by Kevin Burton
Spilled some ink talking about time Friday and I’m still on that theme today.
I told the story of how my cat Gabbie has 13 candles on her birthday cake not 11 as I thought (“My Cat Can’t Save Time In A Bottle,” Jan. 21) and went on to look at time from different angles.
Today I’m looking at time from above. God is the great dispenser of time. I found some insight on how God views time on the website www.gotquestions.org.
“We live in a physical world with its four known space-time dimensions of length, width, height (or depth) and time. However, God dwells in a different realm—the spirit realm—beyond the perception of our physical senses,” reads the website. “It’s not that God isn’t real; it’s a matter of His not being limited by the physical laws and dimensions that govern our world (Isaiah 57:15). Knowing that “God is spirit” (John 4:24), what is His relationship to time?”
“In Psalm 90:4, Moses used a simple yet profound analogy in describing the timelessness of God: ‘For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.’ The eternity of God is contrasted with the temporality of man. Our lives are but short and frail, but God does not weaken or fail with the passage of time.”
“In a sense, the marking of time is irrelevant to God because He transcends it. Peter, in 2 Peter 3:8, cautioned his readers not to let this one critical fact escape their notice—that God’s perspective on time is far different from mankind’s (Psalm 102:12, 24-27). The Lord does not count time as we do. He is above and outside of the sphere of time. God sees all of eternity’s past and eternity’s future. The time that passes on earth is of no consequence from God’s timeless perspective. A second is no different from an eon; a billion years pass like seconds to the eternal God,” the website reads.
“Though we cannot possibly comprehend this idea of eternity or the timelessness of God, we in our finite minds try to confine an infinite God to our time schedule. Those who foolishly demand that God operate according to their time frame ignore the fact that He is the “High and Lofty One . . . who lives forever” (Isaiah 57:15). This description of God is far removed from man’s condition: “The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).”
“So, what is time? To put it simply, time is duration. Our clocks mark change or, more precisely, our timepieces are benchmarks of change that indicate the passage of time. We could say, then, that time is a necessary precondition for change and change is a sufficient condition to establish the passage of time. In other words, whenever there’s change of any kind we know that time has passed.”
“The science of physics tells us that time is a property resulting from the existence of matter. As such, time exists when matter exists. But God is not matter; God, in fact, created matter. The bottom line is this: time began when God created the universe. Before that, God was simply existing. Since there was no matter, and because God does not change, time had no existence and therefore no meaning, no relation to Him.”
“Scripture reveals that God lives outside the bounds of time as we know it. Our destiny was planned ‘before the beginning of time’ (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2) and ‘before the creation of the world’ (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20). ‘By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible’ (Hebrews 11:3).”
“In other words, the physical universe we see, hear, feel and experience was created not from existing matter, but from a source independent of the physical dimensions we can perceive,” the website reads.
“God is spirit” (John 4:24), and, correspondingly, God is timeless rather than being eternally in time or being beyond time. Time was simply created by God as a limited part of His creation for accommodating the workings of His purpose in His disposable universe (see 2 Peter 3:10-12).”
“As believers, we have a deep sense of comfort knowing that God, though timeless and eternal, is in time with us right now; He is not unreachably transcendent, but right here in this moment with us. And because He’s in this moment, He can respond to our needs and prayers.