Does the Son's Asking and the Father's Answering Imply that Reality is not Timeless and Changeless?
There remains, however, another question that must be answered before we can say that the Course’s theoretical structure is not inconsistent. The question relates to the Course's teaching on the timelessness and changelessness of reality. We now turn to that question.
It seems that the concept of the Son asking for special favor and the Father, by His Answer, denying the Son's request implies "time" or "change" in some sense. It seems that some time must have passed in this exchange, for "at the time" the Son is making his request he must not have been changelessly co-creating in union with his perfect Father, for he was asking to do the opposite. And the Father had to give answer.
So, did time enter timelessness? Did change enter changelessness? Did a beginning and an ending take place within eternity? Did the "tiny mad idea" change what is always and forever the same? Did reality, which is timeless, changeless, and eternal, experience a moment of time, a moment of change, a moment of "something" with a beginning and ending? All these questions are one question.
And, at first they all sound like the ego's question: "How did the impossible happen?" We must be careful here to be sure our question is meaningful. It is meaningful in the same way we saw that the question "How could the mind have ever made the ego?" was meaningful. And as the Course said, it is "the best question you could ask" (T-4.2,1:1-2).
It is meaningful because we realize we must acknowledge that the Course is telling us that "something happened" in Heaven, in reality, in "eternity, where all is one". And the Course also tells us that this "something" involved the Son requesting special favor, God not giving it, the Son making Him an unloving father, and demanding of God what God did not give because He could not give and still remain His perfect Self. (See Text 13.3,10.)
In the Course's marvelous consistency, it does admit that in some sense a "tiny instant", a "brief interval", a "tiny tick of time" passed in Heaven while the request and answer were made:
"Merely a tiny instant has elapsed between eternity and timelessness. So brief the interval there was no lapse in continuity, nor break in thoughts which are forever unified as one. Nothing has ever happened to disturb the peace of God the Father and the Son" (L234,1:2-4).
In other words, the Son's request had no effect on the endless co-creation of the Kingdom, because God gave answer in the same instant the request was made. "The instant the idea of separation entered the mind of God's Son, in that same instant was God's Answer given" (M-2,2:6). What has no effect is not a cause. And what is not a cause is not real and in that sense does not exist. The request was answered, the error corrected so quickly that there was "no lapse in continuity, nor break in thoughts". Co-creation continued unabated. (See C-1,4:3.)
"What God gave answer to is answered and is gone" (T-26.5,3:7). Metaphorically speaking, "Not one note of Heaven's song was missed" (T-26.5,5:4). The tiny tick of time "passed away in Heaven too soon for anything to notice it had come" (T-26.5,5:1). It "disappeared too quickly to affect the simple knowledge of the Son of God" (T-26.5,5:2). In other words, the tiny instant had no effect on reality, no effect on God or on His Son as He created him. Everything is exactly as it was "before" the mistake was made and immediately corrected.
This teaching on "the tiny tick of time" is crucial. For it is this teaching that actually maintains the consistency of the Course's metaphysics, and thus, in turn, the consistency of the Theodicy we are building inspired by this metaphysics. And thus we can say with confidence that the Course does not contradict itself when it says that the Son of God was created perfect, and yet there was a tiny instant in which the Son asked for something. It solves this paradox by saying that in the same instant the request was made the answer was given. In other words, the one mistake was corrected and answered by the Perfect Creator in a way that rendered the mistake ineffective. In this sense we could say that God prevented any evil from occurring in reality. This is what we would expect from an all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful God.
And this is why the Son still remains perfect as the Father created him. He is still perfectly knowing, still perfectly powerful, still perfectly loving, still perfectly happy - and he is still timelessly, changelessly, and eternally so. Reality remains perfect as it always is despite the dream in a mind split off from it, asleep to it, and unaware of it.
Excerpted and edited from God, Self, and Evil: A Miracle Theodicy, Chapter 9 Copyright Robert J. Hellmann 2002, 2022, 2023