God Everlasting

Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and called there on the name of Yahweh, the Everlasting God.

Genesis 21:33

The Hebrew word here translated ‘everlasting’ is עלם {olam – H05769}. It properly refers to something that is concealed, or at a vanishing point. By implication, it means time out of mind, whether in the past or future. It is translated in a variety of ways, including always, forever, perpetual, and eternal.

Isa 40:[28] Haven’t you known? Haven’t you heard? The everlasting {olam} God, Yahweh, The Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn’t faint. He isn’t weary. His understanding is unsearchable.

Gen 21:33 and Isa 40:28 are the only occasions in Scripture where God is referred to by the name of ‘The Everlasting God’, but there are other verses that describe him as ‘everlasting’, or ‘eternal’:

Deu 33:[27] The eternal {kedem – H06924} God is your dwelling place. Underneath are the everlasting {olam} arms. He thrust out the enemy from before you, and said, ‘Destroy!’

Psa 90:[2] Before the mountains were born, before you had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting {olam} to everlasting {olam}, you are God.

Psa 146:[10] Yahweh will reign forever {olam}; your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise Yah!

Isa 60:[19] The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light to you: but Yahweh will be to you an everlasting {olam} light, and your God your glory.

Jer 10:[10] But Yahweh is the true God; he is the living God, and an everlasting {olam} King: at his wrath the earth trembles, and the nations are not able to withstand his indignation.

In the Septuagint translation, the word olam is translated by a few different Greek words, including αἰών (aion – G0166), meaning ‘an age’, ‘eternal’, or ‘everlasting’; and ἀρχή (arche – G0746), meaning ‘a commencement (or beginning) of time (or place, or rank)’. In the New Testament, the word αἰών, and some of its derivatives (such as αἰώνιος, meaning ‘perpetual’) are frequently used to describe things that are eternal and everlasting:

Joh 10:[28] I give eternal {aionios} life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

2Co 4:[18] while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal {aionios}.

2Pe 1:[11] For thus you will be richly supplied with the entrance into the eternal {aionios} Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

It is perhaps easier for the human mind to comprehend the idea of God existing into eternity future, than to comprehend the existence of God in eternity past. How could anything have no beginning? How could anything have existed before the beginning of time? The very concept of eternity past stretches the limits of human understanding.

But God did exist in eternity past, and in fact, his work in that ‘era’ (if it may be called an ‘era’), was vital to the Gospel. For it was then that God conceived of displaying his love, grace, and mercy, by redeeming a people for himself, from the depths of sin and rebellion against him, to live eternally in fellowship and worship of him. It was then that he planned the creation of the world, the fall of Adam, and the eventual redemption of his people in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. He planned, not only the broad outline of salvation, but all the particulars of who would be saved, and when they would come to believe the Gospel:

In eternity past, God the Father covenanted with God the Son, Jesus Christ, to glorify Himself by saving a particular, elect people, and those only, from the guilt and defilement of sin, by the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. [Psa 89:19-37; Isa 49:5-6; Isa 53:11-12; Luk 22:29; Joh 6:37-40; Joh 10:29; Joh 17:2,9; Gal 3:16-18; 2Ti 1:9]

Christian Confession of Faith, II.D.1.a

This election was not owing to any merits in those elected or conditions they would meet, whether foreknown or foreordained, but only to the free grace and goodness of God alone. When Scripture speaks of God’s foreknowledge, it is not speaking of a prior knowledge of men’s actions (although God had such knowledge) but a love for their persons. [Deu 7:7-8; Isa 65:1; Eze 36:22-32; Rom 8:29; Rom 9:11,16; Rom 10:20; 1Co 1:25-29; Eph 1:11; 2Ti 1:9]

Christian Confession of Faith, II.D.1.f

Here are some of the verses the Confession refers to:

Rom 8:[29] because whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be the First-born among many brothers.

Eph 1:[11] in whom we also have been chosen to an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of the One working all things according to the counsel of His own will,

2Ti 1:[9] He having saved us and having called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace given to us in Christ Jesus before eternal times {aionios},

Even the sins of men and angels are planned by God from eternity past (Exo 9:16, Jos 11:20, Pro 16:4, Hab 1:6-11, Rom 9:22-23, 1Pe 2:8, Rev 17:17). In fact, if anything happened that God had not planned from eternity past, he would cease to be God.

Not only did God exist for all of eternity past, but being the Everlasting God, he will exist into eternity future as well, being worshipped by his redeemed people:

All for whom Jesus Christ died will live eternally in Heaven in perfect fellowship with God, as He promised them. The final state of the Church will be eternal glory with her King and Husband. He will wipe every tear from her eyes and will entirely remove all indwelling sin from her. She will worship Him in the presence of His visible glory for all eternity. [Psa 49:15; Psa 116:8; Isa 25:8; Dan 12:2; Mat 19:29; Mat 25:34,46; Luk 18:29-30; Joh 3:15-16; Joh 3:36; Joh 4:14; Joh 6:40,47,54; Joh 10:28; Joh 14:2-3; Joh 17:2-3; Rom 2:7; Rom 6:22-23; Rom 8:30; 1Co 15:53-54; Gal 6:8; Phi 3:20-21; Col 3:4; Tit 1:2; Tit 2:13; Tit 3:7; 1Pe 1:4; 2Pe 3:13; 1Jo 2:25,28; 1Jo 3:2; Rev 14:1-5; Rev 21:2-4,22-27; Rev 22:1-5]

Christian Confession of Faith, VII.C

Let’s look at some of the verses referred to here by the Confession:

Dan 12:[2] Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting {olam} life, and some to shame and everlasting {olam} contempt.

Mat 25:[46] These will go away into eternal {aionios} punishment, but the righteous into eternal {aionios} life.”

Joh 3:[15] that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal {aionios} life.

Joh 6:[47] Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal {aionios} life.

Rom 6:[23] For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal {aionios} life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1Co 15:[53] For this perishable body must become imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] But when this perishable body will have become imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Tit 1:[2] in hope of eternal {aionios} life, which God, who can’t lie, promised before time began;

Rev 21:[3] I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. [4] He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away.”

Rev 22:[3] There will be no curse any more. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants serve him. [4] They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. [5] There will be no night, and they need no lamp light; for the Lord God will illuminate them. They will reign forever and ever.

From eternity past, the Everlasting God has prepared a place of eternal glory for himself, and eternal joy for his people, stretching into eternity future. Hallelujah!

11 Thou wilt me show the path of life:
of joys there is full store
Before thy face; at thy right hand
are pleasures evermore.
(Psalm 16, The Psalms of David in Metre)

See Also:

The Sovereignty of God and Human Responsibility

II. Theology Proper – The Doctrine of God