“Time is a measurement of variation,” I heard during a television show on which the cosmos was being discussed. Physicists on the show were considering the possibility of time travel. Two themes from this discussion caught my attention.
First, to say that time is a measurement removes the power that we sometimes attribute to it. We think that time influences us, that it limits us, that we need more of it, that everything will improve or will get worse as time passes. But a measurement or a way of measuring something is not more important than information about what is being measured. No one would say that a measuring tape influences someone’s height. And what if we measure in centimeters? Will that have more influence than if we measure in inches? Jesus asked, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” (Matthew 6:27).
Likewise, a year, which is the measurement of one revolution around the sun, does not measure the same if we are on Jupiter rather than on Earth. It can be said that we would live fewer years on Jupiter than on Earth, but that would have no bearing on the actual span of one’s human life.