Time…What is time? Thoreau says that “time” is the stream in which he goes fishing. Less colorful and more boring than Thoreau’s definition, we think of time as one minute, or one day, a day of 24 hours, a year of 365 days, 60 seconds in one minute, a lunch break is one hour, and a coffee break is ten minutes. But what is time? It has to be something, because we measure it, right? We debate questions like: Has time always been there, unchanging? Is there a beginning to time? Will time ever end? Does time move at different rates? What if “a day” wasn’t always 24 hours? Some calendars measure a year differently, so how do we know what a year is? The understanding of the concepts of time and what time is and how it appears to you are important issues for you to consider. These questions are not just for the philosopher or scientist, but for every person, young and old. In this article, we will explore a reality known as “time”. It has serious implications for us as we search for meaning in life and a better understanding of God and our relationship with God.
We can trace the beginning of time back to the Big Bang. As we try to understand the Big Bang, we see that everything physical, natural laws, everything we touch and see and breathe had its beginning at the Big Bang. Time, as a dimension is no different. All laws of physics, chemistry and the other sciences have two distinct worlds. One we know something about after the Big Bang, and one we know nothing about before the Big Bang.
Time was created as a dimensional gift to us at the Big Bang. So, if the “dimension” we call time was nonexistent as we know it before the Big Bang, then what was there? “Now” was there. A word we use all the time, yet few understand its true meaning. “Now” is that point that is neither past nor future. It is a point that does exist in a multidimensional Universe; but a point whereby you can infinitely subtract any piece of time from, no matter how small the unit of measure. I guess you could say “now” does not exist in time.
Understanding this concept of time and the nature of the “Now” is critical to understanding many of the so-called contradictions found in the Bible. Let’s look at one such set of verse. At the crucifixion, Jesus is talking to one of the criminals hanging on an adjacent cross, Luke 23:43 in the NIV reads “I promise that today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Compare that to Luke 24:7 in the NIV where we read, “The Son of Man will be handed over to sinners who will nail Him to a cross. But three days later He will rise to life.” Three days later? What’s the deal? Is Jesus in Paradise the same day He died or was it three days later? This is a big deal for some; let’s look at the important “Apostle’s Creed”. The Old Roman version (circa 200AD) stated in the fifth section, “The third day He rose again from the dead”; a newer Roman version (circa 700AD), the same version I recited in the Episcopal Church, adopted by Catholics and others, states: ”He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead.” Now, how can this be? How can Jesus be in Paradise the same day He died on the cross for our sins, and suffer separation from the Father, taking our sins on Him, making them His own and paying the price for three days? Some believe there was a separation of body and spirit, and the spirit went to Paradise, to “Abraham’s Bosom”. But that doesn’t explain the physical bodily resurrection of Christ 3 days later. It doesn’t explain Thomas touching His wounds, Jesus eating fish on the beach, or the discussion on the road to Emmaus. One group is likely to say, we believe this way; and another group is just as likely to say, we believe this other way. Soon the two groups could soon be at odds with one another, arguments instill, feelings are hurt, and Satan smiles at yet another Christian conflict and a win for his evil side. With your new understanding of time and that “Now” doesn’t exist in our linear time experience, Jesus is both in Paradise the day He died, plus He experienced the pain and separation from the Father, paying the price for our sins, and physically resurrected from the dead three days later…all at the same time, all at the same moment.
In the “now”, with no movement in time, the beginning and the end are the same moment. Strange I know, but that is why I’m trying to expand on this time issue. This is the nature of dimensions of reality that we cannot understand because of our limitations; faith is indeed required. The non-believer uses the so-called Biblical contradictions as their proof that Christianity is a false religion; how sad and limited in their understanding they are. But look at this way: If we Christians, confessing our faith and belief in Christ Jesus, can relax a little knowing that we are limited in our ability to understand dimensions beyond three. If we can accept that the many seemingly contradictory verses are all indeed correct at the same time. We would then be much more loving toward each other. Isn’t that what Jesus asked us to do?
[For more discussion on Time, please refer to the book, I Am, the Great Creator God by Haven D. Mankin. Information about the book and how to obtain a copy is available at: http://www.MuskratBooks.com]