The Eternality of God
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:18–21)
If we are to begin a study of Biblical doctrine, we must begin where the Bible begins, with God. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Scripture tells us, “of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36) Thus we find that all things have their beginning with God. Paul said that He is before all things (Colossians 1:17).
Not only is God before all things, but He holds all things together; and He does all things to His glory (Romans 11:36;Colossians 1:17). This means that the study of theology and doctrine are imminently practical: they are to be done so that we might learn how to honor God.
Furthermore, the study of theology, or the doctrine of God is life changing. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) By reading, studying, and meditating upon the glorious nature and character of God, we are changed to be like God by the power of the Holy Spirit.
God Is Eternal
Scripture says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Before there was a beginning, God is. Time is God’s creation as well as space and matter. This means that God is before time and transcends time. Moses said, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Psalm 90:1–2) Not only is God before time, transcending time, but He never will cease to exist. The Psalmist states that His years will not fail (Psalm 102:25-27). We read of Christ, who is God, that His goings forth have been of everlasting (Micah 5:2).
Isaiah quotes God Himself saying, “Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?” (Isaiah 43:13) And Isaiah again tells us that God inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15). Is it any wonder, then, that God would reveal Himself to Moses as “I AM?” (Exodus 3:13-15). I AM speaks simply and plainly of existence. It is an ever-present tense existence: there has never been a time when God was not, but He lives forever. God does not exist within the confines of time, but transcends time, dwelling in eternity. This is why we read of time having no hold upon Him: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8) He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last (Revelation 1:8;21:6). There is none before Him, nor can there be any after Him.
God’s eternality is to His glory and is one of the infinite number of reasons that we should worship Him. “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalm 106:48) He who is of eternal existence, having no beginning nor ending, but inexplicably existing by His own power and will, is worthy of eternal praise. This is the very reason for which God made all things: “And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:9–11) This is an infinitely practical thing, so we should seek to worship the eternal God in every way possible, knowing that we shall someday enter into His presence to worship Him forever.
The Omnipotence of God
God is also eternally powerful, according to Paul (Romans 1:18-21), and that stands to reason; because He who exists from eternity to eternity, and created all things would necessarily be omnipotent. God told Abraham that He is “the almighty God” (Genesis 17:1). His proclamation through Isaiah is, “Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?” (Isaiah 43:13) He who is eternal has eternal power, and there is no one who can hinder Him from doing what He purposes to do. This is why He asked Abraham, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14) And when Gabriel spoke to Mary concerning her conceiving as a virgin and then bearing a child, he said, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)
The omnipotence of God is reason for us to trust and obey Him also. He spoke through Moses and said, “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.” (Deuteronomy 32:39–40) In the context of this chapter, Moses was commanding Israel to worship God only, rebuking them for straying, prophesying of future ills that will come upon them, and calling upon them to trust and obey Him. Why should we do so? Because the LORD, the great I AM, is all powerful and worthy of our allegiance in every way. This is why Isaiah calls upon us to trust Him as well: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” (Isaiah 26:3–4) Think of all of the grief that you and I could avoid, if we simply trusted in the LORD. Notice that we are given God’s qualifications for our trust: His strength is everlasting.
As we have already seen, this doctrine is presented to us that we might worship the LORD. David, as he praised God, said, “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.” (Psalm 62:11) Jeremiah exulted in the LORD, confidently trusting in His great redeeming power, saying, “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:” (Jeremiah 32:17) Although things looked bleak, hopeless, and Israel’s sin had brought upon them great judgment, Jeremiah worshiped the LORD God who is omnipotent; and he trusted in God’s power to perform His promises. And when the Lord Jesus returns, the Revelation tells us that there is a great multitude of people, saying, “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” (Revelation 19:6) Oh! Can you imagine this day? What a day that will be indeed, to be with countless saints of all ages, rejoicing in our Savior, who is our almighty King!
When Paul speaks of the eternal Godhead of God, he is speaking to us of the fact that God is eternal in nature; but he is also teaching us that God is exclusively God. We find from the context of Romans 1:18-25 that man sins greatly when he worships anything or anyone other than God; because He is blessed forever, and “over all, God blessed forever.” (Romans 9:5)
Creation exists to show forth the splendor of the one true God’s beauty and majestic glory. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” (Psalm 19:1–3) Paul stated that the cycle of the seasons, the rain, the planting-harvest cycle, and the fact that we have food to eat all testify to the one true God (Acts 14:15-17). This is also why we read of the creation showing clearly the eternal power and Godhead of God: God created all things to demonstrate that He is glorious, and the He alone is God. This is why Jeremiah worshiped God and called Israel to worship the LORD exclusively: “Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might. Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.” (Jeremiah 10:6–7) “But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion. When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures. Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts is his name.” (Jeremiah 10:10–16) God did not sit in counsel with other gods, which are but the creation of men’s imaginations, and are actually demonic in nature (1 Corinthians 10:20). Neither did He have assistance in the creation. He is before all things and by Him alone all things consist (Psalm 90:1-2;119:89-91;Colossians 1:15-17;Hebrews 1:1-3) He who exists before time was created, is eternal in nature and will never cease to exist. For this reason, we proclaim with the apostle Paul, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)