Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Time Passes


“Time passes” wrote Dylan Thomas in Under Milk Wood, “Listen. Time passes.” It certainly does. The ebbing away of an old year and the promise of a new one makes us acutely aware of the passing of time. The joys and sorrows of 2023 are gone and can never be recovered. Crane our necks as we may, we cannot peer into the future.
In his great work, The Confessions, Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) ponders the nature of time. He can’t quite pin it down, reflecting, “What, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks me, I do not know. Yet I say with confidence that I know that if nothing passed away, there would be no past time; and if nothing were still coming, there would be no future time; and if there were nothing at all, there would be no present time.
Augustine addresses the question, ‘What was God doing before the creation of the world?’ He points out that the question is based on a misunderstanding. ‘Before’ is a time-bound category. We should not think that God waited for ages and ages before creating the universe. The world originated not in time, but with time. Modern day scientists agree. The clock only started ticking at the beginning of creation.
God is infinite and eternal. He had no beginning and will have no end. His life does not depend on anything outside of himself. The Lord God  exists beyond the world of time and space that he created. The vast universe cannot contain him. His power is not diminished by the passing of time. As the Bible says, “from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.”
God created all things by his Word and through his Spirit to display his wisdom, power and goodness. What the Bible calls ‘sin’ is our rebellion against the Creator, our stubborn refusal to live for his glory. But God did not write off fallen humanity. He entered the world of time and space as one of us to rescue human beings from sin. John writes in his Gospel, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Time passes. The old year has gone and a new year has dawned. Many opportunities will no doubt present themselves in 2024. Above all, let us seek the Lord while he may be found and call upon him while he is near.