Approaching the Finish Line

Well, I’m getting close to finishing! I’ve done all my reading, and now I’m just working on putting everything together.  To be quite honest, I’ve been feeling how little writing I did last year.  The structure of the final paper has been giving me some trouble.  Part of me wants to organize it by time period, but that’s been proving to be a bit problematic, so instead I’m writing about the progression of the conception of time through history in theology and then in science, before comparing the two.

However, I don’t want to spend my last blog post writing about putting everything together.  Instead, I want to take the chance to talk a bit about my own philosophy of time, and how it’s changed over this summer.  Because it certainly has, and not just through my research.

While doing my research I started thinking quite a bit about both the sacred nature of time and the relativistic nature of time.  Many of the theologians whose works I read discussed time as having religious significance, an idea which I think has a lot of value.  Last semester, I worked to set aside a day each week to take a break from work and spend reading, talking to friends, and breathing in the world around me.  Those days became a sacred part of my week, to the point where I would schedule my commitments around that day.  Although I of course had weeks where I could not set the full day aside, I usually was able to do so.  When I was swamped with work or extracurriculars, I had my day off to look forward to, which always helped make the week feel shorter.

This summer helped me see, metaphorically, the relativistic nature of time.  Of course, in physics, time is literally relativistic.  The theory of special relativity shows that time moves at different speeds depending on how close to the speed of light an object is moving.  Obviously, my motion over the summer did not approach anywhere near the speed of light, so I did not experience literal relativity.  However, time did seem to move at different speeds depending on the day.  Some days, I would have plans from morning until night, and the day would seem longer than twenty-four hours, while other days it seemed as though I went to bed not long after waking up.  Metaphorically, the faster I was moving the slower time was moving, my own version of time dilation.

Overall, I’ve learned how incredibly odd and important time is.  Time itself is strangely hard to define, and difficult to pin down and understand.  And yet it’s incredibly important.  Without time, we have no sense of cause and effect, no ability to grow and evolve, no way to be or become.  Without time, the universe would be meaningless.  And yet we don’t even fully understand it!


  1. Hey Anna!

    I just read this blog post and it was so interesting that I had to go back and read the rest of your posts. You picked a really fascinating and important topic to research. Looking into how science and religion interact and influence each other is very important. People tend to argue that one disproves the other, but as you’ve talked about, this doesn’t have to be the case. To kind of relate to your topic of time, I remember growing up and learning about the creationism versus evolution debate. Creationism is frequently “disproved” because of scientific evidence that the Earth took billions of years to form, not one day. That being said, one could ask, how long is a day for an all-powerful being like God? Our definition of a day is a reference to the Earth spinning on its axis. What defined a day before there was an Earth? It all has to do with how you interpret science, religion, and their interaction which I think is a very fascinating area of research.

    Keep up the good work and I can’t wait to read your final summary!

    Andrew Burns

  2. akgosling says:

    Howdy! It’s so good to hear from you!! I grew up with the same debate–it seemed pre-assumed that you could only believe in either evolution or creationism, with the unsaid-but-larger assumption that it was impossible to respect both science and religion. As I learned more about both science and religion I realized that my childhood view was pretty ignorant, so my project was a chance to more carefully and reasonably explore the relationship between the two fields. I wound up being really interested by the way each field talked about time, hence why I decided to talk about time instead of a more hot-button issue like evolution.

    Good luck on your research!! Looking forward to seeing what you came up with 🙂