Stop and think about something or someone infinite. No, really. Try and do it. Try to think of all it entails. I’ll wait.
If you really tried, you know how difficult it is. How can you really fathom it in your mind? In our continuing series, “Who Are You, God?,” Sandra makes a valiant effort at helping us not to fully comprehend the Infinite, but to understand Him more. It is certainly a worthwhile read. Enjoy your God further and feel free to comment. – Arthur
Who Are You, God? Infinite!
Jonathan Edwards stated, “Of all kinds of knowledge that we can ever obtain, the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of ourselves, are the most important.” Knowledge of God. When we study biology, we classify organisms by the things they have in common. We use the categories of kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. We say that God is “sui generis.” It is a neo-latin word that means “in a class of its own.” We cannot compare God to anything or anyone else. When we say that He is infinite, we can not wrap our mind around infinite. All we know about infinite is that it is the negation of finite. We can introduce analogical language, but as Augustine said around 400 AD, “Anything that we affirm about God analogically, we must deny univocally.” He is the one that also said, “God is an infinite circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”
We are creaturely. We are localized in one place at one time. I live in my body that currently resides in the city of South Pasadena. I entered this planet on November 16, 1958 and there will be a day that I leave this planet. What governs time? A day is based on the rotation of the earth on its axis. A year is based on the time it takes for the earth to orbit once around the sun. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Dates and places do not confine God. He is the one who created the mechanisms that measure time!
How much of our life is governed and directed by the clock? At a certain time, we wake up and at a certain time we go to sleep. The clock keeps our lives orderly and keeps us all on the same schedule. Our watches synchronize us all. We all understand what it means when someone tells us that we plan to meet next Tuesday at 7 pm. There is also an expectation about age. When children reach 5 years old, they start kindergarten. When they reach 16 years of age, they can drive a car. When they are 18 years old, they are considered an adult. Telling time is one of the first things that we teach our children and celebrating birthdays are done routinely.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.” The linear nature of time keeps things sorted out. The future is before us, the past is behind us, and we live in this infinitesimally small sliver of time called the present. The present quickly becomes the past even before we can say the word, “now.” There is no stopping of this progression. The things in the past are only kept alive by our memories of them. Time is inextricably linked with knowledge. Our knowledge is limited because we cannot see the things that will happen in the future and we quickly forget the things that have happened in the past. God is not so. The present, past and future are constant and full realities to God. In Psalm 139:4, we are assured of God’s deep and infinite knowledge of all, “Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all.” This makes it quite impossible for anyone to ever think, “I’ve never done anything wrong.”
In 635 BC, the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus said, “You can’t step in the same river twice.” Time, like a river, is an avenue of change. We are more “human changings” than we are human beings. The only One who is not changing is God, the one and only true Being. He is the great I AM. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) Without God’s Holy Spirit, we would be swept along the river of the time, filling our heads with all the gadgets, distractions, and entertainment of this age. Satan is also quite savvy to make the most of his time. After the temptations of Jesus, it says in <st2:bcv_smarttag w:st=”on”>Luke 4:13, “When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.” Satan is doing his best to keep us from the Truth. But, by God’s grace, as we are being swept along, there is an anchor or lighthouse that we can cling onto in His Word. “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower or the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.” I Peter 1:24, 25
If the ticking of the clock does not confine God, does God have a time reference? There are two Greek words that are commonly translated “time” in the New Testament. One of them is “chronos” and the other word is “kairos”. “Chronos” has to do with chronological time, the calendar time. “Kairos” has to do with the opportune time, an event or season of time.” Jesus said in <st2:bcv_smarttag w:st=”on”>Mark 1:15, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” Another verse in the Bible that uses “kairos” is found in <st2:bcv_smarttag w:st=”on”>Luke 12:56 when Jesus said, “You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?”
God is infinite, but at the same time, there is a spiritual clock that is ticking away. In II Peter 3:8, we are told, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” As D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “Divine chronology is based on moral conditions.” God acts and intervenes in history as well as individual’s lives when the moral condition is ripe for redemption and sanctification.
How then should we live? In a way, we are all bound by time, but as children of God there should be a spirit of “timelessness” about us. We are well aware of “chronos,” but we need to be even more aware of “kairos.” <st2:bcv_smarttag w:st=”on”>Ephesians 5:15,16 says, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” In Al Mohler’s blog, he commented on the gay marriage issue that is being legislated in New England. He said, “New England is losing the remnants of its Christian memory. We need a new generation of Christians who, like Jonathan Edwards, will bring the Gospel anew to New England. New England was the cradle of colonial America. Is it now the cradle of America’s secular future?” As one of my Sunday School students, Emily, mentioned, perhaps the only purpose of time is for us to come to salvation. Once we come to know the Lord, time as we measure it is insignificant. We have now entered into an eternal perspective and accounting of time.
Lord, help our every moment be a redeemed moment. Help us to not constantly gaze on the ticking of the clock as much as the ticking of the moments until we see you face to face. Help us to look and long for the ultimate “kairos” moment for us – the time when we will see Jesus face to face. Impress on us the fact that that moment is as close as a heartbeat away. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus, come. InYour timeless Name, we pray, Amen.
– Sandra Hsieh