How can something have “always” existed? LDS belief is that eternity stretches in both directions, both the future and the past. Is there a satisfactory scientific answer that explains the concept of “always”? Is there anything that has “always” existed, even before the Big Bang? And for theists, has God “always” existed as God? Please support your claims with cites, scriptural quotes, links, or whatever.

It boggles my mind to imagine that the past has no beginning, yet that’s what my religion teaches. Does science teach the same?

Well, Always existed. I have it on Laserdisc, as a matter of fact. It’s not Richard Dreyfuss’s best perfromance, though.

I’m not flying fast, just orbiting low.

Hey, I liked Always very much. It was close to being a chick flick, but still I liked it. It is not as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it is a very good movie, IMHO.

Or are you just saying that Richard has done even better than he did in that movie?


Perhaps the closest thing to always in terms of science is infinity.

Ideally to express “always” it would be nice to have an equation which approaches both postive and negative infinity as n increases. I don’t know is such a equation exists. However, there are plenty of equations that approach infinity.

Take for example,

sum(1/n) n=1 to n->infinity

1/1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/4 + 1/5 … = infinity as n -> infinity. Therefore no matter how long you move along n you can always get closer to infinity but not quite there. This equation literally goes on forever or always.

Note that this isn’t always true. Take

sum( (-1)^n/n) n=1 to n->infinity

-1/1 + 1/2 - 1/3 + 1/4 … approaches a finite number.

Okay so it isn’t the best form of always. You get what you pay for. :slight_smile:

It’s bernard, just under new management

StrTrkr777 wrote:

I liked it 'cause it had lotsa twin-engine airplanes in it. It’s supposed to be based on a WW2 movie called A Guy Named Joe, but I’ve never been able to find this earlier movie on video to compare the two.

But Richard Dreyfuss is a comic actor. Even in the most dramatic scenes, he looks like he’s about to break out into an impression of Curly (from the 3 Stooges) going “Woo woo woo woo woo!”. Always as one of Dreyfuss’s best performances? You’ve gotta be kidding! Did Smoke Get In Your Eyes or something? :wink:

I’m not flying fast, just orbiting low.

Always Super Long, Long, Long Ultra Maxi Pads (with wings) approach infinity in both directions.

Geez, everyone’s a comedian! ::: grumble :::

y = x^3 works, doesn’t it?

True, but there are different degrees of infinity (Dex can probably explain that better than I can). When n=1,000,000, the solution is around 14.4, and when n=2,000,000 the solution is just over 15 (with a precision to ten decimal places). I’m not sure that’s the best example of “reaching” infinity.

As for a description of infinity, I’ve always liked the one given by the mathemagician in “The Phantom Tollbooth.”


I’ve forgotten it. So what was it? I’ve “always” loved that book…

“Eppur, si muove!” - Galileo Galilei

Veg: You’re going to go make me find my old math books aren’t you?

y=x^3 does not approach both negative and postive infinity as x=1 to x->infinity. If you say from x->infinity to x->infinity it does of course, but that is kind of like saying always is from -infinity to +infinity which is kind of like cheating which why why I was looking at infinite sums.

Now, as to the infinite sums, I admit my particular example was probably a bad one. It has been awhile since I was in modern algebra class.

Maybe an easier example would be:

sum(n) n=0 to n->infinity.

But again for some reason this seems like cheating to the philosopher side of my brain.

Anyway, always is always. Eternal is eternal. There really isn’t anything that matches it in human existence/perception.

It’s bernard, just under new management

because we have no frame of reference with which to concieve of such a thing, much less describe it. The closest we can do is to use an analogy by which we can pretend to understand it. For example, if the physical universe can be described as “curved” then there must be a larger eternity in which that universe exists, and in respect to which that universe is curved.

Did that make any sense?

Sorry, Glitch, I see what you’re getting at now. I’ll think about it some more.


I dimly remember the mathemagican’s definition… he opens a door, revealing a long line extending to apparently forever. “Follow this line. When you get to the end, turn left.”

I believe the equation y=sqrt(x) is what you’re looking for, Glitch. The solution approaches infinity and negative infinity at the same rate. Unfortunately, since |y|<x for all x>1, I think this is also a poor example of a way to reach infinity (I know that “reaching” infinity isn’t really what you’re trying to do, but I think you get my point). Conceptualizing infinity is pretty difficult. . .


Ack! My greater-than and less-than signs got morphed into HTML code, I think. . .

I’ll write it out: “. . .since the absolute value of y is less than the value of x for all x which are greater than 1. . .”


Yeah, you gotta be careful when an HTML interpreter’s involved.

I always play it safe by encoding a less-than sign (< ) as < and a greater-than sign (> ) as >.

And an ampersand (&amp :wink: as &. :slight_smile:

I’m not flying fast, just orbiting low.

And a semicolon followed by a right parenthesis by putting a space between the two of them, around here. grumble

Another thing: don’t ever type the word “Ducking” with a capital D if preceded by a colon. :smiley:

I thought of the perfect sum last night to describe always.

sum( n*(-1)^n ) n=1 to n->infinity

-1 + 2 - 3 + 4 - 5 …

what is nice about this series is that (r is result)

n=1 r=-1
n=2 r=1
n=3 r=-2
n=4 r=2

Hence as n->infinity r-> +infinity & -infinity. This eqaution in a half-science, half-art kind of way describes always. I know, I know … I am half-baked. :wink:

It’s bernard, just under new management

I’m going to try a serious answer now.

The traditional view of the Big Bang is that when it occurs the universe comes into being. Time appears as a dimension, or a quantity, constrained by the universe. It doesn’t make sense to talk about time outside the universe or before the universe just like it doesn’t make sense to conceive of matter oustide of the universe either. Time is a consequence of the ‘rules’ of the universe.

What that means for Christians, if I may be so presumptuous, is that before the universe existed, there was no time. Anything existing before (tricky word to use) is timeless. One could argue whether something could exist in such a conceptual nothingness. I can’t answer that.

I was forgetting Stephen Hawking, our present time equivalent of Einstein. He came up with ‘virtual time,’ a time line that is infinite and unbounded by the Big Bang. Actually, Hawking wants to do away with the whole concept of Big Bang, but when I try to follow his explanation my brain overheats. As for virtual time, I don’t know anyone who really understands what that means, not even I. Sorry to be incomplete.


Only humans do inhuman things.