There are many ideas about God’s living outside of space or time, as we know it, that one can find on the internet or other sources for ideas and information. But whilst I have not previously spent too much of my own limited time musing over this concept, I have been tripped up by a couple of items over recent weeks which have motivated me to write a paper on the subject. The first item was the prophetic scriptures related to Christ knowing in advance about the cock crowing twice after Peter’s three times denial:
34 Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, During this night, before a cock crows, you will deny Me three times. (Matthew 26 GLT)
74 Then he began to curse and to swear, I do not know the man. And immediately a cock crowed.
75 And Peter recalled the word of Jesus, saying to him, Before a cock crows, you will deny Me three times. And going out, he wept bitterly. (Matthew 26 GLT)
30 And Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you that today, in this night, before a cock crows twice, you will deny Me three times. (Mark 14 GLT)
68 But he denied, saying, I do not know nor understand what you say. And he went out into the forecourt. And a cock crowed. (Mark 14 GLT)
72 And a second time a cock crowed. And Peter remembered the word Jesus said to him, Before a cock crows twice, you will deny Me three times. And thinking on [it], he wept. (Mark 14 GLT)
34 And He said, Peter, I say to you, A cock will not crow today before you will deny knowing Me three times. (Luke 22 GLT)
60 And Peter said, Man, I do not know what you say. And immediately, while he yet spoke, the cock crowed.
61 And turning, the Lord looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the Word of the Lord, how He told him, Before a cock would crow, you will deny Me three times. (Luke 22 GLT)
38 Jesus answered him, Will you lay down your life for Me? Indeed, I tell you truly, in no way shall a cock crow until you deny Me three times. (John 13 GLT)
27 Then again Peter denied, and immediately a cock crowed. (John 18 GLT)
Now there is nothing new in expecting the bible to be filled with prophetic utterings about the future destruction of whole cities or even of whole nations or, in Noah’s case, whole planets. Prophecy is normally reserved for the grand sign on a grand scale. However, in this case, I was struck by the fine detailed prophecy aimed at one individual and one crowing cock. This said to me that everything is known about everything and everyone in the future and this seemed to me to be on a very different level of predicting the future based on an individual’s behaviour rather than a future and grand act of God.
The second item was a TV programme (yes another one!) on the subject of time travel which is a subject that I consider to be pure science fantasy and totally improbable. And, in fact, that was what I considered most of the content of that programme to be. That is until it referred to the block theory of space-time which is something that I had not previously come across. It is based on Einstein’s general theory of relativity which identifies time as the fourth dimension and seemed to me to provide a scientific basis to God’s existence outside of time and space, while mankind and the angels live within the constraints of time-based universes.
The Block Theory
The essence of the block theory is that the universe is a bounded expanse of space-time thereby providing a closed amount of all four dimensions of space and time. If God created such an entity, then it is a reasonable proposition that He is sitting outside of this bounded space-time continuum observing (and sometimes getting involved with) his creation. If that is the case, then He would not only be able to see all the planets, stars and their galaxies but also He would see the whole passage of time within that realm from its start to its finish.
One major consideration in all this is the question of our free will. Whilst some scientists see this as an objection to the theory, I personally do not see this as an issue. God is not generally controlling what goes on in the universe, having built it, except where He takes some overt action or requests the Holy Spirit to take some more specific and covert action. Apart from the latter two, we are free to make our own decisions and to act as we choose while God has already tracked in advance our own self-made paths through life.
I liken it to a video game where the player (like God) can control the environment and can choose which of several characters he would wish to ‘manage’. Whilst the player can select or win his character’s accoutrements, e.g. weaponry and skills, the basics of each character is its own as controlled by the game’s software that is associated with that character. That character’s personality therefore is its own as our own spirits are ours. All the player is allowed to do is to control the environment surrounding that character but not how that character will react to the circumstances in which it finds itself. That is controlled by its own software similar to a real person’s personality and free will.
It is probably best to start out with a couple of relevant websites on the subject since, given the amount of good information on the internet, I do not think it worth my while or (more importantly) in the best interests of the reader’s understanding of the subject, to provide my own (probably faulty) account of the theory. I think a good place to start is the following webpage which provides a brief and relatively easy introduction to the topic. The only comment I would make on this link is that I do not agree with the comments supporting the possibility of time travel; I think the arguments are not fully thought out and the block theory changes nothing in that regards as far as I am concerned:
The following webpage seems to stay on the fence as far as accepting the block theory is concerned. However, it does raise some interesting points although, for me and with some considerable irony, the counter-arguments strongly indicate the prospective voracity of the theory:https://www.space.com/29859-the-illusion-of-time.html
The following piece is a very long and erudite treatise although well-presented and reasonably understandable for those who may have the inclination and time to spend on the subject:
The very first inkling in the Bible that intimates God’s being outside of space and time is to be found in the very opening verses of the scriptures:
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;
2 and the earth being without form and empty, and darkness on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moving gently on the face of the waters,
3 then God said, Let light be! And there was light. (Genesis 1 GLT)
In the literal meaning, the first two verses refer to the creation of the spatial dimensions of the universe. The creation of light in verse three refers to the later addition of time, since light needs all four dimensions to exist as a travelling waveform. It is as if God was giving Einstein a big clue here that there were always four dimensions to our universe! If God created the heavens and the earth ‘in the beginning’, then that beginning is of the universe in which we live and the heavens, which became the home of the angels. So, God must have existed ‘before’ time began in our universe and in the heavenly universe and, therefore, He resides outside of the space-time continua. So, in the very first verse of the Bible, the whole proposition of God’s creating the space-time continuum, with which we are familiar, and some variation of that for the angels is stated up-front. If God is outside time, then neither of these universes could be where God’s own habitation is. This, in itself, could explain why there may be a second (at least) heavenly universe which is God’s own habitation which consists of something other than a space-time continuum.
This would seem to be generally supportive of two of my earlier papers: A Brief History of Darkness and Heavens Above with one significant exception. Since I have not previously considered the implications of God's living outside of time, I believed that God's home was with His angelic sons. I now must change that position in that God would now appear, at least to me, to live outside of the angelic heavenly universe. I think the following two verses from the gospels completely nail the fact that mankind and the angels live in uni-directional time-based universes whereas God the Father lives outside of both:
36 But as to that day and that hour, no one knows, neither the angels of Heaven, except My Father only. (Matthew 24 GLT)
32 But concerning that day and the hour, no one knows, not the angels, those in Heaven, nor the Son, except the Father. (Mark 13 GLT)
When the Bible talks of the six-day creation, I think there is general agreement that in man’s terms these are epochs although God may well see them as space-time days. Perhaps the literal ‘day’ may refer to the angelic heaven. Either way, those ‘days’ were a product of God’s creation and not something that God ‘experienced’ for Himself prior to the creation:
11 For [in] six days Jehovah made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all which [is] in them, and He rested on the seventh day; on account of this Jehovah blessed the sabbath day and sanctified it. (Exodus 20 GLT)
God’s day being an epoch to man is further emphasised by Moses and as later re-iterated by Peter:
1 [A Prayer of Moses, the Man of God.] O Lord, You have been our dwelling-place in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You [are] God.
3 You turn man to dust, and say, Return, O sons of men.
4 For a thousand years in Your eyes [are] as a day, yesterday, when it passes, and [as] a watch in the night. (Psalms 90 GLT)
8 But let not this one thing be hidden [from] you, beloved, that one day with [the] Lord [is] "as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." [Psa. 90:4] (2 Peter 3 GLT)
To confirm this view, Isaiah talks in terms of God inhabiting eternity which could arguably define a region outside of time and space since the Hebrew word 'עַד֙' can convey an eternal concept of all four dimensions:
15 For so says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, and His name [is] Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, even with the contrite and humble of spirit; to make live the spirit of the humble and to make live the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57 GLT)
15כִּי֩ כֹ֨ה אָמַ֜ר רָ֣ם וְנִשָּׂ֗א שֹׁכֵ֥ן עַד֙ וְקָדֹ֣ושׁ שְׁמֹ֔ו מָרֹ֥ום וְקָדֹ֖ושׁ אֶשְׁכֹּ֑ון וְאֶת־דַּכָּא֙ וּשְׁפַל־ר֔וּחַ לְהַחֲיֹות֙ ר֣וּחַ שְׁפָלִ֔ים וּֽלְהַחֲיֹ֖ות לֵ֥ב נִדְכָּאִֽים׃ (Isaiah 57 WLC)
Previously Isaiah had referred at length to God’s ‘stretching out the heavens’. Clearly, this is an important message for our God to convey to us since this phrase is repeated throughout the Old Testament. One can imagine that this ‘stretching’ comprises the expansion of the whole of the space-time continuum of our universe and thereby building the homes of mankind and the angels :
22 He who sits on the circle of the earth, even those living in it are like grasshoppers; He who stretches the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to live in; (Isaiah 40 GLT)
5 So says Jehovah God, creating the heavens and stretching them out; spreading out the earth and its offspring, giving breath to the people on it, and spirit to those walking in it. (Isaiah 42 GLT)
24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I [am] the LORD that maketh all [things]; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; (Isaiah 44 KJV)
12 I have made the earth, and created man on it. I stretched out the heavens [with] My hands; and I have set all their host in order. (Isaiah 45 GLT)
12 Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel My called: I [am] He; I [am] the First; surely I [am] the Last.
13 My hand surely founded earth, and My right hand has stretched out the heavens; I called to them, they stood up together. (Isaiah 48 GLT)
13 And you forget your Maker Jehovah, who has stretched out the heavens and founded the earth. And you dread continually, every day, from the fury of the oppressor, since he was ready to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor? (Isaiah 51 GLT)
Jeremiah continued on this theme:
12 It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom, and who stretched out the heavens by His understanding. (Jeremiah 10 GLT)
And again in verbatim repetition:
15 He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and stretched out the heavens by His understanding. (Jeremiah 51 GLT)
And again with the prophet Zechariah:
1 The burden of the Word of Jehovah for Israel, says Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man in his midst. (Zechariah 12 GLT)
This same phraseology had previously been used by Moses in the Book of Job:
8 stretching out the heavens by Himself, and walking on the waves of the sea;
9 Who made the Bear, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south; (Job 9 GLT)
And again by David in his Book of Psalms:
2 covering Yourself [with] light like a cloak, and stretching out the heavens like a curtain; (Psalms 104 GLT)
The following verses are more than a little interesting in that the ‘stretching’ or ‘bowing’ of the heavens is once again mentioned but with much more that could be interpreted to define God’s own home environment in relation to our own. Verses 9 and 10 below also describe God as coming down, presumably to earth, on a cherub. This confirms to my mind that God is able, by having a vehicle within or on which He can travel from His universe into our own. That vehicle can utilise the physical features of our universe by, for example, using the aerodynamical properties of earth’s atmosphere. Verse 11 then completes the picture by describing God’s own environment, hidden from Mankind’s purview but from where He can view and, on occasion, visit this physical realm:
9 He bowed the heavens also and came down, and darkness [was] under His feet;
10 and He rode on a cherub, and He flew; yea He soared on the wings of the wind;
11He made darkness His covering, His pavilion all around Him, darknessof waters, thick clouds of the skies. (Psalms 18 GLT)
The fact that God is able to physically visit the earthly realm is made very clear by God’s appearing to Moses, albeit under very controlled circumstances. Given this level of control I think we are here dealing with a physical visitation rather than a ‘mere’ vision:
18 And he said, I pray, let me see Your glory.
19 And He said, I will cause all My goodness to pass before your face. And I will call out the name of Jehovah before your face. And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.
20 And He said, You are not able to see My face; for no man can see Me and live.
21 And Jehovah said, Behold, a place by Me! And you shall stand on a rock.
22 And as My glory is passing it will be that I will put you in a cleft of the rock; and I will cover My palm over you during My passing.
23 And I will remove My palm, and you shall see My back; but My face cannot be seen. (Exodus 33 GLT)
Paul’s letter to the Hebrew congregation contains a very relevant verse which took me some time to comprehend. Firstly, we find that God was able to create the whole of space-time as we see it merely by His saying that it should occur. The things we see around us, ourselves included, did not come from any other physical source but were created by God from what, to us, would appear to be nothing or ‘thin air’. Interestingly we now know that elementary particles come into and out of existence from pure vacuum so the creation of something from nothing is not that strange to today’s quantum scientists (ref.https://medium.com/nakshatra/the-nature-of-nothingness-understanding-the-vacuum-catastrophe-c04033e752f4).
3 by faith we understand the ages to have been prepared by a saying of God, in regard to the things seen not having come out of things appearing; (Hebrews 11 YLT)
This notion of mind having power over matter is not as strange as we might at first consider it to be. Our own minds have the power to make decisions to carry out any particular physical action that is within our power. We can physically enact our own thoughts within the physical constraints of our environment and the limited capabilities of our own bodies.
Adding further to these notions of creation, God is described as a spirit in the Gospel of John. A spirit does not seem to be definable in terms of universal physics as we would understand it. This would also be the case for human and angelic spirits. However, those spirits can inhabit a four-dimensional vehicle, within the human body, and therefore can actually reside in this non-spiritual universe:
24 God [is] a spirit, and the ones worshiping Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4 GLT)
Now Proverbs Chapter 8 contains much interesting information on Christ’s role in the creation. Firstly, we can see that Jesus was alive (as the archangel Michael in our understanding) before our world was created. So we must consider that the angelic heavenly realm existed prior to our own. Now in verse 27 the Hebrew word 'שָׁ֭מַיִם' is translated as ‘heavens’. This could suggest that Christ Himself was outside of time. However, that Hebrew word could also be translated as ‘sky’ which would then support our current thesis that it is only the Father Jehovah who lived outside of time during the creation. Furthermore all the other statements of the creation, in these verses, refer only to our physical world so why would extra-universal heavens be only mentioned once? Also verse 30 contains the phrases 'I was [His] delights day [by] day' and ‘rejoicing before Him at every time’; these would seem to me to substantiate Michael’s being inside a space-time continuum of some specification:
22 Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of His way, from then, before His works. (GLT)
22יְֽהוָ֗ה קָ֭נָנִי רֵאשִׁ֣ית דַּרְכֹּ֑ו קֶ֖דֶם מִפְעָלָ֣יו מֵאָֽז (WLC)
23 I was set up from everlasting, from that which was before the earth. (GLT)
23מֵ֭עֹולָם נִסַּ֥כְתִּי מֵרֹ֗אשׁ מִקַּדְמֵי־אָֽרֶץ (WLC)
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when [there were] no springs heavy [with] water. (GLT)
24בְּאֵין־תְּהֹמֹ֥ות חֹולָ֑לְתִּי בְּאֵ֥ין מַ֝עְיָנֹ֗ות נִכְבַּדֵּי־מָֽיִם (WLC)
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth; (GLT)
25בְּטֶ֣רֶם הָרִ֣ים הָטְבָּ֑עוּ לִפְנֵ֖י גְבָעֹ֣ות חֹולָֽלְתִּי (WLC)
26 before He had made the earth and the fields, or the highest part of the dust of the world. (GLT)
26עַד־לֹ֣א עָ֭שָׂה אֶ֣רֶץ וְחוּצֹ֑ות וְ֝רֹ֗אשׁ עָפְרֹ֥ות תֵּבֵֽל (WLC)
27 When He prepared the heavens, I [was] there; when He set a circle on the face of the deep, (GLT)
27בַּהֲכִינֹ֣ו שָׁ֭מַיִם שָׁ֣ם אָ֑נִי בְּח֥וּקֹו ח֝֗וּג עַל־פְּנֵ֥י תְהֹֽום (WLC)
28 when He formed the clouds above, when He made the strong fountains of the deep, (GLT)
28בְּאַמְּצֹ֣ו שְׁחָקִ֣ים מִמָּ֑עַל בַּ֝עֲזֹ֗וז עִינֹ֥ות תְּהֹום (WLC)
29 when He gave to the sea its limit, that the waters should not pass beyond His command; when He decreed the foundations of the earth, (GLT)
29בְּשׂ֘וּמֹ֤ו לַיָּ֨ם ׀ חֻקֹּ֗ו וּ֭מַיִם לֹ֣א יַֽעַבְרוּ־פִ֑יו בְּ֝חוּקֹ֗ו מֹ֣וסְדֵי אָֽרֶץ (WLC)
30 then I was at His side, like a master workman; and I was [His] delights day [by] day, rejoicing before Him at every time; (GLT)
30וָֽאֶהְיֶ֥ה אֶצְלֹ֗ו אָ֫מֹ֥ון וָֽאֶהְיֶ֣ה עֲשֻׁעִים יֹ֤ום ׀ יֹ֑ום מְשַׂחֶ֖קֶת לְפָנָ֣יו בְּכָל־עֵֽת (WLC)
31 rejoicing in the world, His earth; and my delight [was] with the sons of men. (Proverbs 8 GLT)
31 מְ֭שַׂחֶקֶת בְּתֵבֵ֣ל אַרְצֹ֑ו וְ֝שַׁעֲשֻׁעַ֗י אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י אָדָֽם (Proverbs 8 WLC)
Time in the Scriptures
There are numerous examples of endless time or, arguably, no time existent at all in the scriptures. In the Book of Psalms, David states that God will live forever. This could mean that God is immortal whilst living in time; but it could also mean that God lives outside time. David can only measure God’s lifespan in terms that he can understand from his own experience of our universal constraints:
11 My days [are] like a shadow stretched out, and I wither like grass.
12 But You, O Jehovah, shall dwell forever, and Your memory to generation and generation. (Psalms 102 GLT)
In verse 25 below the Hebrew word 'לְ֭פָנִים' can have numerous meanings. Of particular interest, though, is the translation chosen by Jay Green in which the concept of God’s existing before time began is introduced:
25 Before [time] You founded the earth, and the heavens [are] the work of Your hands. (GLT)
25לְ֭פָנִים הָאָ֣רֶץ יָסַ֑דְתָּ וּֽמַעֲשֵׂ֖ה יָדֶ֣יךָ שָׁמָֽיִם (WLC)
26 They shall perish, but You shall endure; yea, all of them shall wear out like a garment; You shall change them like clothing, and they shall be changed. (GLT)
26הֵ֤מָּה ׀ יֹאבֵדוּ֮ וְאַתָּ֪ה תַ֫עֲמֹ֥ד וְ֭כֻלָּם כַּבֶּ֣גֶד יִבְל֑וּ כַּלְּב֖וּשׁ תַּחֲלִיפֵ֣ם וְֽיַחֲלֹֽפוּ (WLC)
27 But You [are] He, and Your years shall not be ended. (Psalms 102 GLT)
27 וְאַתָּה־ה֑וּא וּ֝שְׁנֹותֶ֗יךָ לֹ֣א יִתָּֽמּוּ (Psalms 102 WLC)
An earlier Psalm of David has a couple of interesting time-based points to make. Firstly, it describes God’s throne as being established from when the world was established. Certainly, as far as mankind is concerned (and the angels also, as established in their heavenly realm), even God can only be a king when He has a kingdom. God needed the world to exist first before He could rule it. Secondly, David makes the point that God has always existed since before He created the world:
1 Jehovah reigns! He is clothed with majesty; Jehovah is clothed with strength; He girded Himself; and the world is established; it shall not be shaken.
2 Your throne [is] established from then; You [are] from everlasting. (Psalms 93 GLT)
The following verses fully demonstrate the nature of the time block theory in the scriptures. Here Paul is telling the congregation at Ephesus that those saints were predestined by God to be with Christ even before He created the world. So here the bible is telling us that the Creator is sitting outside of the time that He created and knows the life path that every one of his Saints will take:
3 Blessed [is] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies with Christ,
4 even as He elected us in Him before [the] foundation of [the] world, for us to be holy and without blemish before Him in love,
5 predestinating us to adoption through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (Ephesians 1 GLT)
Whilst it is only the Saints that are being referred to in the above scripture, there is every reason to believe that all humans’ (and angels’) life paths are known by God from the start:
9 Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (Isaiah 46 KJV)
And David on a similar but more personal theme. Here we can see that it is not only the physical realm that is already known by God but also the spiritual:
1 [To the chief musician. A Psalm of David.] O Jehovah, You have searched me and known [me].
2 You know my sitting down, and my rising up; You understand my thought from afar off.
3 You sift my path and my lying down, and are acquainted [with] all my ways.
4 For not a word [is] on my tongue, but, lo, O Jehovah, You know it all.
5 You have closed me in behind, and in front, and Your hand [is] laid on me.
6 [Such] knowledge [is] too wonderful for me; it is set on high; I am not able to [reach] it.
7 Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your face?
8 If I go up to Heaven, You [are] there; if I make my bed [in] Sheol, behold, You [are there]! (Psalms 139 GLT)
In the following example, from Timothy’s second epistle, it talks of specific actions being carried out even before eternal times. This is as clear a statement as one can find that God was doing things before the clocks started ticking in our universe:
9 the [One] having saved us and having called [us] with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to [His] own purpose and grace given to us in Christ Jesus before eternal times, (2 Timothy 1 GLT)
In the final book of the Bible, the apostle John writes a fitting finale to the Great Book by referring to God as the start and the finish of all creation encompassing the full panoply of past, current and future time:
8 I am the Alpha and the Omega, [the] Beginning and [the] Ending, says the Lord, the [One] who is, and who was, and who [is] coming, the Almighty. (Revelation 1 GLT)
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the First and the Last. (Revelation 22 GLT)
In discussing the space-time continuum, we are talking about God’s being outside both time and space. When Jesus reappeared to His disciples after His resurrection, He was able to enter a closed room and perform anti-gravity feats. At the ‘time’ of this event, Jesus was Himself a God and therefore was Living in His Father’s universe and therefore was Himself also outside of time and space. These kind of interaction between universes are possible, even when they would appear to break the physical laws of our universe, albeit under control from outside our own universe. These interactions are covered in my Heavens Above paper:
19 Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you. (John 20 KJV)
9 And saying these things, [as] they looked on, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him from their eyes. (Acts 1 GLT)
One thought has just occurred to me. There must clearly always be a difference between God the Father and any divine sons that He rears. The Father was always in existence before mankind’s and the angel’s universal clocks started ticking. Any angel that is made divine will only become existent outside of time at the instant in his angelic universe that he attains divinity. At that point, I imagine, all divine sons will be able to see the detailed goings-on in the various space-time restricted universes. The following verses help to substantiate this differentiation:
2 on hope of eternal life which the God who does not lie promised before [the] eternal times, (Titus 1 GLT)
19 but with precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot,
20 indeed having been foreknown before [the] foundation of [the] world, but revealed in [the] last times because of you, (1 Peter 1 GLT)
God's Creation of Our Universe
God and Time
Jewish Lords' Witness