Time and Chronology in Creation Narratives

Conference 7th-9th June 2018

David Worsley

The Fall of Lucifer and the Beginning of Time

The Fall of Lucifer is one of the great stories of Western culture. Though it might be described in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures (biblical scholars disagree on this point), it takes a life of its own in the Middle Ages, where, it is thought, in aevernity (a timeless mode of existence experienced by the angels and the saints in heaven), one of the angels, Lucifer, committed the first sin, the primal sin, that is. This primal sin consisted in Lucifer having an illicit desire, namely, a desire to know God fully, something he chose over friendship with God. Now, it seems impossible for Lucifer to have this desire, since he was created both intellectually and morally flawless, and so, it seems God was responsible for the primal sin. In this paper, we present a solution to this puzzle that, at the same time, explains why God created human beings, and, in particular, human beings who exist in time. As a consequence, we argue, the origin of sin explains the origin of time.

To summarize, we argue that, in order to show Lucifer’s illicit desire for knowing God wasn’t inevitable (and so, that God is not responsible for the primal sin), God creates us. In particular, he creates us in time. This is important because, since Lucifer’s desire occurs in aevernity, he doesn’t reason discursively, and so there’s no possibility for Lucifer to change his mind. Since we are in time, we can, and do, reason discursively, and so there’s the possibility for us to change our minds when we sin. In so doing, with the right mind and the right will, we can come to love God, and so at the end of our natural lives, we can enter aevernity in an unending union of love with God. Thus, in order to deal with sin having entered aevernity, God creates time, in order that we might enter aevernity in union with him.

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