Q: What is God?
A: God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.
When we think of God’s created order, we think about those things that are perceivable by our senses. We think on the beauty of the mountains, the splendor of the stars in the sky, or the awesomeness of the waves crashing upon the seashore. We think about the plants and animals. We think about how we were fearfully and wonderfully made by God. All of these things are tangible, perceivable aspects of God’s creation.
But have you ever thought about time being a creation of God? The progression of reality in creation which we call time, the cycles of days, weeks, months, and years by which we measure time, are all part of God’s created order. God brought time into existence; risking a contradiction, we could say there was a time when there was no time. Because God is the Creator of time, we must say that He is above time and is not bound to time. This is what we mean when we call God eternal.
In Psalm 90:2, Moses proclaims the eternality of God: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” God’s existence stretches from unending to unending. He has no beginning, and there will be no end to Him. Before the beginning, God was (Genesis 1:1). The name by which He has revealed Himself expresses the idea His eternality. When Moses, being commissioned by God, asked for His name, God responded,
I AM WHO I AM… Say this to the people of Israel: “I AM has sent me to you…” Say this to the people of Israel: “YAHWEH the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. (Exodus 3:14-15).
Yahweh is the eternally present one; He is the I AM. While His special, eternal name communicates much about Him, one thing it surely shows is that He is the timeless one, the one who is, always has been, and always will be.
What can we draw from the eternality of God? There are several benefits we have in this truth, but two in particular are a special comfort for God’s people. First, because God is eternal, His love is eternal. The love with which He has loved His people is a love that stretches from eternity past to eternity future. The Princeton theologian Geerhardus Vos once wrote, “The best proof that He will never cease to love us lies in that He never began.” God’s love for His people, those whom He has redeemed through Christ, never had a beginning, and it will never have an end.
Another comfort we have is that God’s promises are issued forth by one who is eternally faithful. In God’s promises, we have something more sure and solid than the foundation of the earth upon which we may rest. As Stephen Charnock, the puritan theologian once said, “His promises are established upon His eternity, and this perfection is a main ground of trust.” Isaiah charges his readers to “[t]rust in Yahweh forever, for the Lord Yahweh is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:4). We can trust our God, because all of His promises and the unchangeable covenant He has established with His people in Christ, are given to us from the One who is eternal. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8).