November 5,2007; Monday Miscellany
Focus Text: Galatians 4.1-6
Dickens opened A Tale of Two Cities with, “It was the best of times; It was the worst of times.” The atomic clock link on my computer says it is twenty-five hours later that it was twenty-four hours ago. The worldtimeserver.com website can literally tell me what time it is in almost any spot on the globe. There certainly are many, many ways of looking at time, and all of them have their merits. However, time really is something that deserves our careful consideration, especially when it comes to spiritual things.
A biblical passage which records one of the first considerations of time begins this way, “And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD.” (Genesis 4.3). The reader is directed to the expression “in the process of time.” The clear implication here is that time is not static; it is a process. It moves and changes regardless of all else. This statement from the book of Genesis is one which could be said of any historical event; in the process of time man discovered the wheel; in the process of time the relationship of the earth to the sun was discovered; in the process of time man explored the moon. And not to be too morbid, but in the process of time all mortals die.
God created time (the evening and the morning), and He also created its major time divisions in the solar system and its appointments (see Genesis 1.4-19). With these major divisions in place, man has learned to divide and subdivide these larger increments of time into hours, minutes, seconds, a nanoseconds (one billionth of a second), and a femtosecond (one millionth of a nanosecond). However, not only has man learned to divide time into tiny increments, he also has learned to speak of time in huge increments. For instance concerning the universe, the United States Department of Energy website claims “…we do know it's at least something like 10 billion light-years in radius, because we can see stars out that far.” Ten billion light years is a distance expressed in terms of light and time (one light year is about six billion miles). If noted in convention form, a light year is about six followed by 12 zeroes (6,000,000,000,000) miles; that’s one light year. However, if the radius of our universe is 10 billion miles (that would make its diameter 20 billion miles), the distance across our universe is 20,000,000,000 miles times 6,000,000,000,000! I’ll let you convert that one to its conventional form!
What time is it? It all depends upon who you ask! And no matter who you ask, if you get an answer that is even intended to be legitimate, you will get a response that depends upon some “constants” in our universe. The only way we have of relating to time is by expressing it in terms of this universe and its current systems. What time would it be if time should end? Think about that one for a while and get back to me with the answer! There are three time markers that are of extreme importance; here they are: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law…” (Galatians 4.4). “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 4.7). “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9.27).
1. What major increments of time did God define/designate?
2. What did the writer of Genesis mean when he spoke of “the process of time” (Genesis 4.3)?
3. To what things do humans always relate time?
4. At what time did God’s Son come forth? When is the right time to begin to follow Jesus? What time will it be after we die?
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