Time is a man-made concept. Humans need a way to measure the distance between one event and another. The oldest civilizations used the movements of the sun, the moon and the stars to calculate time. The Sumerians, 5000 years ago, developed a calendar to measure the progression of months. Each of their months had 30 days, but each day was only 12 hours long.
About the same time in North Africa and the Middle East, the first clocks were invented. They were obelisks, tall towers which cast long shadows. By the length and the direction of the shadow at any given time, people could tell how about many hours remained until midday, and then until sunset.
Stonehenge, a mysterious arrangement of boulders in England is believed to have been used to tell time, but historians and researchers no longer understand how it worked.
These primitive devices were followed by sun dials, water clocks, hour glasses, grandfather clocks and mantel clocks. As time went on, and humans became more skilled in manipulating the material God had placed in the environment, pocket watches, alarm clocks, and wristwatches appeared on the scene. These were followed by digital clocks and watches.
Presently, the most precise time pieces are large atomic clocks in the United States and England, which keep track of time officially for the world.
God, being all-knowing, knew that people would formulate time and require instruments to measure it. He created the necessary materials and made them available on earth. He fashioned the human brain so that it was capable of developing and learning. We have come a long way since our ancestors depended on sundials and obelisks.
And what of God Himself? Does He have a giant atomic clock in heaven to regulate the atomic models in England and the United States?
No, God is outside of time. He exists in eternity. He always was, always will be, and always remains the same. This, like all of God’s attributes, is a mystery. Our human brains are not equipped to grasp it, at least not while we are living on earth. It would be easier for an ant to learn to fly the space shuttle.
Since God is in eternity, He can see the past, present and future simultaneously. When He created earth, He established the natural laws: the earth circles the sun in a year, the moon circles the earth approximately every 27 days, and the earth rotates on its axis once in about 24 hours. He left to humans the methods by which they would measure these phenomena and the invention of the instruments they would use to do so.
The author of Psalm 90, believed to have been Moses, expressed God’s relationship to time in this way:
“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God….For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”
Psalm 90: 1-4