What is the Eternity of God?

Series: Theology in the Everyday 

by Scott Meadows May 24, 2023

Editor’s Note: The Theology in the Everyday series seeks to introduce and explain theological concepts in 500 words or less, with a 200-word section helping explain the doctrine to kids. At For The Church, we believe that theology should not be designated to the academy alone but lived out by faith in everyday life. We hope this series will present theology in such a way as to make it enjoyable, connecting theological ideas to everyday experience and encouraging believers to study theology for the glory of God and the good of the Church. This week, the eternity of God.

All of humanity shares a common shackle: time. Every morning our alarms go off, we’re reminded of our ever-pressing schedules. We clock in to work. We’re late to appointments. We are creatures bound by time. But how does God relate to time? Scripture, preachers, and theologians often teach of our Triune God’s eternity. As the supreme Artist, God has not only created time but is altogether uncontained by it. He is no distant deity but intimate and fully present in all time simultaneously. But what is God’s eternity? In 500 words or less, here’s how I would explain the eternity of God.

Thomas Aquinas illustrates God’s eternity like “one who is perched on top of a watchtower, seeing at once the whole transit of travelers passing by.”[1] Since God is unchangeable, He cannot be restricted to individual moments (Ps 90:4). God’s eternity is His “possession of endless life whole and perfect in a single moment.”[2]

Depicting God’s creative authorship, C.S. Lewis clarifies that, “His life is not dribbled out moment by moment – with Him it is still 1920 and already 1960.”[3] The eternal Christ is as present in your daily responsibilities as He is in the creation account!

We see God’s eternity all throughout Scripture. In their desert wandering, Moses reminded the Israelites that “the eternal God is your dwelling place” (Deut. 33:29). Job beheld God’s infinite timelessness by declaring, “the number of his years are unsearchable” (Job 36:26). As Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, God’s eternal character emphasizes His authority to provide for His church (Rev. 1:8, 22:13). As the eternally begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). Christ defines eternal life as knowing “the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

When morning alarms rattle our slumber, it can be difficult to glimpse God’s eternity in the ordinary. The seeming urgency of our schedules blind us from God’s eternal character – our present and abiding rest. To participate in eternity, we must know Christ and Him crucified, the exact imprint of the Father. The extent of our investment in knowing God, His Word, and the care of souls demonstrates our participation in eternity.

When the accuser impresses guilt of former sins upon our hearts, reminders of Christ’s past and complete justification renews the soul. When we struggle to remain present with friends, family, and ministry appointments, Christ’s present intercession grounds our restless thinking. As we worry over career paths, pondering our next moves, the river of God’s future provision is the saint’s sweetest delight!

Our eternal Christ timelessly knows us better than we know ourselves. Only He can “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps 90:12). God’s eternal character satisfies us in the morning with steadfast love, reconciling our relationship with time (Ps 90:14). “What might have been and what has been point to one end,” writes Eliot, “which is always the present.”[4]  Dear Christian, abide in the eternal presence and character of your God.

For the Kids:

Hey kids! Did you know that God has no beginning and no end?? He has always existed! This is what it means when we say that God is eternal. A picture of God’s eternity can be seen through a parade of floats. Who’s been to a parade before?? Me too! What do you do at a parade? That’s right! You sit and watch all the floats go by. As we sit on the sidelines, we only see a small part of the long line of floats that go by one at a time. But God is so big that He sees all the floats in the parade at once! And He delights in each one of them all at the same time! This is how time works too. We can only see a small portion of time at a time. But God sees all of time at the same time!

Since we’ve been created by God, we know time as past, present, and future. In the past, Christ has forgiven us by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8)! In the present, He is praying for and helping us (Heb. 7:25)! In the future, God will provide exactly what we need (Phil. 4:19)! God’s eternity reminds us that it is always God’s loving plan to save His people through Jesus (Eph. 1:3-14). God’s other attributes are made bigger by their connection to His eternal character! He is always exactly who He is! Just as He sees the entire parade at once, He planned the way it would move and how He could keep it from disaster. God’s eternity is good news! (Though a deep well of transcendent truth, God’s eternity is not too lofty for children!)

[1] Thomas Aquinas, Compendium of Theology, Entry 133, Page 105.

[2] Boethius, Book V, VI. Mint 147.

[3] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, HarperCollins, 168.

[4] T.S. Eliot, The Four Quartets.

How does God's Word impact our prayers?

God invites His children to talk with Him, yet our prayers often become repetitive and stale. How do we have a real conversation with God? How do we come to know Him so that we may pray for His will as our own?

In the Bible, God speaks to us as His children and gives us words for prayer—to praise Him, confess our sins, and request His help in our lives.

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