Christian theology in a Sudanese context. The essential nature and character of God.
The Eternity of God Every 1st January since 1956 the country of Sudan has celebrated the anniversary of independence. Another year is added to the age of the country. I have seen the crowds on the streets, the fireworks in the sky near the presidential palace by Nile Avenue, and heard the special events being broadcast from the garden television studio beside the river in Omdurman. Like the country of Sudan, every human being gets older every year. Only God does not age. He is no older now than when He created the world! God lives outside of the passing of time. Men and women change as their years go by. A young boy becomes a keen student then a strong man. The strong man becomes grey haired with limited eyesight, perhaps with a bent back when he walks due to pain in his limbs. God does not develop or wear out as year follows after year. ‘Eternity’ is defined as ‘endless or infinite time’. In Psalm 90:2 Moses wrote: “Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God”. Think back to the beginning of history. God created the world. But God Himself was already there existing. There has never been a moment in time when God did not live. God did not begin to be. He always has been. God does not need anything or anyone to support or keep Him. Therefore He could exist before and after everything else. God lives in forever. To God, the past, the present, the future, are all now! Think forward towards the future of this world. God will be there bringing about His purpose.This encourages us to trust Him with our own futures. If we want what He wants for our lives, He can be trusted to bring it about. God has no beginning, nor will He ever end. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13). God lives in eternity. In relation to time, He is “…the Lord God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come”, Revelation 4:8. He is set apart from humankind. He was living at the time of our grandparents, He is living now, and He will be living at the time of our grandchildren. He is exactly the same as He always was. Time will never change Him. Yet God does act within human time.
English people have different ideas to Sudanese about time. My calendar, diary and watch control my appointments with people. The eternal God is never late, never in a hurry, never has too much to do in too little time, and is always punctual to His own timetable. Both English and Sudanese Christians ought to learn to see time from God’s perspective. Peter wrote to persecuted believers “Do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” 2 Peter 3:8.
Thinking it through.
(a). Try to explain ‘eternity’ without reference to time.
(b). What is the relationship between ‘time’ and ‘eternity’?
(c). ‘God is always working for things to be right in eternity’ (Romans 8:28). How does this
help us view things that happen around us in our lifetimes?