This year I remembered to set my clocks to Daylight Saving Time for the first time in about four years. I got myself up after supper on Saturday and changed a ridiculously large number of obvious and not so obvious clocks in my home – forward one hour! I forgot to change the television and the car clocks, but who’s perfect?
Who hasn’t thought about the concept of time and tried to define it sometime in their lives? Religion classes started me on the subject, and I haven’t ever stopping thinking about time and eternity.
To me “time” means: 1) a system of keeping a more precise track of chronological events and 2) a beginning and an end.
Dictionary.reference.com has these three definitions for “eternity” among others:
–infinite time; duration without beginning or end
–eternal existence, especially as contrasted with mortal life: the eternity of God
–Theology. the timeless state into which the soul passes at a person’s death
I have always been intrigued by definition of eternity as “the timeless state.” There is no “time” in that inexhaustible forever? Does that mean nothing happens, no events? There is no growth or change? The belief is that God always was and always will be. Does the timeless state mean any event can be visited randomly by choice; and chronology therefore has no relevance? Or perhaps a new concept will replace “time.” Whatever could it be?
Changing our clocks seems vulgar regarding the concept of time. We even all don’t agree about Daylight Saving Time and several locations in the U.S. don’t use it: Arizona except for the Navajo Nation, the counties in Upper Michigan that border Wisconsin, and Hawaii all stick with Standard Time.
Then there is “apparent solar time” based on the sun’s location in the sky (like a sundial) and “solar time” based on our clock—24 hours. But Earth Rotation Time, based on the globe spinning on its axis one complete rotation, is 23 hours and 56 minutes. Our calendars are based on Solar Time (24 hours), and once every four years enough overages of 4-minute segments accumulate to create an extra February day.
We adjust our systems of time to meet our needs: military, scientists, stores with seasons and holidays, monasteries, crooks and burglars, schools, and young families. Global Time Zones exist because the world has become the Village yet we all need to sleep! Think about it: stock trading, business trading with delivery expectations (railroad, plane, and trucking schedules), television, albums, medication, getting a diploma, and keeping events of history alive in each of the groups we belong to. Lots and lots of mini and major time systems!
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Above it all, of course, is God’s time, the Creator who “always was and always will be.” God is the whole of eternity. God established time when he begain the work of creation.
2 Peter 3:8
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
Genesis 1:3-5, 8; 2:2a
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. . . .
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
. . .
[God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Verses from NIV