devotional

03MAY
2014

The Eternal God

 

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God,” Psalm 90:2. This eternity is no less applicable to the Son (Ephesians 3:11) or the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 9:14) than it is to the Father! This is a triune affirmation we can make. This becomes most evident in Scripture as we study the Son.

     1 John opens with, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life,” 1 John 1:1. He’s talking here about Jesus. John had seen Him, heard Him, etc. The word John uses for, “beginning” here when he says, “What was from the beginning…” is the Greek word arche. It’s the same word used in John 1:1 when this same man wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In the beginning is this Bible writer’s way of defining a time beyond a definition by time available to him. This is not the beginning of God. No, instead it is the beginning of what’s in view by any relevant Biblical context. The first, “In the beginning we have in the Bible would’ve been known very well by John and came some 1500 years earlier. It comes to us in the very first verse of the Scriptures. The author who here in the two citations above puts Jesus right there “in the beginning” along with it no doubt has the eternal Deity of Christ in mind. The Septuagint, not surprisingly, uses this same Greek word in its translation. Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning (arche) God made the heaven and the earth.” John would’ve known the Septuagint. To synthesis these three “beginning” passages we can combine and conclude that in the beginning when God made the heavens and earth there was Jesus who was with God and was God. Yes, that beginning. Jesus was there. Jesus did not start living at the incarnation. He existed for eternity before it. He preceded His earthly incarnation. Cf.: John 17:5, 24; Matthew 1:23; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13 (note: in such passages as these last two all beginnings that could be evoked are evoked definitively as, "THE beginning." Jesus IS the beginning, THE arche). John 8:58; Genesis 1:26; 1 John 1:2; Romans 9:5; 1 Timothy 1:17; Isaiah 9:6, et al.

     John knew all this full well and purposely evoked the imagery of Genesis repeatedly in his writings. Guzik comments on 1 John 1:1 adding the following from Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. The word “everlasting” here literally means, "Beyond the vanishing point." It’s the Hebrew word owlam. It’s very common and is used over 400 times in the KJV of the OT. The Septuagint translates this word as, you guessed it, arches. This in the beginning then becomes a somewhat enigmatic Greek synonym for eternity with John. How do you isolate what you want to say about an eternal God regarding a specific time unknown to you, but still before you, in any other way? It’s the same as you might declare, “In the end” if you don’t know when that end is. There is no better way to do this in relation to any realtime event. Trying to identify events in history by the immeasurable time span of eternity would be like trying to pick out a point in space with no point of reference. You can’t do it. We once needed the stars to navigate the oceans; John needs an, “in the beginning” when he thinks of us and his Jesus. He knows that Jesus is the eternal one. He knows He was from the beginning. He knows He was before it, but there's no better way to say what he's saying than this. He’s testifying in 1 John 1 and John 1 that the eternal one has now come and spoken. You have to relate eternity to something when talking about something. Thus there’s an, “in the beginning” for the creation of this cosmos because the cosmos had one. 

     God is the only eternal thing. Nothing else is eternal. Let it hit you like a ton of bricks. The triune nature of God is affirmed in this. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is eternal. They are/He is all equally eternal. All three members of the Trinity are as eternal as the others. There was never a time when the Son was not. Jesus did not spring into existence at any time. His goings forth are from, “The beginning.” What beginning you ask? Yep, that one and that one and that one too. He was there. As He clearly taught us—He is… 

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