- Sixteen hundred years ago, Augustine imagined that God created time. What was God doing before He made time? According to Augustine, there was no then when there was no time! For a thousand years Europeans learned to think of God and time with Augustine’s ideas. It is not surprising that modern westerners use tensed verbs as a co-ordinate system for everything that happens, referencing everything to their Augustinian notion of an actual time.
The ancient Jews had a tenseless language. Their language did not mention time nor did they have a specific word for it. This did not prevent them from using natural cycles to regulate their lives. Three thousand years ago, David told Jonathon that tomorrow is the new moon and Saul expects me to come to the monthly meeting. People in that era kept track of the lunar phases and used them as one of several parallel calendars. However, non tensed language speakers do not measure time or even imagine that it exists. Their calendars were dynamic, referenced to the cycles of the Sun and Moon and the repetitions in nature that are regulated by those cycles.
A second aspect of tenseless time is that the ancients thought the heavenly cycles were continually changing. They recorded that the planets sometimes passed so close that mountains rose up and costal cities flooded. They mentioned a day when the Sun careened to the north and then swung south. Every ancient society told stories of when a great watery planet was shattered in a nearby collision. The earliest astronomical diary lists the Venusian rise and set dates during the 21 years of king Ammizaduga. The clay tablet records do not fit Venus’ modern orbit. The Bible also mentions close passages and the shattering of a planet with language similar to the pagans. The ancients could not imagine history on a straight line with equally spaced centuries.
A third aspect of tenseless time is that days and years continually shorten (Genesis 47:9). Hesiod claimed the first people were the golden race on whom miserable old age did not rest. Their arms and legs did not fail them until they died in their sleep. The silver race was characterized by children playing at their mother’s knee for a hundred years. However, after coming to maturity, they soon died. He moaned that he was part of the iron generation who never stopped laboring by day and dying by night. He thought this degeneration would continue until children are born with grey temples.
The Bible agrees with this ancient notion of degenerating ages. Job, in chapter 14, describes several geological markers that passed during the few days of their lives. His book mentions huge dinosaurs lounging in the Jordan river. One of Job’s markers for the brevity of life is that the sea (Hebrew word for west) dried. Indeed, drill cores from the deepest parts of the Mediterranean reveal thick layers of deep sea plankton alternating with layers of salt and gypsum. Evidently the Mediterranean dried eight times. According to scientists, the last Mediterranean drying occurred five million years ago. Biblical Job lived about 4500 years ago. However, people in Job’s days did not imagine a linear time. Job mentions how their faces changed (doubled) before they died. The skull is the only part of our skeleton that keeps slowly growing as we age. If we lived for geological ages, we would grow Neanderthal brows. Neanderthal children had modern-looking skulls sometimes with worn enamel on their baby teeth, as though they were eons old, yet still infants.
The most powerful evidence for tenseless time is the visible way orbits keep on accelerating throughout cosmic history. We can see the past at many ranges with telescopes. We observe how galaxies grew from globs of formless matter that shone at tiny fractions of the frequencies of modern atoms. We observe how streams of stars continue to emerge from the formless stuff as the stars continued to accelerate outwards. We observe how the atomic clocks, the star stream orbits and matter’s volume continue to change relationally as billions of galaxies (at many ranges) intrinsically grew.
The western notion of an actual time, something that can be measured with precision, is clearly denied by the way the atomic clocks and the inertial ones continue to accelerate as billions of galaxies grew into huge growth spirals. Scientists are building new telescopes that see farther. What is visible only fits the literal biblical account of creation and cosmic history. It clearly does not fit the assumption of scientists, that the properties of matter (and clocks) are fixed.
How great will be the triumph of the word of God over western science. What glory He will get when He proves that no one can come to him through logical and reason, only as a sinner who trusts Him alone for salvation.
The depiction of a planet collision, which is mentioned four times in the Old Testament, is in the public domain since it comes from NASA.
Please click on the below links to read the Bible verses that refer to a plant shattering. The word Rahab meant might or stormy one. The expressions used by the biblical authors to describe the planet shattering are similar to hose used by the Canaanites. If a great watery planet was shattered at close range, each broken piece would have a vapor tail, looking like a multi-headed sea serpent to the seafaring Canaanites. Asteroids and comets, contain rocks with crystals that formed slowly under volcanic conditions and rocks that formed slowly in warm water (cubanite). These are evidences that a great watery planet really was shattered and our ancestors a few thousand years ago witnessed it.
Psalm 89:9 - 11
Job 26:11 - 14