Thursday, March 13, 2008

Are We Three Dimensional?

Many times you hear people say “I am a three dimensional person.” But are they selling themselves short?

Philosophers will say that your three dimensions include mind, body and spirit. Mathematicians will say you exist in an x, y, and z space. Scientists will say…uh…what will scientists say?

There are many theories today concerning our dimensional world. In fact many theories go beyond our three dimensional concepts into higher dimensions. Many of us feel ill equipped to deal with such ideas. It makes our brain hurt.

For the next several blogs, I’m going to introduce a few new ways to think about dimensions that will hopefully lead you to explore and consider your place in those dimensions. I’ll give you websites that have been helpful to me and others and encourage you to branch out on your own to explore new ideas on this subject.

If you’ve had high school geometry, then you comprehend the mathematician’s concept that objects in three-dimensional space occupy a length, width and depth. A good and easy example is the cube.

But physicists take a step further. They introduce the concept of time being the fourth dimension. Our three dimensional bodies travel down the road of time.

For example, you decide to meet a friend at Starbucks at 9am. However your friend doesn’t arrive until 9:30am. That half an hour has moved along a straight line of time and although you may have not moved from the chair in which you are anxiously awaiting your friend, time has moved you. You can’t get that half an hour back (currently) either!

For a more in depth explanation, visit

The beginning part of this video gives a clear explanation of the fourth dimension (plus it will help for further blogs).

If we accept time as the fourth dimension, then we also accept that time has an impact on us. For example, during your half an hour wait at Starbucks you sat quietly sipping your latte. Suddenly you saw a thief attempt to steal a woman’s handbag. You jumped up, headed outside and conveniently tripped the thief as he ran by. Realizing the gig was up, the thief ran off and you returned the handbag to the appreciative woman. You used that time to impact the events and the people around you.

Now let’s say that a different scenario occurred. During your latte sipping time you witnessed the attempted handbag crime. But instead of acting, you sat passively and watched the thief make off with the handbag. This time you used the time to watch the events which also had an impact on those around you.

But how often do we realize that our actions in time impact what others do? We impact events and people with our actions which in turn impact how others change events and people around them.

Reflection on this idea may cause you to wonder if time indeed has a purpose. If time has a purpose, then has it always existed? Is a created vehicle for us or a benign side product of the three dimensional world we live in? What do you think?

There is so much to discover! Come back and see where you fit into the universe!


Jan Parrish said...

you have such a deep blog, contemplative blog. I love it.

Yes, our actions do impact others. We may never know how our lives affects others until we stand before the Lord. My prayer is that I bless as many people as I can before I'm called home.

Robbie Iobst said...

What is the fifth dimension besides a 70s rock group and why did they name themselves that? :0)
You make me think and I love it!

Owen Vyner said...

What a wonderful blog! Your efforts at elucidating a common ground between theology and science are timely. The theologian/philosopher Claude Bruaire saw the relationship between faith and reason not as one of contrariety but as a "noninvasive, mutually enriching encounter."
Interestingly, he also saw being (esse) as gift (there is a "givenness" to all being and hence with created being). I wonder whether the dimension of time is the stage in which the drama of the giftedness of created being is acted out?
Congratulations again!

Loretta said...

I believe you are correct. The dimension of time is the stage in which the drama of being created is acted out. It is our gift to share as well.

That is why it all matters - what we do, what we say, how we pray, how we "be".

Thanks for your thoughts!

Jan: you're right. We may not know how we affect others here, but I'm betting that we'll find out when we meet God. Don't you think?

I'm going to go look up the fifth dimension rock group!