When you think about it, the human brain is extraordinary. Did you know the brain contains 86 billion nerve cells and the latest research shows that the brain’s memory capacity is a quadrillion bytes. Astoundingly, that is the same amount needed to store the entire internet. The brain is capable of 1016 processes per second, which makes it far more powerful than any existing computer. Japan’s K computer is one of the most powerful in the world. When programmed to simulate human brain activity, it took 40 minutes to crunch the data equivalent to just one second of brain activity. Our brains are so amazing that it makes sure we’re breathing properly and consistently without us even having to consciously think about it.
When it comes to understanding the mind of God though, we cannot refer to his brain. He does not have a brain. God is not human and is not a created being. Therefore, his mind is unlimited. His knowledge is infinite. He knows everything – there is nothing he does not know. Nothing catches him off-guard, nothing surprises him and there’s nothing to teach him. There’s no language he cannot speak, no sum that will baffle him and no power that can ever control him. He cannot be curious or inquisitive because there’s no knowledge to be gained that he doesn’t already obtain.
Let’s ask some questions:
When did time begin?
Well, it must have begun when the first element was created (Genesis 1:1). When something begins to exist, it must have been brought into existence at a point in time. God, however, exists outside of time. He is not created, he is eternal, therefore he is not bound to time. He is not limited to time and space—he is the creator of time and space.
What was there before time existed?
The answer is simple, yet extremely complex: God existed before time. God is eternal; he has no beginning and has no end. It is impossible to grasp this fact, but we can know it to be true. For example, we know that there is such a thing as infinity. When does numbering end? If you begin counting now and don’t stop, you will die before you reach the end. There is no end to how far numbers will go. God, being the creator of Mathematics, understands the concept of infinity because he is infinite.
Why does this matter?
I just drove to my office at the Chapel, and on the way, as I was driving through Dewstow, I began noticing the leaves falling all around me. I experienced a moment of sheer beauty. I was able to take a few seconds to enjoy the change that autumn brings. God’s knowledge is so incredible, that he knows how many leaves are on each tree in each garden in Caerwent, in every field in Wales and in all the lands of the earth. He knows how many leaves are left on each tree as they gradually fall and how many cover the forest beds. He has to know this piece of information, otherwise, there would be something he didn’t know.
As you are reading this article, he knows you would be sitting where you are. He knows your thoughts and your motives. He knew your ancestors and remembers them as they were, but also knows where they are now, for God is outside of time. He knows what you will do when you put this article down. You cannot escape God. He is your designer, your sustainer and your judge. And he loves you.
What thrills my soul is the knowledge he gives us in the Bible. Not only is God outside of time and space (he is transcendent), but he also works in and through his creation (he is imminent). He chose to reveal himself to humanity who has so sinfully chosen to rebel against him. But out of his love for us, he has provided a way for us to enjoy him again. He reveals himself to us through the scriptures (the Bible), but more than that, God himself entered into human history to become one of us (the Lord Jesus Christ). The Son of God added to his divinity a human body and lived a perfect life, died a horrendous death by being punished by the Father for the sins that we have so willingly and ignorantly committed. So, if we believe and trust in Jesus, we can experience what we were meant to experience when he created us: a loving relationship with our Creator who has become our Saviour.
What we understand about God must come from the place he has revealed himself: the Bible. To know what God is like, we must look to Jesus. He is the visible image of the invisible God.
Written by Pastor Gwydion Emlyn for Caerwent Village Magazine, Autumn 2017.