The Bible and the Headlines
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News You Can Use
By David Bachelor, PhD
When this article hits the newsstands, Texas will be just a few days away from adjusting her clocks again. Predictably this week has seen a plethora of articles on the pending time-change. Many of these focused on proposals to eliminate the biannual adjustments to our clocks. There were also other “time” stories that offered more radical changes to time management. Here are just two.
On Sunday ScienceAlert,com had the story, “Scientists Found an Entirely New Way of Measuring Time.” Time is defined in the article as “counting the seconds between ‘then’ and ‘now’.” The article looks at the work of Swedish physicists who have found a way to measure time without a beginning point or an ending point. The author states, “Down at the quantum scale of buzzing electrons ‘then’ can’t always be anticipated. Worse still, ‘now’ often blurs into a haze of vagueness.” The physicists found a way to remove this random aspect at the atomic level. To produce electrons that behave uniformly so the speed of their reactions can be used to measure time, the Swedes directed lasers at hydrogen atoms. I think it will be a few years before this method will be available in a wrist-watch.
A headline in Sunday’s online version of Voice of America was, “European Space Agency Calls for Giving Moon its Own Time Zone.” The article notes missions to the moon are always measured in the time zone of the country sending the mission. This means if a Chinese astronaut and an American astronaut (from different lunar missions) stand next to each other on the moon, there is a 13-hour time difference between their feet. Officials also noted a technical problem with using terrestrial timekeeping, “Clocks run faster on the moon than on Earth, gaining about 56 microseconds each day. The exact difference depends on the position of the clock and whether it is in orbit or on the lunar surface.” An European Space Agency official pointed out another reason to separate time on the moon from its earthly tether, “[A] day on the moon lasts as long as 29.5 days on Earth.”
There are events recorded in the Bible that point to an imprecise concept of time. In the book of Joshua, the nation of Israel was asked for military assistance by an ally who was about to be invaded (Jos 10:6). Joshua led the Israelites into battle, and they crushed the invasion. In order that none of the enemy soldiers would get away, Joshua needed more time for his soldiers. To stop the clock, Joshua asked God to make the sun and the moon stand still in the heavens. Joshua 10: 13 says, “So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies . .. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.”
The New Testament also cautions against tying our concept of time to the rotation of the earth. To believers who say God is too slow, the Bible says, “Do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Pet 3:8). The “clock” God uses is mercy rather than the sun. Thank Heaven for that.
Next Sunday when Texas adjusts her clocks, let each of us not seek the rising of the sun, but rather the rising of the Son.