In recent years there has been a proliferation of stories, books, and movies that deal with the perception of time. Some have dealt with time or interstellar travel. Others have focused on the relativity of time or its passage during dreams. But whether one is a particle physicist or a cinematic junkie, there seems to be in every soul a desire, even a thirst, to find the meaning of and our place in this baffling concept we call time.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell observed, “Time is clearly not our natural dimension. Thus it is that we are never really at home in time. Alternately, we find ourselves impatiently wishing to hasten the passage of time or to hold back the dawn. We can do neither, of course. Whereas the bird is at home in the air, we are clearly not at home in time—because we belong to eternity.”
What do we already know about God’s time?
In the book of Alma we get a glimpse of the nature of God’s time: “Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise it mattereth not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men” (Alma 40:8; emphasis added). Similarly, Joseph Smith taught: “The great Jehovah contemplated the whole of the events connected with the earth, pertaining to the plan of salvation, before it rolled into existence, or ever ‘the morning stars sang together’ for joy; the past, the present, and the future were and are, with him, one eternal ‘now’.”
In short, God experiences time differently than we do. For us, we live in the present, the past is done and gone, and the future is yet to be. But in a way we do not fully comprehend, God lives in the past, present, and future all at once; He exists outside of what we know as linear time. Which is why Alma’s statement that “time is only measured unto man” is so profoundly accurate.