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How Does God Relate to Time? - Elenore Stump

Updated: Jul 18

How Does God Relate to Time?

In this excellent 11-minute video Elenore Stump ( Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University where she has taught since 1992.) is interviewed by Robert Lawrence Kuhn on Closer to Truth. Closer To Truth is the definitive source for Cosmos, Consciousness and Meaning. Filmed on location, Closer To Truth features leading philosophers and scientists exploring humanity’s deepest questions. - from Closer to Truth

Let us do some Deep Thinking!

First of all this is how Moses interpreted God’s view of time in Psalm 90:4,: “For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”

The eternity of God is contrasted with the temporality of man. Our lives are short and frail, but God does not weaken or fail with the passage of time.

The physical world you and I relate to has four known space-time dimensions: length, width, height (or depth) and time. God dwells in a different realm—the spirit realm—beyond the perception of our physical senses. These realms overlap. God is the Creator, so he is not limited by the principles and mechanisms He sets in motion. Just as you and I can build a home and go in and out of it and do or change things, in fact we keep it functioning well when it breaks down is good analogy of how God providentially and sovereignly maintains creation.

Isaiah 57:15 15For this is what the high and exalted One says- he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.

Since we know “God is spirit” (John 4:24), what then is His relationship to time?

The marking of time is irrelevant to God because He transcends it, He put it into motion with the creation of the Cosmos. Philosophers and Scientists always try to apply reason to understand God, which does not apply. Reason is a Human construct, a tool to HELP understand reality, it is not an end unto itself. Our finite understanding limits us which makes all of theses realities abstract to us – we cannot understand God or the details of His creation!

God is above and outside of the sphere of time He sees all of eternity’s past and eternity’s future. The time that passes on earth is of no consequence to God’s timeless perspective. God perceives one Eternal Now with everything in it.

The description of God from the Holy Scriptures is far removed from man’s condition: “The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10).

A simple understanding is that time is duration. Our clocks measure change or, more precisely, our timepieces are benchmarks of change that indicate the passage of time. Time then is a necessary precondition for change and change is a sufficient condition to establish the passage of time. Which is perceived as whenever there’s change of any kind we know that time has passed.

What is Time?
What is Time?

We see this as we go through life, as we age. And we cannot recover the minutes that have passed by. Science has begun to understand that everything as a clock built into to it, for example our biological clocks, our circadian rhythm etc.

Right now, your time on this earth is running through an hourglass, it is limited. You will die and meet your creator. Consider then your life and how you will account for it before God, Seek Jesus in all things as our vaporous life slips the bonds of earth into eternity.


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