There was a time…

Today in Theology we rather briefly discussed Arianism, which is a belief dating back to the 3rd century AD, when Arius began to preach a message that Jesus is not eternal, but rather that he was created by the Father at a certain point in time. They get this from at least one passage (I know they used scripture, but I can’t find which parts) mentioning something of the Son being conceived, or brought into existence sometime after God… thus making him not eternal. Arianism had a slogan of sorts: “there was a time when the Son did not exist.” Obviously I don’t agree with this, and historically neither has the church, as the notion died for a thousand years before it ever surfaced again within the church. But when I first heard the slogan, I originally heard, “there was a time when the sun did not exist.” Which is pretty easy to do, being that the two words are homophones, and sound exactly the same.

In case you don’t know yet, you should know that God’s creation amazes me, and especially his creation outside of our diminutive planet. The Universe is an incredible, wonderous thing, and often God reveals himself to me through it. When I originally misheard the Arianist motto, God revealed to me just a small portion of exactly how large he is. Because while the actual saying isn’t true, the misheard one certainly is. God existed before the Sun. God existed before the Universe. God existed before there was time.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t even fathom what it means to exist outside of the Universe. I mean, to humanity that is the bubble within which everything exists. To be honest, I know that when I think of God, I almost always think of Him inside the Universe. We get caught up thinking he’s got the whole world in his hands, and we forget he’s got the whole Universe there, too. But how can there be anything outside when there is no outside? What is it like outside of creation? Is it just a big, black nothingness where God exists, and watches the Universe like a chess game on the table? If not, then does God exist within some other creation? And if that is the case, then must we assume there is an even higher power? I don’t even know where to begin with those thoughts!

Or, say we forget the physical and think in terms of time! How is it possible to exist outside of time? My life has a finite beginning, and will come to a finite (although quasi-finite is a better term) end. I do not have the ability to change my movement down the timeline of existence. I can only look backwards and walk forwards. I am limited by the clockwise ticking of the second hand, and I can only perceive existence in such a manner. Yet for me to comprehend God, I would have to be able to see creation as a storybook. There was existence before I picked up the storybook. Once I picked up the book and created the beginning of time, then I am free to roam about it as I so choose. To the characters, the story still happens in a sequential order–page two still comes after page one–but existing outside of the story, I am free to flip to the back and read the ending before the timeline actually gets there.

I can’t grasp that!

The funny thing is that by learning more, I feel like I understand even less. Yesterday I was (unknowlingly) content to view God as contained within his own creation, and now I am forced to view him only outside of these human boundaries. Yes, of course I knew academically that God existed outside of these two limits, and I would have told you that if you asked. But there is a difference between knowing He does, and knowing he does.

Wow. And to think I have the nerve to think I’m something special. Without God, I am nothing.