Thursday, January 21, 2016

[BTT013] "Isn't the problem of Time..."

[BTT012] Time Destroyed

I realize that my views involve some very serious departures from the traditional understandings of eschatology, soteriology, and probably some other –ologies that I’m forgetting. This section is my chance to respond to accusations of heresy in advance.

I will freely admit to innovation, but if my interpretation is unorthodox, it is only because I am venturing into an area that orthodoxy has not yet entered. This is why I have kept my presuppositions so rigid, attempting to err on the side of the literal, orthodox reading.

I have prepared responses to the four most common objections I have encountered when sharing these ideas with others, in order of the frequency with which I hear them. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all possible objections. I look forward to hearing new objections, since they will force me to dig deeper into the topic.

Question 1. “Isn’t the problem of Time beyond our understanding?”
This is a common and completely legitimate objection. After all, humans cannot conceive of Time in the same way that God does. This may be the reason scripture does not give us more details about Time - we might not be at all capable of understanding the truth with limited minds. Is it then best to let sleeping dogs lie? Are these questions better left unasked?

If you do not want to engage with the questions raised here on the grounds that the human mind cannot comprehend them, I fully understand. However, our inability as humans to fully understand the Trinity does not stop us from asserting that the Father, Son, and Spirit are One. Our inability to understand how Jesus could be fully God and fully Man does not stop us from confessing that saving truth. We do not know how God created the universe from nothingness, but can we deny it?

While Scripture does not give us every detail of God's relation to Time, it does give us a few certain truths. God made Time, God transcends Time, God has a plan for the end of Time. Although the conclusions we may draw from these facts often differ, so do our views on any number of biblical issues.

Part of the reason for the confusion is that the issue of the End of Time is part of prophecy, and prophecy is not a simple subject. Many of the Old Testament passages that New Testament writers apply to the life of Jesus do not look like prophecies in their original context. Certainly, the contemporaries of Christ did not understand the meaning of the prophecies until after the fact. They could speculate, but many of their assumptions proved to be false.

Christ did not criticize the Pharisees for daring to try to understand the difficult prophecies of the Old Testament. He criticized them for rejecting the Word of God made flesh, for blaspheming the Holy Spirit. The problem was not that they looked forward to the coming of the Messiah and struggled with the Scriptures. The problem was that they rejected the Truth when He came.

Curiosity is not a sin. Honest inquiry is not a sin. The angels earnestly inquire after the mysteries of salvation. The sin is not to ask honest questions, the sin is to claim scriptural-level authority for man-made theories.

This is why I am presenting my ideas as theories and not as Scriptural facts. It is completely legitimate to say that the Bible does not give us as clear a picture of the ultimate fate of Time as it does the ultimate fate of Space. It is also legitimate to say that you, as an individual, are uncomfortable speculating on this issue.

It is not, however, legitimate to say that it is sinful for others to speculate on this topic because it involves extrapolating from Scripture. Extrapolation is the basis of our understanding of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and many other important aspects of our faith.

It is also, however, completely illegitimate to claim that extrapolation from Scripture holds the same weight as the Scriptures themselves. We must be ready to lay down our Theology when the Truth comes, whether it is in the form of a stronger Scriptural argument or when Jesus returns to explain it Himself.

When Christ condemns the Pharisees who “[teach] as doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7), it is because they are putting human teachings on the same level as the Bible, not because they are using their intellects to attempt to understand the Bible. Compare Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees with Luke’s praise of those in Berea who “…searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). There is no condemnation on those who actively try to work out what the Scriptures say, only on those who put human teachings on the same level as Divine teachings.

[BTT014] "If the Bible is the Eternal Word of God..."


  1. I don't know if you get notifications for comments on old posts, but I was re-reading a couple of earlier ones and posted a few. I just wanted to be sure you saw them. If you'd like, I could post direct links.

    1. Hey Zaklog! I've been busy lately, but I finally had time to check out your comments - I do get notifications for comments on old posts.