What does it mean that God is eternal?

Last updated on July 9, 2022

One thing that makes God completely different from humans, is His eternal nature. This basically means that God transcends all limitations of time. He is without beginning and without end, as we read in Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” This is mind-blowing. We will never understand fully what this means, but let’s study some Bible verses that might help us grow in our knowledge about the eternal God.

God was there before the foundation of the world

The Bible starts with the well known verse: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This indicates that God was there before the heavens and the world came into existence, which is confirmed by many other Bible verses. Read for example Psalm 90:2,

Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Not only God the Father, but also God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have always been there. The apostle John writes about the Word of God, which is a poetical description of God the Son: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1-3). Genesis 1:2 makes clear that the Holy Spirit was involved in creation as well: “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

God will never end

Not only is God without beginning, He is also without end. All creation will once perish, including the heavens and the earth as we know them. But even then, God will remain. So great is our God!
Psalm 102:25-27 expresses this in a song:

Of old You laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
They will perish, but You will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
but You are the same, and Your years have no end.

God does not change

The Lord is not like humans who are born as little babies, then grow and develop into adults, and finally grow old. James 1:17 mentions Him as “the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” And Hebrews 13:8 confirms that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Not only is God’s being unchangeable, but also His purposes.The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.” (Psalm 33:11) Ephesians 1:4 and 2 Timothy 1:9 teach us that His salvation plan was already laid out before the foundation of the world, and He has never abandoned it. That makes God completely trustworthy.

God does not share our conception of time

The Lord God created time, He is not Himself limited by it. He exists beyond time. He is the ultimate reality, and therefore not subjected to any constraints. We can hardly imagine what it must be like to live without time constraints and without experiencing life as a chronological succession of events. This makes yet more clear that we humans are too limited to understand God. But it is nevertheless important to be aware of the fact that God’s conception of time is different from ours, for example when it comes to the fulfillment of His promises: “Do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9) “For a thousand years in Your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.” (Psalm 90:4)

It is great to have an eternal God

God’s eternal nature is not only mind-blowing, but also comforting. We need not be afraid that He will cease to exist, or that He will change His mind about our salvation. If you put your trust in the Lord, be assured that “the eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

Share post