Bitcoin, Time, and Eternity

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. The Lord has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all their toil — this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it.” — Ecclesiastes 3:1–14

The author of Ecclesiastes is unknown, but it is widely ascribed to King Solomon of Israel (the son of Kind David). The time of Bitcoin is now upon us — at the right time. And it is beautiful. The sublimity of Bitcoin accounting its own time is amazing and it will persist for all eternity.

We have previously reasoned the congruity and non-conflicting way in which Bitcoin is compatible with belief in an eternal, personal God. That all world-views without the true historical man, Jesus, are fundamentally incompatible with the truths of Bitcoin. Living a life without a basis of truth results in conflict if we accept only the truth of Bitcoin. That the rational approach to Bitcoin must force a rational approach to God. A “rational” approach to other world-views is contradictory with the rational approach to Bitcoin.

In keeping with our rational framework, we can reason that time is an abstract concept. In an impersonal, mechanical, material world what is the purpose of time? Not the presence of time itself but the accounting of time. If the measurement of time did not exist, we could say that what “exists” is eternal. But we experientially know this not to be true. The author of Ecclesiastes knew this not to be true. There is a time for all things to exist. All things exist in the framework of a time and a space that man did not create nor did the material universe create following the principle of first cause. Bitcoin itself demonstrates that time is a created concept; Satoshi created Bitcoin and the internal time of the Bitcoin blockchain follows such that Bitcoin is its own clock and is not dependent upon the time we experience in our physical world. This allows for harmony and consensus within the blockchain across space, time, and geography.

As a sidestep, let us reason, that we do exist. We are not the figment of our own imagination or the figment of someone else’s imagination nor an ephemeral expression of the “universe.” A simple test: If you don’t really exist, send all your non-existent Bitcoin to this address: bc1q82ctwl8xrcs303rkc8lawexztmmdfppq868pxn. None of us will let go of this non-physical thing called Bitcoin even if we don’t exist! You must be able to live harmoniously with and within your worldview or it is false. Anything else is nonsensical. No other worldview has the proof of work or proof of defense (POW and POD) of Christianity.

Now as we focus on time, we must admit that we all have fallen to high time preference thinking of our modern times. We can rightly suggest that it is because of Keynes’ economic theory that we find ourselves here today. But Keynes’ thinking was the last in the long line of escape from reason. For those new to Bitcoin, the concept of time preference is truly liberating. It re-orients our thinking about saving, building and mission: we develop a new awareness of the beauty of time and the value of time. The Christian Bitcoiner has always understood the concept of low time preference within his worldview, but the high time preference mentality has affected the Christian’s relationship with himself, those around him, and his Creator.

High time preference for a Christian destroys his desire to spend time with his Creator. It destroys his desire to spend time with his/her spouse and children. It damages our relationship with work and purpose and obviously money. This creates inherent conflict for the believer, because we know it not to be congruous with the order that the Creator has established.

We see that is not what was intended for us. And Bitcoin points to this truth. First, God created time: “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning — the first day.” * How could ancient man describe an abstract concept of time if time had always existed, and he just happened to exist? Just as God created time in the universe, Satoshi created time on the blockchain.

The low time preference mind is one that waits upon the Lord. Patience, and waiting are synonymous with faith in God. The classic example of high time preference in Biblical texts is King Saul’s impatience in waiting for Samuel the prophet. * The Psalmist consistently instructs us to wait: Wait on the LORD: be of good courage; Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him; I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait; Wait on the LORD, and keep his way. Isaiah instructs us to wait; “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” * This passage in Isaiah is beautiful and it could easily be applied to Bitcoin; “But they that wait upon Bitcoin shall renew their strength…” And it is true, those who wait for Bitcoin will be renewed. But the first principle is to wait upon the Lord. In waiting for Bitcoin, we are exercising a Biblical principle.

The redemption of time we find in Bitcoin is a Sabbath of sorts: “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” * And that is why Bitcoin is so important. It helps the Christian realign his timing as God intended. For the Bitcoiner who does not place his/her faith in Christ, they are nonetheless practicing a Biblical truth instituted from the beginning of time. Bitcoin in this sense reaffirms and points to that which is higher. Bitcoin did not create this truth. Bitcoin aligns with this truth and tutors us in this truth.

But man is man. We used to live with low time preference when the Christian worldview permeated the west as Nic Carter eloquently describes:

“for one hundred and fifty-eight years, starting in 1160, thousands of stone masons, laborers, and townsfolk labored with hand tools to build a suitable container for these holy relics. Only a tiny fraction of the people who poured the whole energy of their lives into this magnificent building would ever see it completed. For the rest of them, knowing that they were working on a sublime, civilizational project was enough.” *

The Christian ethos is of love, patience, endurance and working for something bigger than ourselves. But we have been caught in this high time preference time warp that constrains our alignment with God’s vision for us and his creation. Practically speaking this effects the social work of the church, reaching the lost in the community, and stifles the church’s effort to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth — that which is Christian missions.

To be sure, Christians can know and accept the absolute propositional truth of the gospel but miss a key element of true peace that can only be found in Christ — saved but not sanctified. We can fall into high time preference work and busyness. This busyness is not new to man. It is within our nature not to be still, hence the admonitions in the Bible to seek stillness. To not seek stillness demonstrates our fallen nature. Our fallenness in this results in impatience, taking charge, and arrogance. Stillness before God forces us to recognize his Omnipotence and his provision and love for us. If we never experience this, we miss part of the Christian experience: to be in God’s presence and wait.

“Mary… sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone. Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’” *

Bitcoiners and Christians can agree and affirm that low time preference provides a door to peace in our daily lives. For the non-Christian Bitcoiner, they can experience the truth of God’s principles in a sound money that allows them to slow down and pursue passions of their own: to escape the slavery of debt and the drudgery of a fiat job. For the Christian, Bitcoin allows us to experience the same realizing it is congruent with God’s purposes.

Bitcoin is time. And Bitcoin reintroduces us to the Biblical perspective of low time preference. Bitcoin also compels us to imagine eternity. As a non-Christian (we are excluding all other religious concepts based on their irrational conclusions) belief in eternity is difficult. We can imagine infinity because we understand the concept of Pi (3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419….). But eternity? That’s a different concept. A number may repeat forever but it doesn’t exist in time and space forever. Bitcoin exists in time and space and will exist for eternity in so far as a material world exists. And yet again, Bitcoin becomes the tutor which points to the Eternal Creator. Bitcoin’s truth is in direct contradistinction to that of the atheist: “When we atheists die we expect to become slush — we expect the lights to go out forever. For us, death is the end.” * “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” — Stephen Hawking.

So here again in a practical application, the atheist would accept an eternal concept to be true in Bitcoin but deny its reality in his own life. A self-contradictory position to hold.

The Christian can reclaim the principle of sound money with Bitcoin and rest in the stillness of the time it redeems for us:

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:10

Physician, Entrepreneur, Follower of Christ