Jesus is Eternal
Some things are easier to define than comprehend. When my wife gave birth to our first child, we had a pretty good idea what to expect. Although we waited until the birth to find out if we were having a boy or a girl, we had an estimate of the baby’s size, a couple of names in mind, and a baby room full of supplies waiting at home. I think it is safe to say we knew what it meant to have a child. But I think it is also safe to say we didn’t know what it meant to have a child. The first time I held our son Nathan I looked into his face and tried to grasp the profound reality of a fresh new being, entrusted to our care. It was awesome. It was frightening. It was incomprehensible.
The subject of eternity falls into a similar category. It is easy to define as “having no beginning or end.” But who can comprehend it?
One word used to reference eternity in the Bible is “everlasting.” Something that is everlasting can have a beginning, but no end, such as eternal life (1 Timothy 1:16) or eternal judgment (Hebrews 6:2). But the phrase “everlasting to everlasting” is used to describe God, who has no beginning or end. In Moses’ psalm we read, “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2). The idea of an eternal God is arguably the most difficult of all to wrap our brains around, but our own eternal walk with God is a close second. The Bible also tells us if we reject God’s grace we will experience eternal fire (Jude 1:7). This possibility challenges our minds in other ways.
As a kid my Sunday School teacher equipped me with a simple apologetic rooted in eternity. He encouraged me to respect scientists who explore the secrets of the universe, but reminded me to keep asking, “But what happened before that?” This question is at once naïve and incredibly deep. As an adult I still marvel at creation and the discoveries presented to me by brilliant scientists. And I still ask, “But what happened before that?”
From everlasting to everlasting is the story line, and we are among its most important characters. To understand ourselves, we must know the eternal Jesus. We remember the story of His birth in the gospel narratives. But what happened before that?