Temple Baptist Church - 2-5-2014
A. As with John’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit begins the First Epistle of John with a statement concerning the eternality of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has many attributes concerning His Person. We are not here to study them but one of them is that He is eternal.
B. Man lives in temporal time or time that has limits both past and future. Everything in temporal time is measured from a point of reference: "past, present, future, before, after, simultaneous, always, later, next year, forever, at 6:00 p.m., etc." Time requires limits but God has no limits.
C. God exists outside of time. God's eternality entails that he has always existed and always will exist; that he has no beginning and no end. Therefore, temporal terms have no significant application to God. If God existed in time when He created all, there would be one thing that He did not create: time! God understands time because He created it. One of the cardinal errors that man makes when think of time and eternity together is that the eternal God is placed in temporal time. God does not exist in temporal time nor is He limited by it.
D. John begins 1 John as he began John’s Gospel with the eternality of Jesus Christ. These two portions of scripture are consistent with the Genesis account of creation found in Genesis 1:1.
1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (Eternality of Christ)
John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (Eternality, Deity, Equality, and Creator: Jesus Christ)
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Eternality, Deity, Equality, Creatorship)
Colossians 1:15-17 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (16) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (17) And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Hebrews 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Hebrews 1:10-12 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: (11) They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; (12) And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
E. The timelessness or eternality of God is the biblical foundation for creation found in Genesis 1:1. This verse declares that “the earth was without form and void” which indicates that creation was ex nihilo, a Latin phrase meaning “out of nothing.”
F. Genesis 1:5 refers to the initial acts of creation as taking place on the “first day.” This is not just the “first day” of creation but the “first day!” Time as we know it began with the first act of creation. This first day was a literal 24 hour period and was described as “the evening and the morning were the first day.” The day began with darkness and ended with light, just the same as our 24 hour day. Our day begins in darkness at 12:00 AM and actually ends at 11:59 PM while God’s day began at app. 6:00 PM in the evening, the same as the Jewish day became. The first day of creation began with darkness on the face of the deep and God declaring, “Let there be light” toward the end of the day.
G. Some great theologians had this to say about the eternality of God:
A. W. Tozer: “In God there is no was or will be, but a continuous and unbroken is. In Him history and propechy are one and the same. Whatever God is His is infinitely.”
Stephen Charnock: “The eternity of God is nothing else but the duration of God, and the duration of God is nothing else but his existence enduring.” It is indeed a high and holy mystery to contemplate that God existed before He created anything. Time dwells within God. He causes, affects, and controls it, and yet does so without time exerting any control or hold on Him. Everything about God is "always" and "I Am". No hour glass can be turned over for the Creator of time, for He is not subject to time!
C. H. Spurgeon: “God’s nature is without beginning and without end, free from all succession of time. God dwells in eternity. Eternity is not just “extended time” but rather is existence above and apart from time. God contains in Himself the cause of time! Time has no control over God and He does not have to work within the strictures of time unless He so pleases. Being eternal, He is free to bestow eternality on His creation in His good pleasure. All of God’s attributes bask in His eternality. Since eternity neither wears out nor runs out, neither do His attributes. The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. Man's life is short and the universe too is perishable but God is eternal. Be encouraged dear suffering saint. The night is almost over and your day is at hand. Take heart, for you will soon spend eternity with the Eternal God! God, being the Author of time, is in no way conditioned by it. He is free to act in relation to time and is equally free to act outside its limitations. Acting in time He said to Abraham,
“Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life and Sarah shall have a son” (Ge 18:14).
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son” (Gal 4:4).
Anyone existing before time began at the creation is eternal. And only God is eternal. God was, when nothing else was. He was God when the earth was not a world but a chaos. If God himself were of yesterday, he would not be a suitable refuge for mortals. The eternal existence of God is here mentioned to set forth, by contrast, the brevity of human life."
Norm Geisler: “The Bible declares that God is eternal. He was before time, and he created time. Hence, he cannot be a part of time, though he can relate to time as its Creator in the way a cause relates to its effect. Many verses of Scripture support God’s eternality: “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am’ ” (Ex 3:14)..."The theological grounds for God’s eternality are found in several other attributes. For example, immutability implies eternality, for an immutable being cannot change. But whatever is in time changes. Hence, God cannot be in time. God’s eternality can also be inferred from his infinity. An infinite being has no limits, whereas a temporal being has limits. Hence, God is not a temporal being. Pure actuality is also a ground for eternality. Pure actuality has no potentiality, but whatever is temporal has potentiality. Hence, God is not temporal but eternal."
Warren Wiersbe: “There is a difference between being immortal and being eternal. Man is immortal—that is, his soul will never die; but God is eternal—He has neither beginning nor ending. God existed before the mountains (the most durable thing known in Moses’ day); in fact, He gave birth to the mountains. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we become a part of eternity and possess eternal life."
Dr. Henry Morris: “To the skeptical question as to who made God, the only answer that satisfies all the facts of both science and human reason is that God is "from everlasting." He is the Creator of time as well as space and all things that exist in time and space. This is beyond our mental comprehension, but there is no other rational explanation for our existence, and it is surely compatible with the intuitions of our spiritual comprehension. God satisfies the heart regardless of difficulties conjured in the mind.”
h. Thus, God was preexistent to the first record of time and, therefore, timeless. I want to look at a few verses in order to better get a better comprehension of the incomprehensible. That is an oxymoron for sure! Eternity is God’s signature: it is who He is!
1. Jehovah God Declared Himself To Be Eternal - Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
a. This verse speaks of God’s eternality. It is not “I WAS” but “I AM.” God is a “present tense” God. The sense is of this title for God is not only I am what I am at present, but I am what I have been, and I am what I shall be, and shall be what I am.
b. This verse also speaks of God’s immutability. Every time you find or perceive God, He is always the same. Finite man is subject to change but an infinite God is not because the constancy of His name.
c. This verse speaks of God’s self-existence. Not “I want to be” or “I should be” or “I need to be” or “I will be” but I AM! From before recorded time, Jesus and His Father were one in essence, and sharing equally in the attribute of eternality.
2. Jesus Declared Himself To Be The Eternal Jehovah God. John 8:57-59 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? (58) Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (59) Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. (These verses make it clear that Jesus was claiming to be God in flesh because the Jews, upon hearing this statement, tried to stone Him to death. To the Jews, declaring oneself to be the eternal God was blasphemy worthy of death [Leviticus 24:16].)
3. John Declared Him To Be The Eternal Jehovah God. John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (This is a statement of fact, not a subject set forth for argument. The Holy Spirit placed our Lord Jesus with God before time, called Him God, and the Creator of all things in the beginning.)
4. The Heavens Declared Him To Have Both Eternal Existence And Eternal Power - Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Being understood shows the glory of God in His creation fully revealed to mankind. These things cannot be random or by accident as their eternal design require eternal intelligence.)
5. The Word of God Declares His Eternality Throughout - Psalms 90:1-2 Psalms 90:1 Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
a. Who He Was. Psalms 93:1-2 The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. (2) Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting. (Jesus Christ, as Jehovah God, has always existed! John 1:1 corresponds with Genesis 1:1. Jesus Christ was the Potentate of the universe: Designer, Creator, Master, Ruler, and Sustainer!)
b. Who He Became. Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (This reference can only be applied to the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ thus declaring that Christ is Jehovah God and He is eternal.)
c. Who He Remains. Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (God has always existed and will always exist: He is eternal. In Isaiah 57:15, the Bible declares that God “inhabiteth eternity.” The word “inhabiteth” is in a continuing sense and means to perpetually reside or to abide. God does not live in time. In the midst of eternity, God created 7,000 years of time with eternity stretching both before and after. One day soon, time will be no more as the Eternal God will continue to inhabit His eternity!)