We all make mistakes; its inevitable. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go back in time and fix a mistake you made? How easy would it be to pop into the time machine, go back a few minutes, hours or years to sabotage yourself from committing a life-altering catastrophe that would have consequences for years to come? Granted, I was so hard-headed for most of my life that I’m sure I would think that I knew better than my future self and would probably still make the same poor choice that I had to travel back in time to try and stop.
I grew up in the back half of the 80’s, though I’d claim a large amount of my early childhood memory is from the 90’s. As I grew up, there was a popular movie trilogy called “Back to the Future.” The first, and the best, was released in 1985 (a year before I was born), the second came in 1989 and the third installment came in 1990.
The basic premise of the movie is that Marty McFly visits Doc Brown, who is testing out a new invention: a time machine built into a delorean. When an 80’s style-mullet gang fatally injures Doc, Marty escapes to 1955 in the delorean where he narrowly escapes a romantic interaction with a younger version of his mother (yikes). She begins falling in love with him, not knowing he’s her future son which then leads Marty to fix the damaged timeline before he disappears from existence completely.
One day I was thinking in the shower, (it’s where I get a lot of my inspiration) I thought, if God is omniscient, all knowing, omnipresent, everywhere all the time, the first, the last, the beginning and the end, to my comprehension He is limitless, do you think God has any constraints?
What about time-travel?
Do you think Jesus has a sort of Delorean that He can move back and forth through time and space to accomplish things that He wouldn’t otherwise be able to accomplish within the confines of space-time that we ourselves are limited to? We know that He knows the future, He is described as “the author and perfecter of our faith.”( Hebrews 12:2 ) We know that He “has plans for us, plans to give us a hope and a future” ( Jeremiah 29:11 ) In Revelation, He gives John visions of the future through an out-of-body experience that gives us a glimpse into the things to come.
We know that “All things work for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” ( Romans 8:28 ) Do those things just coincidentally work out or is God somewhere in the range of 10 steps ahead of us, 5 steps behind us while simultaneously with us guiding us through this life? Sounds exhausting.
All of this is more or less forward thinking, maybe God can work in the future but is unable to work in the past. Is there evidence of God working in our history to change the future? From my perspective it really just looks like he works in the present to manage the future, like you or I would make plans to go on a trip, we get everything together in preparation for things to come, we know where we are going, we know the destination and the path but not exactly every detail about what will happen along the way for instance, a traffic jam or a flat tire.
In mentally thinking through the question of God travelling backwards in time, I initially looked at Adam and Eve and the fall of man with the first sin and my first inclination was that God might not be able to travel backwards in time, or maybe not be able to time travel at all. Why? God creates humans with free will. Surely God would have realized if He was able to travel through time at His pleasure, that the creation of beings with a free will would inevitably do the one thing they were told NOT to do. It is simply a flaw of that free will to test boundaries, push limits, dare to color beyond the lines if only to see what happens, human nature, as it were.
So, the newly created humans eat from the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil forever driving a wedge between humanity and God. If God could travel backwards in time to undo any part of that equation, do you think He would? Do you think He did? Are we simply the final iteration of countless attempts at a creation where God threw in the towel on having a relationship with sub-godlike creatures that can act on their own accord, and get into all sorts of trouble that inevitably separate them from Him?
It’s not unlike playing the SIMS with “free will” enabled. It’s only a matter of time before they try to cook and consequently burn the house down.
Trying to answer this question of God and time travel opens up a whole range of questions related to why He allowed many things in Biblical history to happen, like the big one, why did God allow sin and Satan to ruin His creation, why didn’t He just exit without saving and start over or at least go back to the last checkpoint? Why did He allow this timeline to continue? What was it that made Him keep all this intact, which would inevitably lead to Him having to sacrifice His own Son to atone for the sins of us humans? Why didn’t He just CTRL+Z and move on?
It was those questions that led me to tears. He could have started over. He could have tried and tried and tried again. It’s all well within His power, but He didn’t. WHY? I can only surmise that it is His incredible, unending love for us that stayed His hand. That He didn’t want to lose Adam, He didn’t want to lose Eve, He didn’t want to lose Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph. He didn’t want to lose Moses, Aaron, or Ester. He didn’t want to undo the timeline of events that would cause Him to lose you.
It was that incredible love, that led God to provide His Son as a sacrifice for our sins, the sins that keep us away from the God, our Lord and Creator, it was because He did NOT want to lose you forever and He would go to incredible lengths to save you. You’ve been on His mind from before the world was formed. You’ve been on His mind through the centuries, and in every plan He has made. He is desperately trying to redeem you, and bring you to Him, ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ ( Romans 8:38-39 )
Does Jesus drive a Delorean? I doubt it. What I do know however, is that after exploring the relationship of God and time travel it gives me a renewed sense of His love for you and I. He has made a Way for us to be with Him, all we have to do is take it.