The Eternity of God


This is lesson 2 in the series "The Attributes of God."
 

The Eternity of God – Lesson 2

Four sections to the study of each attribute:

1)      Contemplation

2)      What does it mean to us

3)      Discussion questions

4)      Situation

 

Perhaps the eternity of God is the attribute of God most difficult to understand.

We can somewhat conceive of never having an ending, but it is nearly incomprehensible to think of no beginning.

We naturally think of beginning, developing, and ending. God has none of these.

What does the eternity of God mean? It means that God has no beginning or end. Nothing came before God and nothing will outlast Him; He is the alpha and omega—the first and the last. God is not limited by time but exists outside of time’s constraints. He simultaneously exists in all of time.

God knows the future because He is already there.

The first five words in the Bible sets the tone for the rest of Scripture, “In the beginning God created…” God created what?—everything including time. It was in the beginning of everything.

Isaiah 57:15, “For thus says the high and exalted One
         Who dwells in eternity, whose name is Holy,
         ‘I dwell on a high and holy place,
         And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
         In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
         And to revive the heart of the contrite.’”

Key phrase, “dwells in eternity.” Not just that God remembers the past and knows the future but that He dwells and exists in all of time simultaneously. Thus He witnesses every moment in all of history all at once. The word “dwells” in the Hebrew has the sense of “to lay oneself down,” “to abide,” “to pitch one’s tent.”


 

 

Three analogies of God’s eternity

 

1)      I exist in one point in time. God simultaneously exists across all of time and before.

God
Time,Me
 

 

 

 

 


You can see that God is outside of time whereas I am in one small segment of time.

2)      Two views of a parade.

I can see one slice of a parade; that which is passing by directly in front of me.

Parade: 


 

God can see the entire parade at once.

In the same way, I only see the present; whereas God sees all of time and history simultaneously.

3)      Existence in time

At any given moment I exist in a thin slice of time.

History:

Jan 16, 2010 9:10 AM
 

 

 


At any given moment God exists in all of time.

History:

 

We pass through time; God exists in all of time at once.

We are like a boat cutting through a small part of the ocean; God is like the planet that ocean is in.

An example of how time does not affect God is the book of Revelation. John was on the island of Patmos when he was taken in the Spirit to see future events that spanned over a thousand years. God did not give John a movie presentation of what the future would be like; He actually took him there. John’s book is unique in that he did not write as a prophet (as one who was told about the future) but rather as a witness. He was told to record not just what he heard but also what he saw. His witness spanned not only time but also space as he saw events both in Heaven and on the Earth. And then God brought him back to the present time.

God’s eternity proves His self-sufficiency. Before God created anything there was no space, no matter, no time. It was just God.

Time does not affect God

Isaiah 40:28,

“Do you not know? Have you not heard?
 The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
 Does not become weary or tired
 His understanding is inscrutable.”

At the end of the day we are tired. Sometimes we just collapse into a chair. Nothing that God does wears Him out. Even at the end of the six days of creation God rested not because He was tired from all of that work but because He wanted to give us an example.

When God determines something it is forever

 

Psalm 119:89, “Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.”

The principles that God states in the Bible will last forever. There is nothing unforeseen in the future that will cause God to need to change them.

Also, what God says never limits Him. For example, God says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God will never come up against the situation where someone will confess their sins but God will say, “Gee, I really don’t wait to forgive them but I guess that I have to because I promised.” The Scriptures are not merely something that God says but are expressions of who and what He is. When God forgives us because we have confessed our sins it is not just because God promised to—although that is indeed true—but even more so, because that is what God wants to do. “Thus says the Lord” has authority not just because God said it but because it is consistent with who God is.

Romans 7:12, “So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. “

The Law is holy not because God made the Law holy but because God is holy and the Law is an expression of God.

The commandment is righteous because God is righteous.

The commandment is good because God is good.

When we write something it generally flows out of our imagination and creativity. When God wrote the Bible it flowed from all that He is. It does not merely convey His thoughts; it conveys His being, who He is. And this is why we can trust the Bible.

We must take the Bible seriously because God takes it seriously. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” Matthew 24:35.

Salvation requires an eternal God

Hebrews 10:11-12, “Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD”

Colossians 2:13-14, “When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

Isaiah 53:4-5, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
         And our sorrows He carried;
         Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
         Smitten of God, and afflicted.
         But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
         He was crushed for our iniquities;
         The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
         And by His scourging we are healed.”

Everyone who has ever and will ever live (try to imagine billions of dots on this rectangle, each one representing a person):

 

Crucifixion
 

 

 


If God were not eternal then Jesus could not have paid for sins that were committed after the crucifixion. But because God exists all throughout time, He is able to then concentrate all of those actual and real sins into one very brief moment in time. If God is not eternal then we cannot be saved.

Time will take two different courses in men’s lives. For those in Hell, it will become their prison as they will spend it in utter anguish and pain. Eternity will become their main tormentor since it will destroy any hope of relief. Yet, for those in Heaven, it will be our freedom as it will give us the hop of being with and worshipping God forever. We will forever say, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” (Revelation 5:13) How sweet the thought of being forever with our God and with His people, to gaze upon His face with no more the threat of sin and to bow with all the host of heaven in wonderful adoration. This is a hope and a destiny cherished by all the people of God.

What does His eternity mean to us?

Trust God for the future

 

Because God is eternal He does not have to scramble to help us out when there is a crisis. Thus we can believe that great promise in Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Because God can operate outside of time He is able to comfort and help us in ways that we cannot imagine. He is never caught off guard and then must rush to set up triage. Several years earlier He might have brought certain people into our lives to help us for that moment of crisis. Or He had the pastor’s preaching schedule work out so that the sermon that we need to hear is delivered on that one Sunday that we need it the most.

He knew before we were even born what temptations will attack us and what hurts we will suffer. Therefore, many events in our lives might be preparing us for those difficult times that are ahead. God does not always just lift us out of trying circumstances; sometimes He wants us to persevere through them until we reach the end. The latter develops greater character, trust, and spiritual stamina. Those qualities are developed over time and God can weave circumstances, people, health, finances, etc. through our lives in order to prepare us for those difficult times. Of course, we may fail to utilize those resources and will instead struggle and be bitter but that is not God’s fault.

Can know that He is always listening

 

Do you believe that God does not have the time for you? Do you think that there are many other more important people or events occurring that require God’s attention? God exists outside of time. He can be simultaneously and fully concentrated on each and every person including you. You can have His undivided attention not because He is ignoring everyone else but because He is not restricted by time. Time does not matter to Him but you always matter to Him.

Confidence in His guidance

 

Is God confused about the best route to take in a given situation? You are praying about whether or not to marry that person or to take that job. God does not rely on statistics to determine the best solution. He knows what will be the precise outcome of whatever you choose because He is already there. He knows that every one of His promises will be faithful because He already sees the outcome of every person who has believed them and of those who have disobeyed.

Questions

 

1)      In addition to the ones discussed above, what are some other assurances that God’s eternity means to us?

2)      If God has always existed then who created God?

3)      By contemplating God’s eternity how can that help us through a trial?

4)      The concept that God exists outside of time is hard to grasp. Is there any kind of visualization or analogy that can help someone understand this?

5)      It has been said that God created time. If that is the case then what existed before time was created?

6)      How can a God who exists outside of time be involved in each moment of my life when I am confined by time?

7)      God is eternal. When we are born we will live forever. What is the difference?

8)      What are some things that we can do to get to know God better?

9)      How can someone always exist without ever being born?

Situation

Peggy is always nervous about the future. If you mention some situation to her, she will always think of the worst possible outcome and get uptight about it. This not only fills her with anxiety but also puts a damper on any plans or ideas that someone else suggests. One time someone suggested a church picnic at the nearby park and she responded, “That park has a playground and children can get hurt on those and then the church will get sued. And then there’s the bugs and what if it rains?” Is there anything about God’s character and perhaps particularly His eternity that you can use to help alleviate Peggy’s chronic fears?

 

 


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Copyright Bob La Forge 2011        email: bob@disciplescorner.com