Our need for beliefs about the whole of time

The syllogism:

What we believe about the whole of time has very significant affects on our beliefs about  the nature of the cosmos and human life

None of our beliefs about the whole of time can be grounded in human knowledge.

and so significant potions of our beliefs about the nature of the cosmos and human life cannot be grounded in human knowledge.

We can have rational beliefs about at least some of the events in the near future (which allows for planning and prudence) but beliefs about the whole of time – whether it is infinite or finite, linear or cyclical, or whether history will come to an end in some apocalyptic event or continue just as it is ad infinitum are not things admitting of rational foundation. We are in no position to see which of these is correct; the only hope of having an answer is to be told by an intelligence other than our own. A revelation is necessary.

The beliefs of the whole of time clearly affect our evaluation of the universe now: if all is progressing to an apocalyptic event, then this time we experience now is one of trial, imperfect existence, and a non-final state of things; if all will continue like this forever then we must either be naturalists or dualists since either this world is all that will ever be or our perfection is never to be found within it. Whether time is recurrent or unrepeatable will affect just how unique and irreducible we understand individuals to be.

Notice we work from accounts of time that cannot both describe the whole of it: on the one hand we see time as linear either by progress or regress, and in this sense the years click by odometer-like; but nature itself appears to prefer only cycles inside of larger cycles. The same hour occurs day after day, the same day month after month, the same month every year, and even the same years in the rotation of the galaxy. The collapse of one thing is the rise of another and vice-versa, and so we can either take the rise-collapse-rise aspect as exemplifying a linear or cyclical time. Either of these descriptions work fine in relative, limited, or pragmatic contexts, but both of these cannot ultimately describe time. But no intelligence in time as such is in a position to resolve the question.

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