Prof. Dr. Werner Gitt
Englisch: Jesus - Herr über Raum und Zeit
Jesus - Lord of Space and Time
In unserer vom philosophischen Materialismus geprägten Zeit sind wir weithin in eine Denkfalle geraten, wonach es nur noch das geben darf, was aus der Materie abgeleitet werden kann. Wer aber die Bibel aufmerksam liest, stößt immer wieder auf Aussagen, die für uns im 21. Jahrhundert bei aller modernen wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnis schwer verständlich sind. So heißt es z.B. in Psalm 139,5: „Von allen Seiten umgibst du mich und hältst deine Hand über mir.“
Werner Gitt erklärt in diesem Artikel, dass wir aus uns heraus den uns gegebenen Ereignishorizont nicht überwinden können, aber mit Gott gelingt es. Gott ist nicht an unsere dreidimensionale Welt gebunden. Die Bibel weist uns auf höhere Dimensionen hin. Dies erklärt, dass Gott auf übernatürliche Weise in unser Leben eingreifen kann. Sie zeigt uns aber auch, dass Gott uns einlädt zu ihm zu kommen und dass derjenige, der an Jesus glaubt, das ewige Leben hat.
Jesus - Lord of Space and Time
Horizons beyond the natural sciences
Reading the Bible attentively, one repeatedly comes across passages which, despite all our modern scientific knowledge, are hard for us in the 21st century to understand:
- In Psalm 139:5 it says: “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.” Someone reading the Bible in London sees that, and is glad that God surrounds him in this way. But a reader in Sydney—on the opposite half of our globe—reads the same verse and also believes the Word. How is it possible for God to be in all places simultaneously—even on the moon?
- After His Resurrection, locked doors and walls were no barrier for Jesus to enter the room in which his disciples had hidden, for in John 20:26 it says: “Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them [the disciples] and said …”. How can one imagine such a thing?
Philosophical materialism in contrast to the Bible
The thinking of our time has been strongly shaped by philosophical materialism. Our society has in fact largely been ensnared by it; only that which can be derived from the material—matter and energy—is permitted to exist. Reality is viewed as limited to our three-dimensional world. Thinking in this way consistently leads to godlessness and evolutionary belief.
In the former Soviet Union, such thinking was mandated by the state. When the first Sputnik was launched into Earth orbit on 4 October 1957, Soviet propaganda proclaimed: “Sputnik has now finally abolished God from the scene” and “Dialectical materialism is now taking the place of faith”.
Where did such ideas come from? People had been influenced by communist agitation. Friedrich Engels (1820–1895), one of the cofounders of communism, had taught: “The material world perceived by the senses, to which we ourselves belong, is the only reality.” By contrast, the Bible declares in 2 Corinthians 4:18: “For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
The Americans revealed their own space program some time later, and several of their astronauts professed to have experienced the God of the Bible. James Irwin (1930–1991) was on the Apollo 15 mission from 26 July to 7 August 1971. He landed on the moon, and was the first person to drive a vehicle on the moon. He described his experiences as follows: “We were on the moon for three days, and were only able to be there because God had permitted it. We also experienced substantial difficulties for which we were unprepared. In all these situations I always prayed, and the Lord helped.”
How do such differing views come about? All this brings up further questions, including: Where is God, and why don’t we see Him? Can we explain the return of Jesus as an event simultaneously visible to all people on Earth? In the following, we will enable a new approach to key accounts in the Bible by elucidating two specialised scientific terms. These are the physical ‘event horizon’ and the mathematical ‘dimension’.
If we observe a star with an optical telescope, the light beam is noticeably deflected as it passes a large mass. The highest density of matter in our universe is found inside a ‘black hole’. If we could compress our Earth to be the same density, it would shrink down to a sphere only one centimetre in diameter. The closer a light ray passes by a black hole, the stronger it is deflected towards it. Between the point of deflection and the total disappearance of the light ray into the black hole is a boundary region in which the beam is forced into an orbit around the black hole. Inside this region is the ‘event horizon’, so-called because everything which takes place beyond (inside) it is in principle neither discernible nor measurable, and so no longer accessible to scientific research. No light can escape the black hole through this event horizon; it would be turned back on itself.
N dimensions is the number of coordinate axes spanning a geometric space. A point does not extend in any direction and thus has zero dimensions (figure 1). One-dimensional space extends in only one direction, the x direction. We refer to a designated segment in this ‘space’ as having the property of length. Because a surface has two possible directions of extension, it is a two-dimensional entity, which can be described by way of an x-y coordinate system. The outline of a regular figure (e.g. triangle) can be determined using specifications of length and width.
By adding a further vertical axis z to the x-y system, we have established the third dimension. Length, width and height then determine the measurements of a three-dimensional body. The three existing axes are all perpendicular to one another; to these we now add a fourth coordinate axis, u, which is also perpendicular to all three of the others. Our ability to imagine this spatially has already come to an end, even though the mathematical formulae cope with it effortlessly. A body in this fourth dimension has the dimensions of length, breadth, height and depth.
Is it realistic to assume the existence of a fourth dimension? In the New Testament we find a clear confirmation: “… [that you] may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth” (Ephesians 3:18).
Higher dimensions in the Bible
Looking into the Bible with these considerations in mind, we surprisingly come across many analogies to higher-dimensional spaces. God, Jesus, and the world of the heavenly angels exist outside of our third dimension—in which one, we do not know.
The first such characteristic we encounter is permeation. We saw that in Psalm 139, the Psalmist refers to how God is all around him in whatever place he might be. In verses 5–10 he says of God, “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. ... where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! ... If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there ... your right hand shall hold me.” This affirms that God completely surrounds and permeates all aspects of our world. That is only possible if God lives in a higher dimension.
In Acts 17:28 we are told: “In him [God] we live and move and have our being”. Considered spatially, we are thus localized in God; He surrounds and permeates us completely.
No one can escape God
God further tells us in Jeremiah 23:24: “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.” There is no place on this earth or indeed in the entire universe where we can hide from Him; He is present everywhere and sees us. This is why in Genesis 16:13, God is called “the God of seeing” or “the God who [always] sees”.
In our earlier contemplation of two-dimensional beings, we recognized that from our viewpoint, they could neither flee nor hide from us. This is why we saw from Psalm 139 earlier that whether we are in the depths of the sea or on the highest mountain peak, or in outer space, God is also there—we cannot escape from Him.
Overcoming the event horizon
We could never surmount the ‘event horizon’ between our dimension and God’s in and of ourselves, but with God that can happen. The Bible contains several reports of how individuals temporarily overcame this event horizon. Acts 7:55 speaks of this in connection with the stoning of Stephen: “But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” The Lord had opened Stephen’s eyes such that he was able to see into the higher dimension of God. The ‘curtain of the event horizon’ had been drawn aside for him, so that from where he stood before the gates of Jerusalem he could look directly into Heaven. Heaven is thus not somewhere beyond the universe, but directly all around us, though in another dimension.
The Resurrection of Jesus
After His Resurrection, the body of Jesus was not comparable to our body any more. It was no longer constrained to the third dimension, but it could appear in our dimension at will, and transfer again to the heavenly dimension. The philosopher Martin Heidegger, who was not arguing from the standpoint of belief, correctly affirmed: “If Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, then every scientific finding is only provisional.“ He recognised that if Jesus really did rise from the dead, all our scientific knowledge can never be the be-all and end-all of understanding.
In 1 Corinthians 15:6 Paul tells us: ”Then he (= Jesus) appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time“. In the original Greek, this is expressed even more precisely as: ”He was made visible“. This means that Jesus was present before that, too; it’s just that He had then been made visible in our dimension.
The Ascension of Jesus
Mark 16:19 attests to Jesus’ ascension into Heaven: “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” So Jesus was merely taken up into the dimension that for us is still invisible. In Acts 1:9 we read: “And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” And then the angels said (v. 11): “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Here the key phrase is “in the same way”, i.e. transiting between dimensions. He will emerge from the other dimension and will be visible to all people at the same time, regardless whether we live in America or Australia, or in China or Germany.
The Return of Jesus
According to Matthew 24:27 the return of Jesus will be a sudden event: “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
The Lord will be instantly and simultaneously visible to all people. Even someone who at that moment finds themselves 1000 metres below the earth’s surface in a salt mine will see Him. There will be no barrier to His visibility. It will be as at Jesus’ ascension: ”And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).
Luke’s gospel makes it clear that at the time of the Lord’s return, on one side of the globe it will be day, and on its opposite side, night: “I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left“ (Luke 17:34–35). How precise the Bible is! The task of grinding is normally done in the day. It will be simultaneously night and day; which it is for us will depend on which part of the rotating earth we find ourselves upon at that moment.
A new home for us
In John 14:2 Jesus says to His followers: “In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?“ These are situated beyond our dimension, and are planned by Jesus as eternal abodes in the heavenly world. His statement “Come to me“ (Matthew 11:28) invites us all to be there. There is only one way that leads to this house of the Father, and that is Jesus: “Whoever believes in the Son [of God] has eternal life“ (John 3:36a). The second part of this verse does not shrink from presenting the alternative: “Whoever does not obey the Son shall not see [eternal] life, but the wrath of God remains on him“ (3:36b).
Director and Professor (retired)
Dr Werner Gitt Ph.D.