In the past weeks, we have briefly looked at what time means to us personally and technically. This week, as we come now to the end, we will take time to a new level: what is time to God?
Much has been said about time, about that unrelenting force that influences everything in our work and lives and motivations, to even the fundamental way that we see this reality, how we make sense of its workings. Time cannot be underestimated in its power and scope across our universe. That said, what is time to the Timeless? Can we even begin to understand the depths of a reality devoid of time or the sovereignty of the God that created it? Can our minds even tentatively reckon eternity?
There are a number of verses in the Bible that shed a light on God’s relationship with time. Consider Psalm 90:4, which says:
For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.
Verses like this, and there are a few, make it quite clear that time holds no sway over the Almighty. In fact, He exists outside of time as we know it, in a realm beyond our ken, beyond this universe, free from the physical bounds of this reality, but yet even there He remains close enough to intimately move in our lives, to hear our prayers, to act on our behalf across stretches of existence that are nigh imperceptible to us.
This condition has always been the case, for if one exists outside of time, then they require no beginning or end. The question of “Who created God” is a common one amongst skeptics, but the truth of the matter is that, in the simplest terms possible, God always has been and always will be. For believers, verses such as Psalm 90:2 confirm this, saying “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.“
He resides in a realm where the past, present, and future have no sway, where things that have never happened before are known with crystal clarity, where things that are yet to come are remembered as powerful and triumphant memories. It is a place where the prayers of those long gone to us still resonate with immediacy, where the names and the cries and the glorious praises of those yet to be are heard ringing in the ears of our great God. It is a reality of dimensions outside of what we could ever know here, beyond what our minds can ever truly approach. Thus, from our temporal perspective, we are inherently limited in what we can understand of mysterious realm. As 1 Corinthians (2:9) tells us, “ …Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.“
To drive the point a bit further, we find that the incarnation of God, Jesus Christ, the very Word of God, existed in spirit under the same timeless and eternal conditions prior to His earthly advent, predating not only mankind itself, but this reality as a whole. Nowhere is this made clearer than in John 1:1-4:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Even in the midst of that timeless span, before the founding of the vast stretches of dark space, and the burning stars, before the rocky foundations of the planet where laid and the lands and seas were populated with life of all forms, before everything we know, God, through the Word, through the preincarnate Jesus, had a plan for us all (2 Timothy 1:9). Knowing all, seeing everything that has ever been and ever will be, He knew beyond time immemorial that we would fall, that His special creations would require a savior. That, though, would come in time.
In the beginning of this existence, when He commanded the universe into being, crafting the seen from the unseen things (Hebrew 11:3), far-ranging dimensions became intertwined, shimmering continuums borne of the merging of matter and energy, then, in that very moment, was time first bestowed upon our reality. This scriptural notion is in perfect accord with what science tells us, that being that time as we perceive it began with the formation of matter in this universe; to two elements being intrinsically linked. As the researchers contend, dimensional collisions brought the disparate parts of our reality into a singular, wonderful whole, a creation full of beauty and fit for life. It was God though, I am certain, that moved those separate fields of spatial reality into proximity with each other, His hands merged them into one, and in His perfect knowledge and judgement He set this universe to time, an underlying cadence counting down to an ultimate finale.
By His will do we exist in time, here in our reality, for such gives us all incentive to work towards our goals (whatever they may be), to seek what matters in life, to achieve that which we have been called to do. In our hearts, if we truly listen, we know that we have only a little clearance to do as we must. He gave us time, I believe, as a means of spurring us on to those moments of calling, to drive us forth against the dark mysteries in hopes of completing that hopeful, if unknown, quest before it’s too late.
For us, there is still time, but that in and of itself is subject to change for us all without warning. That, though, is a matter for another time entirely…
One more thing…
As an addendum to this finale on time, I thought it fitting to add one of my art pieces here which directly deals with time. I did this for another project, one yet to be widely publicized, but I hope to make more known about that project in the next few weeks. There is a vast amount of symbolism happening in this picture (the details of which are beyond the scope of what has been discussed in this series on time), but considering that it is intrinsically connected to time, I thought it worthwhile to include. Hopefully, as I myself find more time, I will be able to add more pieces such as this. Until then, enjoy.
Thank you very much, and God bless!