Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Remarking on the above passage, Stephen Charnock writes a striking paragraph that will leave any Christian in awe. Describing the majesty of our God in terms of God’s eternality, he writes:
2. In the extension of his duration: “From everlasting to everlasting thou art God.” He was before the world, yet he neither began nor ends; he is not a temporary, but an eternal God; it takes in both parts of eternity, what was before the creation of the world, and what is after; though the eternity of God be one permanent state, without succession, yet the spirit of God, suiting himself to the weakness of our conception, divides it into two parts; one past before the foundation of the world, another to come after the destruction of the world; as he did exist before all ages, and as he will exist after all ages. Many truths lie couched in the verse (The Existence and Attributes of God, 278).
God has revealed Himself analogically, or in terms of our understanding. He does not reveal Himself as He would reveal Himself to Himself; we could not bear such a thing in our finitude. He reveals Himself to His creatures in a way that His creatures may understand. Imperfectly so, we talk about God’s eternity and His existence before all created things. But even this language is time-bound and imperfect with respect to the immutable, eternal God of the universe.
Charnock, using this same imperfect language, draws for us a picture of God’s eternality. God simply is before and after all ages. There is nothing which extends to be before God, and there is nothing which extends to be after God. God is just there. He is absolute and unchangeable in His being. The Holy Spirit reveals to us, through His Word, terms we may grasp. It is for this reason God says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 1:8).” In these terms, we may know God is eternal. But human language itself depends on time in order to be spoken, understood, written, etc. Even God’s revelation of Himself is revealed in a stooped fashion. God makes Himself known at our level. He covenantally condescends, so to speak. It is by virtue of His own personal nature that He reveals Himself to us, and that we may know Him.
Charnock points the Christian to the important truth that while we may gaze at God through His revelation, we can but catch a glimpse of Him, know Him to the extent that He desires us to know Him, and gaze no further. The human mind, whether here or in heaven, will never exhaust God’s being. He is eternal, He is infinite, yet He is knowable.
It is in virtue of God’s inexhaustibility that worship in glory will last forever. God is infinite, He is everlasting, and because of this, divine worship will never cease. As Christians, desiring to worship as we will worship before the throne of God in glory, we ought to recognize God’s eternity as a thrust booster for purer worship. We will be worshipping the one true God forever because He is forever.
The amazing thing about being children of God in Christ is that we can start now.
How’s that for practical theology?