Monday, May 23, 2011
WHAT TIME IS IT?
By now, it is clear I am going to renege on my previous commitment to write on marijuana. That will be a labor of love reserved for another day.
Now, I believe the Bible teaches Jesus is going to return, and He will first protect his Church, by taking them away from this Earth, which will endure tribulation. (although it, in fact, is already enduring tribulation, and has since the beginning of recorded time. But, it is getting worse, simply because humans can damage the Earth, kill each other, and destroy ecosystems like never before).
This blog is not about theology, but about paradigms. So, here is a paradigm for ya: Why do we discuss WHEN Christ will return (unbelievers, bear with me)? First of all, time is a human construct. There is NO SUCH THING. That can be validated scientifically and, for those who believe in the Bible, through Scripture.
The concept of the space-time continuum originated with Einstein. In the most fundamental,kindergarten sense, it is the idea that, after the Big Bang, the universe as we know it emerged in four dimensions (Since that time, the idea of eleven dimensions has emerged which, of course, is a subject for another day). Three of these dimensions are spatial, which we can discern with our eyes. The fourth cannot be seen, which is "time". So, we identify EVERYTHING in our creation by three spatial dimensions, and time. For instance, I am going to the local grocery store. I know it exists, because I can identify where it is in a three dimensional world. I also know it is there NOW. Viola: the space time continuum!
So, although scientists recognize the space-time continuum, which is literally HOW we know natural things exist, it REALLY would not exist in the absence of man. The whole idea of a "space-time continuum", i.e. three dimensions plus time, was invented by people. We are natural, EXTREMELY finite beings, so we have to think up this stuff, in order to understand everything around us. The universe, according to the theory of relativity, is ever-expanding. It expands in all directions. Three dimensions, not just one. Yet, mankind thinks of time in a way that is linear.
We (non scientists) tend to think (such and such) is going to happen at a particular time. For instance, it is going to rain tomorrow, or CHRIST IS GOING TO RETURN ON MAY 21st, 2011. The whole idea is fallacious. Modern cosmological theory contends that the universe is INFINITE, a concept which our minds are literally not engineered to understand. It is supposed to be expanding and contracting, and engaged in a series of big bangs...blah, blah, blah. Anyway, this is not a linear concept. But, we think LINEAR. In other words, we view this world as traveling from point A to point B, using that make believe railraod we call "time".
Christians fall victim to this, because the Bible teaches that Christ WILL return. However, he stated, "I am who I am" (Exodus 3:14). Revelation 4:8 shows us the angels praising God by singing, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." The footnote in my study Bible states, "God's power and holiness extend from eternity past to eternity yet to come." Also, reference Isaiah 41:4.
SO, WHEN PEOPLE FEEL COMPELLED TO NAME A TIME WHEN CHRIST IS RETURNING, THEY ARE OPERATING IN THEIR OWN LIMITED PARADIGM. GOD'S PARADIGM IS BIGGER. WE INVENTED TIME, BECAUSE WE THINK IN A LINEAR FASHION. GOD JUST IS. PURE AND SIMPLE. WRAP YOUR BRAIN AROUND THAT, IF YOU CAN.
I want to present two views: Secular, and Christian. Most people in these camps THINK they are opposite from one another, but how wrong they are!
Modern cosmological theory states (arguably)that our universe consists of a never ending series of big bangs. It is not linear, because there is no end. IT JUST IS. Do you see the big clock at the beginning of this blog entry? Twice a day, that hand winds around full circle. It starts at 12 midnight, and eventually it ends up pointing, again, to the twelve. It has come full circle. This illustrates the cyclical big bang theory.
Regardless of denominational persuasions, true Christians agree on this: God created a perfect world, but it was contaminated with sin. God solved this problem in the person of Jesus Christ. The end of the current age is coming, with the return of Christ. Then, the world will be RESTORED TO WHAT IT ONCE WAS. Bible students often speak of God's dispensations (plans for the ages), but the fact is, we are NOT proceeding from point A to point B. There is NOT a time in the future when we will end up somewhere where we have never been. According to Christian theology,the purpose of Christ's sacrifice was to restore the ORIGINAL relationship we had with God, i.e. to make things right. So,think of Adam's fall in the Garden at 12:00 on a clock dial. Then human history progressed to 1:00, 3:00, 7:00, and we may be at the 11th hour. Who knows? But, according to our faith, one thing is sure: the hand will once again be on the 12:00. God's original plan for man will be restored. It is not a linear trip to some future, as of yet unrealized, destination. Christ is ultimately setting BACK the hands of time. We are going BACK to where we started. Because, you see, God isn't GOING TO BE anything. He just is.
Here is a take away: Don't plan on "being". Don't look forward to "future" events. JUST BE! God has made us in His own image. He wants us to emulate Him. He said, "I am that I am". HE JUST IS. So we, too, should just be what He wants us to be. When we do that, we understand His salvation, because PAST does not really exist, not does future. His salvation is from everlasting to everlasting. He has wiped the slate clean, and restored us to what He initially chose us to be.