God’s Covenant, Part 3 – The Eternality of God

A-In eternity everything exists in the ever present now

Everything begins with God; God predated everything so therefore, He is eternal. Whatever is true concerning the nature of eternity is true of God also. Before we examine the works of God as they are revealed in Scripture it is good to consider something about God and eternity first.

The eternity of God is introduced for the first time in Scripture when it says that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1). Since there is a beginning to things that exist, and God was there at its commencement, it must be deduced that He predated it. Before time began there was only eternity nothing else. God existed before anything else did so therefore, He is eternal. God and eternity are one and the same thing.

Eternity has a certain quality to it. Since eternity is timelessness whatever pertains to it must always be in the present. In other words, nothing in eternity has any history before the present either, or, after it. There is no chronology of events in eternity, no consequents, no contingencies, no parts and no categories. This quality of eternity is brought home to us in the personal name of God which was given to Moses in Exodus chapter three. God appeared to Moses in a bush that was on fire but did not burn, (Ex. 3:2,3). God announced to Moses that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, his ancestors who were long since dead, (Ex.3:6). Jesus the Son of God explains the meaning of this announcement to Moses when He says “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ ? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matt. 22:32). God is the presently live God of presently living people who have long ago departed from this world. God told Moses to tell Israel that His name was YHWH, or, translated it means “I AM WHO I AM.” (Ex. 3:14).

The name YHWH is not just a name like Bob or Sue, but is a statement concerning the nature of God. God is the pre existent self existent Deity who predates Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, yea, even creation itself. God’s name was given to Moses and the Israelites so that they would know this. “I AM WHO I AM.” speaks of the eternal nature of God that He exists in the “ever present now.” The eternity of God was signified to Moses first of all in the appearance of the bush that did not burn. God is said to be a consuming fire by the writer of Hebrews (Heb. 12:29). This is a direct allusion to the burning bush which means that God’s nature is Holy. Holiness is a quality that is opposite anything in nature that is created, something which is entirely pure and unmixed in its essence. When anything other than God comes into His presence, it must be consumed. Yet, God is not consumed, He will not expire but continue to live unchanged. The reason for Gods vision of Himself in the bush that Moses saw not being consumed was that it signified the eternal nature of God. God is a living Being whose life is never extinguished. And the life of God is also always that which is always presently the same.

The second thing which God made known to Moses concerning the eternality of His Being in saying “I am the God of your father — the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” (Ex. 3:6), is the covenant relationship they had to Him. By saying to Moses and Israel that He was before them as their covenant God, YHWH was therefore, the present God of His people whether they are living or dead. Also, God implied that physical death did not end the covenant relationship that these men had to Him; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are presently in covenant relationship to God. YHWH also made known to Moses and Israel the fact that as He is the covenant God of their fathers, that His promises are like He is, unchanging and eternal, always present, always powerful, always living and sustaining.

The epochal event of the vision of the burning bush in Moses life was no doubt what led him to pen the words found in Psalm ninety. “A Prayer of Moses the man of God.” Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” (Ps. 90:1,2). The idea of everlasting to everlasting is like a circle, there are no beginning and no end to it, it just is, it goes on to infinity. Moses spoke of God’s eternity in Psalm ninety in reference to creation. Creation is the dwelling place of our realm, and it is what we understand in terms of reality. How do we then adjust our mind to the concept of eternity? Thank God He has put this into the mind of man through his revelation.

But all men do not receive nor know Gods revelation of Himself in Scripture. Is it therefore, impossible to conceive of God and eternity? No, all men do conceive of God and eternity because it is part of the image of God in him through creation (Gen. 1:27). God’s image is innate knowledge apart from any special revelation. This is the reason that the pagan Greeks conceived of God and eternity, albeit incorrectly. There is an innate knowledge in man of eternity by which the rational human mind made in the image of God is able to rationally conceive of it (Ecc. 3:11). The revelation of God in His word is necessary for a proper and specific knowledge of Him. God’s covenant people are given this knowledge of Him based on revelation that is not irrational in any way.

Eternity is also fearful to man because of his mortality. Eternity is the realm of the unknown. No one has been to eternity and come back to tell of it. This is what make God’s revelation of Himself so important. In the absence of revelation nothing but foolish speculation is conjured up to try to assuage the fear that man has of these things. But God has entered this realm where we live and has revealed Himself in His word as the God of creation, our Creator, our Sustainer, a very present help if we embrace Him by faith (Ps. 46:1). Since the truth of God and eternity is invisible to the human eye an objective faith in this truth is the only way that it can be objectively received (Heb. 11:1). Truth is the substance of faith based on an objective eternal reality, therefore, it expects something that is objectively real. Innate understanding concurs with the revelation of Scripture that it is true.

Aristotle had but natural innate understanding based on natural reason and he concluded the existence and eternity of God. His view of God unaided by anything but nature was flawed though, in that he arrived at a multiplicity of gods in his thinking. Coupled with a view of eternity as comprising successive ages, Aristotle embraced a world view devoid of all truth and righteousness. Whether anyone realizes it or not Aristotle has become the default Doctor of modern philosophy and skepticism. The Evolutionists think of faith in God as nebulous and uncertain, a feeling which unthinking people embrace. They on the other hand embrace the material world, those things which they can hold in their hands, they can test and speculate on as to what and why it is as it is. Evolutionary theory does not conceive of eternity nor of God who inhabits it (Is. 57:15). This, they do in defiance of revelation and even of an innate understanding of God and eternity. Aristotle is the god of the skeptic who imagines that nothing exists but matter and that it has always existed. This is a notion the skeptic holds to by faith, faith in material not eternal things. The writer of Hebrews answers them by saying “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Heb. 11:3)

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