A Different Perspective

Musing On Time And Eternity, Evolution And Creation


Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).

The other day, I started musing on immortality, original sin and suffering, after reading a post by an Atheist who said that the thought of living forever freaked him out.  Maybe you can’t fathom immortality and eternity either.  My musings on the topic led to me musing about the concept of time and space, and the biggest question of where and when did it all start!

Christians believe that God created the whole world and the universe and everything that is said to exist.  Whether you can think it, imagine it, see it, touch it…God made it.  The Bible tells us that our world and everything was created with Adam and Eve, and going by the timeline of the Bible, that would mean that our planet couldn’t possibly be older than 10,000 years (as a big estimate).  However, Scientists disagree, based on carbon data and a lot of other archaeological findings, including the discovery of the Universe, and suggest that our world is indeed billions of years old.

This presents a problem for the sincere Believer.  Do we throw out our Holy Book for being inaccurate, and accept the theories of science, or do we stick to our guns and insist that science is missing an important piece of the puzzle?  Or is there a way for us to still believe the rest of the Bible, while not considering it an authouritative account of history?  This issue about how old our planet is and how the whole cosmos started has divided Christians, and made those who insist that the Biblical account is in fact true and accurate to appear to be ignorant fools.

Well…  I dare to be counted among the fools, by presenting my own understanding on this whole concept of time, eternity, evolution and creation.

I think the whole problem for us lies in the confusion between time and eternity.  As humans, we are only able to comprehend life and matter within the dynamics of time and space.  We have no understanding nor appreciation for the concept of eternity, except to reason that it is an immeasurable amount of time.   Even large amounts of space is measured in ‘light years’, using time as a basic unit.  Likewise, we have limited understanding and appreciation of the spiritual realm and the supernatural.

However, what if eternity is not measured in time?  What if eternity is the absence of time?  With this understanding, we can now appreciate how to God, “a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day” (2 Peter 3:8).  In which case, you could not be able to determine the age of anything that has ALWAYS existed.  Nor would you be able to determine the true age of something that was CREATED at the beginning of Time.  Are you confused?

Time must have a beginning and an end.  We are told the beginning of Time, but not the beginning of the existence of the Immortal God, who was never created, but by whom all things were created (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16)…including time, space and matter!  He didn’t just create the world or the universe and everything in it…  He also created the concept of time, and He gave it a beginning and an end!  The beginning of time are the days of Genesis, when He created our world.  The end of time will be the Last Days, when He will judge the world!

At the end of time, God will roll up time like a film, and there will be time no more (Revelation 10:6)!!!  Time as a concept will cease to exist.  All that will remain is eternity and immortality, the absence of time.  We are even told that the heavens will be rolled up like a scroll (Revelation 6:14).

Pop Quiz: How old was Adam when God created him?

The Bible doesn’t say.  But we know that he was a mature male.  He wasn’t created a fetus, nor a baby nor a young boy…  He was created whole and complete MAN.  Same with Eve.  She was created a whole and complete woman.

Pop Quiz: How old was the Earth when God created it?

The Bible doesn’t say.  But we know that the Earth was fully formed!  That everything that should have been was present.  All God’s creatures came with the full package.  The trees, animals, insects…everything, was in a state of maturity.  They did not have an age, because before they existed, there was no concept of time!

They were not, and then they were.  If you try to use carbon data to determine the true age of the world, you will be wrong, because you will exceed the beginning of time.  It would be like trying to determine the age of your car by measuring the age of the metal used in creating it, rather than going by the date given by the manufacturer!

And so ends the question of how old the universe is…  It doesn’t matter.  The universe was created mature and full to the glory of God.  We are only now discovering it!

The same way God created time, He also created the concept of SPACE, and He gave Man the Earth as his home, for the duration of TIME that He has allotted to Man.   At the end of time, we are told that there will also be A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH (Revelation 21:1).  I wonder how old they will be?  I reckon they will also be fully formed, mature and ageless, as though they have existed before they were created.

We, who live in the confines of time and space, use those measurements to understand our world and existence.  But we cannot use time and space to deny nor disprove the existence of a Creator, who is not bound by either time nor space!  That would be very arrogant and foolish.

So the Big Bang Theory and its associated Theory of Evolution will remain exactly that until the end of time; theories of Man.  While Evolution is a theory based on time, Creationism is a belief based on eternity!  At the end, we will know the truth about the agelessness of our Earth and Universe – if indeed the Christian is right that there is a Creator at the beginning of our existence as a human race.  Or, when we each die, we will simply cease to exist, and will know nothing…and it will be as though we never were.

So, don’t overthink it, unless, of course, you have a soul 🙂

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?
When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddling band for it,
And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors,
And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?
Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place..?

(Job 38:4-12)

Photo credit: http://www.riverschurch.co.za

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23 replies »

  1. Hi Ufuoma –

    This is actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot since our conversation, and I have to say that in one sense, it fits pretty well theologically. If God created both time and space, then neither existed prior to creation. If God existed in the absence of time and space before creation, it’s not unreasonable to say that there will be the same absence of time and space in the end. The typical concept of heaven is outside (beyond?) what we know as the 3 dimensions of space, so why should it not exist outside the 4th dimension of time.

    The one problem I would note from a Biblical standpoint is that we are told there will be a new heaven and a new earth. To me, this would seem to suggest that the ‘non-dimensional’ view might not actually fit after all. There are certainly different ideas of where we will ultimately reside, but regardless, I would think it reasonable to assume that if God is going to create a “new earth,” it would be subject to the same dimensions of time and space as the “old earth.”

    The bigger problem I see is that this really leaves us with no understanding of heaven whatsoever. It does not exist in time; it does not exist in space; it does not exist in any sense of which we can conceive. How then can we even talk about it? I know there is a certain sense of “we’ll find out (and understand) when we get there” but from this vantage point, it seems that it’s really something that we can’t even rightfully discuss. Moreover, the closest thing to which we can parallel this setup would actually be ‘nothing.’ Indeed every property of heaven seems to be the same as those for complete ‘non-existence.’ It’s not a spatial existence. It’s not even any sort of physical existence. It’s not a temporal existence. It would seem that it doesn’t really fit as an ‘existence’ in any way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting perspective Jon. Thanks for reading and commenting. I want to address this:

      “The one problem I would note from a Biblical standpoint is that we are told there will be a new heaven and a new earth. To me, this would seem to suggest that the ‘non-dimensional’ view might not actually fit after all. There are certainly different ideas of where we will ultimately reside, but regardless, I would think it reasonable to assume that if God is going to create a “new earth,” it would be subject to the same dimensions of time and space as the “old earth.”

      Firstly, I don’t think that I said that God exists in a non-dimensional place, simply that He is not contained within our dimension of space and time. You said that you think the new Heaven and earth will be subject to the same dimensions of time and space… Why? Why can’t you fathom that they will be different? Of a different quality? Just like we will be clothed with immortality, it is more reasonable to imagine that the new Earth and Heavens would be grander in every way. And also, I doubt that they will be subjected to time and space (even though those are the only dimensions we can now appreciate as mortals).

      Those with sci-fi imagination should be able to think beyond time and space, and consider that there could be a whole lot more we do not know and we cannot comprehend. So I will be careful of following the trail back to atheism and saying that because we cannot say it exists within our dimension, then we should stop considering that it does and conclude that there is in fact nothing out there!

      I actually believe our imaginations and dreams are telling of a reality that we can never know in our present realm. They are God’s messages to us to communicate the existence of more than what we can see, touch and hear.

      They say that sexual satisfaction is mostly a mental exercise, and I wouldn’t be surprised that the real reality is the one we can only imagine with our minds now, but which we will come to know when we are free from our mortal bodies… There’s no need to contain it… Let’s creatively explore it, and explore it for good. It was because we dared to imagine and think that we discovered Space…why should we stop there and rule out God?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Throughout the Bible, I see a lot of running themes and patterns in the way that God creates, acts, and interacts. This is why I said I think it reasonable to assume that a new earth might very well follow many of the same designs of the old earth. Could God decide to put a new spin on it? Certainly. For that matter, he could decide to make the new earth entirely different from the old earth. In fact, when we are told that the old earth will be destroyed and a new one created in its place, I think it is indeed safe to assume it will be, in some sense, better. However, that is usually how God seems to do things throughout the Bible–successive stages (whether it be of the designs of the temples, the plans for salvation, etc.) are to make them better while still following the same pattern. I don’t see examples of him starting from scratch and heading in a completely different direction.

        I also don’t discount the possibility of other dimensions beyond what we can perceive. There are some scientific theories, of course, that postulate exactly that. I think that we have a very limited understanding of the world around us, but I would disagree that this means I’m ready to simply conclude that there is nothing out there. There might be a great deal out there beyond what we know, see, and understand. Rather, the disservice lies, I feel, in postulating the supernatural at the expense of pursuing the natural explanations.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think a good appreciation of both are in order! Wisdom does not disregard knowledge, but it is the rightful application of it. Greater knowledge should lead to greater understanding, and ultimately greater wisdom. But the unspiritual disregard spiritual knowledge to their detriment…and so their wisdom is lacking.

        We can postulate all day…but one thing I will not do is limit God. So think as big as you can about the new Heavens and Earth…

        And by the way… I like the way you keep saying “we”… Are we in fellowship?

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      • Knowledge is not anything that is owned or even individually possessed. I suppose I use “we” since the best source of knowledge is other people. Plus, it definitely takes other people to test, refine, and sharpen our knowledge. (to borrow slightly from Christian parlance). Besides, we’re all in this journey together (whether you think this journey is simply ‘life’ or something grander), so I think it is to our benefit to seek commonality where possible. In a sense I suppose this is fellowship–though maybe not in the traditional sense. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Our understanding of the Bible can also be inaccurate. The Pharisees were looking for a literal return of Elijah, as was their understanding of Scripture, and they rejected Jesus because of that.

    Getting hung up a particular understanding of the language of Genesis (to the point of rejecting any scientific evidence that goes against it) as some do is counterproductive. For one, how do you measure a day when there’s no solar system? The word “adam” means man. Could this be some kind of allegory about the emergence of human knowledge and morality? I mean, simple stories are still the best way to explain complicated topics in a short space, right?

    Whatever the case, science is not a threat to faith and never has been. I’m more concerned with religious dogmatism that sets up false dichotomies and doesn’t rest in the mystery of God. I don’t know how God created and don’t need to know to believe Jesus saves.

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    • Hi Joel,

      I have more of a problem reading mysteries and allegories into the Bible than reading it plainly and asking God for wisdom. If I read it plainly, and have asked for wisdom and understanding, and still do not understand, then I trust that He will reveal the truth to me later, and I’m prepared for that later to be in Heaven. But the whole idea of choosing which parts are literal or not seems very random to me, and prone to error, being subjected to human wisdom and reasoning.

      This issue of Evolution vs Creationism is one I was prepared to leave unanswered until I see God, still believing by faith that He is at the heart of it, whether evolution is true or creation or both. But this understanding arose recently, and to me, it fits and it satisfies. It doesn’t mean that science has no value, just that science is limited in its capacity to know and explain everything.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Interpretation is as imperfect as science”

        I love that! No interpretation nor inspiration is infallible, but by faith we accept them as sufficient answers.

        You asked what good is a plain reading if it is incorrect. Likewise, what good is a mythical assumption if it is also falsely laid? Just because science has an explanation that seems more probable doesn’t make the Bible’s references to those things simply mythical. We have to appreciate the authourity of the Bible enough to assume that where our understanding falls short, it could simply be our understanding that is lacking rather than the text that is deficit. So plain or mythical, both are forms of interpretation, but soon we will know fully as we are known.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” (Mark 1:22)

        1) What authority did Jesus have that the teachers of the law (and their vast knowledge of Scripture and interpretation) did not have?

        2) Can we have the same authority that gives us correct understanding?

        Liked by 1 person

      • “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)

        The word “right” is actually translated from the same word used to describe the authority of Jesus. Having authority or right to be children of God is as significant as the claim of sonship Jesus made. Because of Jesus we can have the same authority and power of Jesus.

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      • So are you saying you can claim infallibility in your interpretation and understanding while disagreeing with another Believer endowed with the same Spirit of God?

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      • No, I’m not claiming that as an individual. I do not believe our discernment of spiritual things is individualistic. In fact, I believe that is one of the bigger lies of our time, this idea that everyone is their own Pope and can understand Scripture without any help from the body of believers. I believe Communion (or our common union) is more than just symbolic gestures of eating bread together. I believe it is something far deeper and more profound. We must submit ourselves one to another and in that we will grow together in discernment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Okay… it’s just that it seemed you were laying emphasis on a true authouritative interpretation of Genesis, which we can make because we have the Spirit of God. That would be easier to accept if the Church was actually united on its beliefs in this and other regards. But with the Church divided over this and many issues, we have come to just follow the Spirit’s leading the best we can, trusting Him to bring us to unity and agreement in the end.

        I think my understanding is Biblically sound, but I won’t force it on anyone. It’s good enough for me, until God increases my understanding.

        Cheers, Ufuoma.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I believe both views of Genesis are sound. However, I believe only one is most beneficial for our time. There is no need to dogmatically cling to a perspective that will drive some away. Genesis, scientific and mathematical understanding of the universe do not need to be made to be in contradiction, all point to a Creator who surpasses our human understanding. We need to embrace the mystery of God over our own understanding and book knowledge. We need to place our faith only in Him and when we do we will have authority.

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      • So, do you believe my understanding as expressed here is based on book knowledge alone? Do you believe that is cannot be appreciated as well as appreciating science? Evolution is as explanation based on the concept of time, but if we truly believe in a Creator who is not bound by time, then we are able to see how we don’t need to believe in evolution to appreciate science.

        My view is that how old our planet or the universe is doesn’t matter, because they cannot be determined, and we do not need to determine that to appreciate the discoveries of science nor our salvation in Christ.

        I don’t think there is an “acceptable” belief on this issue for our time that won’t offend the world. Either we believe God created the world or we do not. We can’t say every reference to Him creating the world is allegory. We will be basically saying that the Bible is untrue and unworthy to be believed.

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      • No. I believe you can. Allegory is not synonymous with untrue. Some truth is hard to explain and therefore a story to describe the truth is the best thing for our finite minds to comprehend.

        A favorite quote…

        “What is it that we humans depend on? We depend on our words… Our task is to communicate experience and ideas to others. We must strive continually to extend the scope of our description, but in such a way that our messages do not thereby lose their objective or unambiguous character … We are suspended in language in such a way that we cannot say what is up and what is down. The word “reality” is also a word, a word which we must learn to use correctly.”  (Niels Bohr)

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      • No. I’m not sure what you are asking in your second question.

        I do not believe allegory is synonymous with untrue. I believe that some truths are simply difficult to put into words and a simple story the best means available. Language is never the actual reality it describes. Language is a bunch of sounds and symbols, we add the meaning…

        Anyhow, a favorite quote…

        “What is it that we humans depend on? We depend on our words… Our task is to communicate experience and ideas to others. We must strive continually to extend the scope of our description, but in such a way that our messages do not thereby lose their objective or unambiguous character … We are suspended in language in such a way that we cannot say what is up and what is down. The word “reality” is also a word, a word which we must learn to use correctly.”  (Niels Bohr)

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      • OK, I still think something is unclear. It is clear from this post that I believe that God literally created the world. When, how, why etcetera may not be clear. My question to you is, do you believe God literally, actually created the world and the universe and all the dimensions in which we exist? Basically, according to your understanding and theology, is God the Creator of all?

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