motion picture, our experience has a sense
of movement, or becoming. Bohm states that:
In the time aspect, [we comprehend] the BECOMING OF BEING,
while in the 'timeless' aspect, [we comprehend] the BEING OF BECOMING.
Going back to Paper 118, we are told by a Mighty Messenger
perceive time by analysis. (*1297)
[perceive] space by synthesis. (*1297)
Briefly, these words may be interpreted with these meanings:
- ANALYSIS--separating the whole into parts to find out
the nature of the whole; working from the unknown to the known.
- SYNTHESIS--putting parts together to form the whole;
working from the known to the unknown.
Suppose we now consider some more advanced concepts and
ideas associated with transcending time and space. From Paper 106:
Mortals and other creatures find it necessary to think
of potentials as being actualized in space and evolving to fruition in time,
but this entire process is a time-space phenomenon which does not actually
take place on Paradise and in eternity. On the absolute level there is neither
time nor space; all potentials may be perceived as actuals. (*1173)
With this information about Paradise, recall this statement,
to me one of the most intriguing in The URANTIA Book:
The ultimaton, the first measurable form of energy, has
Paradise as its nucleus. (*467)
Then, of course, we know from the Foreword that:
The Isle of Paradise has a universe location but no position
in space. (*7)
And from Paper 11, The Eternal Isle of Paradise:
Paradise exists without time and has no location in space.
Consider how David Bohm may be making some discoveries
that support this UB information. He writes that, in physics, we find that:
atomic structure dissolves into electrons, protons, neutrons,
quarks, subquarks, etc., and eventually into dynamically changing forms
in an all-pervasive and universal set of fields. When these fields are treated
quantum-mechanically, we find that even in what is called a vacuum there
are 'zero-point' fluctuations, giving 'empty space' an energy that is immensely
beyond that contained in what is recognized as matter.
Also, In the vacuum state the 'state function' (which represents
the whole of space and time) oscillates uniformly at a frequency so high
that it is utterly beyond any known physical interpretation. Further, "we
would be justified in saying that the vacuum state is, in a certain sense,
'timeless' or 'beyond time,' at least as time is now known, measured and
With this in mind, it is less than surprising that science
is confused about what occurs at the quantum level. For example, L. Beynam,
in a paper called "The Emergent Paradigm in Science" that appeared
in Revision in 1978, gave a formulation of the well-known Bell's Theorem:
Basic principles of quantum theory spatially separated
parts of reality cannot be independent
He goes on to say that this "opens up avenues of scientific
development for which the classical constructs of space and time prove almost
totally useless and meaningless."
Paul Davies in God and the New Physics reports on a 1982
experiment by Aspect, Dalibard, and Roger at the Institute of Theoretical
and Applied Optics in Paris. From this experiment, this conclusion is drawn:
Either objective reality does not exist and it is meaningless
for us to speak of things or objects as having any reality above and beyond
the mind of an observer OR faster-than-light communication with the future
and the past is possible.
In a recent book called Time--The Familiar Stranger, J.T.
For a photon traveling at the speed of light, the passage
of time has no reality. In the "life" of a photon, all events
happen at onceand all distances shrink to zero.
Returning briefly to Paradise, we read in Paper 11:
The eternal Isle is composed of a single form of materialization--stationary
systems of reality. This literal substance of Paradise is a homogeneous
organization of space potency(called) absolutum. (*120)
Space potency is a term difficult to define -- its meaning
should convey the idea of potencies and potentials existent within space.
David Bohm seems to be coming up with theories along these
lines when he states this:
The implicate order leads to the notion of a pre-space
expressed in terms of algebraic relationships, out of which ordinary space-time
emerges as a special case.
A few other glimpses into the mysteries of space and time
should be mentioned here. From Paper 9, Relation of the Infinite Spirit
to the Universe, we have this:
Infinite mind ignores time, ultimate mind transcends time,
cosmic mind is conditioned by time. And so with space: the Infinite Mind
is independent of space, but as descent is made from the infinite to the
Adjutant levels of mind, intellect must increasingly reckon with the fact
and limitations of space. (*102)
And from Paper 12:
Time and space are inseparable only in the time-space creations,
the seven superuniverses. Nontemporal space (space without time) theoretically
exists, but the only truly nontemporal place is Paradise area. Nonspatial
time (time without space) exists in mind of the Paradise level of function.
During our time-space careers, there are many areas ripe
for exploration. Perhaps time is the concept most closely related to personal
experience. For example, in Paper 12, we are presented with the "three
levels of time cognizance."
- 1. Mind-perceived time consciousness of sequence, motion,
and a sense of duration.
- 2. Spirit-perceived time insight into motion Godward
and the awareness of the motion of ascent to levels of increasing divinity.
- 3. Personality creates a unique time sense out of insight
into Reality plus a consciousness of presence and an awareness of duration.
As you know, The URANTIA Book often refers to advancement
as being "inward" and "upward." In the light of this
discussion of time and space, here is an interpretation of one meaning of
Inward/Inner Space Transcendence of Time
Upward/Outer Space Transcendence of Space
Now, consider this statement from Jesus' discourse:
There are seven different conceptions of space as it is
conditioned by time. (*1439)
I will close with this conjecture: Perhaps "inward"
and "upward" are higher space dimensions; and each of us has an
independent, personal time scale for these dimensions.
1. Beynam, Laurence M. "The Emergent Paradigm in Science,"
Revision, Spring, 1978.
2. Bohm, David. Wholeness and the Implicate Order. London: Routledge
and Kegan Paul, 1980.
3. Davies, Paul. The Cosmic Blueprint. New York: Simon and Schuster,
4. Flood, Raymond and Lockwood, Michael (Editors). The Nature of
Time. New York: Basil Blackwell, Inc., 1986.
5. Fraser, J.T. Time, The Familiar Stranger. Amherst: University
of Massachusetts Press, 1987.
6. Griffin, David R. (Editor). Physics and the Ultimate Significance
of Time. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986.
7. Ramsey, Norman F. "Precise Measurement of Time," American
Scientist, Vol. 76, pages 42-49, January-February, 1988.
8. Talbot, Michael. Beyond the Quantum. New York: Macmillan, 1986.
9. The URANTIA Book. Uversa Press, Chicago, 1996.
10. Wolf, Fred Alan. Star Wave. New York: Macmillan, 1984.
Robert W. (Bob) Hunt is a professor of mathematics at Humboldt State University with research interests in ordinary differential equations, calculus of variations, control theory, and dynamical systems. Professor Hunt currently teaches calculus, ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations, and linear algebra. Other interests of Bob Hunt's are philosophy and religion (the Urantia Book, A Course in Miracles), particle and quantum physics, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, reading, and outdoor activities (gardening, backpacking, camping).