Imagine you are writing a book, and in the story-line you say, "Mary laid down her work; next moment came a knock at the door." For the character in the story, Mary, there was nothing between the moment she laid down her work and the moment a knock was heard. In her world, the moments happened in succession with no interval between them. But as the author, there could have been a span of three hours between the moment you wrote about Mary laying down her work and the moment you wrote that there was a knock at the door. Or maybe you wrote the sentence backward so that you thought of the knock first then later on wrote that she laid down her work. As the author, you could spend as much time as you desired thinking about Mary and treating her as if she were the only character in the book, and none of this would be at all apparent in Mary's time, the time-line inside the story.
as the whole page on which the line is drawn. We come to the parts of the line one by one: we
have to leave A behind before we get to B, and cannot reach C until we leave B behind. God,
from above or outside or all round, contains the whole line, and sees it all."
This may all seem very complicated and complex, but Lewis feels it is worth trying to grasp because for him, it removed some of the difficulties of Christianity:
- The difficulty of God being bound by time once He became a man or having a past where He had not become man, leading up to Jesus' birth, then having a point where He could look back on that time as a man. "This human life in God is, from our point of view, a particular period in the history of our world (from the year A.D. 1 till the Crucifixion). We therefore imagine it is also a period in the history of God's own existence. But God has no history. He is too completely and utterly real to have one."
- The difficulty of God knowing what we are going to do without limiting our freedom to still be able to choose. How could our choices and actions really be the result of our free will if God foresaw everything that we did? Wouldn't that mean we were compelled to do everything He foresees and not free to do otherwise. "But suppose God is outside and above the Time-line. In that case, what we call 'tomorrow' is visible to Him in just the same way as what we call 'today.' All the days are 'Now' for Him. He does not remember you doing things yesterday; He simply sees you doing them, because, though you have lost yesterday. He has not. He does not 'foresee' you doing things tomorrow; He simply sees you doing them: because, though tomorrow is not yet there for you, it is for Him."