The Bible teaches us that we will do well to remember that, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)
What this means is that God does not care about time in the same way that men care about time. God dwells “outside” the universe, the scope of which is not vast enough to embody an infinite Creator God, and thus does not interact with time in the same way that we who are mortal and physical do. Unfortunately, some have taken this to mean that God cannot tell time, which is not only erroneous, but downright foolish.
Not only can God tell time, but He is the very inventor of the concept of time.
In the realm of Christian evidences and apologetics, the Parable of the Unseen Watchmaker, is a rhetorical device to explain a rather simple, yet important idea. If you are walking along the beach and, spotting a bit of shiny metal in the sand, you investigate only to discover that you have found a ticking watch, keeping perfect time; you understand, without being told, that somewhere, out-there in the world, there is a watchmaker. Only a very foolish person would believe that a watch could “evolve,” or otherwise appear on the beach, through the gradual erosion of sand and the movement of the water upon the shore.
In the same way, when we consider the world, with all its moving parts, it is reasonable to assume that there was a maker of that world. The illustration becomes even more to the point when we recognize that we live on a moving piece in a gigantic watch, the whole of which was created for our benefit, so that we could, as people living on the world God made, tell the time.
When men make watches, they use springs, or gears, or other small parts, in order to create machine that will mark time. God made His watch using fiery plasma and huge rocks, and we have yet to create anything that quite compares.
In Genesis 1, we read the following: “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years.’” (Genesis 1:14; NKJV)
The rotation of the planet around the sun, the rotation of the moon around the planet, and the movement of the stars in the sky act as a perfect time-piece, not only keeping time, but also, through their movements regulating how we experience and interact with time on this planet. The moon has a cycle of 28 days, exactly four weeks, and in this cycle, the shadow of the earth upon the moon, with quarter moons, half-moons, full moons, new moons, and the like, keeps perfect time. This is facilitated by the extraordinary fact, a mathematically mind-boggling fact when considered, that although there is a vast size discrepancy between the sun and the moon (ie. the sun is far, far larger than the moon), they are positioned in the sky in such a way that they are, to the eye, the exact same size. And, not only are they positioned exactly in the sky as to be the same size, but the whole of the rotations are on such a perfect plane as to make the patterns of the moon consistently, and easily readable.
Moreover, the earth, revolving around the sun at a constant speed, and rotating as it does, creates a year, and on most of the globe, this year is easily divided into seasons. Months, seasons, years and days all play out in a continuous cycle, and the shining lights in the sky tell us, as surely as any man-made clock, where we are in the cycle, or, to put it another way, to answer the question, “what time is it?”
The whole of the affair is, in every sense, a moving watch, keeping perfect time, and announcing that time to those of us upon the globe, with symbols (like the patterns of the moon) and regular occurrences (like the rising of the sun) that can’t be missed. Any watch made by man requires constant winding, or at least a new battery every now and then; but God set His watch in motion and it’s still keeping perfect time today.
It strains credulity to think that such a perfect watch as the one we live on, just happened by chance, that its perfection as created as the result of a mindless and chaotic explosion throwing matter around an uncaring and otherwise empty universe.
God not only can tell time, He created the very concept of time. He made yesterday, and He made today. He is the one who holds tomorrow in His hand. Considering this then, let us consider the good counsel of the Psalmist, who wrote: “Today, if you will hear His voice: ‘Do not harden your hearts.’” (Psalm 95:7b-8a; NKJV)
If you would like to learn more about the One God who made the heavens and the earth, and of His Son who died for you, the church of Christ invites you to worship and study with us. We meet at 234 Chapel Drive, Gallipolis, Ohio. Likewise, if you have any questions, please share them with us through our website chapelhillchurchofchrist.org.
Jonathan McAnulty is minister of Chapel Hill Church of Christ.