I saw the movie The Time Machine as a kid and immediately became obsessed with the idea of time travel. I held my breath as George departed, determined to make the future better, and his insightful botanist friend observed, “He has all the time in the world.” Then I swallowed the lump in my throat and rushed to the library to check out the H.G. Wells novel that (along with fellow steampunk Jules Verne’s works) formed the template for modern science fiction.
Years later, I was invited to a liquidation sale of props and costumes from the old MGM Studios. Some iconic items were available for absurdly low prices (back then no one considered them collectibles). These included Judy Garland’s ruby slippers and Scarlett O’Hara’s curtain dress. But the thing my eyes fixed upon was the time machine! The asking price was just $1300. Still, I was fresh out of college and that was almost half a year’s rent. So I shed a tear and walked away.
I still obsess over time travel, but my understanding has changed. First of all, I now realize that time travel is real. The relentless progression from past to future is a matter of perception. Time itself simply is. Have you ever heard someone say, “We visited the Grand Canyon, and it was breathtaking”? Why did they say “was”? Has the Grand Canyon ceased to exist? No, their experience of it has, but the Grand Canyon is still there. Are we like toddlers who think our mothers cease to exist when they leave the room?
Time simply is. If you look at our planet from the moon you can view the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall of China in one glance. No time is expended in looking from one to the other. The entire earth simply is. Better yet, when you look at the night sky you can see stars that currently exist “alongside” stars that exploded billions of years ago. Furthermore, quantum experiments show that particles can both exist and not exist at the same time, depending on the perspective from which they are viewed. Experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Lucern, Switzerland have shown that particles travelling faster than light actually arrive at their destination before they left. In other words: in the past.
So, if space and time are one (and quantum mechanics says they are), then yesterday still exists. The implications are astounding: If the past is still there within the woof and warp of spacetime, then anyone who has ever lived still is. Which means that to exist—even for a moment—is to live forever. Or at least until the next big bang (Isaiah 65:17). Hence, a narrow, destructive life is not just a shame, it’s a stain on eternity. And a generous, humane life is not just noble, it’s an immortal treasure.
You have all the time in the world.
So make it count.