Man’s Perspective vs. God’s Perspective Of Time
Man’s Perspective of Time
In understanding verses like (John 8:58) the challenge is to understand how Jesus could exist before he actually existed as a physical person. I am in agreement with those that believe the problem may arise from the manner in which we tend to view time, which is limited.
To us the passage of time is like a line. Separate events that are distinct points on that line. So if we were to indicate the relative places in time of Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, Christ and the apostles, we should get something like this (Left to Right):
. . Abraham . . . . Moses . . . . David . . . . Daniel . . . . Christ . . . . Apostles . .
1800 BC 1400 BC 1000 BC 600 BC BC / AD 50 AD etc.
An order of their physical appearance inevitably arises. We cannot think of their place in history in any other way. This is because of our finite minds. We have no actual consciousness of the distant past, and none at all of the future.
But the mind of God is not subject to these limitations. His mind is infinite in power. He is just as capable of being conscious of past situations, or of future ones, as He is of the present. So we cannot represent the Divine experience of time by a line.
God’s Perspective of Time
To help explain (John 8:58) please reference a portion of an arc timeline clipping I obtained from an article I read some time ago. Included are various other bits of information to be considered in your evaluation of this curve (or arc) timeline, (a point of view that may be somewhat helpful).
We know Moses did not physically exist before Abraham, and David lived about four centuries before Daniel. But in our diagram God is the center of the arc; He is the same distance from them all. Distance in this diagram represents God’s infinite consciousness. God was just as “conscious” of the sort of person they would each be, long before they were born. He could visualize them, and speak prophetically of them. So God knew what sort of person the Son would be before he actually began to exist as a separate physical person (Jeremiah 1:5; Rom 8:29) God had pre-planned what He would accomplish through him as the “Lamb of God” and what “glory” he would have in advance as being His own Son, “the only-begotten of the Father”. Jesus was taught by God (John 8:28) it would stand to reason that his statement in (John 8:58) reflects this fact.