Many scientific discussions about the "four classical elements" take that they correspond to the four states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, plasma. However, I intuitively have felt that Matter, Time, Space and Energy are the best parallels to Earth, Water, Air and Fire respectively. Indeed, a web search for Matter/Time/Space/Energy reveals lots of hits.
Earth = Matter because solid objects are the most familiar form of matter to humans.
Water = Time because both tend to "flow" and water changes phases with the passage of time, days and seasons.
Air = Space due to its invisibility and also the fact that gases expand to fill a given volume of space.
Fire = Energy. Need I explain this one?
One conundrum I have is how to implement this parallel into a Pagan practice. The classical elements of 2,000 years ago made the best sense to the people who studied the world and its workings. I believe that a modern version of esoterics ought to be at least remotely based on modern understandings of the universe, even if we leave room for things that logic, reason and the scientific method cannot fully digest.
So, is there an elementalist theory that takes into account these modern, physics-based interpretations of the four classical elements?