Is God bound by time?


We had a small discussion in our college group last week and I wanted your thoughts. Is God bound by our time? What I mean is angels are waiting to see things unfold; I think that's somewhere in Hebrews. And then Job, of course. God calls the angels to Him twice, so we see there is a sense of time in that. The angel in Daniel 10 was delayed going to Daniel because he was fighting a fallen angel. God created time for us but at the same time did He create us in His time and not so much create time for us? I don't mean the sun, moon, and stars rotating, I mean "time" as in moving through time if that makes sense. To me, God is not bound by time in the sense that He will always be there no matter what. So death cannot bother God. I could go on with what I mean, but I'm not sure how to say it. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on that.

Thanks again. Peace!


This is a question similar to "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?" The discussion gets involved because people do not distinguish what could be from what is.

The problem arises as people try to grasp how God can state the future so accurately. We know that we cannot, so people come up with explanations. For instance, the Calvinists decided that God predetermined everything in advance. We're just following the script that God laid out before the world began, so that is why God knows what the future holds. Others have decided that God must exist outside of time, thus He can peek at the future. Though the concept of time as a stream where a person can go forward and backward through it to different points is the stuff of science-fiction fantasies, the Bible never speaks of "time" in this manner. There is no hint that the past or the future concurrently exists with the present.

In the truest sense, time is the ordering of events. We measure time by the movement of the sun, moon, stars, and planets, but these movements are not time.

The Bible speaks of God being grieved. "And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart" (Genesis 6:6). Have you wondered how God could be grieved if He knew in advance that mankind would get that corrupt? Or how could Jesus marvel at the centurion's faith (Matthew 8:10)? The point is that the Bible tells us that mankind was given free-will. Thus everything is not laid out in advance.

Nor could the future exist so that God can peek at upcoming events. Many things are stated as conditionals. ""For if you men will indeed perform this thing, then kings will enter the gates of this house, sitting in David's place on his throne, riding in chariots and on horses, even the king himself and his servants and his people. But if you will not obey these words, I swear by Myself," declares the LORD, "that this house will become a desolation."'" (Jeremiah 22:4-5). If the future exists and God could look at it, then He won't have to say "if." God is stating that men have a choice and depending on their choice different results will come in the future.

Then too, God speaks of making things happen; that is, things are not set in stone but events arise because God is manipulating the world as it exists. "Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure,' calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it" (Isaiah 46:9-11). What we see is the strength of God's will and power. He determines what He wants for an outcome and then is able to bring it about -- no matter what choices individual people make in the meantime. To me, that is a far more awesome display of power than saying we are all following a script written before the world began and from which nothing can deviate. But also notice that in this passage God speaks of Himself as existing in time: there is a past that can be remembered and the future hasn't taken place yet. But neither the past or the future are spoken of as places which can be visited.

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