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Foundations of Faith, God is Holy II
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Our Eternal God
From the 1928 book The Nature of the Physical World, which helped to popularize the term "Arrow of Time", British Astronomer Arthur Eddington stated:
"Let us draw an arrow arbitrarily. If as we follow the arrow we find more and more of the random element in the state of the world, then the arrow is pointing towards the future; if the random element decreases the arrow points towards the past. That is the only distinction known to physics. This follows at once if our fundamental contention is admitted that the introduction of randomness is the only thing which cannot be undone. I shall use the phrase ‘time’s arrow’ to express this one-way property of time which has no analogue in space."
To put this in simpler terms, as time progresses all things become more random. They move toward entropy, which to some means a state of chaos, however, more accurately, a perfect state of entropy is one of equilibrium.
Further, part of Eddington's conclusion about time is that if time, which is irreversible, were reversed then the then the effect would be "to render the external world nonsensical."
Imagine that. A God who could accomplish a feat (reversing the Arrow of Time) which would "render the external world nonsensical" to man's reasoning. But then, the operative term is "man's reasoning".
Have you ever witnessed or heard of an event that simply did not make sense? There are a great number of examples that we could use to illustrate the Holy nature of God and it's distinction from the reasoning of His creation Man. One example, which we have already explored is His infinitude, our next area of exploration will be His eternal nature.
Perhaps the best place to begin our short exploration of God's eternal quality, is at the end. Someday we are going to die...and that reality drives our very existence.
There is an old saying: From the moment we are born we being to die. However cynical that sounds, it remains a stark reality. Of all the punishment bestowed on Adam and Eve for their rebellion, the separation from the Tree of Life has probably impacted our reasoning to the greatest degree. Man has become governed by time, because of there are two specific qualities of our mortality which drive our very behavior.
Fact 1 -We will exist in a physical form of flesh and blood for a finite amount of time.
Fact 2 - We don't know the amount.
With these two facts in mind, we sally forth in our journey prioritizing key goals that we perceive are necessary to achieve within the constraints of an unknown amount of time. Go to school, start a career, get married, have children, retire, etc., there are a series of events that, depending on your environment, have had arbitrary amounts of time assigned to them. Those that meet the explicit, or implied, chronological benchmarks are considered successful those that do not are perceived as failures.
Consider the four minute mile, when Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mark on May 6th, 1954. Many had bought into the myth that he had done the impossible (which he himself debunked in memoir The Four Minute Mile in 1955). For obvious reasons, he was considered a success. However, it should be noted that Australian John Landy came in second to Bannister in a mile race just three months later with a time of 3 minutes and 59.6 seconds. So was John Landy successful? Not in terms of the race, he came in second (8/10th of a second behind Bannister) and not in terms of the time as he did not set a new record. The successful event was the completion of the mile, not the time.
Thus we introduce a new fact to consider...God is event focused, man is time focused. To illustrate this let's look at two of the more commonly used terms to describe God's Eternal nature: Everlasting and Timeless.
God is certainly everlasting, but that remains a measurement derived from man's reckoning of, and focus on, time. To say that "God is everlasting" is to say that God can be measured within the scope of time in a sequential order. In effect, if we had an infinite number of calendars to organize 24 hour periods we could identify the natural sequence of God's existence and events that occur by their placement on the calendar in sequential order one after another. The challenge to using the term "everlasting" is that it attempts to constrain God to one event at a time, however short the hiatus between events, sequentially. Reckoning God's eternal nature by man's perception of time it to say God did A, then God did B and then God did C, when in fact God can cause any number if events to occur a precisely the same moment.
God may be more accurately described as "timeless" because time is just as useless a measure of God as a ruler would be in measuring the expanse of the known universe. The truly sad part is that man's focus on measuring God's greatness is often based on the duration rather than the event, which lead to disputes that divide us. The first chapter of Genesis is a classic example, disputes break out between "old earthers" and and "literalists" commonly over the amount of time that God took to form everything because we are focusing on the duration of the event rather than the glorious outcome of the event. What if we found out when we arrive in heaven that God created everything spontaneously, would that somehow reduce the awe-inspiring significance of the event?
God knows all of the events that have taken place and will take place because He is the cause of those events. He is the root cause of all things. It is man that futilely tries to measure the time between events, and then attempt, in vain, to project the next event by assuming that God is constrained to work sequentially.
God is Holy because He is Eternal
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