What does God do during his days in Heaven this side of Judgement Day? Many things. One important activity mentioned in scripture is that he has held court, most likely of supernatural beings including angels, and perhaps continues to do so.
Let’s consider the description of these sessions of court in Heaven. In Job 1:6 we find a significant detail mentioned:
“One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them…”
And in Job 2:1,2:
On another day, the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him.
And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the Earth, going back and forth on it.”
Other events have similarly been described as happening in Heaven during days there, in particular the days of Creation in Genesis 1.
Let’s ponder those days of Creation that took place in Heaven.
Some Bible scholars would prefer the “days” described in Genesis 1 to take place somewhere on or near Earth rather than in Heaven. But our sun marks out our days for us on Earth. How, then, could our sun be created only on Day 4 of Creation and not Day 1—how had the first three days of Creation been marked out on Earth before the sun had been created to mark out those days?
God’s clear and stated purpose for creating the stars, sun and moon, which he did on the 4th day, was to mark out on Earth “seasons and days and years.” (Genesis 1:14–19)
This is not a contradiction nor an issue for believers who see Genesis 1 as describing God planning his Creation of the Universe, within and from Heaven, during those six heavenly days.
Some Creationists calculating God’s activity in Heaven incorrectly by Earth days go to great lengths and imagination to reconcile God’s delay in creating the sun with their different interpretations of the six Creation days. However, all end up with an unconvincing proposal, as well as dismissing God’s stated plan for the demarcation of the days.
Trying to conceptualise the order of events in Genesis 1, other than as a Heaven based blue-print for unfolding Creation on our planet later on, becomes mind-boggling and unbelievable. As an example, on Day 3 the land was producing vegetation and trees bearing fruit already, all without the sunlight that only began on Day 4. But photosynthesis for the plants, trees and fruit requires the sun.
Time and seasons on Earth are still acknowledged today as depending on celestial movements and measurements, as God designed to be the case during Day 4 in Heaven. Even the Universal Time measurements, that we have developed to such phenomenal accuracy, depend on the movement of celestial bodies relative to the Earth.
Days on Earth are marked out by the sun, whether or not we realise that this was decreed by God. Quite how days in Heaven are marked out, we don’t yet know.
My discussions that follow assume that all the creative activity in Genesis 1 from Day 1 to Day 7 occurred entirely in Heaven, during heavenly days, and that the Cosmos, including our planet and life forms on it, have materialised at different times after these heavenly activities.
God in Heaven can speak of things that are not yet on Earth—as though they were. Romans 4:17 in the amplified Bible reinforces this concept in its expanded language, saying that God “speaks of the non-existent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.” This is precisely what he was doing in Genesis 1.
Statements such as “God saw that it was good,” in verses 4,10,12, 18, 24 fit this. And the summary in the last verse of Genesis 1 – verse 31 – was that “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” does not mean that they were already finished products in our Universe. Instead, it denotes that God envisioned and planned them to be made in the Universe he was designing, and he was pleased with the plans he had made.
Seeing the “days” of Creation (Genesis 1–Genesis 2.3) as days of creating in Heaven, where God lives and plans, to be implemented subsequently in our Universe, enables us to appreciate the processes of God’s innovative genius, a God who continues to create to this very day.
Scripture indicates that Time may not proceed at the same rate in Heaven as on Earth. It may pass more slowly in Heaven so that our lives and events can be viewed from there rather like a toy that has been wound up and revolves very fast. If so, both Earth and Heaven would have Time future, Time present and Time past, but we would be arriving at them at different rates.
We don’t yet know the correlation of earthly Time to heavenly Time, but I agree in essence with Pastor 8 Todd Burpo:
It was also possible that Time in Heaven doesn’t track with Time on Earth.
The Bible says that with the Lord, “a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2Peter 3:8). Some interpret that as a literal exchange, as in, two days equals two thousand years. I’ve always taken it to mean that God operates outside of our understanding of time.
The main point is that God, as the architect of both Heaven and the Universe, can change and adjust the passage of Time in either location as he chooses—such that a day in Heaven could correspond to the passing of vast amounts of Time on Earth, and vice versa, as he might decide.
I think it likely that the Universe began to be constructed consecutively only after the completion of God’s planning it in six heavenly days and God’s subsequent day of rest. Using key scriptures, I will explain further along in this book why I favour this model above all others.
Physicists assure us that, even within our Cosmos, Time passes at different rates in different locations. On realising this, a plethora of new and fascinating possibilities opens up.
While writing this chapter, I read that Stephen Hawking had died. Hawking was arguably the most influential Scientist in modern times and we will be the poorer for his passing. I also learnt that shortly before he died, he had reversed his earlier stand that Time itself began at the inception of the Universe. Unfortunately, he had already promoted his earlier theory in numerous writings, lectures and interviews.
Many Bible-believing Christians always knew that Hawking was wrong on this issue—Time of some sort existed outside the Universe long before our Cosmos was created. Consequently, Hawking’s ultimate concept of a different sort of Time in a different dimension pre-existing the appearance of the Universe is quite scriptural.
Hawking has left a colossal challenge for today’s youth, released posthumously, to “Wonder about what makes the world exist”. It is absolutely vital for us all, not simply the youth, to embark upon that quest.
I wonder whether Physicists will begin recognising as deriving from outside our Cosmos those elegant equations that describe the forces that determine its fundamental functioning and structure?
From there it could be a small step for mainstream Science to decide that the Universe must have been designed and could not have been the product of blind forces.
Please excuse my silly pun, but I have to say it or I’ll burst—“Time will tell”!
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