Note: the above image is found in Wayne Grudem's "Systematic Theology", 2nd edition, page 204.
Introduction:So far in our series on "The Doctrine of God", we have explored God's existence, knowability, and introduced His attributes. We then considered the Divine attribute of independence (a.k.a "Divine Aseity), which readers may review here http://www.growingchristianresources.com/2023/08/post-9-doctrine-of-god-gods-attribute.html and God's attribute of Divine unchangeability (a.k.a "immutability") here http://www.growingchristianresources.com/2023/08/post-10-doctrine-of-god-gods-attribute.html
What we want to do today is explore God's Divine eternity.
Exploring the four senses of talking about Divine eternity, along with some Biblical passages
God's Divine eternity has to do with how His infinite being and life operate with respect to His other attributes, as well as in relationship to time itself. As with the other posts in this series, my aim is to attempt to sharpen our understanding of what God is in His being, how He is in His attributes, and who He is as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
As we move on, we note again Grudem's definition of eternity in how it pervades all of God's other attributes, such as God's omniscience. Grudem observes, "and He sees all time equally vividly, yet God sees events in time, and He acts in time" (the term "see" here is equivalent to God's knowledge of all things). We could define eternity as: "without beginning, without end, fullness of being without the limitations of time." Passages such as Psalm 90:2; 102:25; Isaiah 57:15; John 1:1-3; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Timothy 6:16; Rev. 4:8 speak to us of God's eternity in this second sense.
“the complete, simultaneous and perfect possession of everlasting life.”
To say God is eternal means He alone has complete possession and comprehension of what He is, who He is (as Father, Son, and Spirit), and how He expresses His existence in His attributes. You and I do not have a handle on our entire life. I have memories here and there of my past, and I have this present moment, yet I do not know what I will be doing in the next moment.
We started with Wayne Grudem's definiton of eternity, "God has no beginning, end, or succession of moments in His own being, and He sees all time equally vividly, yet God sees events in time, and He acts in time". We discovered four senses in which we can talk about God's Divine eternity as we build our way to a better understanding (not comprehension) of this attribute.
Giving time to think about God’s eternity drives us to prayer and worship.
When we pray, we ought to think of prayer as “the greatest adventure”, since we are treading into the very foothills of God’s eternal presence. We could say far more, but let us live in light of this truth that God, is, eternal. In our next post we will look at the Divine attribute of omnipresence.