God and Time


We think very little about time. We just glance at a clock and think we know what time it is. But, time is a much broader concept than what a wrist watch can tell us.

First, time is measured differently according to where it is measured. (D&C 130:4-5) Where the Lord dwells, one day for God is 1000 years for man. (Abraham 3:4; 2 Peter 3:8) This means that a lifespan on earth of 80 years is about 2 hours of God’s reconing.

Times and events are appointed beforehand. Alma notes that the life of all mankind “is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto man.” (Alma 40:8) This could mean that appointed “times” for things to happen, such as the Second Coming, a new dispensation or a birth or death, are only set up for man. God does not have appointed times, or a schedule of deadlines directing His course. The other possible meaning is that God does not recognize, or measure the passage of time.

Sometime after the Second Coming and probably prior to the Millennium, time, as we experience it now, will come to an end. At least, our enslavement to time will end. It may continue in some place or places, but we will no longer be subject to it. (Rev. 10.6; D&C 88:110; D&C 84:100). We will no longer age. Time will no longer have an effect upon the earth and all things will remain in the state in which they are created.

God lives where all things are before His eyes, past, present and future. (D&C 130:7) As mortals, we view time as a law which demands that time only marches forward, with “now” the only portion of it that we can see or affect. With God, “now” is where He chooses to look and be. He can see and interact with the past as easily as our “now” and see the outcome in the future. He need not guess what will happen because it is all “continually before the Lord”. (130:7)

We must not view God as a brilliant statistician who can nudge past events to produce calculated future outcomes, and who can keep nudging them until He gets it right. God is infinitely more vast that “brilliant”, whose gathered intelligence exceeds anything mankind can understand or measure. He doesn’t just see selected snippets of “now” in the past, present and future, but He sees all things. It is all simultaneously before his eyes – and he comprehends all things (D&C 39:1-2; 88:7-13). He isn’t figuring it out – He possesses a “fullness of truth, yea, even of all truth” (D&C 93:11, 26); He has “all power, all wisdom, and all understanding” (Alma 26:35); is infinite in understanding to the point of naming all the stars, (Ps. 174:4-5); comprehends all things, (Alma 26:35: D&C 88:41); and governs all things by instituting laws to each kingdom according to that vast understanding. (D&C 88:42)

In the premortal world, when we were presented with a choice between the Father’s plan for our lives with Jesus as our Savior, and Lucifer’s alternative plan, those of us who understood Father’s vast love and infinite and infallible understanding chose His plan for our lives and “shouted for joy”.

Joseph Smith taught, “Without the knowledge of all things God would not be able to save any portion of his creatures; … and if it were not for the idea existing in the minds of men that God had all knowledge it would be impossible for them to exercise faith in him.” (Lectures on Faith, p 44.)

I find deep comfort in God’s infinite and eternal knowledge which penetrates all darkness and removes chance from the equation of my life when I let Him direct me. It has taken many years to be able to comprehend that God is infinitely knowing, and combined with His infinite love, I can trust Him to govern my life, and to speak to my soul words that are the nectar of that eternal wisdom. I have had many discussions with friends who cannot comprehend such vast godly perfections. They just can’t see past the ticking clock which seems to say with each beat that time is only “now” and even God can’t see the past or future.

But, the scriptures teach otherwise, and the few times I have seen past the veil, the heavens testify that God is all of what we hope, and far more than we can comprehend.

We can consecrate our lives into His hands because He knows the past, present and future of our lives.

We can believe Him because He possesses all truth and all knowledge.

We can trust Him because He loves us without limit.

Brother John

© April 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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10 Responses to God and Time

  1. kenh says:

    One of my truisms is “Patience is living according to the Lord’s time line and not our own.” The saying is “timing is everything” and so it is. Closely related to faith is trust. You cannot have one without the other. The reason why faith exists and it can grow unto knowledge is because we have learned to trust God. Trust his words, His promises, His ability to forgive and bless and of course to trust His personal plan for each of us. This involves trusting God’s time line within that plan.Thank you John once more on explaining the greatness and glory of God as it pertains to time and ourselves.

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  2. Robin Carlson says:

    Bro John:
    Thank you, once again, for using your gift for clarity to the benefit of all UnBlog readers.
    I too struggle with “mind knots” and, thankfully, your posts help to disperse them. I find mine are particularly burdensome because I have very little talent where higher mathematics are concerned but I also find the Lord helps me understand in a non-mathematical way so that I get some understanding that I cannot convey with words. Sort of frustrating but maybe I’m not supposed to be able to share that understanding unless the Spirit shows me how.
    Sincerely,
    Robin Carlson

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    • Hi Robin,

      I think you’re right. All truth is personal, and it requres a miracle of the Holy Ghost to acquire it, which makes it very hard to share with others. Even a simple testimony is this way, so you’re right on track.

      JMP

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  3. Miles says:

    John, always wonderful to receive your information. My wife can get so aggravated with me when I stumble over her words. In this case, your words …He possesses a “fullness of truth, yea, even of all truth” (D&C 93:11, 26); He has “all power, all wisdom, and all understanding” (Alma 26:35); is infinite in understanding to the point of naming all the stars, (Ps. 174:4-5); comprehends all things, (Alma 26:35: D&C 88:41); and governs all things by instituting laws to each kingdom according to that vast understanding. (D&C 88:42) … tumbled over in my mind and popped out the question, that if all this is true, then what is Father’s Father doing, or Father’s Father’s Father? When we write of ‘God’ are we thinking ‘All the Gods’ or just our Heavenly Father?
    Miles

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    • Good questions, but to my knowledge the answers are not revealed, at least not to my satisfaction. It is probably because we’re not equipped to understand them. When I see Him, I’ll definitely ask. I’m perfectly serious.

      You always have deep questions Miles. I love that about you.

      JMP

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      • Brent says:

        Love this post. I have pondered this for many years. I too have had small (understatement) glimpses of things that the I can later barely take in. As for the father’s father stuff. John 17:11 at the end of the verse makes this clear to me. Ponder it, let it sink in. Limiting this to Fathers may be unfair and narrow as well. This single scripture I have used to help my friends dispel the doctrine of the trinity and begin to understand the nature of the Godhead. When taken in context as this is a prayer from The Son to the Father, it has always added further meaning. Verse 21 does not hurt either. 🙂

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  4. Jared says:

    Trusting God really is the test. Finding faith in Christ is composed mainly of the struggle between the temptation to do things “my way” or His way.

    I testify that the Lord truly cares for His children, especially when they choose to trust, and honor, and love Him.

    The idea of time being no more, without deadlines, without stressful appointments, without dreaded challenges always looming in the future seems to me a dream come true. Truly, this will be “the end of sorrows,” when the Lord will “wipe away all tears,” and encircle us about in the arms of His redeeming love.

    One of the most comforting Spiritual gifts which I have received in abundance throughout my life is to experience itty-bitty little glimpses into the future when when such beauty, joy, and peace is the common state. These little experiences fill my soul with a gentle-warming glow, filling me with a reassurance that I WILL ultimately be able to overcome and endure and receive according to my heart’s righteous desires. I am profoundly grateful for this steady gift of hope.

    Truly, the Lord’s abundant grace exceeds all mortal understanding.

    I love Him so much!

    Jared

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  5. Don says:

    Dear Brother John, You are right again. It seems to me that of all the silly assumptions that man is capable of, one of the worst is trying to understand God’s time. Living on a planet that is billions of years old (in man’s time), It is obvious that all scriptural references of God’s time are simple analogies, stated in a way simple minds can relate to. It’s to bad those obsessed with time don’t spend as much time understanding how much, “He loves us without limit”, and trying to please Him in return.

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  6. Donald says:

    Thank you John for your insights. Many years ago when I was working on my degree in Physics, I had an awful time grasping relativistic simultaneity of events. The full implications of the constancy of the speed of light no matter the frame of reference really tied my mind into knots. It took some time and brain sweat to finally grasp it…. I now look back and cannot understand what I did not understand (then) if that makes sense. I feel the same “mind knots” returning as I try to fully comprehend what it means past, present and future all are before God. Once in a great while there are brief flashes of understanding for me…. then they leave me. Meanwhile, I’ll keep sweating it out and working to understand. Your post helps me understand a little more. Thank you again.

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