God, Time, and Eternity (2009-09-13)
Is God beyond time or in time or both? If you think both then you need to provide a model or some way of understanding how God can both be in time and beyond all time.
God is eternal. He lives from everlasting to everlasting. God is the creator of time. He existed without time. He is not restricted by the dimension of time. This week in his BIG series lead pastor Dennis Bachman taught on the issue of God being eternal yet he God “all the time”.
God was, He is, He will be. He is called the “Alpha and Omega,” the “Beginning and the End.” The Epistle of Jude states in 1:24, “Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling, and to cause you to stand, rejoicing, without blemish before his glorious presence, to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time, and now, and for all eternity. Amen.”
I think there is a way to resolve the paradox of God being both beyond time and in time. God is timeless without creation, and in time subsequent to creation. That is, without creation there is no time and God simply exists atemporally. Yet, God really relates to us in time. In fact, God became man, a human being, in time, for yours and my salvation. However, God’s nature does not grow or develop in any substantial way thereby undergoing an essential change in His nature.
The fact that God is not bound by time does not mean that He is not conscious of and concerned for what is now occurring in human experience. God is aware of what is happening, has happened, and will happen at each point in time. Yet at any given point within time He is also conscious of the distinction between what is now occurring, what has been, and what will be.
God has from all eternity determined what He is now doing. Thus His actions are not in any sense ‘thoughtless’ reactions to events taking place. He does not get ‘taken by surprise’ or have to formulate contingency plans. God is neither diminished by time, nor is he wearied by it. What this means is that “time” is good, though we think of it as a commodity or something to be managed in America. God is the creator of time and space. Time is created by grace, just as our salvation is by grace. God enters time, he condescends to it just as God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, condescends to space by becoming human. Reflection on such topics is not an act of intellectual gymnastics but means of devotion and worship that should awe and inspire us.
The fact that God is timeless sans (without) creation and endures throughout all time should help us rightly engage His world, with His patience, with His sense of urgency—is we can all it that, and with His long-suffering.
George Haraksin II
Pastor of Christian Formation