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Bible Insights

What’s a Thousand Years to God?

Time Is Different in the Spiritual Realm Than What We’re Used to in the Physical

Though King David wrote many psalms, the book of Psalms also includes the work of others. One of these writers is Moses. Yes, Moses wrote a psalm, Psalm 90.

It may be the oldest of them all, the first Psalm ever written in the Bible. Also consider Moses’s song in Deuteronomy 32:1-43 and his blessing in Deuteronomy 33:2-29.

What Moses Says about Time

One of Moses’s themes is time. He tells us to number our days so that we might gain wisdom. He also says that people tend to live seventy years, perhaps eighty.

This is interesting since Moses lived 120. He lived forty years in Egypt, forty years in preparation, and forty years leading God’s people. I wonder how old he was when he wrote this Psalm.

However, Moses also writes that to God a thousand years flashes by like a day would seem to us. So it is with our God who is eternal, who lives forever.

Think about it. Time takes on a different meaning to someone who has a never-ending supply of it. But to us time places limits on our physical existence and on our future.

That’s probably why Moses wants us to count our days to remind us of our typical lifespan. We need to use that time wisely and make it count. We only have so much of it., so we don’t want to squander it.

This doesn’t mean to pack every moment with busy activity, but to use our time wisely, investing in pursuits that matter, on what will have the greatest impact.

May we spend our time on what truly matters. Click To Tweet

Peter Writes about a Thousand Years

The disciple Peter has this passage in mind when he pens his second letter. He builds upon Moses’s thought and says that to God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. This is a perplexing contrast.

It reminds us that God doesn’t reckon time as we do. In fact, God exists outside of time because he created time when he made space and the world we live in.

May we spend our time on what truly matters.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Psalms 86-90, and today’s post is on Psalm 90:4.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

In the Beginning, God Created…

Were We Created or Did We Evolve?

How did it all begin? That is, where did we come from? Let’s go back to the beginning.

I don’t intend to end the debate over the beginning of life and our reality. This won’t change anyone’s mind. But I do want to offer something to think about.

As you know, there are two schools of thought on our origin: in the beginning we evolved out of nothing or we were created by enteral God.

Either point of view requires a degree of faith to accept—and for me, evolution actually requires more.  Here’s why:

Follow the theory of evolution backwards, starting with people. Follow them to land animals, to water animals, to plants, to single cell organisms, to amino acids, to a mixture of gases, and so forth. No matter how far back you go, the nagging question is always there: where did that come from?

At some point, there is the inescapable conclusion that something had to come from nothing.

For me, that takes a great deal of faith to accept—seemingly more faith than to simply say that an ever-existing God, living outside of time-space, just made it all.

To me, being created is easier to accept than having evolved out of nothing. Click To Tweet

If the use of the word faith is a bit off-putting, then consider Occam’s Razor, the principle that says the simplest solution is usually the correct one. To me, being created by eternal God who always existed is simpler than having evolved out of nothing.

I’ll go with that: In the beginning God created us, our world, and our reality.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Genesis 1-2, and today’s post is on Genesis 1:27.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

How Can Free Will and Predestination Coexist?

We Have the Right to Choose, but God Already Knows Our Decision

Some people insist that God gave us free will to make our own decisions, that we hold our future in our hands. Others claim our future has already been set, that God charts our course, with the outcome predestined.

Which is it?

Both.

Creation and the Timespace Continuum

Let’s start at the beginning. Actually, let’s start before the beginning. Before God’s creation.

God is an eternal being without beginning or end. He exists outside our spacetime reality. When he created us and the space we live in, he created time, too. Consider the spacetime continuum. If he made space, he had to make time, because the two are inseparable.

To him there is no past or future. I suppose this means he sees everything as a present, existent reality.

However, our existence unfolds as we move through the time he created for us to live in. Because we are bound by time, we see our future as unknown, something yet to be determined. Therefore, the question of free will and predestination seems to us as an either/or proposition. But to God, it isn’t.

God, who exists outside of time, doesn’t have the constraints we have. Click To Tweet

Our Perspective of Time

God, who exists outside of time, doesn’t have the constraints we have.

Though our minds are finite, and our reasoning has limits, here’s how I reconcile the two. God gives us free will to choose. But he already knows what those decisions are. Because of his awareness, one not bound by time, he knows our future as if it is the present.

What we see as an unknown future, he sees as a known reality. To God our future is foreknown. In essence, it’s predestined. It will happen for us in our future even though it’s in the present for him. It’s known in advance, predestined, because he sees the outcomes of the free will that he gave us.

Though God allows us to choose our future, he already knows what those choices are. Nothing we do surprises him. In this way, our future is predestined, even though we have the free will to choose it.

And since he already knows what will happen to us in our future reality, he works things out for our best (Romans 8:28-29).

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Does the Timing of Prayer Matter?

I believe God lives outside of the space-time he created. Therefore, he isn’t limited by time—as we are—so our prayers need not be bounded by time, either. This allows me to pray for things after the fact; the timing of when I pray is not as critical as the fact that I did pray, at some time.

For example, if someone asks for prayer at ten o’clock, I can pray at ten (the best option). Or I can pray in advance, anticipating what they will undergo (this is great if I’ll be busy at ten). A third option is to pray afterwards but to pray as if the outcome is still undetermined (this is hard and I don’t do it often).

God answers our prayers—regardless of when we pray. Click To Tweet

Once I told a friend, I would pray for her—and then forgot. A reminder of my forgetfulness was an email from her, which essentially said, “thanks for praying; things didn’t work out.”

Dismayed over my broken promise, I did my best to set aside my knowledge of the outcome and pray as if it hadn’t occurred. My faith, that my feeble prayer would be answered, was weak at best, but I did pray nonetheless.

About four hours later I received a second email, which negated the first. It basically said, “God is amazing; he has provided for me and answered our prayers.”

I can’t explain the two contradicting emails and don’t know the details. What I do know is that God answers our prayers—regardless of when we pray.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Free Will and Predestination

Embrace the Paradox of Choice versus Destiny

A theological conundrum is the concept of free will versus predestination. While the Bible teaches that we have the ability to make our own choices (we have free will), it also says that things are predetermined (predestined). Which is it?

It is both, presenting us with a delightful paradox. Though my mind somewhat grasps this as a holistic, unified truth, I am woefully unable to articulate it.

It helps a little to consider that one understanding of “predestined” is to “foreknow.” Another helpful consideration is to realize that God —who created time-space, exists outside of time—likely seeing the past, present, and future as a singular reality.

However, it is the book of Daniel that gives me the most help.

A prophecy is given about evil king Nebuchadnezzar. Because of his prideful arrogance, he will be struck with insanity until he acknowledges God (free will) and for seven years (predestination).

Free will and predestination are not mutually exclusive concepts, but opposite sides of the same coin.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Daniel 4-6, and today’s post is on Daniel 4:25.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Creation or Evolution?

If we were created, as the Bible says, how did it really happen?

I have heard different views on the subject:

  • Creation occurred in seven literal 24 hour days.
  • Creation occurred in seven increments of time, paralleling the evolutionary time-line.
  • Creation occurred when God made all of the requisite ingredients, setting the stage for evolution to transpire. He then sat back and joyfully watched things happen.
God was instrumental in creation. Click To Tweet

One of these is probably true—or perhaps there is a completely different understanding. It is easy to fixate on the details and lose site of the critical unifying element: that God was instrumental in creation.

The rest doesn’t matter—not really.

[See my prior posts on this subject: In the Beginning… and The Time-Space Continuum.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

The Time-Space Continuum

My prior post, “In the Beginning…”, may lead some to quip, “Well, where did God come from?”

If there is the assumption that God’s existence is like that of our own, then a creation view has the same limitation as an evolution view: something had to come from nothing.

To accept creation, one must have faith that God always existed. Click To Tweet

However, in considering the creation account in the book of Genesis, we see that God made the heavens (space), lights—the sun, moon, and stars (space), and the sky (space). Clearly, God made space.

Physicists tell us that space and time exist on a continuum. That is, space and time are co-existent. Ergo, if God created space, then he also created time.

If God created time and space, then he has to exist outside of the space-time continuum; he is timeless and therefore eternal, with no origin and no beginning.

To accept creation, one must have faith that God always existed, whereas to accept evolution, one must accept that something came from nothing.

For me, the former perspective is less of a stretch.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Genesis 1-2, and today’s post is on Genesis 1:1.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.