My fascination with the study of God and time continues. Today I want to touch on why time is so very important for us as Christians.
Studies have shown that human understanding of the concept of time develops during the first 10 years of life, to where man finally grasps the concepts of passing of time, and a basic understanding of what eternity may encompass. That relates directly to where David says:
Ecc 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
Not to get into a technical discussion of what “in time” means, but it is worth it to mention that God here clearly relates, time to creation, where the created becomes, or is, worthy at the right time. And even though man has a conceptual understanding of eternity, put there though the creation of human consciousness and development of the faculties, yet man cannot fully grasp what God has done within eternity.
My studies have lead me to believe that it’s because human eternity and God’s eternity are different. Human eternity is subject to creation, since man’s understanding of time is related to creation via the movement (or progression) of objects. But for God, since He was before creation, time cannot be the same. For God, being truly eternal, there is no time as we understand it.
So why did God create time? I believe that it’s simply so that every matter related to God and His creation may happen in an orderly fashion:
Ecc 3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
Ecc 3:2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
Ecc 3:3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
Ecc 3:4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
Ecc 3:5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
Ecc 3:6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
Ecc 3:7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
Ecc 3:8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
But more importantly, it is only within time that we have hope. For Israel, it was the hope of a future Messiah. It was that promise of future salvation that kept them faithful.
And for us, it is the hope and promise of future grace, based on the past sacrifice of our Savior, that forms the basis of our faith. Without those two time-related beliefs, we would have no reasonable faith.
John Piper, in his book “Future Grace”, states it so: “The only life I have left to live is future life. The past is not in my hands to offer or alter. It is gone. Not even God will change the past. All the expectations of God are future expectations. All the possibilities of faith and love are future possibilities. And all the power that touches me with help to live in love is future power. As precious as the bygone blessings of God may be, if He leaves me only with the memory of those and not with the promise of more, I will be undone. My hope for future goodness and future glory is future grace.”
Have you ever mentioned that as we get older, time seems to go by faster? It is because our experience of current time makes up a smaller part of the whole of our experience of time. It then logically follows that because God is truly eternal, His experience of the current moment will be meaningless from a human context. Yet He gives us time to know Him within His creation, with the promise to share His eternity in future, purely because of His grace.
This then truly explains why a day is like a thousand years for God, and the other way around. For a truly eternal being, time is not determined by the movement of objects in creation, for He exists outside of that creation. Of course, the exception was when Jesus existed as the man-God, subject to time just like us, yet with the ability to see eternity like no man.
Next time I will talk about the 6 days of creation, a touchy topic which has caused much strife and trouble among God’s people.