I’ve been contemplating the function and meaning of time.
In the beginning, as related in the Book of Genesis, Time consisted of a 7-day cycle. God created something by speaking it into existence…
Indulge me a short digression at this point: Some people find fault with this activity-record, because, they say, “no one can make something tangible from nothing!” Duly noted. But they always seem to forget that lowly man can take a tangible thing, too small to be seen by the naked eye, an atom, and accelerate it to super-speed and slam it into other small particles to make a blast of energy that wipes out entire cities!
If this can be done by done by puny man, why do they find it so hard to believe an ALL-POWERFUL GOD could accomplish the reverse, to make something from nothing?
Anyway, same story for the next 5 days.. speak, action, creation! Then on the sixth day he slows down, most likely spending the whole morning on this Crown of Creation. Instead of speaking something into existence, He takes what He has already created earlier– dirt, and re-creates it into a partial likeness of Himself. You’ll see in a moment why I said a “partial likeness.”
He spends the rest of the morning getting acquainted with this new creation, and teaches him to have “dominion” over all the rest of creation. Starting with having him give names to everything that He has made. He starts the lesson by giving this unique being a name of his own- Adam.
Adam is smart and a quick study. It doesn’t take long for him to notice that nearly everything that God has made comes as a double, male and female. After naming most of the day, he is probably wondering where is his female counterpart. This is where the “partial likeness” I mentioned comes into play. “There was no suitable companion found for Adam.” (Gen 2:21)
By this record it is clear to me that one of at least two states likely existed:
- There is “ONE God” possessing both male and female characteristics, as stated over and over again in the Bible, and He created Adam to be only the male half of Himself and later, Eve to be the female counterpart.
- “God” as outlined in Genesis is made up of at least two beings, one male and one female, and they were the models used for the creation of mankind. Including all other reproductive organisms.
Now, back to time. The next day mentioned would be the seventh day of the cycle. He ceased His creating. He “rested.” I wonder what “rest” looked like to a creator with unlimited power? Perhaps that odd, seven-day cycle was put there just for us. Because He knew that, one day, we would need that day of rest. A time to recharge. To think about what He has done for us. To contemplate His amazing plan to rescue us from a bizarre fate for Adam’s disobedience.
There is no solid record as to how long was the time period involved between their creation, and their sin in the garden, but God made it clear to them that “the day you eat of the tree you will certainly die.”
Some have postulated that it was less than the 9 months of the gestation period of Cain, for he was born after the parents were ejected from the Garden of Eden.
Some have said that it plainly says, “When Adam was 130 years old he had a son that was just like him in spirit and countenance, and he named him Seth.”
I believe that the record is stated that way because, in all likelihood, Adam and Eve were having all girls during this 130 years… that is after Cain killed Able and was himself banished from the area. There may have been daughters born before Cain killed Able and the killing episode took place when they both had families.
But the question of timing is not really as important as the question of time. At what point did the counting of time, ie. Months and years begin?
I don’t think we will ever know what was the time-span between the last day of creation week until they sinned, because it was in eternity. The time markers for hours, minutes, seconds, years had no meaning or usefulness before sin. As long as there was no sin there was no need to keep track of time. After sin entered, mankind began to die. The time-stamps were used after sin to mark our progress toward the grave.
After he sinned, Adam lived 130 years until he had another offspring that looked like himself (ie. A male offspring). And this birth marked the renewing of the watch for the Messiah, who would be God himself, born as a created-being, who would pass the tests of obedience to God’s Laws in which Adam had failed so miserably.
They were told explicitly that the Messiah would be a male. So when their first male child (Cain) was born it must have been a great thrill to think that this child would grow up to deliver them from the mess that they had thrust the world into.
When Able was born they may have been a little confused, not knowing which of these boys was God incarnated. As the two developed and raised families of their own, it became clear that the young of the two tended to be God-fearing and had a spirit of obedience that was lacking in the older son.
The fact that there must have been quite a number of people alive on the earth at the time of Able’s murder is indicated by Cain’s worry, that he would be a homeless wonder on the earth and people would try to kill him. I guess that he, being a farmer, already understood the principle, “You reap what you sow.”
It seems that the early guys learned pretty fast that they needed to keep track of repetitions of weekly cycles and seasons and the repetitions of yearly cycles for not only would this knowledge be useful to their existence, but no one really knew what was meant by the “death” of a human. That is until Cain killed his brother. But what would a “natural death” look like? It is doubtful that anyone knew, until Adam died of old age.
One thing is certain: time, since the fall of man has had one prime purpose, that of celebrating the amount of time of one’s existence on this earth, whether it was minutes or hundreds of years. When we have reached our 70 notches on the “pole of life” it would seem a good time to get our tombstone ready. We don’t have much time left.