The Eternal God Is Thy Refuge

God’s Eternality in the Law

3 min

There was a time when time was not. Just as God created space but lives outside of it and is unbound by it, so also God created time and He lives outside of it. One of the essential attributes of God is the fact that He is uniquely eternal.

In one sense, man is eternal. From the moment of conception, we are endowed with an eternal destiny. We will live forever in Heaven or in hell. But man’s eternal life exists only in one direction. God’s eternal life spans from everlasting to everlasting. A mathematician could accurately describe man’s eternality as a geometric ray—beginning at a point and continuing forever in one direction. But God’s eternality is a line—having no beginning or end but continues forever in both directions.

God’s eternality is linked to His other attributes. If, to God, every point in space is here, then every moment in time is now. He sees time, but not in the way we see it. Rather, God views time as a grand panorama of history with a purposeful beginning, an orderly progression, and a glorious conclusion. For God, there are no mysteries, no uncertainties, and no surprises.

The opening verse of the Bible marks the creation of time. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This verse is the foundation of Scripture. If we can believe this verse, we can believe everything that God reveals. Genesis 1:1 takes the existence of the eternal Godhead as a presuppositional truth. As the Apostle Paul would later articulate of the Lord Jesus, “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17).

In Genesis 1:1, we see the remarkable creation of time, energy, space, and matter:

Time: “In the beginning”
Energy: “God created”
Space: “the heaven”
Matter: “and the earth”

While the creation of space and matter is usually the focus of this verse, the significance of the beginning of time cannot be overlooked. As human beings, we are so locked in time that we cannot imagine life without it.

Man has always struggled to define time. The more we attempt to define it, the more mysterious and elusive it seems. From the moment that we are born to the day that we die, we are inextricably linked to the passage of time. We cannot speed it up. We cannot slow it down.

With every tick of the clock, our lives speed forward into our eternal future, never to be relived or to be reclaimed. For this reason, it is so vital that we “number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

In Deuteronomy Chapter 33, Moses, the man of God, pronounced a benediction upon the nation of Israel before the day of his death. Although Moses lived to the advanced age of one hundred and twenty, he realized that his own lifespan was nothing in comparison to the vastness of eternity. In this chapter of Deuteronomy, with thrilling language Moses describes the power and majesty of God. He speaks of each of the twelve tribes of Israel, encouraging them to be faithful to the God of their fathers.

As Moses draws his benediction to a close, he encourages a new generation of Israelites with these words, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). When Moses had to lay down his staff on Mount Nebo, he knew that the eternal God would carry the people onward into a well-ordered future, bright with promise.

The same everlasting arms that upheld Moses then are the same ones today that uphold us as we enter a new year. The knowledge that God is eternal should bring us as His children a great measure of confidence and trust. His eternality is not merely doctrinal truth; it is a practical encouragement not to worry about the future that He already occupies.

This week, we have turned a page on our calendars to a brand new year. Many uncertainties exist in the days and months ahead: wars in Europe and in the Middle East; an unstable global economy, perhaps on the brink of collapse; and consequential elections. But God already fills the new year with His own plans and His Own presence. His calendar is full, and there will be no surprises. The eternal God is just as intimately familiar with the future as He is with the past. We can enter this new year with absolute confidence, enduring joy, and fixed purpose, knowing that underneath us are the everlasting arms of Jehovah.

This article is from our Matters of Life & Death teaching series.

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