Time in Heaven

Time in Heaven

 “Is there time in heaven?” is a question asked by many students of A Course in Miracles as well as other teachings. Most ACIM students believe there is no time in heaven, but some think there is, so the first question to solve is, why is there not agreement on this?

The answer lies in the context where time is discussed. When the Course speaks of time as it exists in our world it talks about it as if it were not real and just an illusion, created by our belief. It also specifies two things that are not real about our time which are the past and the future.

So if someone were to say that there is no time as we know it in heaven then they would be correct.

But time as we know it has not just the two aspects, but three. They are the past, present and future.

The Course tells us the past and future are based on illusion, but nowhere does it say this about the present.

Many forget that the present time is also time, even one of the three aspects in our world. This single aspect of time indeed exists in heaven and is even called time by the Course:

“The present is the only time there is.” W-pI.164.1

“Your mind cannot grasp the present, which is the only time there is.” W-pI.8.1

“The only aspect of time that is eternal is now.” T-5.III.6

“The present now remains the only time. Here in the present is the world set free.” W-pI.132.3

Thus, there is time in heaven, but time with only one aspect rather than three and is an “aspect of time that is eternal.”

That covers that problem but other aspects of time are more complex such as: “How does time in heaven work?”

For instance, we are told there is creation going on all the time. Before the separation there was no Holy Spirit and then to salvage His sleeping sons we are told that God created this being.  We are also told that we will create additional sons and extend the kingdom.  There seems to be a before and after in all creation.

How could this be when the only time there in existence is the eternal present? Think of it – if one is only in present time then all that exists would be as if it had always existed because there is no past.


To continue this discussion on time beyond the mundane let us remember that A Course in Miracles affirms that there is time in heaven.

“The only aspect of time that is eternal is now.” T-5.III.6

Yes, I know that there are instances that the Course tells us that time is an illusion and does not exist, but in such cases, it is talking about time as we know it here which includes the past, present and future. That basis of time does not exist in heaven, but out of those three aspects the present time is real and exists always.

Now the question is this: How does time work in heaven?

It is interesting that some think we should not even be contemplating such a mystery, but the importance of understanding how present time works will be seen as extremely valuable when we understand that moving to present time is a key to waking up.

“In the holy instant, you see in each relationship what it will be when you perceive only the present.” T-15.V.8

“Fear is not of the present, but only of the past and future, which do not exist. There is no fear in the present when each instant stands clear and separated from the past, without its shadow reaching out into the future. Each instant is a clean, untarnished birth, in which the Son of God emerges from the past into the present. And the present extends forever.”   T-15.I.8

So, present time “extends forever.” Interestingly the Course actually gives us some clues as to how this works.

One clue is given in this quote:

“the miracle entails a sudden shift from horizontal to vertical perception. This introduces an interval from which the giver and receiver both emerge farther along in time than they would otherwise have been. The miracle thus has the unique property of abolishing time to the extent that it renders the interval of time it spans unnecessary.” T-1.II.6

Then we are told that guilt “depends on one-dimensional time, proceeding from past to future. No one who believes this can understand what ‘always’ means.” T-13.I.8

Time as we know it is on a horizontal axis. In other words, it moves from left to right or from the past to the future.  On the other hand, eternal or present time is on a vertical axis and moves the opposite by extension in increments called “instances.”

Instead of moving in one direction as in this world, time moves in all directions. And “extends the present rather than the past.” T-13.IV.9, and “the present extends forever.” T-15.I.8

This principle of extension, which is similar to expansion or increase, is used often in the Course in relation to heaven, God and creation for “God creates by extension.” T-11.in.3

A problem in understanding heavenly time and creation comes from the passages that indicate there is no change in heaven.  The conundrum occurs when we are told that there is creation but no change.  For instance, there was no Holy Spirit before the separation, but when the problem occurred God created this being.  How can heaven be changeless when there are changes like that?

This passage gives the amazing explanation.

“What is timeless is always there, because its being is eternally changeless. It does not change by increase, because it was forever created to increase.” T-7.I.7

This is a very interesting statement. It tells us that God’s creations are “timeless” and “eternally changeless” yet “forever created to increase.”

In other words, change is happening in the eternal present, but the actual change caused by extension or increase is always there and is incorporated into the Course’s definition of changelessness. The change or expansion created by extension is always unchangingly going on, so, from the eternal perspective, it is not change.

One could say that in heaven the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself and that change is eternal creation by “extension” and “increase.”

We’ve covered some good food for thought here, but there are more teachings from the Course about how time works in heaven. I find it quite interesting and I think you will also as more is presented.


In my posts concerning time we have established that there is time in heaven, just not time as we know it with a past and future. Instead: “The present now remains the only time. W-pI.132.3

But how can there be time in heaven if there is no change there?

To the contrary there is change because there is ongoing eternal creation as God extends or expands the universe. Let us examine this quote  again:

“What is timeless is always there, because its being is eternally changeless. It does not change by increase, because it was forever created to increase.” T-7.I.7

We are told here that what does not change is the change, of “increase.” The ongoing changes wrought by continual creation changes not.

Creation is like a balloon that is always being blown up and made larger. The process is never changing, but there is change from the view that the balloon is always expanding.

The next thing to consider is how present time is extended. We are told that the extension happens in increments called an “instant.” ACIM even says that “This instant is the only time there is.” Lesson308

This statement harmonizes with the teaching that “The present is the only time there is.” W-pI.164.1 for all holy instances occur in present time as explained here:

“Each instant is a clean, untarnished birth, in which the Son of God emerges from the past into the present. And the present extends forever.”   T-15.I.8

So, when we enter the heavenly time of an instant we emerge “from the past into the present.”

The question now is how long is an instant?

Normally an instant is considered a very short period where something quickly happens or is realized and the Course uses this normal usage when talking about things of this world.  It uses it differently though when referring to heavenly time. In this case, an instant can be virtually no time or something that lasts millions of years.

For instance, we are told that the entire process of the separation and the millions of years involved only lasted an instant.

“The tiny tick of time in which the first mistake was made, and all of them within that one mistake, held also the Correction for that one, and all of them that came within the first. And in that tiny instant time was gone, for that was all it ever was.” T-26.V.3

“The tiny instant you would keep and make eternal, passed away in Heaven too soon for anything to notice it had come.” T-26.V.4

Our world itself is created from an instant “borrowed from eternity.”

“so the whole of Heaven lies in this instant, borrowed from eternity and set in time for you.”  T-17.IV.11

I think it is safe to say that an instant in heaven is the realization of an event and that event is not related to the past or future as we know it, but is fully experienced in the present. The whole separation was an event, but the main event that occurs in reality is the extension of heaven by the creation of additional sons.

When an event called extension happens, we move from one instant to another for we are told that Whenever we move from one instant to the next, the previous one no longer exists.”  UR T 3 C 34

Consider how this is different from this world. In this world when you have a child you will often be influenced and still live in your past when you had no child.

In heaven when an additional son is created there is no past so the son is seen as having no beginning as if the previous instant never was. Thus all creation is seen as being always there for there is no past.

Therefore, all things in heaven exist only in the present which will never end and when a new creation comes along it is as if it always was for the previous instant was replaced with a new one.

This is not only an interesting subject to contemplate, but an important one for we must experience present time in the Holy Instant to wake up. If we can therefore get a grasp of how present time and the instances involved work, we gain a greater ability to embrace and experience true reality.

Copyright by J J Dewey

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