In Search of the Perfect Timepiece

Today’s scientific research requires super-accurate clocks. The best mechanical clocks are inadequate because they might gain or lose at least four seconds a year. Modern quartz watches are more reliable. They depend on the unvarying frequency of vibration of a quartz crystal when an electric current is applied. But there is sill a mechanical element to quartz crystal clocks. The frequency of vibration depends on the crystal’s size and shape, so no two crystals are precisely alike. Quartz clocks are accurate to about one second in ten years.

The most accurate clocks these days are atomic clocks, which have an accuracy exceeding one second in a thousand years. Atomic clocks keep time by counting the vibrations of atoms. This property is unaffected by outside conditions because every chemical element has a distinct and inherently stable characteristic frequency of vibration.

The cesium atomic clock, for example, has over nine billion vibrations a second. Even more precise are atomic clocks which use hydrogen. These are accurate to about one second in nearly two billion years. But still scientists are not satisfied! They are working on a mercury clock which they hope will be accurate to one second in two billion years. So next time you check your watch, remember it only tells you the approximate time!

Time is enormously important to humans because we are so confined by it. Some of us can become frantic in the face of what we want to do and the limited time we have. It is a point of interest that in the Bible we never read of God being rushed or in a hurry. He doesn’t just have ‘all the time in the world,’ He is beyond the bounds of time as we know them. Time does not restrict Him. Though God is eternal and timeless, He also works within time. All of God’s interactions with humanity have a time component because, though God exists outside of time, we do not. Thus we understand that when God intervenes in human history it is not randomly but purposefully. What we need to think about is our response to God’s purposeful interventions in history. If the Eternal One is so interested in us as to initiate a relationship, we would do well to respond.