Post Author: Bill Pratt
Christians refer to eternity all of the time, but rarely stop to think about what it means. Many think that eternity means “a really long time” or “endless time.” These concepts are helpful to some, but they are not really accurate descriptions of eternity.
The difficulty we have is that we are time-bound creatures trying to describe a timeless God. Our words cannot comprehend eternity, but we can make claims about what eternity is not.
Eternity literally means “timelessness” or “nontemporality.” It refers to the nonexistence of time. God lives outside of time and is not limited by time. Although the universe he created is in time, God is not.
A. W. Tozer comments, “Time marks the beginning of created existence, and because God never began to exist it can have no application to him.” He continues, “Time is known to us by a succession of events. It is the way we account for consecutive changes in the universe.”
God does not experience anything as a sequence of events. He does not think or act or terms of step 1, then step 2, then step 3. He experiences everything as one eternal Now. He sees our entire earthly existence in one eternal “instant.”
An interesting footnote to this issue of eternity. Modern science claims that time, space, and matter are co-relative, meaning they exist in relation to each other. If God is in time, then he must also be made of matter and take up space. This would necessarily entail a God who is limited by time, space, and matter – hardly the God described in the Bible.