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Is there “Time” After Death

Man experiences life through a time-based dimension. Will that also be true on the other side?

Time in the Physical World

We live in a physical world where most things can be touched and studied. It is a place where we apply logic and science to advance our understanding of who we are and how the puzzle of life fits together. Our world is based on a foundation of time and order, where one event follows another, one generation follows another, etc. Further, each of us knows that there is an endpoint in our earthly experience and most believe there is a new, everlasting experience awaiting us after death.

However, we all, to varying degrees, are fearful of how our lives will end and what falls beyond. Most Americans believe we are immortal, having a point of birth, then death and finally living in some resurected state, forever. What concerns us is what will that permanent environment be like. Of small, but interesting consequence is the question of whether we will continue to experience an impression of “time” on the other side of the grave.

The Bible and Time

God is eternal in the sense that we, as humans, have no understanding of how He came to be. We live in a time-based world that runs from the point we are born (or, for some, conceived) to the time we die. Mankind views everything through the lens of time, and therefore is compelled to assign the dimension of time to the spiritual world as well. 

God, in order to help us try to understand Him, begins the Bible by saying, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Of course, we are not privy to what has transpired prior to Genesis 1:1, any more than evolutionists have an understanding of where the dot of the big bang came from. As believing Christians, we accept on faith that He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End (Rev. 1:8), just as they accept on faith the dot came from… somewhere, somehow. 

The real question is, is God offering a statement of fact, that there is “time” in Heaven, or is He just providing a framework for our worldly minds to help grasp its awe-inspiring reality?

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 1 Corinthians 2:9

No Time in Heaven 

Those that believe we will not experience the concept of time in Heaven offer Scriptural evidence, including the following:

Revelation 21:23 – And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Revelation 22:5 – And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

If there is no sun or moon, and no more night, does that suggest

  • That time is suspended, that the cycles of day and night no longer exist and, with it, our measurement of the passing of time?
  • Or is this verse simply suggesting an environment similar to being in an enclosed space on earth that does not benefit from exterior lighting, even though time continues to exist?

We do know that God (who we are created in the image of) exists beyond the reach of time, and we will be with Him as believers. 

There is Time in Heaven

There is also evidence in the Bible that even though our experience after death will be everlasting, we may continue to experience the concept of time. Evidence for this comes from verses such as…

2 Peter 3:8 – But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Does this verse provide evidence that time, however infinite, does exist in the supernatural realm, or just the opposite?

Revelation 6:9-10 – When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

Is the “how long before you will judge” insight into the time dimension in Heaven?

Revelation 8:1 – When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

Again, is this God using earthly concepts to help earth-bound man understand a profound pause, emphasizing the impact of the 7th seal? Or, is God letting us know that “time” actually passes in Heaven?

Summary

The idea that we are immortal beings is an unquestionable truth for the Biblical Christian. However, is it less than clear if the dimension of time is a factor. This is an example of theological differences that are not core to our salvation; interesting to reflect on, but should not be a point of contention between believers.


POSTSCRIPT: One of our authors, Randy DeVaul, reading this post, responded to me by email. He offered the verse in Rev. 22:2 that uses a timeframe of “month” in the context of the changing fruit of the “tree of life” in the New Jerusalem garden. That could be considered support for the concept of time in Heaven.


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AuthorJeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org 

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