Ancient Light

God is not at all constrained by space or time as we are. He is simply wherever He wants to be, whenever He wants to be there. For God, it's beautifully simple. On the other hand, we humans, and all other physical things, are affected by time. It normally only works for us at one speed, and in one direction (forward, one day at a time), which means that we have to wait for things in the future, and that we almost lose actual physical contact with the events of the past.

Ancient Light

We are also affected by space. If we want to be somewhere else, we have to physically travel there, and once we get there we are no longer where we were before. Things are more complicated for us than for God.

We think of light as being instantaneous - turn on a light switch and you instantly have light. But even light takes time to travel from place to place, particularly the incredibly vast distances of space. Astronomers (who are not astrologers, see also The First Scientist) must deal with this reality every day of their working lives.

Although light travels incredibly fast (300,000 kilometers per second / 186,000 miles per second), the light that is continuously radiating from stars takes measurable times to travel the incomprehensible distances of outer space - often, vast amounts of time. Like water from a fire hose, the flow is continuous, but any given drop of water in the stream takes time to fly from the end of the hose (i.e. the star) to the fire (i.e. your eyes). Astronomers measure distances to stars not by kilometers or miles, but by "light years" - the distance light travels in one year.

A star that you see tonight is actually just how that star looked way back when that particular light image left the star many years ago. An interesting example is "Mintaka", one of the three-in-a-row stars in Orion's belt (the constellation Orion, mentioned in Job 9:9, 38:31, and Amos 5:8 is visible from both the northern and southern hemispheres). Astronomers have calculated Mintaka's distance to be about 2,000 light years. That is, the light from Mintaka that strikes your eyes tonight left that star about 2,000 years ago - when Jesus Christ walked the earth!

Your eyes are like little time machines - when you look out into space, you are also looking back into time. Go out with some friends to a very dark, very safe, place on a warm, very clear night if you wish, look up into God's magnificent heavens, and take a little journey through time. The sights are wonderful.

Fact Finder: Does God experience time the same as we do?
2 Peter 3:8

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This Day In History, September 9

337: Constantine's three sons, already Caesars, each took the title of Augustus. Constantine II and Constans divided the western empire while Constantius II took control of the eastern empire.

1087: King William I of England died at age 60. Known as William the Conquerer, he was one of the greatest British kings and was much involved in European history - events of long ago that make the political world in which we find ourselves living today. A future British king, the oldest son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, will be King William V.

1513: Forces of James IV of Scotland battled English troops in Flodden near Branxton, in the English county of Northumberland.

1543: Mary, Queen of Scots, was coronated.

1585: Pope Sixtus V blocked Henry of Navarre's rights to the French crown.

1754: William Bligh was born. As the 35 year-old captain of the Bounty in 1789, his crew made their famous mutiny. Bligh and 18 loyal members of his crew were set adrift in a small lifeboat, which they amazingly managed to sail about 6,500 kilometers (4,000 miles) to Timor. Some of the mutineers settled on Pitcairn Island after burning the ship just offshore.

1776: The American Continental Congress adopted the name United States for the newly independent country, replacing the earlier choice United Colonies.

1850: California became the 31st U.S. state.

1867: Adolphus abdicated as duke of Nassau and was granted 8.5 million thalers (the German word from which "dollar" originated) and a few castles as compensation.

1942: During one of their rare raids on the U.S. mainland, a Japanese plane dropped incendiaries on Oregon.

1948: After the withdrawal of Soviet forces from North Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea was proclaimed with Pyongyang as its capital.

1976: Mao Zedong, Chinese communist leader died. He proclaimed the People's Republic of China in 1949 in Beijing.

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