How God’s eternalness alleviates human suffering and the fear of death.
Jeanne Calment. Shigechiyo Izumi. Edna Parker. Charlotte Hughes. Florrie Baldwin.
What do these five people have in common? Two things.
1. They’re the world’s oldest people.
2. They’re dead. . .or will be dead.
Unfortunately, whether we live to be 50 or 125 years old. . .the tragedy for you and I and every other human is that we were made for eternity but . . . forced to live in time:
. . . He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11
Everything around us–dust, wrinkles, earthquakes–reminds us of change and death. Yet our hearts yearn for life and permanence.
A sad paradox.
What Is Eternal Life and Where Does It Come From?
Like time, man has a beginning and end. In his short life, he is born, breeds and dies. And, as we all know, man grieves over this tragedy:
Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more.
Macbeth, Act V, Scene V
And on the other end of the spectrum, there is eternity.
My buddy Boethius said, “Eternity is a life of the most perfect kind without beginning, succession or end. . .a never-changing now.”
Yet, you and I are slaves to time. That is, you and I can choose to keep our bodies in the same spot as long as we want. What we can’t do is choose to remain in a particular spot of time for as long as we want.
Time unmercifully drives on.
Why the Idea of Eternity Is Essential to Christianity
A. W. Tozer said that “The concept of everlastingness runs like a lofty mountain range through the entire Bible and looms large in orthodox Hebrew and Christian thought.”
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:2
And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. John 17:5
The first thing you notice in these Bible verses is that since time begins with the universe…God is before time.
And if God is before time, then other things about God must be necessarily true. Namely. . .
How Does Philosophy Support God’s Eternality?
Listen, if God wasn’t eternal, then these things wouldn’t make sense:
Immutability: Whatever is in time changes. God is not in time. Therefore, God does not change.
Perfection: Because God is changeless, he cannot change for the worse, and does not need to change for the better. He exists completely.
Infinity: Whatever is in time has limits. If God is outside of time, then He does not have limits.
Necessity: If His existence is critical to the universe’s existence, then He must have existed before the universe.
Self-Existence: If God created the universe–which is made up of time and matter–then he had to exist before the universe.
So, since God is immutable, perfect, infinite, necessary and self existant, God created time. And if He created time, God is different and independent of time.
But, so what?
How Should We Respond to God’s Eternity?
Materialists tell us that each human life–yours and mine– is the smallest nothing compared to the infinite emptiness of the universe.
So. . .what’s the point of life. . .really? Well, in the face of God’s eternity, we should be:
1. Confident that His word will stand.
2. Assured that His promises will never be broken.
3. Rooted in the hope of Christ.
4. Vulnerable because we have the promise that God can help us.
5. Certain that he can give us eternal life. He can alleviate the fear of death.
Jesus Christ abolished death through his resurrection. The Book of Romans sheds light on this: He has brought life and immortality to you and I.
So, through all of life, God is an anchor to our soul. That means He is the one safe home for you and I–his tragic time-struck children.
That is if you want to live for ever. For every man it must be Christ or eternal tragedy.
Where you at on this issue of living forever. . .do you want to? Do you think it’s a crock? Are you afraid of death? Does God’s eternity–and Christ’s resurrection–bring you comfort?
Give me your thoughts. Brutal and all.
**Part of The Nature of God: A Quick and Dirty Guide series.**