Part 8 is here.
Q. 4. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
Deuteronomy 33:27 “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!’
We have all had something that we have looked forward to for a long time. Perhaps it is a vacation to the beach with family. You put the date on the calendar months in advance. You looked at pictures of the hotel, the beach in front of it, and the view from the hotel room. You scheduled each day, you daydreamed while at work, and you counted down the days anxiously. Finally the big day arrived and before you know it, this thing you have looked forward to is over before it even seemed to begin. Maybe it was a week-long trip and so the first few days you didn’t notice it but as the week goes by your mind becomes aware that the end is coming. You try to soak in all the joy on that last day but you are haunted by the thought that the moment is fleeting and temporary.
In all good things on earth there is always a twinge of pain that is the temporary. As the cliché says “all good things must come to an end.” This pain is because our hearts were made to long for the eternal. We are made to find joy not in the fleeting but in the everlasting.
Our catechism question reminds us that God is eternal. This is hard concept for us to grasp because we are used to dealing with things that have a beginning and an end. Vacations have a beginning and an end. Pets have a beginning and an end. There is a sense in which we are eternal. That is human beings and angels have a beginning, but we do not have an end. Our souls are made to last forever. Death is not the end. But our eternal soul is not the same as God. We have a beginning. God is the only truly eternal. He is without beginning and without end. Revelation 1:8 says that He is the one which is, and which was, and which is to come'. He is the alpha and the omega. No matter how far in the past one goes God always was. No matter how far into the future one goes God is there. God is eternal in his being.
God is eternal in his wisdom. He has always known all things and always will. Humans as they age lose cognitive functions. God has had infinite wisdom from before time began and will always have it. His power is eternal. There are no moments of weakness and no growing in strength. Deuteronomy says the eternal God is a dwelling place. He is a secure fortress. He always has been secure and always will be. There is no hidden weakness. No place where the enemy can break through his walls.
God is eternal in holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. His love is eternal, scripture says. This might be the hardest to fathom but the love God the Father has for God the Son has always been and always will be. The Holy Spirit’s love for Father and Son has always been and always will be. The love that flows from God the Father to the Son through the Holy Spirit overflows into His creating all things and in particular into his saving work for His people. The love of God for His people is eternal. It had no beginning and has no end. If you are a child of God in Christ Jesus it is because God loved you from all eternity and will love you for all eternity. There is no time in which God’s love for you has diminished or will diminish. There is no temporariness to it. This is what your soul longs for. It longs for the eternal God.
Therefore, as God allows us to enjoy things in life and we feel that pain of the temporariness, let that move you to reflect on the source of every lasting joy, the one who is eternal. One day those who love Him will have everlasting life and never know the pain of the temporary again.