Why doesn’t God use time travel?
You’ve made a mistake. Again. A big one. But what can you do about it? Nothing. You’ll just have to wear the consequences. *Sigh*. If only you could go back in time, so you could get it right instead.
If life was a movie, we would be able to do just that. Time travel. All we would need to be able to do-over anything, is to get an electrical surge (The Terminator), a “time-turner” (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), a hot tub (Hot Tub Time Machine) or any suitable conduit between now and then. Simple.
Right now, X-Men: Days of Future Past is dominating cinemas. In case the title didn’t trip your “time travel” alarm, the premise of this superhero’s sequel should: Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) must soldier on to prevent the wiping out of mutant humans — by returning to the past to save the future.
For the umpteenth time on screen, the only solution to a problem is the rewriting of history. A tempting option, as we’ve all lived through stuff we wished we hadn’t. But, in the off-screen world, no-one has been able to use the time-travel solution. Even though we know it just takes a flux-capacitated car (Back To The Future) or a snowy night’s sleep (Groundhog Day).
God has placed all kinds of limitations upon what he has created. You can’t become an ice-cream. I can’t become a laptop. Scooting back and forwards through time is another boundary. Why would God do that? Sure, movies demonstrate the perils of time travel, but how helpful would it be? Like that guy in romantic comedy About Time, we could modestly use it to make our lives better, right?
Apart from movies also showing how people abuse time travel (Time Bandits to Looper), let’s lift our sights higher. Forget about us. Why doesn’t God, the original Time Lord, use time travel? Doesn’t he have the divine technology to go back and prevent bad stuff?
Like when the first humans defied God, and evil entered the world. Couldn’t God have used a heavenly time machine, and got Adam and Eve to have another go?
Or how about when God came to earth, in the person of Jesus? Why didn’t Jesus use his almighty power to find a convenient wormhole, go back, and avoid unfair crucifixion?
Movies employ time travel, but God never has. Which tells us something about how God created existence to unfold, in a particular direction. Even if it involves things we, like God, would prefer to not see happen. Such as his beloved son, Jesus, dying on a cross.
Movies would urge God to use time travel to try out infinite options. But God sent his willing son to die and rise again. God provided no other option to the problem of all our problems. Evidently, that solution is God’s only solution.
Just as Jesus lived life going forward, we benefit from not being able to go backwards in time. Unlike Jesus, we’re not perfect. Mercifully, God can use the bad in our lives to refine us. Draw us closer to him and Jesus, in reliance and trust. Like it or not, we learn from experiencing mistakes, misfortune, pain and tragedy. As 1 Peter 1 clearly indicates, faith in God’s eternal solution is strengthened by sticking with God. No matter what.
Inaugural Rev. Harry Herbert OrationWed, 5th Oct 2022
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