Though decay and increased chaos can be used to see that time moves forward, they are not why it does so. The Day approaches. Time is taking us to a destination. It’s not simply carrying us downstream into the depths of pointless despair. We are to gather together to exhort and provoke one another to love and good works because what we do matters and has eternal consequence.
Our Father’s default setting is dynamic progression. Life moves forward from seed to body, blades of grass to fields of green, trees to forests, fish to schools, fowl to flocks, heifers to herds, one flesh to families, families to tribes, and tribes to nations. His blessing brings increase in quality and quantity. Conversely, wicked disobedience brings the curse of caustic decay. Though many other examples of this principle can be found, Genesis 1-3 and Deuteronomy 28 are sufficient to illustrate the point.
Onward, forward, and go are imperatives intrinsic in the kingdom of God; flinching, backsliding, and turning away win no commendations from the King.
Time is the first thing that God explicitly sanctified. God’s primary sanctuary wasn’t matter (an idol), space (a temple), but time. Matter, space, and time conceptually correspond with body, soul, and spirit. Scripture attests to the difficulty of differentiating between soul and spirit. Time and space are equally intertwined, which is why physicists often refer to them as the space-time continuum. The introduction of time into our universe and spirit into Adam follow a similar pattern.
Jesus shined the spirit of the law into every dark corner of religiosity, threatening the power base and sensibilities of the establishment from the temple to grain fields. Of all His iconoclastic behaviors—feasting with publicans, befriending prostitutes, touching lepers, flipping tables—none upset them as much as His deliberate actions on the Sabbath. His favorite activity on the seventh day of the week was healing people, but on this particular occasion His disciples were helping themselves to a snack.
Day One measures a definite value of time. We know time is there because it is being measured for us. One way time has been classically defined—or qualified through measurement— has been “matter in motion through space.” But if the Bible is true, then this cannot be what time is because time came to be on Day One and space shows up on the second day.
Time “flows” differently for God (Ps. 90:4). Never forgetting that He is above time, we need to understand that when He interacts with it, He experiences it at a higher level than we do. Days and years are measures of time. But the measurement of time is no more time than the measurement of space is space. To say that the moon is 238,900 miles away from the earth tells us how much space exists between the two, but not what that space is. In the same way, a day can tell us how much time has passed but not what time is.
A thirty second interaction led to ten months of intensive study, twenty-six hours of live teaching, seventeen years of walking it out, two of which were spent writing it down. 57,133 words later, Wind, Water, and Fire: Understanding the Holy Spirit through Biblical Symbolism is now a published work.
“I know what time is, but if someone asks me, I cannot tell him.” Augustine of Hippo.
We discussed the differences between kairos and chornos time in the post “It’s About Time.” We begin now to grapple with the central questions of what time is and why it moves in only one direction. Both of these are troublesome and have been so to philosophers and scientists for millennia.
God speaks to Moses from a thorn bush. The holiness of God has invaded the curse of the ground and commands Moses to bare his feet in the presence of the Almighty. The Lord has plans for this prince-turned-shepherd, this child of Jacob from Egypt. He is to be a prophet, a savior. He will have mastery of snakes, power over leprosy, and call the wind to divide the waters. This encounter deals with who Moses was, what God intends him to be, and who he would foreshadow.
I spent the first two decades of my adult life installing office furniture for a living. The trade is project driven, particularly for independent contractors. It proved a tough business model because economies of scale were hard to come by. We made our money on skilled labor, not tangible goods. Widgets are scalable. Williams, Wades, and Wandas can’t be scaled into profits; they have to be sped up.