Does God have a Now that is the same as our Now? Does God experience time as we do, with one event following another? Or is God outside of time, orchestrating the creation and the cross and the giving of the Law concurrently (as many teach today)? For me, there is a strong argument for the former in the Scriptures, Mark 12.
Jesus masterfully silenced the liberal Sadducees. They did not believe in the resurrection and thought that their take on the law made a resurrection impossible (Mark 12:18-23). Jesus revealed their false logic, then promptly proved the resurrection of the dead. How?
Jesus quoted God’s words to Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Jesus added, “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
It is the present tense that wins the argument. God said, hundreds of years after Abraham died, “I am the God of Abraham.” In other words, Abraham was still existing at the time of Moses. And if God was, hundreds of years after Abraham’s death, still the God of Abraham, then Abraham was not finished. Yes, Abraham still had a future. The resurrection must happen, because God wouldn’t be Abraham’s God and allow Abraham to remain disembodied forever, would he? No, when God is our God, he cares for us now and he guarantees for us a future.
So, what does this have to do with time? If God is outside of time, as many people teach, then Jesus’ argument for the resurrection fails. Indeed, if God is present in all time at all times, then God is at the same time speaking with Moses as he is making promises to Abraham. If God experiences the fall of the Roman empire concurrently with the judgment on the tower of Babel, then for him to say, “I am the God of Abraham” becomes just a description of God’s timelessness, and Jesus certainly would not have used the statement to prove something about Abraham’s continuing existence at the time of Moses.
No, God had experienced the hundreds of years with Abraham dead, and God had remained the God of Abraham over those years. I imagine God reminding Abraham many times through Abraham’s bodyless years that God’s promises were still trustworthy and that Abraham need only wait and God would still give him the promised land. Imagine the conversation with me…
“When?” Abraham asks.
God replies, “When I resurrect your body and you are whole again, then your glory will be full.”
Abraham queries, “How long must I wait?”
God concludes with, “Never mind the amount of time. I long for the days of glory more than you. If I can wait, you can wait. Watch and see how I bring about the promised redemption.”