You can’t take your Rolex with you

An interesting post at De Regnis Duobus today, about how time turns pleasure into vanity:

Perhaps you have been haunted by the inexplicable feeling that your very environment, the only environment you have ever known (namely time), is foreign. Could time, the very stuff of life and building block of society that greets us every morning with the buzzing of the alarm clock, and then pushes us through each day, actually be an enemy? As bizarre as it sounds, I suggest that it is, and as the Preacher argues in the book of Ecclesiastes, this enemy adversely affects all of our toil under the sun. In a word, time renders all of man’s earthly pursuits utterly pointless.

That’s a pretty bold statement about time, and it made me wonder: Is time inherently a force of decay? Will time join the three space dimensions of X, Y, and Z in their ReCreation for the New Heavens and New Earth? Will there be time in the consummation, or will God be bringing us out of time, as He is? Is that why heaven will be “eternal”? Rev 21 tells us that heaven will have no sun, no moon, and no night. The given reason for no sun or moon is that there will be no need of light; but the stated reason for their creation was “for signs and for seasons, and for days and years”, so wouldn’t their removal possibly indicate that there is no further need to mark time — because there is no more time?

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8 Responses

  1. While we will be ‘outside of time’ (time itself having passed away) in the new heavens and new earth, It won’t be static, it won’t always be the same. There will be growth and progression. As we enter heaven with tears in our eyes, they are quickly wiped away. So we learned something right at the beginning of eternity. I think we keep learning. And it just keeps getting better.

    The question is: is growth and progression a mark of time passage?

  2. time itself having passed away

    You say that like you’re certain — is there an explicit scripture reference I’m forgetting?

  3. It’s tricky, but ‘Eternal’ implies, at least for me, that there is no ‘time.’ So I should have said “as we know it.” Time as we know it passes because it marks seasons and such. It also suggest a countdown or a deadline. There are no such things in eternity – History will not be stretching out for a goal – we’ll be living in the goal.

    …but of course if we learn, grow and development – that means the new heavens and earth will have a history.

    I don’t think so well on Fridays..

  4. ‘Eternal’ implies, at least for me, that there is no ‘time.’

    Hmmm, I have no problem interpreting ‘Eternal’ as ‘Time keeps going on forever’

    Time as we know it passes because it marks seasons and such.

    You mean like when we read an Echo comment all the way to the end? [wink]

  5. Time is a physical concept and operates only when applied within the paradigm of physical existence. Even within our physical existence we may and do travel, at least backwards, in time as we think of the past and experience its emotions and feelings in the present. So, even using this example shows that the past in thought can become the present in fact, because at the time we are remembering, the thought of what happened is no longer a thought in the past.

    Outside of physical time, within a personal relationship in heaven with our Heavenly Father, there will no time. It will be as if all that happens is a thought process, in this case in the perfect harmony of of love joy and peace, operating without any concept that is capable of measuring physical distances to what happened before, or might happen that has not already happened.

    Although in our present physical presence we quite naturally apply physical measurements, such as time, to our explorations in thought of what heaven may be like, those measurements will not apply once outside of time.

    As to the well founded suggestion that time may be our enemy, that may be rather a strong word to use, but time is certainly a profound restriction within our ‘time’ on earth, though it need not be, and is not for many when in the presence of their loving Heavenly Father in thought, because at that ‘time’ there is no time.

    We emerge from having been outside of time in the presence of our Heavenly Father, to find that our physical being has experienced time, even though our spiritual being has not. But that is no different than, in a minor way, the fact that physical time in a space station runs differently to what it does on earth.

    So perhaps the Rolex might be irrelevant, or should that read irreverent, not only in heaven but also in time of prayer.

  6. Time is a physical concept and operates only when applied within the paradigm of physical existence…

    It seems you don’t believe that we will be resurrected to new, glorified, but still physical bodies.

  7. I believe that in the power of the resurrection, a physical body is a simple matter of adaption as and if required to suit different circumstances, in a similar way to how I read God in the bible as being and doing. throughout OT history.

    I read of nothing associated with our communication with a loving Heavenly Father in heaven which intrinsically requires a physical body.

    But I am open to any other ideas, not wishing to offend any who think differently, or even being very concerned about how I present myself when, God willing, I stand before the glory of God. I think I will be far too thrilled to even notice if I wear a body or not.

    God is spirit and those who worship him do so in spirit and in truth.

    To be raised incorruptible does not mean to me the necessity of having a physical body, at least not like the one I have now, which is created to provide for the activities of eating, drinking, sleeping and sex.

    At the very least, I think, any form or shape that is adopted by the resurrected soul will be so different as to be unrecognisable in terms of physical time, nor could it be in a configuration that requires the resurrected body to obey the laws of time.

    For me, it is difficult to understand how any part of the physical body that is now mine could transcend obligations to time in some future existence, but that is only the thinking of my limited mind, which is brainwashed by the language of time.

    Of one thing I feel certain, returning to the title of this conversation, whatever shape becomes mine it will not need a Rolex watch to tell the time.

  8. First of all, let there be no doubt that in the New Heavens and New EARTH we will have bodies. We will not just be souls.

    For Scriptural proof, see 1 Cor 15:35-57, esp v.53. But honestly, if you’re curious about this point, don’t just read v.53, but read the whole passage. Actually, you’d do well to read the whole chapter, which is all about the resurrection.

    Further, in this passage, Paul talks about having spiritual bodies, which we would normally contrast with physical. But here, it should be a capital “S” for Spiritual, meaning of the Spirit. Paul makes that very clear in the passage. We will be completely and perfectly in the image of God. We will be incorruptible. Our bodies will be raised and we will be rejoined to them. This is what the saints groan for in the breaking of the 5th seal in Rev 6.

    Also see Luke 24:36-42. There Jesus – in his resurrected body – shows that he has physical existence (see my hands and side), and eats fish. This is extremely comforting for me, because I love food. :) Although, I can’t say that I hope we will still have to go to the bathroom. Yuck. But anyway, Paul says in 1 Cor 15 that our bodies will be like his body, and that’s what he means by Spiritual body. Remember, capital “S”s are a matter of opinion, since Greek didn’t have lower case letters at the time.

    Furthermore, in Ecclesiastes, the enemy is not time, but Death. What makes this life vain? The fact that we die, and everything we worked so hard for will lose all its meaning. Death is the enemy, not time. And it just so happens that that’s another issue addressed in 1 Cor 15. Boy that Paul sure is sharp, isn’t he? Look at how he anticipated all of this in his letter written 2000 years ago.

    We have to remember something. There is a distinction to be made between forever and eternity. There is a distinction to be made between finite and infinite. These distinctions are important here, and must be maintained.

    Let’s first talk about distinguishing between forever and eternity. Let’s think back to our high school geometry classes. If we say that time is like a line, then forever is like a ray. It has a beginning point, but then continues on to infinity. But this infinite extension only goes in one direction. It has a beginning. This is how we should view our existence in the age to come. Notice, by the way, the word “age”, and please recognize that this is biblical language. “Age” is a temporal word referring to time. Paul calls it the “age to come”. Time. Anyway, our time in the age to come should be viewed not as a line that is infinitely extended in all directions, but as a ray, that is infinitely extended in one direction only, namely forward.

    Contrast that with eternal or eternity. Only God is eternal. To be eternal is actually quite a bit more than a mathematical line as opposed to our mathematical ray. God in his eternal, divine Being does not experience time. This is why it is said that he cannot and does not change. He is timeless, and he alone. This is a necessary consequence of recognizing that God has no beginning, and that he is an infinite Being. Some people ask, what was God doing before the beginning of the world? Wrong question. There is no before for God. God is timeless. The past, present and future for God are all one eternal NOW. His Being, his existence are not divided into past, present and future. This should not be hard to accept when you stop thinking about time and start thinking about space.

    Look around the room you are in. Where is God? He is everywhere, right? He is on your left, and on your right. He is in front of you and behind you. But is only a PART of him in front of you and another part on your right? No. ALL of God is in front of you, ALL of him on your right. God is everywhere with the entirety of his Being. And yet at the same time, he is not anywhere, if anywhere means physical space. God transcends space. He is not bound by any kind of spatial limitation. He created space and time. It is the same with time. He is not bound by the rules of the creation.

    God is not finite like we are, he is infinite. He transcends space and time.

    And when we are resurrected, we will remain finite. How do I know? Where’s the Scripture text to prove it? Where does the Bible say that we won’t become infinite? Well, my answer to that is that it doesn’t need to say that. Only God has no beginning. We will not ever become God. We will not ever be able to see the Father in all his glory. Why? Finite eyes, that’s why. We couldn’t possibly take in the sight. We would have to be God to comprehend him fully, to experience him fully. But thankfully, he will give us unending time in which to know him. Yet we will still be finite.

    There is one thing that can never be changed about us. We have a beginning. Once something has a beginning, it cannot be undone. We are not eternal like God. It would be impossible to make it so. Our souls are not eternal, they are created. Everything but God is finite and created and thus has a beginning. God alone has no beginning. Even if God could somehow make us just like him, we wouldn’t be like him, because he was the one who made us what we are. The superiority of God cannot be avoided. The fact that he created us cannot ever be undone.

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