Eternality of God?

5/4/2019

Many people today hold to this idea that the God of Israel is an eternal being. That is, they believe that God has always existed outside of time⁠—but that is not really the Biblical teaching.
Psalm 102:24 I said, “O my God, Do not take me away in the midst of my days; Your years [are] throughout all generations. (cf. Daniel 7:9)
The "outside of time" concept does not fit here. As can be seen in this passage, God has years ("Your years") in the Hebraic view. That describes a God who exists within time (years).
Job 36:26 “Behold, God [is] great, and we do not know [Him;] Nor can the number of His years [be] discovered.
In opposition to Christian thinking, this reveals that there was a number to God's years (in Hebraic belief), and that mankind could not discover it. This does not demand that there is no number to his years, but instead, that men ("we") can not find it out. Notice, Jeremiah 33:22 says "the host of heaven cannot be numbered," but Isaiah 40:26 says that God "brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name." The Hebraic view was that God created "the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that [is] in them" (Exodus 20:11), and as far as how long He has existed, "the number of his years" cannot be "discovered" (Job 36:26). The Bible leaves the "origin of God" as more of a mystery. Instead of openly declaring God's exact age, or stating that he has always existed, it more so leaves it as an unsettled case.

However, some may point to Hebrews 7:3 in attempt to prove that God is eternal. There, it speaks of Melchizedek the priest, likens him to the Son of God, and says "having neither beginning of days nor end of life." Does this describe God's years as being eternal (Melchizedek and the Son of God being God)? Firstly, this speaks of within time ("days"), not outside of it. Secondly, the context in Hebrews is "the eons" relating to mankind's existence (see Hebrews 1:2; 9:26; 11:3). Thus, what fits is that He has no beginning of days in these eons. He created these eons (Hebrews 1:2). What was before these eons? Perhaps you have read the poor translation "before time began" in 2 Timothy 1:9 and Titus 1:2 before. It is really, "before times of eons" (προ χρονων αιωνιων). What about God's days before these times of eons? Did He have a beginning of days in that time period? Because the "before" separates the entire category.
Hebrews 11:3 By faith we are apprehending the eons to adjust to a declaration of God, so that what is being observed has not come out of what is appearing. (CLV)
Notice the categorical distinction made here in Hebrews. The creation has not come out of what is appearing. Yet, God was appearing (Hebrews 9:26)! And, it came from him (Hebrews 2:10). Hebrews simply breaks him off into a separate classification (like in 1 Corinthians 15:27). Thus, "having neither beginning of days" (Hebrews 7:3) refers to the days of the present eons of mankind, and not days before them (as nothing specifies in that direction in Hebrews 7). That is, God not having beginning of days in these present eons and times, but perhaps having a beginning before these times of eons. Different eons have different contexts (e.g. Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Hebrews 6:5; cf. Galatians 1:4 "evil eon").

Moreover, usually passages get mistranslated when it comes to this topic. You may notice verses like Psalm 90:2 which say things like "from everlasting to everlasting, You [are] God." Yet this is more literally, "from eon unto eon, You [are] God" (CLV). There is much evidence in the language itself that the people of old did not believe in the "eternity outside of time" concept. Micah 5:2, which gets translated as "from everlasting" is actually "from days of eonian" (מִימֵ֥י עוֹלָֽם). Notice, days, not eternity. A good example is in Daniel 12:3 (LXX) where the Greek says "εις τους αιωνας και ετι " (i.e. "into the eons and further", not into eternity and further, since there would be no further than forever).

Additionally, there is quite a "blooper" in Proverbs 8 as well. As said above, God was viewed as wisdom itself (e.g. 1 Corinthians 1:24). Yet, in speaking of God's wisdom, it says "the Lord acquired me at the beginning of his way, before his works of old" (Proverbs 8:22). The Lord acquired wisdom? With what wisdom did he acquire it? It goes on to say "I was brought forth" (Proverbs 8:24). What the writer seems to not catch here (or perhaps just didn't mind this view) is, that God is being described as having no wisdom at some point. And, with the notion of God also being wisdom, God is being described as not existing at some point also (as well as existing already, yet bringing him, or "herself" forth). If Christ is wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:24), and "having [no] beginning of days" (Hebrews 7:3) is put with Proverbs 8, then before "times of eons" (Titus 1:2), "before His works of old" (Proverbs 8:22), Christ did have a beginning. But after that, in the eons He created (Hebrews 1:2)? He has no "beginning of days" (this all fits together in other words). The categorical distinction is apparent (like Hebrews 11:3).

Further, translations may attempt the "everlasting" approach, but again, it says, "I have been established from eon, from the beginning" (Proverbs 8:23), not eternity. The Septuagint is straight forward with saying that wisdom was created, κύριος έκτισέ με [Lord created me] (Proverbs 8:22 LXX). This is just like in Sirach 24:9: "from the beginning, he created me" (ἔκτισέ με).

Lastly, the argument of God being described as immortal (e.g. 1 Timothy 1:17) may be brought up. Yet immortality—which means deathlessis also described as something that can be "put on" in 1 Corinthians 15:53-43. Did God put on immortality at some point? Psalm 102:27 says that God's "years will have no end," but the context is "throughout all generations" (Psalm 102:24). It does not expand out beyond or after these generations here. Does God have an expiration date beyond these generations (Psalm 72:5)? Notice, "all generations" (i.e., "generation after generation" CLV) is used with "for the eon" in Psalm 33:1. Yet "eons" can come to an end (e.g. 1 Corinthians 10:11). Thus, we can see (via this information) that Christianity, once again proves itself to not be Biblical. 


- Robert Anthony

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