From the following website a simple definition of time is:
- Time is the progression of events from the past into the future.
- Time moves only in one direction. It’s possible to move forward in time, but not backward.
- Scientists believe memory formation is the basis for human perception of time.
Most seem to agree that time is a measure of the increase of entropy within the universe. Or that entropy increase is a way to measure or describe what time is.
Whilst an increase in entropy is an efficient measure of the passage of time, it is no more the creator of time than a watch or clock is. In many ways time is an artificial construct. Einstein posited and proved that time is relative to frame of reference of the observer and that time changes with both speed and gravity.
But, in my opinion, time is the description we give to that phenomena that humans have, whereby events that occur to the observer are collected and collated into an orderly and coherent experience which can be reflected upon and understood, and which can give meaning and purpose to our existence.
For everything there is a season,Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 (NLT)
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.
If we struggle with an understanding of what time is, we most certainly will struggle with the nature of eternity. And the sense that all humans have of a return to an existence that will never end.
When I sat down to write this I thought that it was our will that was the thing that enabled us to experience time, as opposed to the increase of entropy model. I thought that it is as we determine a course of action and undertake it; as I say “I will” that time is formed for us. However that cannot be true. The ultimate will, God, inhabits eternity. There is no time for God. As C.S. Lewis says:”
“Our life comes to us moment by moment. One moment disappears before the next comes along: and there is room for very little in each. That is what Time is like. And of course you and I tend to take it for granted that this Time series–this arrangement of past, present, and future–is not simply the way life comes to us but the way all things really exist. We tend to assume that the whole universe and God himself are always moving on from past to future just as we do. But many learned men do not agree with that. Almost certainly God is not in Time. His life does not consist of moments following one another…
If you picture Time as a straight line along which we have to travel, then you must picture God as the whole page on which the line is drawn. We come to the parts of the line one by one: we have to leave A behind before we get to B, and cannot reach C until we leave B behind. God, from above or outside or all around, contains the whole line, and sees it all.”C.S. Lewis, from “Mere Christianity”
I would say in the above example that God is not merely the page upon which the line is drawn but the universe in which the page exists. But the analogy holds true. We cannot in fact choose to pause on the line at all, we must obey the passage of time as some terrible master propelling us on toward our fate.
God is the creator and inventor of time, which occurred when he created light.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.Genesis 1:3-5 (NKJV)
And gave the sun, moon and stars as ways to measure and delineate time.
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.Genesis 1:14-16 (NKJV)
Time is a necessity for the rational beings in His universe to exist and make sense of the experience of the material universe. However there is in humans a sense of the eternal and the facility to both experience and long for the experience of it (see the quote from Ecclesiastes above).
The Bible is the record of the creation and loss of man’s experience of eternity and God’s activity within the created order to restore that, culminating in the life, death, resurrection and glorification of His Son Jesus Christ.
The promise is that any who wish to may experience eternity by choosing to trust in the name of the one who sacrificed himself to heal the rift between God and man caused by mankind’s rejection of its’ creator.
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 (NKJV) For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.