The following discussion I had with a few friends, all Terribly Bad Catholics, completely changed my life…for a week. Then I forgot it, moved on, started a blog and BAM! Here it is again. Now, if you feel entirely comfortable and versed in the concept of God being outside of time, you may skip the next three paragraphs, as they are about as gripping as an agnostic’s love poetry.
Well then. Time is relative to events and physical things. If you were to fire a gun, there would be a before-you-fired, an after-you-fired, an exact-moment-you fired, and so on. Our measurement of years is the most obvious example of this relativism: before-Christ-was-born, after-Christ-was-born. Months and hours and minutes and seconds; all relative to the sun, the seasons, and the motions of atoms. Time is relative.
What, then, if there was nothing? Nothing at all, no events, no things; absolute Nothing? Then there would be no time. And to the best of our scientific knowledege, we know there was indeed a point where nothing existed. An ultimate before all before’s.
But all things have a cause, and a point of causation. Things don’t just always exist. Thus before there was time, there was a creator. This creator, God, is outside of time. He is eternal. The best explanation of this is not found in any physics book, but in the oldest grammatical paradox known to man: I Am That I Am – The name of God. God simply IS, because he is outside of time. There is nothing after God, nothing before God; God is the thing itself.
That was heavy. Feel free to take a break.
Hopefully you didn’t ditch me for the Avett Brothers, but I’d understand. Now, this timeless God became a temporal human being, Jesus Christ, thus bringing eternity into time, in a mind-blowing plot-twist no sci-fi will be able to replicate. What does this mean for us? Actually many things, but I will focus on just one right now. It means that God is suffering on the cross, currently, presently, and as we speak. Not metaphorically; actually. He is fully God, outside of time, and when the soliders nailed Jesus down to the cross, they nailed God, a being who constantly IS, and thus IS constantly suffering for us, until the end of time. Did you know that?
God’s human suffering, the nails, the scourges, the cross; all this is outdone by his suffering as God; the weight of all the sins of all time, of everyone who ever lived. He became sin, became repulsive to the Father for our sake. If he is outside of time, if he is suffering right now, then, and this is really the crux, our sins directly increase His suffering that day on Calvary, his constant suffering. And our virtue can comfort him. This, this, this I believe is the esctacy of the saints, the blood of the martyrs; that we can comfort our God. That we, by prayer, fasting and virtue can cradle the head of the Lamb. That we, through holiness, can lessen the pain of Our Savior, Our Father, Our Spouse. This concept is radical, yet not new. How many times have you heard, perhaps as a child, “that hurts God”, or “that makes Him sad?” Our faith, the Christian drama, is happening right now, as you read this.
Sin is not an abstract check mark against you, waiting to be counted on the Day of Judgement. It is a real wound on the Body of Christ, and that, that will be counted. I often, in the depths of my sin, forget that I have a pair of balls and whine about “how bad this sin makes me feel.” I feel guilty, depressed, miserable, hopeless…
Imagine how God feels.
A life lead with that frame of mind would be a holy life indeed. I’m going to try it. To try honestly realizing the effect my selfishness, my constant pride, my lusts and my apathy has on God. Then instead of hurting Christ, I will kiss his feet, I will comfort my God, and the blood left on my lips will be my salvation.