Timelessness – this is a concept that actually runs through most liturgical prayers, and yet is never actually focused on. Currently considered the fourth dimension by scientists, although there are some trying to change that. For ever and ever. The Gloria Patri in saying “as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.” Is it actually possible for a human being to truly grasp the concept of non-linear time? Is that an oxymoron? *grin*
This train of thought began with the story of Ishmael this morning. Interestingly, Jews, Christians and Muslims consider Abraham a common ancestor and “father” in the sense of foundation in our belief systems. Ishmael, however, is the ancestor to whom Mohammed is traced.
God promised both to Abraham (through Sarah) and to Hagar that their descendents would be innumerable. Again, a number truly unfathomable by humans.
And for whatever reason, this brought to mind Christophanies – the appearance of the Christ “before” His appearance as Jesus, in the Old Testament. I remember the first time Pastor Craig brought up the concept – it was entirely new to me, and was fascinating. Unfortunately, Episcopal priests looked at me like I was insane when I asked them about it, which goes back to my original statement – liturgical churches offer much evidence of the concept of non-linear time and/or timelessness for the Divine, but don’t really explore that concept.
So thinking about the concept that Christ has always been, just as God has always been, just as the Holy Spirit has always been – three in one, the Trinity – and then trying to work out how to word the thoughts into English, as we’re not really prepared to do that. The number of words used to describe time, or reference in time – verb tenses, etc. just really don’t facilitate such things.
Take “forever and ever”. In Hebrew, that is transliterated as “l’olam va’ed”, but the literal translation of that is actually “to the distant horizon and again” meaning “a very distant time and even further”. Hebrew actually takes into consideration the finite nature of the human brain – this is what we can imagine, and it’s a little further than that. So the concept of Christ appearing at any point in the Bible or even today is necessarily in a linear fashion for the human brain to make any sense of it – but if He is outside of linear time, the creation of the earth and the resurrection of His human body might be at one and the same instant – but we have no method of describing that in any way that we can comprehend.
I feel like putting up a warning sign to any who might attempt to read and make sense of this: you’ve seen Angel’s brain – this is her brain on incomprehensible concepts – proceed at your own risk…