Man was created as an eternal creature. Due to the sin of the first man, Adam, man’s ability has changed from eternal to finite, though his nature remains eternal.
It is helpful to define both Time and Eternity to fully understand this concept. First Time is finite. It is measured in linear terms, such as beginning, end and length. Whereas Eternity cannot be measured because there is no definable beginning or end, and thereby no measurable length.
God who created us is Eternal. From the creation story, we read that we were created in his image. This would indicate that we look like him. Well, from the description we have of God, he is invisible, we know the image is not based on looks, but must be on nature, that being eternal. What this means for us as humans, and as individuals, is that we will never cease to exist. More on this in a moment.
When God created this world, he created time as well, so that Time can be described as a created thing. Knowing this and that time by definition has a beginning and an end, we know that we only have so much time left before the world we know and live in will cease to exist in linear form. It was created in such a way that we cannot go back to an earlier point in time, except to examine recorded history. We cannot move any faster forward in time than the mechanisms put in place to define time for us. Per Genesis chapter 1 and verse 16 where we are told that he made the Sun to rule the day, and the moon to rule the night, and he included the stars as points of reference in times passing.
So we have a place where this created thing we call Time exists, it is called the Universe. Pretty big too. Scientist give us measurements of this place, some more accurate now with the aid of newer technology, but most really just a guess based on what we can measure. Nonetheless, it does have a measurement, and has a beginning and an end. The question is now, where is Eternity? But first back to our limited abilities now as sin born creatures, where our comprehension of time itself is difficult at best and confusing at worst. Also we are completely incapable to find a definable measure to apply to Eternity. We are told that the Universe is at least 10 billion light years in diameter, but who can really define in practical terms what a light year is? If I am told something is a mile in diameter, I can pretty much comprehend that, but tell me it is a billion miles in diameter, and my gray matter becomes gray goo. So 10 billion light years? Though I know that science has a definition of this measure, and with study and reason, it can be understood, it will never be understood practically by the natural human. Now to spend a lot of time trying to understand the depths of this can cause your face to look like that of Einstein’s, not so pretty, but in the end getting on a USSR stamp is not too shabby. The time it takes getting from a USSR postal unit to a US postal unit will be the same to all observers regardless of their relative motion… Oh goodness, gray goo again.
So our world that we live on, in this journey through time, can be measured in two ways, one is linear, and the other is polar. The world spins in the direction of the linear, That is from East to West, thus moving us through the length of time allotted to us. My brother believes that if you speed toward the west you will travel slower, and to the east you will travel faster. But I have learned that the trip from the east coast to the west coast of the United States takes the same amount of time either way, no matter how fast I travel. I guess it all is relative? The polar measurement takes us from North to South, and is a point to point length that changes direction once you past one of the points. If you travel the linear either direction, like from East to West, you will always travel toward the west, the direction never changes. Gives us a really cool duel analogy of us as finite beings with an eternal nature. Now if you take a linear view of east to west, and not a global view, then you can imagine if you started at any point and started traveling in one direction, you would never get to the opposite point. This kind of helps to make sense of the word of God when he said that he has cast our sins as far as the East is from the West. If we continue to use the analogy of the spin of this earth as moving us forward in time, then if East marks the beginning of time and West the end, we could assume from the statement concerning our sins that God has dealt with every sin, from every age, from every human, from the start of time to the end. This give fresh hope concerning our salvation, that it is Eternal in nature, not affected by any actions of failure or sin even after we are saved. But what must our Lord Jesus Christ have suffered, if on the cross he bare all sins for all humans, for all times?
Now picture in your mind two things, first is Time as a created thing, even though it is revealed to us in the form of the universe that is 10 billion light years in diameter, think about it in linear form, like a box, but in it from beginning to end, the all between are the events that has made up our lives as humans, and those events that have not yet taken place. You will have to imagine that you have the ability to look down on it as a THING so your imagination can consider this. Then, Secondly, picture Eternity as everything else, no boundaries, no discernible shape, no measurable length. This is how I believe God sees Time, including this world we live in. So it is not hard to imagine as you look at this picture, how God could know our future. It does not so much have to be that he set it all in stone either, but allowed his creation move forward with free will. Humans choosing how they live, where they go, how they act, and what they believe. He could certainly look ahead (which we as finite creatures cannot do) and he can see what choices we made. We can even use conjecture to see how when we pray for someone, like asking God to send someone to a friend or loved one with the gospel, how this may alter the outcome of the future for that person? But something else I thought of with this in mind, is the prophets of old. How they could foretell of future events with precise detail. We see this clearly with all of the prophecies concerning the coming of Christ into this world, and of his death. Is it possible that God could allow the brain of that prophet operate on an eternal level, providing them with a view like the one I described with Time as a box? I often think about the Apostle John, and the vision he had of the Revelation of Christ. His recording was described as though he was there experiencing it as it happened, and shifted from one period of time to another. There is way more to this subject that can possibly be explained in clear terms so long as we live in this finite body.
Which brings me to my last subject, though mentioned early on in this article, and that is the fact that though our ability is finite, we as God’s created beings are Eternal in nature. What this means is that every human will never cease to exist. This body we live in is finite as is Time, but when the body fades, we simply move into the eternal realm. When you hear someone say to you “Where will you spend Eternity?” there is such weight to those words, because like it or not, it is the nature of our being, we move on when the temporal has failed. The Gospel is God’s message to his creation, that though they were created for him, they failed, and sinned, and no longer had access in his presence, (The weight and seriousness of this truth affects every single person), But that his Son, Jesus Christ paid the price and penalty for man’s sin, the gospel offers Eternal life to any who simply believe it. For those that do not believe, they choose to move into Eternity without God. But it is God that is Eternity, he is Light, Love, Hope, Joy, Beauty, and anything that is anything good, to choose to go into Eternity without God is to live without Light and love and all the rest that is good in an existence that is not measured in time as we know, but one where the BOX can be viewed from start to finish with no way to change its outcome, no way to change your place.
God is Good, God is Love, God is Light. Trust him right now before this old world stops the spin and we all move into Eternity.