Time A Prelude To Eternity

Time flies. Or does it?
At dinner with an astronaut recently who is scheduled for her third ride into space she described launch as a “sensory overload.” That surely is a succinct description.
A second talking point I raised related to time. I commented when it is noon here it is 6:00 PM in Israel and 6:00 AM in Hawaii. What time is it deep in outer space?
The conversation was generated by my interest in time and eternity. She said they relate to earth using Greenwich Mean Time but they operate by launch time. Their personal watches show the time in which their friends live so they won’t call home at the wrong time. Everything on board is related to the time of launch. Thus time is relative depending on your perspective.
Grasping the meaning of time is propaedeutic  to an understanding of time and God.
Physicists in particular have given it a lot thought. Consider their imaginary visit to our nearest star, Sirius. It is nine light years away. Traveling there at 99.99999% of the speed of light the following would happen. Persons here on earth would have to wait about 18 years for your return. Upon returning the traveler’s watch and body clock would indicate he or she was gone 12 hours. The traveler would be 12 hours older and earth bound friends 18 years older. If a traveler could accelerate to the speed of light time would stand still.
Scientists say on the cusp on black holes in distance space there is no time.
By now the concept of eternity was coming a bit clearer from a human perspective.
The Gospel of John opens with a statement when translated from Greek to English to read: “Before time began to begin…”
Most often when we think of creation space and matter are considered. There is a third component to creation —- time. Before creation there was no time. At a certain point the celestial clock began clicking.
The Bible also speaks of a point when time shall no longer be. That means time is a parentheses in eternity. We are temporarily in a time lock, a warp, called time.
Solomon, spoken of as the wisest of wise men, made a stunning statement when speaking of God. That is a subject most folks are willing to admit is bigger than they. A modern translation of Solomon’s statement reads: “from vanishing point to vanishing point you are God.” He was wise enough to realize some subjects go beyond the human mind to comprehend. He was saying think back in history and out in space as far as you can and there comes a point beyond which you can not think. Reasoning just runs out, vanishes. The same is true of thinking into the future and distant space. The mind reaches a vanishing point beyond which it can’t conceive, a vanishing point.
Thus, Solomon postures God as always having existed in eternity. From His perspective in eternity He sees things differently than we and is able to counsel us —-  in time.
On a lighter note imagine this interview with God.
“God, what is a million dollars like to you?”
“Like a penny.”
“What is a thousand years like to you?”
“Like a minute.”
“God, will you give me a million dollars?”
“In a minute.”
Athletes like to be challenged by contesting superior opponents. Musicians like to try to master great compositions.
Cooks are delighted to try especially difficult dishes. In that same vein I like on occasion to challenge my limited mental resources by tackling a difficult subject. Time and eternity provides such a task. By gaining a better understanding of time we can gain a better comprehension of eternity, though never fully understand it.
Keep in mind clocks didn’t come into existence until the thirteenth century. There are still vast people groups who do not use time pieces. Measuring time in minutes and seconds is a relative new art.
Subdividing time into different schools of thought is a starting point. There is subjective time and objective time.
Subjective time is from an internal human perspective, where time seems on occasion to fly by and at other times drag along, even though these perceptions may not be confirmed by external measuring devises.
Objective time is metered by external metering devises. Einstein physics theory showed that no measure of time is absolute, all is relative.
German scientists have defined time as a tri-polar structure of endogenous, exogenous, and transcendent time.
Endogenous time is derived from internal experiences, our biological or circadian rhythms. These are influenced by many things. A classic example is how we feel when traveling across several time zones.
Exogenous time is the form that arises from our interaction with the environment and social time. It helps us structure our schedules and lives. It is relative. For example where does an hour go when we cross a time zone or have to reset our clocks. We tend to envision time as a number of points along a time line. Duration flows without measurement. This is used to show time is arbitrary, relative.
Transcendent time is a sense of timelessness arising from mystical experiences.
This is the school of thought in which a concept of time known as “stasis” or “tenseless” theory.
We tend to date things based on the “now.” A thing is either past, because it came before the present, that is “now,” or future because it is to come after the present “now.”
In the transcendent time theory everything is in the now. It is a divine timelessness. God does not see things as present, past, and future but all as now. He experience all things in the “eternal now.” That is how He can speak prophetically of things that are to happen in what we call the future. Persons who believe in human free will believe that because He knows what is to happen it does not mean He makes it happen.
If you don’t understand all of this welcome to my world. I am so glad there are things to great for our human minds to comprehend. However, for time, space, and matter to exist there had to be some understanding of it too give it order. Oops, there is where God steps on stage and I really can’t understand Him. There are a lot of things I believe in I can’t understand and God is foremost on that list. Millions not only believe He exists but that He exists and loves us.
That can give you a brain cramp. I owe thanks to a much better brain than mine, Dr. Steve W. Lemke, of the New Orleans Seminary for many insights herein.