A friend recently asked me, “Did God ever wonder where he or she came from?” Wow! That’s not your everyday question and it required a lot of thought, like a math problem.
Strangely, my mind raced back to geometry class and discussions about lines and line segments. A line segment can be measured but a line cannot because it continues in both directions for infinity. It has no beginning or ending.
God is like a line because God has no beginning and no ending. God is infinite. To say that God came from somewhere is to say that God had a beginning and because God is infinite, God has no beginning. It is important to affirm that God has always been because this gives us a greater assurance that God will always be.
If God had a beginning, theoretically, God could also have an ending. Therefore, God would never “ponder where He or She came from,” to use my friend’s words. If you have problems getting your mind around that, then join the club. Our minds are not supposed to fully comprehend God.
Time was created for us. We bound by time, God is not. Psalm 90:24 says, “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”
In the Genesis story, time is mentioned as it spells out what God created each “day.” As far as we know, the concept of a day is an earth-specific way to measure our existence.
The historical Jesus was bound by time only because he chose to take on the trappings of the flesh. However, John’s Gospel makes it clear that there was never a time when Jesus was not, that He was present in the beginning and all that was made was made through Him. We see that once Jesus conquered death and ascended into heaven, not even the fleshly Jesus was bound by time, reminding us that Jesus comes to us out of a timeless existence.
The first Creation Story outlines what God created each day for six days before He rested on the seventh day. However, there’s still wide disagreement regarding the length of time that a “day” represents in Genesis. Even though the author uses the word “day” as a measure of time, it wasn’t until day four that the sun was created, even though light was created on day one. How can you have a literal 24-hour day without the earth actually rotating around the sun until day four?
Whether you believe in literal 24-hour days or not in the Genesis story, could we all agree that time is a concept God created for us, not for Him? We are finite. The world is finite. Should God choose to extend our time beyond this world, God will, but that’s God’s choice, based on His grace, which Christians believe is given once we place our faith in Jesus.
Part of our faith in Jesus is affirming that well-known verse John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life”(KJV).
In this verse there are two words that reference time. The word “begotten” tells us Jesus came from God. Thus, he was not created. He has always been. He was not a product of Joseph and Mary. His birth was different. It was miraculous.
Because Jesus is of God, He has the authority to forgive sins and give us “eternal life.” This is the second reference to time. I struggle with the concept of eternal life. It’s not that I don’t believe in it. I just cannot comprehend it. I understand things that have beginnings and endings, like line segments. It’s difficult for me to understand things that have no endings or beginnings, like lines. Nevertheless, I have come to be more comfortable with what I cannot understand, but must accept on faith. I have become more comfortable embracing mystery and realizing I don’t have to have all the answers like a mathematician.
So what will I do with the gift of living an eternal life? I don’t know, but it sounds a lot better than dying and ceasing to exist. I trust that a God who is not bound by time and who lives outside of time has taken care of this. So when my life here is over and I exit time and join God in His timeless existence which I am hoping for, I will not be anxious about the future or concerned about the past. Perhaps I will understand infinity a little better than I do now also.