A Glimpse Into Eternity

Some things in life are just like watching a movie — you cannot fully understand the end unless you first see the beginning. In a sense, understanding what God has in store for us is similar.  We need to take a look at the beginning to understand the full impact of the grand finale that will usher us into eternity.

In the Beginning…

Scripture reveals that at the very beginning there was God. He is introduced as the One who abides in eternity, and who created all things. Everything that exists, whether in the physical or spiritual domain, was made by Him. 1 Now, let’s pause for a few moments and let’s try to understand this initial fact.

God Himself has no beginning of life and no end.2 As Scripture puts it, He simply is.3 He is life and the source of all life.4 He is self-existing, beyond any boundary of time and space. He is eternal and infinite in all His attributes, which are perfectly balanced in His holiness.5

At the very beginning, when time and space first began, Scripture simply tells us that God created all things. He created and brought into existence everything we know to exist today.6 We are not just talking about the earth and the awesome beauty in the amazingly intricate yet simple details of creation we observe on this planet. We are talking about everything that exists. Even though it is really impossible for us to fully grasp this, we can begin to develop an idea of what it is like when we observe nature. So, let’s take a brief journey together, a leap into the cosmos and the universe that God created. Through it, we will attempt to grasp a sense of what He has done, and through that a glimpse of Him and His nature.7

A Glimpse Into the Microcosm

Atom particlesWe can begin with what is closest to us. Everything we touch, in fact everything we are in the physical sense, is made of extremely small particles of matter, called electrons, neutrons and protons that are held together by energy. These interact with each other to form greater particles called molecules. These molecules, combined together, make up the gases, liquids and solids we know as matter.

These infinitesimally small particles, in their intricate combinations, form the simple things we so often take for granted. Each blade of grass, each pebble, each seed is made with them. Within their kind they all have similar characteristics. Yet at the same time they are all uniquely different from each other. It is like a wonderful concert of seemingly infinite variety, a harmony of an almost infinite number of instruments that are similar to each other in their kind, yet all different and unique.

Our World

Mineral and animal worldFrom the awesome beauty and variety of the microcosm, we can now step into the bigger world of nature we are more accustomed with. With those tiny particles, God has created an impressive variety of species of minerals, plants and animals that form our world. It is amazing how they all coexist in a delicate, yet resilient and marvelously functional ecosystem. Each part contributing to the benefit of the whole. In this ideal environment, God created the first humans, our progenitors, who were called Adam and Eve.

Human endeavorsGod fashioned us, the humans, from the physical elements of this world: the same tiny particles that are at the basis of all that we see around us. Yet, God made us very different and unique in respect to the rest of His creation. He made us not only to be physical beings, but spiritual, too. He shared with us some of His own unique characteristics. As it is written, we were made in His image and likeness, capable of entering into a relationship with our very Creator.8

This spiritual dimension is what gives us the ability to form abstract notions, to invent and create new thoughts, theories and plans. It enables us to be creative, to manipulate matter in order to make things that reflect our ideas. In fact, these unique spiritual traits enable us to become aware of Him, as well as of His awesome plan.

The Solar System

Planets in solar systemAll around us, lays an immeasurable expanse that we call the universe. This functional and balanced world in which we live, with its wonderful complexity and all its varieties, is not independent from the rest of the cosmos. Rather, it is only a part of a much greater unit we call the solar system. To help us appreciate the size and the scope of it, let us compare it to some things we are more familiar with.

Earth from spaceIf we took the earth and shrunk it down to the size of a pea, then the sun would be like a beach ball with a diameter of 2 feet, some 215 feet away. Jupiter would be the size of a large orange 1056 feet away.9 Impressive, isn’t it? But did you know that over one million earths could fit inside the sun?

Now, as you know, the sun is a star. It provides vital energy to our planet. But can you appreciate just how powerful the sun is? Our sun emits more energy in one second than mankind has consumed in its entire history. One second of the sun’s energy is 13 million times the annual average electricity consumption of all the United States10 Wow!

Our Complex Universe

GalaxyKeep in mind – if you can – that all these celestial bodies are also made of the same infinitesimally small particles that we just mentioned before. As impressive as this may be, we must realize that the solar system is also not independent. It is itself part of a much greater and complex system, the Milky Way galaxy.

Let’s try to understand the proportions, but brace yourself!  Imagine that we could shrink the sun down to the size of a basketball in New York City. On the same scale the solar system would have a diameter of almost 2 miles. The nearest star, Alpha Centauri, would be a basketball about 5,000 miles away in Honolulu, Hawaii.11 An Apollo spacecraft would take 850,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri if its average speed were to be the same as a 6-day 500,000 mile round trip to the Moon.12 What about our galaxy, the Milky Way? If we scaled it down so that our solar system could fit into a coffee cup, then our galaxy would be the size of the entire North American continent.13

Mind Boggling Figures

Galaxies in deep spaceHow many stars are in our galaxy? The Milky Way is said to contain at least 200 billion stars. In fact, some estimates go as high as 300 and 400 billion. Imagine a square inch of paper with 200 dots inside to represent the stars. At the same density, it would take a sheet of paper 160 acres large to hold enough dots to represent the galaxy’s 200 million stars.14

Mind boggling? But wait! The Milky Way galaxy is one of an estimated 100 or more billion galaxies in the known universe. It represents about one trillionth of the known universe. This is like comparing a tiny metal screw with the mass of an aircraft carrier.15

Of course, we are talking about the “known” universe. We cannot possibly estimate how many other stars and galaxies there are that we cannot see even with our best instruments. They are so far that since creation their light has not yet reached our planet.

A Powerful, Yet Merciful God!

If you think all this is just too much to comprehend, well  …  you are in good company. Yet, if this is so awesome and great, what about God, the One who made it all? Remember how much energy is released by our little sun? Can you imagine the power released by all the stars of the universe? Even that does not even begin to compare with God’s power! God is infinite in His attributes and eternally self-existing. Perhaps we can now begin to appreciate a little better what this means. But hold on, because we have only just begun.

The very same God who made all things, this infinitely powerful and wise Being is the One who in the person of the Son, Jesus Christ, stripped Himself of infinity and eternity to come to this earth as a mortal, like one of us. Yes, He was the same One who had created all things!16 He made Himself as small as a tiny ovum and was born in a cave that the shepherds used to protect their flocks from the cold and the elements.  Right there in Bethlehem, in that cave, the very Creator took human form and was born of a virgin. He humbled Himself to the lowest level of the human condition, so that He could reach out to everyone to exalt them to the highest glory — a glory that requires eternity and infinity to be even comprehended.

His Amazing Sacrifice

CrucifixBeing fully human, Jesus experienced all the pain, the suffering and the struggles just as we do. Yet, being also fully God, He lived a perfect, sinless life not only as an example, but as an atonement for us. In the prime of His adult life, He offered His life for us in a most excruciating death. Three days later, He was alive in all His glory as He once was when He eternally coexisted with the Father.  

Pause for a few moments and allow yourself to think this through. The very One who created all things, the One who sustains the entire universe,17 stood still and silent, allowing a human to drive nails through His body and to hang Him on a cross! He could have just willed the world out of existence; He could have called upon legions of holy angels to come to His rescue — but He didn’t. Jesus, the Son of God, suffered for you and me, for our sins, so that our transgressions of God’s perfect will could be completely erased from our spiritual record. What does He ask in return? Nothing more than for you to accept His gift and make Him the Lord of your life. He then promises to finish in you the work He had begun.18

He Wants to Be With You and In You

Amazing? Truly. But hold on a while longer. That’s still not all! When you accept Him and give your life to Him, He promises something absolutely amazing and mind-boggling. He promises to come into you in the Person of the Holy Spirit, and to abide in you.19 Yes, to live in you! The very Creator, the One who made all things wants to live in your heart and mind, in your spirit. He wants to transform you from within, to progressively change you into His perfect image — not just your human traits as He did at creation, but through His very presence in you.20 His purpose? Don’t take my word for this, read it yourself in your Bible,

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

A Glimpse into Eternity

Hands reaching outYes, He wants to give you eternal life: a life that never ends. In fact, He stated that He wants to share all things with you.21 Christ is all, and carries all with Him.22 Even more so, He stated in clear words that He wants to be one with you!23

For now, we are called to a life of faith and trust, a life that is centered on Him, a life of growth that changes us to be more and more like Him. Spiritually, we are God’s unique creation, each one of us different from anyone else, each one a unique piece of His workmanship.24 Yet, together we are created to form a perfect harmony with Him.

Now, the grand finale. His spiritual creation in us will one day be complete, and when He returns we will be with Him forever.25 At that time, we will be similar to Him and will be able to see Him as He is.26 With Him we will spend an eternity of glory and perfection.27 Just think about it: mortal, imperfect beings like us being transformed into immortal, spiritual beings28 who can actually see God as He is. No more limitations to separate us from Him, no more anguish or pain, no more tears or sorrow, no more enslavement to time and space.29

The Most Important Call in Life

Can you see how awesome this is? The implications are so great that when one sinner repents and receives Jesus Christ, all the holy angels in heaven burst into adoration and joy before the throne of God.30 It is so awesome that God said that the whole creation is anxiously longing and waiting eagerly for the time when we will finally be manifested as a finished masterpiece. In fact, He says that the entire creation groans in suffering as in the pains of childbirth as it awaits.31 Amazing, awe-inspiring, awesome. . . .  No word can even begin to describe it. The finite, limited and imperfect will be made perfect. We will be introduced to an eternity of glory, free from all the boundaries and limitations we now experience.

What can be more important in this temporary life? What can be greater? If the Lord is calling you, if He is placing within you the desire to respond, to have a part in all this, to share eternity with Him in glory, then don’t delay. Respond to His calling and accept Jesus as your personal Savior. If you have already accepted Jesus, rededicate your life to Him. Ask Him to be the Lord of your life, to change and transform you with His very presence in you. Surrender to Him and give your life to Him, right now, wherever you are. Spend a few moments in prayer. Confess your sins to Him, and ask His forgiveness. Invite Him to be in you and to guide you in all things.

Eternity with Him

An eternity with Him is waiting for you. The whole creation is longing to see the result of what God is doing and will do in and through you. He offered His infinite blessings to you. Don’t pass them up.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Rev. 21:1-4)


Additional Reading: An Introduction to GodOur Statement of BeliefsWhere Was God?Forgiveness

 

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 1:1 ff.
  2. Hebrews 7:3
  3. Exodus 3:14; John 8:58; Hebrews 13:8; Revelation 1:8
  4. Genesis 2:7; John 1:4; 5:26; 11:25
  5. Psalm 139:7-8; Genesis 1:1; 1:5 — time and the order of time was part of God’s creation
  6. John 1:1-3
  7. Romans 1:19-20
  8. Genesis 1:26; 5:1; Ephesians 4:23-24; Colossians 3:9-10
  9. Neil McAleer, The Cosmic Mind-Boggling Book, New York, N.Y.: Warner Books, 1982, 3-4.
  10. Ibid., 9
  11. Ibid., 128
  12. Ibid., 129
  13. Ibid., 157
  14. Ibid., 156
  15. Ibid., 155
  16. John 1:1-3
  17. Colossians 1:16-17
  18. Philippians 1:6
  19. John 14:18-20, 23; 15:4-5
  20. Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18
  21. Romans 8:32; Revelation 3:20-22
  22. Ephesians 1:10-11
  23. John 17:20-26
  24. Ephesians 2:10
  25. 1 Thessalonians 4:17
  26. 1 John 3:2
  27. 2 Timothy 2:10
  28. 1 Corinthians 15:42, 52-54
  29. Revelation 21:1-5
  30. Luke 15:10
  31. Romans 8:19-22