Making a mess of understanding eternity 

We used a different definition of ‘eternity’ yesterday in our post on the ‘soul question’. It may still not be quite right. But Bennett’s usage in The Dramatic Universe is certainly more cogent than the confused usage in ordinary discourse, and as far as xtian theology is concerned, who knows. But none of the definitions make much sense.We cite from yesterday’s post on the ‘soul question’ (be careful of what you read here but  my approximations might help, though metaphysical). The ‘eternal’ can be sensed in our analog to the novel: the genre, ‘the novel’, is a timeless ‘what’ , in the ‘eternal’ dimension) while composing a novel turns it into a temporal actualization…The idea is very ordinary yet never quite understood…

In our eonic model we posit a form factor for evolution, including the evolution of man AND the evolution of civilization, one that emerges, perhaps even with the big bang, (like fine-tuning arguments) and induces the temporal evolution we see in time via the interaction of abstract forms and their realizations. An analogy might help: the genre of the ‘novel’ is a form factor, it is bound in a timeless aspect as an abstraction: an active agent then produces a realization from that abstraction in time as that realization or temporal actualization: an actual novel. The genre resembles Bennett’s ‘timeless eternal dimension’ while an actual novel is a temporal artifact. We are a long way from safe scientism, and are at risk from woolly semantic bandits of crypto-metaphysical rumination. But the above makes sense.
We have omitted Bennett’s hyparxis, but that idea is crucial: we adjourn and leave that to another discussion.  But the idea is like a series of drafts of that novel and they exist in their own time/eternity in parallel temporal streams, and/or ‘thoughts unwritten’ or drafts in time, but…?? Evolution is a series of hyparxic interactions of a timeless and time set of factors and expresses the interaction of emerging forms with the environment. Clearly we have a teleological system here, but that factor can’t just make things appear completed instantaneously: the eternal (form factor) and the temporal factor interact hyparxically to produce a series of possible potentials which test against the impossible. Natural selection enters as the abstract and the concrete interact as potential drafts resulting in a temporal outcome. Evolution produces some pretty strange critters…! I am not quite confident I got Bennett right but…
Bennett’s triple time is spooky physics turning into metaphysical speculation, but it is a set of ingenious ideas, and we can see the outlines of future theories of evolution, MAYBE.

Source: Making a mess of understanding eternity | Uncommon Descent

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