God Lives In Eternity

God Lives In Eternity

By Alan H. Crosby

God is “the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy” (Isaiah 57:15 ESV). He described Himself to Moses saying, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14), emphasizing the present tense and thereby indicating that He lives in perpetual now.

Time And Place Were Created
“By Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible” (Col. 1:16). When we look up into space we are looking back into what we call “space-time.” God created it; and before it was created, there was no time or place. These things had a beginning – there was no “eternity past” or “eternity future”; there was just “now.” God created space-time where humans live, but “eternity,” where God lives, was not created!

“The Foundation Of The World”
This expression (Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:20; Jn. 17:24) is a metaphor for the beginning of space-time at creation. The very instant that it was in God’s mind that we “should be holy and blameless” (Eph. 1:4) in eternity, He knew that the blood of Christ would be necessary for this to result (1 Pet. 1:20). He foreknew that Adam and Eve would succumb to Satan’s craftiness and God the Son would have to become Jesus Christ our Savior to achieve His purposes.

We Are Creatures Of Time And Place
As creatures of space-time, we really cannot comprehend eternity! In our experience all events “take time.” Try as we may, we cannot describe a happening or an experience without bringing in “time.” We speak of things occurring rapidly or slowly, frequently or occasionally. Happenings are marked with a date, and even distances are spoken of in terms of time.

But God is an eternal being. He lives in eternity, and for Him the end and the beginning are both “now.” He can declare “the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things not yet done” (Isa. 46:10). God may speak of things that to us take place in time as being immediate, or He can enter space-time and tell of things to come – prophesied in Scripture – as being future.

Up “Into Eternity”
During the rapture we “will be caught up … to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Th. 4:17). We should interpret this as being a metaphor for being taken away from the material realm, from earth, into the spiritual realm where our Lord lives. Consider what would happen to believers living in scattered parts of the world if they are literally taken “up” – they would be going in different directions. Surely not!

Change Must Occur
We will have to be changed to go out of space-time and into eternity. Scripture says, “We shall all be changed” (1 Cor. 15:50-51). Then, each believer will be given a “spiritual body,” a body that is quite different from our present one. These spiritual bodies will be like our Lord’s present human body (see 1 Jn. 3:2). They will be “imperishable,” having “immortality” (1 Cor. 15:42,44,53-54). Although being able to be felt and touched, having flesh and bone, these bodies will be able to pass through closed doors (Lk. 24:39-40; Jn. 20:26-27). We will not have the normal material food to obtain the energy needed, for like the Lord we will “have food to eat that [we] do not [now] know about” (4:32). Life processes in eternity will be quite different from what we know today. There will not be “death … nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things [will] have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

Heaven Will Not Be What We Imagine
The Word says, “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9). The coming changes are “revealed to us through the Spirit” (v.10). Scripture also says, “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ” (Eph. 1:3 JND). Certainly the fullness of these will be wonderful beyond our imagination!

God Uses Metaphors
Things too difficult for a listener to understand are often expressed in metaphors, including in Scripture. The familiar is used to explain the unfamiliar even though the likeness is known to be imperfect.

In Revelation 15:2-3, Scripture speaks of believers “standing upon [a] glass sea, having harps of God … [and singing] the song of the Lamb.” A respected Bible commentator, H. A. Ironside, wrote that the sea of glass is a “type of the Word of God, needed for cleansing.” Thus we realize that what is spoken in this passage is a figure of speech, not a literal geographic feature of heaven.

A metaphor for life after death is the word “paradise,” used by our Lord when He said to the repentant thief on the cross, “Today you will be with Me in paradise” (Lk. 23:43 ESV). W. E. Vine said that it is “an oriental word … denoting the parks of Persian kings and nobles … To the oriental mind it expressed the sum total of blessedness.”

The Father’s House
This is an even more delightful metaphor. Vine said that this is “metaphorically, the heavenly abode … the eternal dwelling … of believers.” It was the plan from the beginning of time, “from the foundation of the world,” that there would be human beings provided with eternal life living with our Lord in the Father’s house (See Jn. 17:2,22,24). This dwelling is not described very clearly, but the statement that there are “many rooms” tells us figuratively that there will be plenty of space for all who will believe on Him.

We will be welcomed into the Father’s house. How much better it will be for our Lord Jesus to say to us something like, “Welcome to where I dwell with My Father, into the place that I have prepared for you” than to hear Him say, as He will to some, “Depart from Me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mt. 25:41). Where will your eternity be?

We hope it is with the Savior, worshiping Him for all eternity!