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 this is not really time; it is our “measurement” of time. So, 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 also for every person, young and old. In this chapter 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.
Did time have a beginning? Yes, it is a created dimension, as we will soon see. God created time as He created all the universal laws. Time is one of several dimensions; more accurately, it is known as Space-time, some call time itself the fourth dimension. First of all, we have our first three dimensions of space, namely width, length and height. It would be accurate to say time is the fourth dimension, but I like thinking of the combination of Space-time as the fourth dimension. We are talking about a mathematical coordinate model dealing with “events” and not just points in space. Time is relative to the observer and so the impact of space on time is important so we get a whole other dimension we call space-time. Physicists have long studied time and the variables that take place when different observers are moving relative to one another, especially if one is moving at the speed of light. Very strange things can happen indeed.
As with all created things and the universal forces, we can trace the beginning of time back to the Big Bang. God triggered the creation event. “Let there be light, and there was light!” We see that everything physical, 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.