I was doing the dishes and thinking, what is time? Is there really such thing as time? Or, better, is time finite or infinite?
I decided that time was infinite. After all, if I can divide real numbers infinitely and time is a very real, measured thing then why can't it be infinite too? But, I believe that before I go on I must define time itself.
I see time as a human invention used to describe how mass changes. We measure how mass changes over time. We also understand mass very well by how it relates to time. However, it mass limited to time? These three questions came out.
Can I describe mass without using time?
Can I understand mass without using time?
Can I change mass without using time?
This thought progression was immensely satisfying. I was very pleased with myself.
We human have long been interested in changing mass without using time; I certainly am no exception to this. But, in order for us to achieve that goal I think we need a much better understanding of what time actually is.
While the last few dishes where happily drying in the rack, I buzzed over to my computer to do a little research. This is what I came with: a very good argument AGAINST infinite time. Read it here. Basically, what Josh says is that time must be finite because if it were infinite (e.g. we could divide it infinitely), then it would take us an infinite about of time to do anything and so we would do nothing. Not one atom could move. Time must be finite, therefore, so it must have a beginning and end. Of course, Josh said it so much better than I!
I was really intrigued by what he had to say, however. After carefully considering it, I decided that all hope for tele-transportation was completely gone. Josh must be right. Time is infinite. Or, is it?
I turned to another source that few even care about when discussion hard science. It actually is an undiscovered treasure trove when it comes to this stuff. I asked myself the question, "Does anything exist outside of time?"
The answer is yes, God exists outside of time. Yes, time is finite in the sense that there was a time when there was no time. God invented it. He began time and set everything into motion. However, one must ask, is time ever going to end?
Do you remember in high school geometry, what these are?
Which one of these best describes time? Here's where I could seriously go wrong. I don't recall one place in the Bible or any other historical document that determines time is ever going to end. I do believe that time has a beginning. However, I don't think that it's ever going to end. Time is best described as a ray.
What is a ray? It isn't infinite, that's for sure. I understand that infinity extends in both direction; that is, a line is infinite. A ray, however, is only infinite in one direction. A segment is defined finite.
I'm really having an issue with whether to call time finite or infinite because it's kind of both. It has a beginning, but why won't it continue forever?
Supposing that time continues forever, why can't we treat it as infinite, even though we know that it has a beginning? Lets go back to the argument of infinity, though, and see where we've come with that.
So far, we've answered the beginning and end question. However, there is still the question of being able to do something infinitely or taking infinity to do something. I honestly have to stop there for right now. I have no idea what I'm going to do with that one. I have to think about that some more.
Before I leave, I just wanted to make one more point on Josh's argument. Besides that time may never end, there is one problem in his statement. Josh made the very important observation that the only moments when you cannot divide time is when it's infinite and when it's zero.
Okay, I'm taking this one step at a time. Time has always been moving forward. This is where the infinite quality of time comes into play. Josh assumes that there is a time when time is at zero. Since the beginning of time, time has never been at zero. We can set time to zero by isolating a special section of it, but otherwise time has only been zero once- right before it began. It would take something as catastrophic to end time as it took to begin it. Since there really is no reason that time would suddenly end, now that it began, we cannot really assume that time is inevitably going to end one day.
Also, if time is finite, as Josh says, then it can be infinitely divided because finite is always a real number and real numbers can always be divided infinitely. I know that infinity cannot be divided, but that not the question that we're asking. We're not asking, "can we divide infinity?" The question is, "is time finite or infinite?"
The answer must be, yes and yes. Time is both infinite and finite, because it can be divided infinitely and because it has a beginning.