"'Long ago I had a vague inkling of a machine,' [said the Time Traveller] '...that shall travel indifferently in any direction of Space or Time, as the driver determines...Would you like to see the Time Machine itself?' asked the Time Traveller. And therewith, taking the lamp in his hand, he led the way down the long, draughty corridor to his laboratory.
"I remember vividly...how there in the laboratory we beheld a larger edition of the little mechanism which we had seen vanish from before our eyes. Parts were of nickel, parts of ivory, parts had certainly been filed or sawn out of rock crystal. The thing was generally complete, but the twisted crystalline bars lay unfinished upon the bench beside some sheets of drawings, and I took one up for a better look at it...
"'Upon that machine,' said the Time Traveller, holding the lamp aloft, 'I intend to explore time.'"
Thus the stage is set for H.G. Wells' famous novel The Time Machine, first published in 1895.
Can we explore time?
Wouldn't it be marvelous to travel in a time machine? To witness different civilizations of the past—perhaps view the construction of Egypt's great pyramids or gaze upon Solomon's magnificent temple? On the other hand, we might prefer to travel to the future and observe how mankind will have fared 20, 50 or 100 years from now.
Yet when all is said and done, we would be only bystanders, mere observers of what has happened or will happen in the future.
In Wells' novel, the Time Traveller journeys far into the future—nearly 100,000 years ahead of his day. There, Wells describes a bleak picture of society. Two races of human beings are left—the Eloi, who live on the surface of the earth as primitive, ignorant but peaceful beings, and the Morlocks, a race that has degenerated into horrific, apelike beings that live underground. They actually feed and clothe the Eloi so they can later eat them.
What a forlorn image of mankind! Due to many wars, human beings are eventually reduced to primitive and ignorant beings, totally bereft of education, culture or intellectual progress.
Wells' Time Traveller then goes on to explore even further into the future, and witnesses the slow death of the earth. The sun eventually becomes a glowing red giant of a star that turns the earth into a lifeless wasteland.
But the good news, unlike this depressing depiction of mankind's future, is that we have something much better than Wells' fictional time machine—and a much more positive future ahead!
You have access to your own time machine!
Curiously, this virtual time machine is available to anyone who wants use it. With it, you can figuratively travel back in time or go to the distant future. And the even better news is the future this time machine reveals is not a bleak or meaningless end, but a wonderful, glorious age that lies ahead for mankind!
This time machine is not composed of glass, metal or circuits. In fact, it easily fits in a discreet place in your home.
It is, if you haven't guessed by now, your Bible—a type of a wondrous time machine your loving Creator bequeathed to all of us. Yet to properly operate it, you have to meet some conditions and rules.
In Wells' novel, once the Time Traveller arrived at a point in the future, he removed a lever out of the time machine so no one could use it. Similarly, God has taken out a figurative "lever" from His time machine so it can't be properly used unless He grants the person this privilege. We will come back to this point later.
You might be asking, "How can the Bible be like a time machine?"
The answer is, simply, because our Creator designed the Bible to fulfill that role.
He stated: "Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure'" (Isaiah 46:9-10, emphasis added throughout).
He is the ultimate narrator of the Bible, although He chose to transmit the actual words through carefully selected individuals. These persons were called by God to write down the narrative and to express it through their personality and culture.
As we read, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God [literally, "God-breathed"],and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
God reveals the future through prophecy
What about the prophetic aspects of the Bible as a type of a time machine? The apostle Peter describes the Bible's prophecies—which record future events and also leave us with a historical account of fulfilled prophecy.
He writes, "And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:19-21).
We therefore have a great advantage over Wells' imaginary time machine. Instead of just being a human bystander to the happenings in the past or in the future, this time machine has God, and not a fallible and imperfect mortal, at the helm.
How about taking a trip in this time machine to the distant past? Let's see how it works!
Back to the beginning
As we journey in this time machine, we don't use a lever to go back in time as H.G. Wells' imaginary craft did. Instead we simply turn the pages of our Bible back to the very beginnings of creation—to the start of universe!
Who was there? Our time machine reveals that it was God Himself!
The Bible majestically begins at the very moment of the creation of our physical universe, declaring, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).
So we see that the universe begins with a Creator so powerful and wise that He can bring forth the very universe from nothing! He also produces light to illuminate the cosmos.
Incredibly, after many centuries of study, most astronomers and physicists have concluded that the universe had a beginning through a tremendous flash of light, in the form of electromagnetic energy, which partly coalesced into matter. This great cosmic expansion, from nothing to everything, they call the Big Bang.
How could the Bible get it right? No other ancient book even comes close—and up to the 20th century, even scientists had not discovered the true origins of the universe.
David Berlinski, molecular biologist, mathematician and philosopher, puts it this way: "There is nonetheless a striking point at which Big Bang cosmology and theology intersect. The universe has not proceeded from the everlasting to the everlasting. The cosmological beginning may be obscure, but the universe is finite in time.
"This is something that until the twentieth century was not known. When it became known, it astonished the community of physicists—and everyone else...The hypothesis of God's existence and the facts of contemporary cosmology are consistent" (The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions, 2008, p. 80).
Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a former director of NASA, remarked: "A sound explanation may exist for the explosive birth of our Universe; but if it does, science cannot find out what the explanation is. The scientist's pursuit of the past ends in the moment of creation. This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always accepted the word of the Bible: 'In the beginning God created heaven and earth.' It is unexpected because science has had such extraordinary success in tracing the chain of cause and effect backward in time.
"Now we would like to pursue that inquiry farther back in time, but the barrier to further progress seems insurmountable. It is not a matter of another year, another decade of work, another measurement, or another theory; at this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation.
"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries" (God and the Astronomers, 1978,p. 116).
A window on the creation
The Bible later describes, still in the first chapter, another amazing revelation that has been confirmed: "And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind" (Genesis 1:25).
In the 18th century, Carl Linnaeus was able to classify the living beings on earth "according to kind." Despite centuries of scientific advancement, scientists still use the Linnaean classification, because it remains so adaptable and accurate.
The main classifications of animals—birds, insects, amphibians, reptiles and mammals—remain in their separate classes, in spite of all the efforts of evolutionists to blend these differences into a supposed gradual tree of life. Instead, what has been found are veritable genetic barriers between the main classes of plants and animals—with no fine gradation between them. How could the Bible describe this biological law so accurately?
Molecular biologist and medical doctor Michael Denton notes about the Linnaean classification: "By the mid-nineteenth century, when knowledge of comparative anatomy was virtually complete, the idea that the pattern of life was reducible to highly ordered groups within groups was almost universally acknowledged...Note how every class is perfectly distinct and totally inclusive or exclusive of other classes.
"There is a complete absence of any partially inclusive or intermediate classes indicative of sequential relationships. The scheme expresses succinctly the pre-evolutionary belief that nature's order was fundamentally non-sequential. Even with the rise of evolution and the rejection of the whole metaphysical basis of typology, the perception of nature's order as fundamentally hierarchic persisted largely unchanged" (Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, 1996, p. 124).
Revealing insight on mankind
Lastly, there is another feature mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis that has an enormous impact on mankind. "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness" (Genesis 1:26). Here is the origin of the dignity of humankind that separates us from the rest of the created order of living things on earth. Man is not just another creature, but possesses the mental and spiritual qualities that belong to God—though of course at a much lower level.
What happens when that dignity of being made in God's image is removed? Historian Paul Johnson explains: "Years later, I began my book Modern Times, a detailed study of the era from World War I to the early 1980s. This is the first epoch in nearly 2,000 years in which most governments have been guided by what might be called post-Christian ethics. And I find it to be unique in its cruelty, destructiveness and depravity.
"Once again, I discovered that the historical record actually strengthened my faith. These huge evils occurred precisely because great power was placed in the hands of men who had no fear of God and who believed themselves restrained by no absolute code of conduct [Lenin, Stalin and Hitler]...The history of the 20th century proves the view that as the vision of God fades, we first become mere clever monkeys; then, we exterminate one another" ("Why I Must Believe in God," Reader's Digest, June 1985, pp. 126-127).
Next, God's time machine takes us to the Middle East, the beginnings of man's civilization; and it accurately describes such ancient empires as Egypt, Babylon and Assyria. But the most important feature as you travel in this time machine is that the narrative is given from God's perspective. He shows no partiality. Ancient Israel, although chosen to be an example to other nations of right living through His laws, is still punished when it sins. He reveals not only the virtues, but also the flaws of even His chosen leaders.
Of course, at the center of this past history is Jesus Christ. This part of the story shows God's supreme love for us. Jesus came as God in the flesh to dwell with humanity so He could willingly pay for our sins and provide grace and salvation (John 1:14-17).
A look at the near future
What about the present? Does this "time machine" accurately describe what we are seeing in our days and reveal the near future?
The Bible describes society as it nears the prophetic end times—and that description sounds very much like typical headlines of today! Let's notice several prophetic summaries of society as it continues to degenerate.
The apostle Paul wrote, "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:1-4).
A few days' worth of news on the TV is enough to include most if not all of the conditions just described!
The Bible also accurately foretold what knowledge, technology and transportation would look like during the end time.
God revealed to the prophet Daniel certain characteristics of this period: "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase" (Daniel 12:4).
Rapid mass transportation and the explosion of knowledge are both characteristics that uniquely set apart our present society from all previous human history. Around the world we see massive transit of people in cars, trains, ships and airplanes. Just by aircraft alone, an average of 1.5 billion people fly every year—more than 4 million per day! Moreover, the computer and Internet age have multiplied knowledge and technology to mind-boggling levels.
Where will mankind end up?
How about the future? This time machine revealed that people would eventually possess the military power to totally erase mankind from the face of the earth!
Jesus Christ Himself prophesied that "if that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive" (Matthew 24:22, Revised English Bible).
Just imagine—when this was said, human beings possessed only spears, swords, and bows and arrows! Gunpowder was unknown and would not be discovered for almost another 1,000 years. Yet even with gunpowder, it would still be impossible to exterminate all of mankind. But today, we have enough nuclear weapons to wipe out the earth's population at least five times over. Again, how could the Bible predict such a remarkably accurate scenario 2,000 years in advance? That is only possible because it is God's time machine.
Be sure to read the other articles in this issue to learn more about the astoundingly accurate aspects of this prophetic time machine.
Who controls the time machine's lever?
One final point that we left for the end. We spoke about the missing "lever" of this time machine that only God holds. What is it? What can we know about it? How can we use it to operate God's time machine?
God gives this lever of understanding only to those whom He wishes. Jesus Christ said to His disciples, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father" (John 6:65). This plainly tells us that spiritual understanding of the Bible is something God alone grants, and is not based on one's intellect or position in life.
God looks to the person who totally yields to Him and obeys all of His commandments. He tells us, "On this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word" (Isaiah 66:2). Humility and submission to God's will are essential.
We must also understand that the Bible interprets itself. As we read in 2 Peter 1:19-21, Bible prophecy is not to be deciphered by private interpretation, but by other scriptures that clarify the meaning and through godly discernment.
As the apostle Paul said: "These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:13-14).
One must have God's Spirit to truly understand the things of God, and that Spirit comes only to those who truly repent, are baptized, and live a life of obedience to God (Acts 2:38; 5:32).
Yes, we have a wonderful time machine provided by our Creator. Let's study it carefully to gain faith by acknowledging prophecies fulfilled in the past and then spiritually preparing for the prophesied events yet to come in the end time! GN