Date: Mon Apr 20 1998 - 12:26:34 EDT
TIME, TENSE and ASPECT: RETHINKING THE FUNDAMENTALS
20th Century thinking views time as a continuum of Past-Present-Future
with the present being understood as a dimensionless point moving
along it, a point that we conceptualize a 'the present'. The Past is
conceived as somehow 'starting' infinitely long ago, and the Future is
conceived as 'ending' in some infinitely far away time that is
opposite direction from the past. This is our 'model', and it does
not understand Greek Linear Time.
Greek time 'starts' in the ongoing present, which we call the
'imperfect present', and we give this ongoing present the quality of
duration, for it does appear to endure. In point of fact, it does not
endure at all. The ongoingness of the present is an imaginary point
that is infinitely divisible. One billionth of a nanosecond easily
contains an infinite number of these points of time that comprise the
ongoingness of our present, because this ongoingness has NO duration
at all. It is the zero in the one, as opposed to the philosophic
question of the one in the many.
The past is all time that precedes this ongoing present, and we call
this the 'perfect'. Indeed it is [perfected], because it is over and
done with, and cannot be changed one dot or iota. The future is all
time that is ahead of this ongoingness of the present, and is by its
nature imperfect, in that it has not yet occurred. So past and future
add up to ALL time. If you subtract the duration of the ongoingness
of the present, which is zero, nothing is lost.
So we need to take a look at this 'ongoing present' that has no
Consider a train sitting on its track, not moving, at point A. Point A
is the 'durative' present This present has a future, point B, some
distance forward down the track. The engineer moves the train forward
to point B and stops. His action, or the train's action, if you
prefer, has [in that movement] just created a 'past' [point A], a new
present [point B] and a new future, say point C. The ongoingness of
the present is omnipresent in the duration of this entire time[d]
sequence, and has no time value itself.
It is a fact of reality that it is this ongoingness that creates,
temporally, the past A out of the durative present A, by its
nondurative action. So also with B and C. It CAUSES time as we know
it, and the past time is the mirror image of the future time, with
respect to it. A to B is the identical 'distance' [in this very
simple illustration] as the distance from B to A. This is why Greek
writings 'book-end' and have 'hinges' in their structure, and mirror
themselves from the middle. The beginning of time, you see, is the
ongoingness of the present. It has no dimension. It generates past
and future, and thereby duration. It is the Genesis of Time, and is
what John 1:1 is referring to with the word ARCH. It CAN NOT have an
article [H] because it has no dimension. And it is the locus of the
Logos, just as it so simply states, and in the imperfect past tense.
This first line simply locates the LOGOS in the Genesis [ARCH] of
Time. In the beginning·.. The ongoingness of the present.
The ongoing present is the only real tense in Greek. The perfect is
remembered, and the future is anticipated, so that both are categories
of mind. Ongoingness is the present, always. This creates 3
'presents' in Greek: The real present, the [remembered] past present
[past imperfect] and the [anticipated] future present [imperfect].
Each of these has its own past [perfect], called the perfect tense of
the real present, the future perfect of the anticipated future
present, and the pluperfect of the remembered past present.
With this understanding, it is easy to see that Aspect IS Tense, and
that there are only TWO aspects, perfective and imperfective, and that
they are both aspects of the ongoingness that is the present that
generates them. Perfect past ~ Imperfect future.
It really is that simple. And small wonder we are so confused with
I offer you this out of my love of Truth. It has little to do with
the present of Greek grammatical scholarship. It has everything, I
pray, to do with its future.
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