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's request and the Father's answer 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 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. Yet we realize we must acknowledge that the Course is telling us that "something" happened in Heaven, 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 Him what He did not give because He could not give and still remain Himself.
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). The request was answered, the error corrected so quickly that there was "no lapse in continuity, nor break in thoughts". Co-creation continued unabated. "What God gave answer to is answered and is gone." Metaphorically speaking, "Not one note of Heaven's song was missed." The tiny tick of time "passed away in Heaven too soon for anything to notice it had come." It "disappeared too quickly to affect the knowledge of the Son of God." 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 with slight editing from God, Self, and Evil: A Miracle Theodicy,
Chapter 9, Copyright 2002, 2022