I commented on Ann Jervis’ paper at SBL on “Christ and Time” a few days ago. In her paper, she explained how Christ connects time with life not death. Ultimately, death gives way to life and so there is no end of time, life is lived eternally “in Christ time.”
This week in reading T.F. Torrance’s Incarnation I found another interesting discussion of Christ’s relation to time. Torrance, in my reading, seems to argue for a similar conclusion as Jervis that time is an eternal reality. His argument is working from a different starting point, the incarnation, but he affirms that in Christ’s incarnation the eternal is now ‘in union with time.’ Torrance says,
…The Christian faith pivots upon the fact that here in time we are confronted by the eternal in union with time…Everything in Christianity centres on the incarnation of the Son of God, an invasion of God among men and women in time, bringing and working out a salvation not only understandable by them in their own historical and human life and existence, but historically and concretely accessible to them on earth and in time, in the midst of their frailty, contingency, relativity, and sin. Whatever christology does…it stands or falls with the fact that here in our actual history and existence is the saviour God.
Torrance even goes so far as to connect God with time (offering an answer to the question asked of Jervis in the session). Torrance says, “The unity of eternity and time in the incarnation means that true time in all its finite reality is not swallowed up by eternity but eternally affirmed as reality even for God.”
One further note from Torrance, I really like how he captures the way we describe God’s activity on earth. He explains that many see it as a divine act in the created world (a view he uses) but he prefers to see it as ‘an eternal act in time.’ He says, It
…is not the perception of revelation divorced from history. Nor is it the perception of history by itself, divorced from revelation, but it is the way we are given within history to perceive God’s act in history, and that means that faith is the obedience of our minds to the mystery of Christ, who is God and man in the historical Jesus.
The connection of not only creator and created but eternity and time in our understanding of God is fascinating. Revelation as the eternal being joined with the temporal is a wonderful way to explore the mystery of God with us.