“Eternity and Time: two entirely separate things, we explain, ‘the one having its being in the everlasting kind, the other in the realm of process, in our own universe’. … What then does Eternity mean to those who describe it as something different from Time? … What definition are we to give to Eternity? … It must be at once something in the nature of unity and yet a notion compact of diversity, of a kind. … We sum all into a collected unity once more, a sore life in the Supreme; … a life never varying, nor becoming what it previously was, the thing immutable itself, broken by no interval; and knowing this, we know Eternity.” ~Plotinus
Eternity and Time
Plotinus’ explanation of time and eternity is difficult to follow and the above quote is only a small part of it. The basic idea is really simple. Most people tent to relate the two words and think that Eternity simply means a very long time. A length of time so great that it cannot be measured. But that is not correct. Eternity is not a measurement of time, but a complete denial of it. In short, in a place where eternity exists, time cannot. Likewise, in a place where time rules, eternity cannot dwell. So what are they?
Plotinus goes through a long explanation of why eternity cannot be considered repose simply because time is often thought of as measuring movement. It would mean that the eternal cannot move, yet there are eternal principles or forces that are in constant motion. Eternity is not divisible, while time is. We can break up a year into months, months into weeks, weeks into days and so on. We cannot do that with eternity. You cannot have a half-eternity, or a tenth of eternity. That turns eternity into a large amount of time, and that is not what it is. You might even think of it as anti-time, a force that opposes time and all it stands for. Continue reading “Eternity is not a Measurement of Time”