The eternality of God
One of the most central qualities of God is His eternality. That is, God exists without beginning or end. The fact that God was, is, and is to come is so significant that the whole of Scripture begins with: “In the beginning, God…” (Genesis 1:1). God was there in the beginning, but He has no beginning. He initiated the beginning. This is hard for our time-limited minds to grasp, yet the Scripture is clear: God is. It is God’s creation that has a beginning. And He was there for it. In fact, He created everything by merely speaking. He also exists outside of time. He does not have a creator. Neither will He perish. There are many verses throughout Scripture that testify to God’s eternality, but perhaps one of the most precise ways Scripture testifies to God’s eternality is through specific word choice.
Job, likely the earliest-written book in the Old Testament, testifies to the eternality of God. Job experiences great loss. His livestock die, his children die, and his wife and his friends do nothing but discourage him and beat him down. After much sorrow, Job exclaims: “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives…” (Job 19:25a). Job’s hope is eternal, so his hope is not lost. His hope is in the fact that God is eternal. This eternal God’s perfect plan is not thwarted or changed in the face of Job’s suffering. What’s interesting about this verb “lives” is that, in Hebrew, it is actually an adjective. In English, this would be a verbal, so something like, “I know that my Redeemer is living.” This implies that God is living without end or without beginning.
The psalms often consider the power of God and equate that power to His eternality. Psalm 90:2 says, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God.” Again, we see that present-tense verb. He is. He is God. As humans, our greatest reference for ancient things is creation itself, and Romans 1:20 confirms that God reveals His eternal power through creation. My childhood home has a giant sycamore tree a ways behind the house, and I remember wondering at that tree as a child. I thought things like, That tree must be hundreds of years old. Maybe thousands of years old! Did other little children marvel at it, too? I, of course, was marveling at the creation, when that creation was put in place to make me marvel at God.
Perhaps my favorite way that we see the eternality of God’s power is in John 8:58. When Jesus is rebuking the Jewish leaders for denying His deity, He boldly proclaims: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” This is earth-shattering. Abraham, the first patriarch of the nation of Israel, was there at Israel’s beginning. Surely nothing significant existed before the beginning of Israel? Yet before Abraham existed, before his grandparents existed, before the earth existed, God is. As God has no beginning, so He has no end.
Revelation 4 gives us a glimpse into the heavenly throne room, with four living creatures dwelling around God’s throne. They never stop proclaiming: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8). God eternally exists in His holiness. So not only does God exist eternally, but He exists in eternal holiness. He is perfect, good, and sovereign beyond compare. The proper response when we encounter the holy God is unending praise. The great hope for God’s people is that, though we have a beginning, we will get to enjoy the eternality of God without end. We will get to walk with Him in the paradise that was once lost. We will delight in the God who is.