A billion years is a long, long time. A billion years is a longer time than the human brain can be wrapped around. Glancing across our past, a billion years is all the time it took to get from simple one-celled creatures swirling about in river-bottom clay deposits to people disrupting traffic by texting-while-driving. A billion years was the time it took for the continents to shuffle back and forth across and around the globe a half-dozen times.

But an even more powerful and frightening perspective is to look a billion years into the future. A billion years from now, you and I will be dead. That is so obvious that it is silly to say. And everyone we have ever known will be dead, but so will their children's children's children. And, in fact, every descendant that even remotely resembles them at higher than a cellular structure will be dead. The human race will be extinct. Our genes may live on, but in unfamiliar bodies (if "bodies" still exist at all) with unfamiliar organs.

The Moon, which drifts 3.8 centimeters farther from the Earth every year, will have drifted 3.8 billion centimeters, which is close to 24,000 miles, or about a tenth of its current orbital distance.

Every institution of human culture will be so far buried in the past that it will be both unknown and unknowable. Coca Cola will not exist, and no living being will know or have any reason to know that it ever did. Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and all the rest will effectively never have existed. Sex might involve three, four, even five participants. For reproduction, I mean, not just for kicks. Or perhaps, sadly, it will become a singular affair.

A billion years, as long as it is, remains only about a thirteenth of the way into what now is thought to be the entire history of the Universe; and is probably a much smaller fraction of the way to its end. Projecting the future of life or anything like so far into the future unleashes the floodgates of the imagination, and makes the unimaginable almost inevitable.


Hey folks, this node is now available in video here on the YouTube PanDeism Channel!!


Footnote: I have been asked of late whether, in a billion years, even pandeism will effectively never have existed; to this I say that individual claims of revelation will have long been forgotten, but pandeism has no such claim; so long as there is intelligent life that is able to contemplate the nature of the Universe, there will likely be those in its ranks who suppose a Creator of the Universe; some who claim that such a Creator thereafter ceased to interact with the Creation; some who claim the Universe itself to be the sole object of deitic reverence; and some who conclude that the Creator became the Universe itself, which is the rock of the claim that pandeism makes, and has ever made....

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