Eternity (Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology, Victor Books, 1986,) p. 36.
- Meaning. a. The attribute of eternity means that God exists endlessly. His existence extends endlessly backward and forward (from our viewpoint of time) without any interruption or limitation caused by succession of events [time]. Putting these ideas together, Berkhof defines eternity as “that perfection of God whereby He is elevated above all temporal limits and all succession of moments, and possesses the whole of His existence in one individual present” (L. Berkhof, Systemic Theology [Grand Rapids: Erdman, 1978], p. 60).
- b. God’s eternity and self-existence are interrelated concepts. Some theologies use the word aseity to denote self-existence: i.e., depends a se, on Himself. If God exists endlessly, then He never came into existence nor was He ever caused to come into existence. He is endlessly self-existent.
- Scripture. God’s eternality is reflected in Psalm 90:2, “from everlasting to everlasting,” and Genesis 21:33 where El Olam, the Everlasting God, comes from an original form which means “the God of eternity.”
- Question. What is God’s relation to the succession of events? As an eternal Being, He sees the past and the future as clearly as the present; further, He must see them as including succession of events, and yet He is in no way bound by that succession. An illustration of this is found in the heavenly scene in Revelation 6:9-11 where the Lord answers the question of the martyrs concerning how long it will be before they are avenged by telling them to wait until certain events have transpired on earth.
- Application. A comforting ramification of God’s eternity is the confidence that God has never, nor will He ever cease to exist; therefore His sustaining, providential control of all things and events is assured.
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