Have you ever studied or mediated on an aspect of God and it totally blew your mind? Last week, in preparation to teach a Bible study class, I dug into the truth that God is eternal. My brain hurt before I was done.
What does it mean that God is “eternal?” Honestly, I can’t fully answer that question because I don’t have the capacity to understand it myself. However, I did learn some things you might find helpful too.
The Bible expresses God’s eternal nature
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible uses words and phrases to express the eternality of God. Here is a sample:
- Eternal God (Genesis 21:33)
- Everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90:2)
- In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1)
- Without beginning of days or end of life (Hebrews 7:3)
- The One who was and is and is to come (Revelation 1:4)
- Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8)
- The First and the Last (Revelation 1:17)
- Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13)
- I am (used more than 5,000 times in the Old Testament)
“I am” or Yahweh is the name God gave to Moses from the burning bush. It expresses existence. The One who exists. God simply is.
God has no beginning and no end. He is ever-continuing and never ceasing. God’s existence is independent of anything and everything. He is totally self-sufficient. He has everything within Himself and needs nothing.
Our eternal God’s relationship to time
God exists before and outside of time. He is independent of time constraints and considerations. Therefore, God’s experience of time is qualitatively different than ours. A thousand years is like a day and a day like a thousand years to Him. Every moment in time is “present” to God. He is present in every moment of time. God can see all events in time equally vividly, yet He can also act in any moment of time.
Does your brain hurt yet?
As I studied and mediated on these truths, some implications began to come to mind. If God is eternal and exists outside of time, as we know it, then what does that mean for us in this life right now?
Here are a few key things that are applicable to all of us:
- God has a different perspective than we do and thus a different set of priorities.
- Though God cares deeply about our temporal, physical circumstances, eternal things are even more important.
- God’s plans and purposes are already accomplished in eternity even though we may not yet see them realized in history.
- God is constantly working in our individual lives and history’s stage to fulfill His eternal purposes.
These truths encourage and comfort me! My perspective is so limited compared to God’s. I may see only trials, and struggles, and grief, but I can rest in the fact that God sees the end from the beginning. And I can fully trust Him to be faithful and to work out all these things for my good and for His great glory (Romans 8:28).
Are there shaky or difficult circumstances in your life now? How can the great truth that God is eternal change your perspective?
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Thank you for your perspectives and the implications on the externality of God.