A Very Brief History of Eternity

By Carlos Eire | Go to book overview

Appendix
Common Conceptions of Eternity

1. TIME WITHOUT A BEGINNING OR AN END, OR SEMPITERNITY
The total eternity, which has neither beginning nor end, may be regarded as divided by any moment into two eternities: the past eternity (aetemitas a parte ante) and the future eternity (aetemitas a parte post).One may speak of this eternity in four ways:
a. Absolute eternity, having neither beginning nor end.
b. The two “eternities”: aetemitas a parte ante AND aeternitas a parte post.
c. The past eternity, time without beginning: aetemitas a parte ante ONLY.
d. The future eternity, time without end: aetemitas a parte post.
In Christian thought:
a. Pertains to God and his nonsuccessive knowledge of everything.
b. Pertains to God before AND after creation of the universe and time/space.
c. Pertains to God before the creation of the universe and time/space.
d. Pertains to God AND the universe after creation AND redemption.

One version of b is Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five (New York, Dial Press, 1995), extending the Christian God's knowledge to creatures on the planet Tralfamador.

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A Very Brief History of Eternity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • I - Big Bang, Big Sleep, Big Problem 1
  • II - Eternity Conceived 28
  • III - Eternity Overflowing 67
  • IV - Eternity Reformed 100
  • V - From Eternity to Five-Year Plans 157
  • VI - Not Here, Not Now, Not Ever 220
  • Appendix - Common Conceptions of Eternity 229
  • Notes 233
  • Eternity a Basic Bibliography 255
  • Index 259
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