1. Think of time as a dimension. An arrow drawn on a piece of paper.
2. God is not on the arrow but all around and outside and inside.
3. Judgment Day is at the end of the arrow, bridging time and non-time. But it’s not on the arrow. It’s outside of time, but there is a defined point in time that touches it. Only God knows where in time that point is. (And Jesus didn’t know while on earth because, being in human form, he could not see our universe from outside the universe.)
4. If someone dies, they are on the arrow — and the piece of paper the arrow is drawn on is folded so they pass from death (on the arrow) straight to Judgment Day (just beyond the tip of the arrow) — with hardly any distance at all traveled.
[Not only did I find a picture, I had several to choose from. This is standard fare for physicists.]
5. If someone is alive at the Second Coming, they are at the tip of the arrow and need take but a step to cross out of time into timeless eternity — but they’ll do so with untold thousands arriving at the same place (time?) from further down on the arrow.
6. God, being outside the arrow, sees it all. He knows the future without necessarily causing the future — although he can intervene in arrow-time and change outcomes closer to the arrow’s tip.
7. Judgment, though, is in God’s time-space, not on the arrow but touching the arrow. God doesn’t see Judgment Day in the future the same way he sees our futures, because Judgment Day is part of his existence — unbound by earth time. We have no idea whether he experiences his own form of time or even if time is a single dimension to God. We can only speculate — and only speculate meaningfully at the edges of our existence.
Here’s another way of looking at it from a 2008 post: Surprised by Hell: A Heavenly Time.
As all science fiction fans know, time travel creates all sorts of paradoxes, and a God who exists outside of time and can interact with our time-space reality is not only unimaginably powerful, he exists in a way that is outside of the manufacturer’s specs for our brains. We weren’t designed to think this way.
But this much is, I believe, sure. The scriptures and modern physics agree that time is a part of the fabric of the universe and not an absolute thing. As Einstein famously said, time is relative. That is, time travels at different speeds depending on all sorts of things. It’s very counter-intuitive. Time travels slower in higher gravitational fields because time-space is severely warped there. At the edge of a black hole (very, very heavy), time very nearly stops.
Therefore, if God were subject to our time, we’d have to ask: time as measured from which location in the universe? From a vehicle traveling at what speed? Near what gravitational field? Because time would move at different speeds depending not only on location but your velocity relative to whatever is being observed.
Hence, there is no unique time measure by which God could be bound even in theory. He has to exist outside of time. Time, according to every scientific theory with any evidence to support it, began when the universe was made. Hence, before the Creation, there was no time (at least, none of our time. There might have been some other kind of time — which is well outside our ability to imagine.)
So that much is actually very hard to argue with. One could choose not to believe it, but the science is very solid. As is the theology. It goes back to at least Augustine to notice that God is bigger than time. After all, the alternative is to believe that God is bound by time. And if that’s so, then time is more powerful than God. And the scriptures disagree.
And because God exists outside of time, so does Judgment Day. Or it could. The scriptures aren’t very clear on this point. But it makes all kinds of sense.
Either way, the idea of folding space-time to move a deceased person’s existence (memories? essence? personality? self? body?) straight to the general resurrection is easily within God’s power. This has been a favorite corollary from the general theory of relativity from well before I was born. Anyone who’s read much science fiction has seen this before. (I knew all the science fiction I read in middle school would pay off one day!)