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Time is not forever

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  Gen 1:1

As I said in the last post, I want to discuss the nature of time.  The meaning and nature of time cannot be ascertained directly from any empirical evidence, therefore we must look at it’s attributes and through examining what we know of time, and what the scriptures tell us, we can determine quite a bit about what time actually is.  Time is part of the creation of all things.   Let’s look at the very first verse in the very first book of the Bible.  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  This begs the question, beginning of what?  It cannot be the beginning of God since God has no beginning.  Plus the scriptures  state God was there at the beginning.  It does not say He came into existence at the beginning.

Now, this does not, in and of itself, state that time came into existence at this moment.  However, let us look at time and see if it makes sense in the existence where God dwells, prior to the creation of this physical realm.  First of all, Isaiah tells us where this place is that He dwells.  “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”  Isa 57:15.  He inhabits eternity.  This denotes that eternity is a place. A place devoid of time.  Albert Barnes, in his commentary on the book of Isaiah, says the following regarding this verse,  “He dwells not only among human beings, but he dwells in eternity – where time is unknown – in a world where succession is not marked – and long before the interminable duration was broken in upon by the revolutions of years and days.”

Now, I know what you are thinking.  “How can there be a place without time?”  With that question, let’s have some fun with theology and science.   First, let us look at the existence of God.  To do this, I want to discuss the concept of First Cause.  Here is an eleven point argument which lays out the necessity of an intelligent first cause.

  1. Time is a continuous sequence of moments
  2. It is impossible to traverse an infinite series
  3. Therefore, the past cannot be an infinite series of moments
  4. The universe exists in time, therefore it cannot be infinite.
  5. A change requires a cause
  6. The beginning of the universe is a change 
  7. Therefore the universe has a cause to it’s existence.
  8. There must be a first cause to bring about the first change
  9. Therefore, there must be a first cause, which is un-created or un-caused.
  10. There must a reason for this first cause, outside of the norm, which requires purpose
  11. Therefore, the first cause must be intelligence rather than inanimate.

This argument lays the case for a God, almighty, who can create from nothing, something.  Since He Himself is un-caused, He must be eternal.  Inherent in the idea of eternity is timelessness.  And since He is eternal, and time cannot be infinite, therefore God exists outside of time.

Let us look at this another way (this is really fun).  Let us, just for fun, assume that time is infinite.  Now we know from the above argument that it cannot be, but bear with me on this.  Going backwards infinitely in time, you will never reach a beginning point.  So, if there is not a beginning point, then any point along the time line is an infinite point from the non-existent beginning.  Therefore, based on this, no point in time could ever be reached, because since each point in time is an infinite point, and infinity cannot be traversed, then no point in time could be reached.  Therefore, taking this point to it’s ultimate conclusion, this time that we currently live in cannot exist, and consequently, we cannot exist.  However, this is absurd.  The fact that we are even thinking about this proves we exist.  Remember the famous saying by Rene’ Descartes ‘Cogito ergo sum’, being translated ‘I think, therefore I am’.

So, as we can clearly see, God must dwell outside of time.  This is necessary if He is to be the eternal first cause that He is.  There is not a place where God is not.  Jer 23:24 says, “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD.” According to this verse,  there is no where in this universe, in all creation, where He is not.  So, let’s take this one step farther.  Is it possible, since time is also part of His creation, that He also fills all time as well?  I would say He does. And because this also is the case, I postulate that time is not a measurement, but a physical property.  Moment after moment stacked one point after another.  And if time is the fourth dimension, then this makes sense.  Let me explain this.  A point is a zero dimensional object.  A one dimensional object is a series of zero dimensional objects, which is LENGTH, or a line.  A two dimensional object is a series of one dimensional objects, which is a series of lines, LENGTH and WIDTH, or a plane.  Now a series of planes make up a three dimensional object, which is LENGTH, WIDTH and HEIGHT,  or a space.  The fourth dimension is a series of three dimensional objects, or spaces.  This is known as space-time.  The first three dimensions are physical properties, and the fourth one has to be, since it is made up of physical objects.  So, it space time is a part of physical existence, then God has to be in every time.  This idea takes us back to the last post, because if He is in every point in time, at the same time, this is why He can know the end from the beginning, and thus, the future is fixed.

These are fun things to ponder, but they also help us understand just how great our God really is.  He fills all of creation, both space and time, and He resides outside of time as well.  There is truly nowhere we can go where He is not.  This gives new meaning to the verse, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Heb 13:5   This brings much peace and contentment to us who are His followers, and can be very disconcerting to those who are not.  And because He loves us with a perfect love, we should bask in His presence every chance we get.  In God’s perspective, time is irrelevant.  He is not subject to anything, including time.  What a powerful and mighty God we serve.

 

Categories: Theology
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