Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tempus Fugit

Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and for ever.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning.

Thoughts on my thirty-second birthday:

Our God is always the same, and always new; always both the Ancient of Days and the Bright Morning Star.  Always the One Who Was - never different from his own past.  Always the One Who Is - absolutely himself in the here and now.  Always the One Who Will Be - the promise that tomorrow and in every tomorrow he will be there, newly himself, newly the Same.

I am chained to time, but God is Free.  Time is his servant.  The God of the Bible - the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ - is not timeless.  But he is the Master of time.  He directs it.  I cannot be everything I am in a moment - so much of me is lost in the past, or unknown in the future.  But God is himself, at all times and in all places.  He bears within himself his own past and future, perfectly.  He is the Same.  The newness that meets us each morning in new mercy is the real newness of God, of the God who is always old in his newness and new from ancient days.  Eternal.

Our hope - the hope of the Christian - is not to be rid of time, but to have all our time and our times gathered up and united in his eternity.  To experience Sabbath - sanctified time, the time which is bound to the Lord of Time, the goal and end of all our time and times.


  1. Happy birthday! Great post, even if it hurt my head a little bit. I'm so temporal.

    1. Ta. So far, so good! Apologies for any inadvertently induced headaches - it is good to be temporal! We are created thus...

  2. Happy birthday!

    I liked this.

    Although - can God not be described as timeless? What do you mean by saying he's not timeless?

    1. Thanks for birthday wishes, and glad you liked the post...

      I'm not sure timelessness is a good/Biblical way to talk about God. In particular, I'm not sure the gospel makes sense if God is timeless. People get into all sorts of knots trying to explain the incarnation, for example, on the presupposition that God is 'outside time' in some way - and the same would go for any description of God interacting with us.

      I think it is better to say that time is internal to God, rather than an external restraint upon him. Barth suggests that time is the created mirror of the internal relationships in the Godhead - the eternal begetting of the Son and the eternal procession of the Spirit are mirrored in the succession of states which we experience as time. So there is, through the incarnation, a point of contact between God's 'eternal time' and our fleeting time.

      But even if we don't go for that, just the thing about God interacting with us in a real way (not just pretending) makes timelessness a difficult thing to predicate of God, I think.