Most parents dread the day their child will ask one of two questions: “How can God live forever?” or “How long is eternity?” How can we answer such questions when our own adult mind cannot fathom such incredible concepts?
It helps little to say God was from the beginning. “When was the beginning?” they ask. “And by the way, how long is forever?”
Eternity can be defined as infinite duration. But don’t tell your kids that. Their next question will be, “What does infinite mean?”
David Needham writes in his book, Close to His Majesty,
With God, there is no succession of moments. There is neither future nor past. He sees everything as one eternal now. He can see the whole play of history–all of it–in action right now. He doesn’t have to look back. He doesn’t need to look ahead. He just sees it, with the end as much immediate to Him as the beginning.
That’s so hard to grasp! You and I aren’t wired to handle a concept like this. Our mental circuit breakers trip the moment we try to wrap our minds around it. That is because were built to operate within a particular succession of moments. Anything outside of this frame of reference makes us uncomfortable.
Even though we can’t comprehend it, God’s eternal-ness can bring us comfort. Moses said, “There is none like the God of Jesurun, who rides the heavens to your help, and through the skies in His majesty. The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and He drove out the enemy from before you, and said, ‘Destroy!’ So Israel dwells in security” (Deut. 33:26-28).
God’s eternal quality transcends time but does not prevent Him from being present with us this very moment. Isaiah 57:15 tells us, “For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy. I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
The next time your child asks you about eternity, just say, “It’s the same as googolplexes.” Oh, you don’t know about that? “Googol” is the number one, followed by 100 zeros. Pretty large, huh? But the googolplex is even larger. That’s “a googol raised to the googolth power.” Such a number cannot be written out, for earth cannot contain the pages required for it. (I’m not sure if a computer would self-destruct with it or not!)
And after googolplexes of years are used up–God will still be there! Tweet that!