The Berean Expositor
Volume 33 - Page 170 of 253
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Time and Place.
The Scriptural association of chronology and topography
with doctrine and purpose.
A definition and a vocabulary.
pp. 189, 190
No experience is so fundamental to the human consciousness as the necessary relation
of time, space and event. The human mind is so constructed that "an event" that took
place at no time and in no place is inconceivable. Philosophy may entertain the idea that
Absolute Being is unrelated to time and space, and the Scriptural title I AM suggests an
eternal present, but the pursuit of this theme is forbidden by Scripture, for we read:
"He hath set the olam (age) in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that
God maketh from the beginning to the end" (Eccles. 3: 11).
If this is man's limitation regarding the "work" of God, how much more must he be
limited when the subject is the Person of God Himself.
The various attempts to define the fundamental conceptions of time and space have
filled volumes. Time has been defined as "the measure of movement", and this is
certainly true, if not the whole truth. We cannot speak of a speed of "20 miles"; we must
say "20 miles per minute, per hour, per day, etc.". Time, therefore, in this definition, is
indissolubly linked with space, which is implied by "movement", for one can only move
from one place to another. However, while recognizing this aspect of our subject, we
have no intention of pursuing it. Our theme is by no means a philosophical inquiry.
Time and place, being two of the fundamental conceptions of human thought, must
necessarily find their place in a book that purports to speak to the understanding, and we
are sure that an acquaintance with the time "when" and the place "where" its events took
place, will be a contribution to our understanding of its glorious doctrines. We shall also
be obliged to take cognizance of Scriptural chronology, for the O.T. is vitally associated
with a chronology that links Adam with Christ. We shall seek to demonstrate the
accuracy of that chronology, and deal with some of the problems it raises. We make no
pretence, however, to any special qualifications in this science, and shall be content to
use the studies of others in so far as they are in harmony with the Scriptures. Where
authorities differ and Scriptural harmony is not attainable, we shall be content to leave
the matter.
The place where any event took place is also constantly noted in the Scriptures, and
this will involve a knowledge of Ancient and Modern Geography. Like chronology, this,
too, is a subject for the specialist, and where authorities differ, we must be content to
wait. We believe, for example, most surely that a garden was planted in Eden, even