What does it mean that God is Eternal?
I don't know about you but thinking of a time in which time is non-existent is difficult. Eternity is not bound by time, it's outside of it.
So, what does it mean that God is Eternal? It means that God was never created but is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. There is nothing on this earth—or in all of creation—that is comparable to Him (Revelation 4:8). He is the uncreated Creator.
With such a complex topic let's look a bit closer.
God’s holiness is intrinsically linked to His eternality. God does not grow old like a man, nor does He change with the seasons. He is God. No one created Him, He created everything. It is hard for our finite minds to comprehend the wonders of eternality.
And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” (Revelation 4:8, bold added)
God always was. Always is. Always will be.
There is nothing in all creation that is like God. Everything that has been made...has been made. God made it all, and nothing made God. He is the uncreated Creator. We cannot look at the stars and say this is god. We cannot look at the birds, trees, sea animals, bugs, or anything in between and say this is god.
God is unlike anything that we know of. He is greater, higher, more magnificent, more amazing, and terrific than anything! In truth, if we were to take all of creation that is good and beautiful and put it into one amazing thing, it still wouldn't compare to God! This makes God the one object that is truly worth all of our effort and strength to seek for.
Eternity is not just more time, it is never-ending existence. There has never been a time in which God has not existed, nor will there ever be a time that He doesn’t exist. This is what being eternal means, never-ending existence. It is written,
Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. (Psalm 102:25-27, bold added)
This is difficult to understand. We live and die in time. We measure days by time. We are told to make the best use of time. That this life is a vapor, it's here today and gone tomorrow (James 4:14). This is not so with eternity. Because God is eternal our lives are eternal. Yes, these bodies die because of sin. Yet, these time-bound bodies will be resurrected at the end of time to eternal life. It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, NLT) What we do in this life with the time we have been given matters. Either we respond to the gospel and seek God while He may be found. Believing in Jesus Christ the eternal Son of God who died for sin, was raised in glory, and is coming again to judge the living and the dead. Or we respond to the revelation of God by rejecting Him. Either choice leads to God.
Responding by faith in Christ leads to eternal life in the blessed presence of the eternal God forever.
Responding by rejection and rebellion leads to eternal life in the cursed disfavorable presence of the eternal God forever.
Eternal life is knowing God (John 17:3). Eternal life begins now, in time. And continues in eternity. Either in heaven where we will dwell upon the wonder of the God who saved us. Or in hell where they will experience the wrath, vengeance, and hatred of God because of their sin for eternity. (Some of the content on this page is taken out of my book: Knowing the God We Proclaim) (To discover more about God, see our page, Discovering God)