In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul pointedly encapsulates the depressing condition and life perspective of those who lack the benefit of the blessings bequeathed to the world through faithful Abraham and his greatest Son:
11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Without Christ, without promise, without God—hopeless; I can think of nothing worse except its ultimate consequence if left uncorrected. Modern man by and large retains the notion of time moving forward bequeathed to him through Abraham’s obedience. But absent Christ, their souls are still bound to the crushing, fatalistic hopelessness of the ancient world’s wheel of time. The celebrated Oxford chemist and vehement atheist Peter Atkins is a great example of this. Reflecting on the arrow of time and supposing its fundamental cause to be the second law of thermodynamics, he writes:
“We have looked through the window on the world provided by the Second Law, and have seen the purposelessness of nature … All change, and time’s arrow, point in the direction of corruption. The experience of time is the gearing of the electrochemical processes in our brains to the purposeless drift into chaos as we sink into equilibrium and the grave.”
Intelligent and educated Mr. Atkins may be, but absent Christ he can only see the movement of time and has no understanding of its ultimate reality or purpose.
Time is the unfolding of God’s accomplishment of redemption in the universe.
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Though decay and increased chaos can be used to see that time moves forward, they are not why it does so. The Day approaches. Time is taking us to a destination. It’s not simply carrying us downstream into the depths of pointless despair. We are to gather together to exhort and provoke one another to love and good works because what we do matters and has eternal consequence.
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Right now—this day, this hour—the day of our complete redemption is closer to us than they day we first confessed Christ as Lord. Scientists have observed what Scripture affirms: time moves in one direction. But secular scientists have failed to comprehend why this is so, largely because they have sought for a physical reason for the phenomenon. Time’s motion forward is driven by its spiritual purpose—redemption. The Father is always at work to complete the redemption of His creatures and the creation, thus time moves forward.
The whole creation is groaning for the day when the total redemption of mankind will be completed. Time is not decay. Time is not disorder. Time is not aging, if by aging we mean disorderly decay. We see these things occurring within time because of Adam’s sin. But they are not time. Time is the unfolding of God’s accomplishment of redemption in the universe.