Time or Timeless
By: Jim Virkler
Our universe, 13.8 billion years of age, reveals a marvelous story of its existence. Within this age-span we possess the timeline of cosmological history. The earliest events following the initial creation have been understood and described surprisingly well. Likewise, events as they have evolved in the vast time since the universe’s infancy, have been chronicled. We use the term evolution advisedly. In this context evolution signifies progressive development of universal chemical composition, physical structure, and sequence of events. In these respects, evolution still proceeds in our day.
Secular and theistic scientists both acknowledge that the 13.8 billion year distant creation event marked the beginning of our time dimension as well as the beginning of the dimensions of space. The initial singularity was not emplaced in already existing dimensions of time and space. Time and space dimensions originated at the creation event.
We call the Big Bang “the creation event.” Our position derives from Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Scripture uses the term “heavens and the earth” to mean “all that exists.” This scripture passage affirms secular scientists’ characterization of this event as the beginning of the universe. Many secular scientists understand that a “beginning” suggests a “beginner.” They are not comfortable that the beginner may be construed as God. Scientists guided by methodological naturalism (MN) in their practice of science prefer not to connect the concept of God with their science.
Returning to the time concept, the Creator established time in this universe as linear and uni-directional. Most simply, however, people perceive time extends from past, to present, to future. God established the dimension of time in this universe to prepare for the arrival of life and much later, the arrival of human life.
God, as the Creator of the Universe and the Creator of time, has established his authorship and control of the dimension of time. He is able to operate in our universe with complete freedom, uninhibited by the dimensional restrictions humans possess. He is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. God has gifted humanity considerable freedom to operate in the creation, but without the unlimited characteristics mentioned. Man is time-lmited, able to operate in the present, but not in the past or future. As Creator, God is not limited by time as we are. Humans and all other living things, in contrast, are time-limited with respect to the duration of life. The universe itself is also time-limited in the sense that it has a beginning and an end.
The question occurs as to whether God operates in limitless dimensions of time unknown and inaccessible to us. Or is the Creator of all things able to operate without any time dimensions at all? We ask, therefore, “Is God’s existence timeless?”
In 2011 we submitted several posts on time-related topics. We did not pretend to have definitive answers to all problems and questions on the topic of time. We hope our past and present discussion illuminates the nature of time issues and inspires us to further inquiry:
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Jim Virkler, a retired New Jersey public school science educator, now devotes his time investigating the harmony of scientific discoveries and Christian faith. He and his wife, Eleanor, now reside in the mid-west near their children and grandchildren.