God’s eternal nature is one of the hardest of his attributes for us to truly comprehend. This is because everything we can relate to in this world is subject to time. We understand things having a beginning and an end because we’re surrounded by finite things. The very idea of something having no beginning feels alien to us because we really don’t have anything we can truly compare it to.
The very idea of something having no beginning feels alien to us.
This concept is so foreign that many pagan cultures through the ages have imagined their gods as having been born, getting married, and even dying. Despite this, Christians have insisted that God is eternal throughout history. But why do we say that God is eternal, and what do we mean by that?
Why We Believe that God is “Eternal”
We see references to God’s eternal nature throughout the Bible. From the Law (Genesis 21:33; Deuteronomy 33:27), to the prophetic books (Isaiah 40:28; Jeremiah 10:10; Habakkuk 1:12), and particularly the Psalms (Psalm 90:1-4; 102:12), this is an aspect of God’s nature that permeates the Old Testament.
We see it in the New Testament too, from John’s Gospel (John 1:1; 17:5) to the Apocalypse (Revelation 1:8; 10:6; 22:13), and in several of the epistles between them (Romans 16:26; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 13:8; 2 Peter 3:8). Titus 1:2 tells us that even “before the beginning of time” God was active.
So we can confidently say: God is eternal. But what does that mean?
God in his fullness, with complete knowledge and power, was there at the beginning of time because he created it.
When we describe God as being “eternal” what we mean is that he is outside of time. God created all things, this includes both space and time. In the same way that God isn’t limited by the space he created, as the creator of time he is able to exist in all his fullness apart from time. God in his fullness, with complete knowledge and power, was there at the beginning of time because he was the one who created it.
This is why God is unaffected by the millenia passing (Psalm 90:1-4). It’s why our Lord’s nature and character remain the same, yesterday, today, and forevermore (Hebrews 13:8).
What an Eternal God Means for Us
Since God is eternal, we know he will be consistent in both his character and nature, no matter how much time passes. When we say that he is faithful and true, and that he is just and good, we can say these things confidently because we know that he is always the same.
God’s eternal nature means we can trust his leading, even when our lives seem to fall apart.
God’s eternal nature also means we can trust his leading, even when our lives seem to fall apart. He doesn’t merely know our past and future, he is fully present with us, from the distant past to the far future. God’s eternal nature means that he is always fully present. We see this in Jeremiah 29:10, where God tells his people that the coming 70 years of exile will be for their good. He could say this confidently because at that moment he was also present in all his fullness with their descendants, returning from exile, just as he is currently present with us as we look back to Jesus.
God is Fully Dependable
God’s eternal nature means that he is always present in all his fullness, at every moment of every day. Because of God’s eternal nature we can be confident in who he is, and in everything he has said, even as we eagerly await the return of our Lord Jesus.