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 | By Dr. Tom Dorsel

Game of God, Part 4: God as the Fifth Dimension

Fifty years ago, upon reading H.G. Wells’ classic, The Time Machine, I came to my first understanding of time as a dimension — the fourth dimension. That is, time is the dimension that the other three dimensions (length, width and depth) depend upon. Without time, there would be nothing in which length, width and depth could exist. They need time as a medium, a backdrop for their existence. And, just like the first three dimensions, time can be measured.

To be perfectly clear, we as human beings have measurements that reflect our length (height, since we walk upright), width and depth (which combined from side to side and front to back reflect a thin or robust figure). We have existed for a certain amount of time — our ages. Similarly, an automobile can be measured in length, width and depth, and a year model, reflecting the time it has been in existence as an assembled vehicle.

These four dimensions can be measured in humans and automobiles, time being the essential element in which humans and automobiles exist at all.

While reading The Time Machine, one night I had a dream, and a question arose regarding what time depends on for its existence. Without what would time not exist? It would have to be another dimension beyond time. Something can’t exist within itself; it needs a backdrop against which to manifest itself.

Might that backdrop, above and beyond time, be God? God is timeless, above and beyond all time and space, without beginning or end, alpha and omega. Might God be the element in which time is embedded, the timeless One who created time in which all things, even time, exist?

God would be the mysterious fifth dimension — not the 1960s group, but an actual fifth dimension that is God, immeasurable, which seems appropriate for an Ultimate Dimension.

Bishop Robert Barron alluded to this dimensional concept in his Daily Gospel Reflection on Aug. 15, 2022, the Solemnity of the Assumption:

“When we speak of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother’s body, we are not envisioning a journey through space, as though Mary moved up into the sky; [but rather] a manner of existence that lies beyond our familiar dimensions of space and time … the Blessed Mother was ‘translated’ … from this dimensional system to the higher one for which we use the term ‘heaven.’ Mary, who exists now in this other world, is not so much somewhere else as somehow else.” 

Even though we will never be able to comprehend this divine fifth dimension, we are doing well to realize that there is this immeasurable, incomprehensible, mysterious backdrop to all things. To paraphrase St. John’s Gospel: In the beginning was the game, and the game was with God, and the game was God. May we all keep striving to enter into it, to understand and recognize it, and to be one with God for eternity.

Thomas Dorsel, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of psychology and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. He lives on Hilton Head Island with his wife Sue and is a parishioner at St. Francis by the Sea Church. Visit him at