Some people appear to find it incredible and amazing that God is eternal and that He must surely (therefore) dwell outside of – and beyond – the time-frame which we experience (if you think that God must surely dwell within time, then you need to read Does God Dwell Within or Outside of Time?This article makes plain the biblical teaching on this subject in opposition to the newer crop of theologians who see God as dwelling within our own time-space continuum and having no idea what tomorrow may bring!!)

Many people have the idea that time is continually 'set in stone' - but, in fact, as Einstein and others have shown us, time has no preferred, or exact time-frame – it varies. If you could travel around the universe and come back again on a single beam of light, you would return at exactly the time you left - even though you would have travelled billions of miles! How come? Because at the speed of light, time does not flow at all. Again, time on the surface of the sun passes at a different rate to the speed which it passes on the surface of the earth. Time is not the great constant which so many appear to think it is. This is because time is affected not only by gravitional fields - but by velocity too. If you or I were to travel twice around the earth on a jetliner we would actually witness some real time distortion; the velocity would affect the time, which would pass at a different rate to that experienced by a person standing upon the surface of this good earth. Indeed, even on a more 'earthbound' level, if there were two clocks on a tower, one 300 yards above the other, the clock at the bottom would be slower over a year than the one at the top – yes, maybe only by a few nano-seconds per year but it would be measureable!

Black Holes and Timelessness

What about the mysterious 'black holes' in the universe? Well, black holes are somewhat mysterious matterless areas in the universe which are subject to huge gravitational forces. But the most intriguing thing about a black hole – for our purposes today – is that they are areas of timelessness – time is permanently frozen inside a black hole. As the eminent and much-missed scientist (who was also a commited Christian) Dr Wilder-Smith used to say, 'If you could get inside a black hole (which you could not because the gravitational forces would pull you to pieces), but if you could, you would never be able to get out again. Why? Because there would literally be 'no time' to get out again, since time would have ceased to exist!' So right at the centre of our universe is this black hole in which eternity presently exists! Time has no meaning whatsoever inside a black hole. Light goes into orbit around a black hole and when light becomes affected in this way it has an affect on time.
Once again, as the late great Dr Wilder-Smith also used to point out, the fact that time varies across our universe and in one part of it it does not even exist at all, is a good reason to say that those who would attempt to date our universe to "billions of years old" are, frankly, idiotic - the universe is not 'dateable' by any one time-standard; if anybody suggests to you that they can date it, they are dishonorably concluding that you are ignorant and so you probably will not challenge them! After many years of research and deep reflection, this outstanding scientist and lecturer came to believe that the 6 days of creation are literal (as I also believe).

Astronomers have calculated that a huge proportion of mass is missing from our galaxy. Where is it? Some speculate that it is inside the black hole! This is intriguing. But since science has established that there is timelessness in a black hole, could black holes even be entrances to the eternal realm of God? Of course, there I certainly speculate but it is a fascinating thought since astronomers tell us that a black hole is as far as they can penetrate. No information (other than the foregoing points about gravity and time) ever comes out of a black hole. Most astronomers see it as a sealed area which they will probably never be able to penetrate!

Human Consciousness and Timelessness

Human consciousness and imagination are mystical areas about which scientists can tell us very little. Yes, they can tell us quite a lot about the human brain - but almost nothing about the areas of consciousness, imagination and dream. Yet here is an area which each of us probably experience every single day of our lives and it is an area where we definitely experience a sort of timelessness! Unless a person is completely lacking in imaginative skills, they will have experienced this! One can lay on a bed in meditation and one's mind can think of great symphonies, one's mind can think of travelling in space, one can imagine what it would be like to encounter God. In all of this, time will have no meaning!! If any should retort to me, 'Wait a minute, if I fall asleep and dream, when I wake up I will discover that it took up a certain amount of time,' then that person has not understood my meaning!

Several great writers and musicians have remarked how during certain periods of their lives when they were much absorbed in writing a book or maybe a symphony, time almost stood still for them. This is because, during those intensely imaginative periods of their lives when their artistic and intuitive consciousness was stretched almost to the limit, they almost permanently entered this deeply imaginative, thoughtful and meditative state. Quite frequently at such periods, the time and tide of this planet will have meant little for such people and they become quite forgetful, forgetting to keep appointments and even forgetting what day of the week it is!!. I am passionately fond of music and have read biographies of most of the great composers and a lot of them were the sort of people who, while writing works of the greatest and profoundest beauty, would have been hard put to tell you what day of the week it was!!

So we see that human imagination itself testifies to the fact there is a sort of timelessness out there even within human grasp.

I hope that these few comments in this brief article can help us all to see that while we can never fully understand eternity while in the human state, nevertheless, eternity and timelessness are not things which we can have no knowledge or experience of: we ourselves witness a form of timelessness within our own imaginative lives and astronomers have actually established that timelessness (or, 'frozen time' or, 'eternity') actually exist at the present time in our universe!

Robin A. Brace 2006.

You may wish to read, Does God Dwell Within or Outside of Time?


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