Time is a difficult subject for thought because in a sense we know too much about it. It is perhaps the only phenomenon of which we have direct apprehension; if all our senses were destroyed, we should still remain aware of duration. Moreover, all conscious thought is a process in time; so that to think consciously about time is like trying to use a ruler to measure its own length.
-Dorothy Sayers, from the essay Strong Meat
Our epistemology must be found in time. For it takes time to think about something – time to “know” it. We are nothing like God, who can “know” something without time – instantly from our perspective. Or are we nothing like this? Is there an analogy? I think perhaps there is.
Freud was fascinated by the activity of the unconscious. Today, we are often enamored by the power of intuition. Witness the success of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink and the many TED talks in the same vein. This is a knowing that seems to happen outside of time. Now, on reflection we know it is happening IN time just like all our other processing, but the time is not perceived. It doesn’t SEEM like it’s there. We cannot put our finger on the duration, or even confirm that their was any.
It would seem that omniscient thought would have quality of intuition, rather than that of a super-computing quantum AI making 10^400 calculations per second. Those would still be logged and in order. God may create sequentially, but He does not think as such. For us to to have the knowledge of good and evil, we became tainted by evil because it had to actively pass through our thoughts. God can know evil “intuitively” without actualizing it.
Jesus, as fully man, stepped into this temporal limitation. In the gospels, we find he knows secret things, but these are revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, in time. He’s drinking from the fire-hose of God’s love even while in another sense, He is the whole ocean.
A friend of mine online recently commented that the philosophy of time is especially hard. I agree, and I think Sayer’s was right – it is a difficult subject for thought.