Some time back at the conclusion of our weekly Bible Study, my Rabbi (Pastor Michael) said something to the effect “I can relate to the eternity of time in the future, but it is much more difficult for me to look at eternity back in time.” Well, this got me to thinking (dangerous!) I think this is quite natural for us mere humans.
First, let’s take a look at time. How we measure time is a creation of man. We base our day on the rotation of one small planet and our year on the rotation of that planet around our small sun. Each are only one of billions in God’s universe.
Albert Einstein proved that time is actually a part of our physical universe, directly tied to the speed of light. We talk about light years and we are able to measure the distance to far galaxies through complex measures of light. An amazing thing is that movement at the speed of light, theoretically at least, means that things moving at that speed don’t “age” as we understand it. So, the light that reaches us from millions of light years away not only shows us what was happening in that part of the universe those millions of years away, the light is actually brand new when it gets here. A bewildering thought, isn’t it? I can’t really get my arms around that one.
In grade school, we learned the difference between a line and a ray. Theoretically, a line stretches to infinity in both directions. A ray begins at a point and stretches to infinity from that point, like light emitted from our sun. A line segment has a defined beginning and defined ending, just like our mortal lives.
Keeping it relatively simple for the moment, we know that God is infinite, like a line. He stretches infinitely before creation and will live infinitely into the future.
It is not so with creation itself and certainly not with humans. We had a beginning, a start. Christians call that start “creation.” Like the light emitted from the sun, our lives (eternal) are like a ray, not a line. We can, through Christ Jesus, envision the eternal future. Not so with the eternal past. Unlike God (Father, Son and Spirit), it is our human condition that allows us to see forward eternally and not backward in time. Hope is in the future, not in the past for us.
Now, to complicate things a bit more, time itself is a part of God’s creation. God is far beyond eternal, He is timeless!
If you can really wrap your mind around that one, you are far beyond me…