This is a question haunting mankind since the dawn of time – pardon the pun.
What if we could go back in time and correct a mistake, or capitalize on an opportunity? Don’t you think the losers of the 1929 Crash would have loved this?
Or for law enforcement. The movie Minority Report uses insight on future crimes, but what about going back in time to witness the crime itself? Wouldn’t this convince a jury, and after a while, would we even need juries anymore?
The standard time travel models raise a good deal of questions, so when super-imposed upon story including religious matters, aren’t we treading on thin ice? I’ll get to some of these in other essays, but for now, let’s look at the possibility of time travel in the present Creation.
Some of my favorite religious authors are not theologians, but scientists. One in particular, Dr. Jason Lisle from ICR, is an astronomer with many profound insights to the larger creation. Keep in mind that Dr. Lisle has probably never heard of me, and that’s okay. My mention of him here is not to be construed as his endorsement. Nevertheless, he posits a simple assertion:
God has made laws all over his creation and does not break his own laws to get things done. He says “my word shall not pass away” and the law “shall not fail” and throughout the Scripture asserts the rigid and unfailing strength of his laws (Luke 16:7)
I point this out because some pastors and theologians have preached – to my ears – the notion that God sets aside his laws to perform miracles. And this is how we know it’s a miracle, the laws have been suspended and only God can do that.
But can he?
God says it’s impossible for him to lie (Heb 6:18). His holiness precludes him from breaking promises and breaking laws.
And when we think about it, the only reason God would need to break a law is if he needed to adapt, to change things to accommodate circumstances. This presumes God didn’t foresee those circumstances and have enough wisdom to accommodate them early – even at the point of Creation.
Revelation 13:8 tells us Jesus is the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
This means not even the Cross took God by surprise. Not even the Fall took God by surprise. Jesus was not Plan B – he was and is the centerpiece of the creation.
A premise of the Bible is God lives outside of time as we understand it. He is sovereign over space, matter, and time, having created all three (Titus 1:2). The laws of time were etched into the creation from the beginning. Every law God would need, from those required for a virgin birth (Galatians 3:19), to a resurrection, to organic healing, to fire from heaven – all the laws are already in place. No new laws are necessary and no special “breaking” of laws is required.
If God exists at the beginning of time, and at the end of time, and every nanosecond in between – simultaneously – then he knows full-well exactly what he will need and has the wisdom to build everything he needs at the point of initial construction. He won’t need to break laws “along the way” because he’s already there. (Rev 1:8, Heb 13:8, James 1:17).
Think about how gravity and aerodynamics play into each other. They are separate sets of laws. One keeps things on the ground and one takes things aloft. Gravity is always present, but aerodynamics allows us to use different laws to fly, and depends on gravity to stay put – after all, the atmosphere is held in place with gravity, and aerodynamics uses the atmosphere. These laws coexist in an integrated Creation. Just as we can see birds fly, we know laws exist to assist us in flight. Did God show us humans traveling time, so we therefore know time travel is possible?
God shows us several places where he folded time.
When Jesus was at the transfiguration (Matt 17:2-3), Elijah and Moses appeared to him They were not ghosts, but the living forms of each. Jesus would have had to fold time to each of them, in different millennia, to interact with them at the same time.
Jesus took the Apostle John into the future, at least three thousand year’s worth. While there, John said he “looked” and “saw” things with his own eyes. These were not virtual visions. An angel took him (Rev 21:9-22) and measured the city of God. A hands-on experience. John was actually there, physically transported into another time, not shown something through a portal or vision.
Paul claims to have been “caught up” to the “third heaven” (1 Cor 12:2) where he witnessed things. This is an example of folding space rather than time, for instant transportation. But the premise remains, the capacity to fold space is already present in the creation.
Phillip came alongside the Ethiopian Eunuch and interacted with him about salvation and baptism. At the end of their discourse, God transported Phillip far away, instantly (Acts 8:39). This is another example of space-folding for transportation.
Jesus said concerning children, that their angels behold the face of God always (Matt 18:10). Angels (Cherubim Guardians) have more than one face. If one of them is to behold God always, it must fold space from its location with the child, to the heavenly realm where God is. Otherwise how could it guard the child and behold God’s face at the same time?
Lastly, we have the examples of of Enoch (Gen 5:4) and Elijah (2 King 2:11). Both these men were translated, that is, they didn’t see death. Elijah was taken to “heaven” but the Hebrew word here is not God’s heaven, but the sky. For each of these, where did they go when they were translated? Some have said to heaven to wait for their time to be used. But this would not be possible – since Jesus told Nicodemus (John 3:13) no man has ascended to heaven, so Elijah and Enoch weren’t there.
The Bible says it is appointed to a man once to die (Heb 9:27). People only die once. This is why Jesus said of Lazarus (John 11:11) and the daughter of Jairus (Luke 8:52) – they are only sleeping. They had not experienced death. More on this later. Enoch and Elijah had not died.
It is clear from the testimony of the Two Witnesses in Revelation, these two men are Elijah and Enoch. Some have said one is Moses, but recall Moses died (Deut 34:7). Both these Witnesses will be slain in Jerusalem (Rev 11:7), so for Moses this would be dying twice. Moreover, being in Jerusalem would be a violation of God’s curse upon Moses, that he would never see the promised land (Deut 34:4).
So here we have two men, translated from their given century directly into the post-Rapture world to stand by the Temple and preach the messages they were already preaching before they left.
All this said, time travel is built into the laws of the Creation and people have already done it. They didn’t do it through technology, but through the laws already present in the creation.
So just as we can see birds fly and know other laws exist allowing us to do so, we can create technologies to help us fly – and we can also see people traveling time, and know it’s possible. Which is why people have attempted to create the technology to do so, and some claim to have already done it.
I don’t personally believe any of these tales. They don’t pass the basic tests, which we will discuss in another essay.