Time Travel and the Fourth Dimension?
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
2 Peter 3:8
“For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.
The brilliant astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking, just announced this past week that he believes time travel into the future is scientifically possible. At the same time he firmly declared that time travel into the past is scientifically impossible. Hawking explains his thinking that it is simply impossible to “mess with cause and effect. You cannot go back in time for example and do something to obliterate in the present your own existence or someone else’s, or change the outcome of an event, etc. On the other hand, Hawking’s theory of time travel into the future involves a lot of big “ifs; like spending a loooong life time (80 years at least) in a space vehicle large enough to carry a “great amount of fuel and attaining 98% of the speed of light. In the process the lives of the passengers pass much more slowly than those on earth, and when and if they are able to return they will find life on earth centuries into their future. Not very appealing…… in my mind.
Time is a real mystery in so many ways. Man has not come close to plumbing its depths. Scientists, like Albert Einstein, Hawking, Hubble, and Paul Davies, have achieved world renown with their discoveries involving time. We are all familiar with the three dimensions of height, width, and depth. Many scientists who study time call it the fourth dimension. They have discovered that the creation is filled with its own “clocks both in microscopic matter as well as in the largest forms in the outer reaches of space. We are all creatures of time who know nothing of actual timelessness, though some claim their minds have taken them there……..for a brief time.
Augustine believed that time began with God’s creation of matter in the beginning of the universe. Other theologians question that concept when they contemplate the triune God in His eternal pre-existence according to His self-revelation. Time involves succession they point out; one thought, one conversation, one decision, one decree succeeds another. It is difficult to consider existence apart from such logical progression. Though God is Creator and not creature, He is not totally foreign to us, seeing He created us in His image.
The old gospel song goes, “When the roll is called up yonder, and time shall be no more… What does that really mean: “time shall be no more? Since we are creatures of time, and that is all we have known, we cannot imagine existence apart from it. Yet should we fear eternity because we cannot imagine living forever when all we have experienced is “time like an ever rolling stream bears all its sons away? The biological clock never stops ticking in this life; the fountain of youth (plastic surgery?) eventually succumbs to the inevitable. Did Methuselah really live 969 years in this fallen world, we ask ourselves? How did he do that? How did men and women from Adam and Eve to the flood midst thorns, thistles and Murphy’s Law live for hundreds of years? What will it be like to live forever? Oh, there is no doubt we do not come close to understanding time in its wonder and mystery under God’s magnificent design and sovereign hand.
The new heavens and new earth of eternity is new not only in the resurrection bodies we have been promised (see I Corinthians 15), but in the nature of time itself. It will be new in a fashion we cannot contemplate prior to the experience of it. The promise and revelation of God, trusting Him as we claim, gives no reason whatsoever for fear of eternity or of time in eternity. Yet for today, righteous fear in regard to time is this: it is a gift to be used, not buried, with a disciplined view to its investment, just as the Lord expressed in His Parable of the Talents; for we all must give account to Him one day for our time. This is why Paul writes, “Be very careful how you live, not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity (your minutes, hours, and days) because the days are evil…knowing that your labor in the Lord is never in vain.
“Time, like an ever rolling stream, bears all its sons away; they fly forgotten as a dream dies at the opening day.
“Our God, our Help in ages past, our Hope for years to come; Be thou our Guard while troubles last, and our Eternal Home.
(6th and 7th verses of Isaac Watts’ hymn, “Our God Our Help in Ages Past, 1719)
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