“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
This passage feels connected to yesterday’s definition of eternal life as more than just infinitely long life—but a different kind of life. Jesus’s longing to get back to “the way it was” feels like longing to get back to eternity.
He has eternal life, obviously, but there’s a form or phase of that, which He gave up in order to visit us.
Now the work (“ergon” εργον) is finished and it’s time for Jesus to get back to His former position—to the glory which I had with You before the world was.
This is illuminated by the doctrine that God created time. The scripture references are too numerous to list, but the most obvious is the first words of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning.” If God didn’t create time, He didn’t create “the heavens and the earth” in the very beginning.
It’s worth mentioning that the creation itself strongly agrees with this doctrine. There is wide agreement among physicists and astronomers that time had a beginning (whether or not they believe in a creator).
Thus, in claiming to exist before the world was, Jesus is claiming to predate time itself. This is why incarnation is often viewed as Jesus stepping into time.
And that phase is coming to a close.
It is worthwhile for every Christian to spend time meditating on the doctrine that God created time and therefore is outside of time. This can be hard work; it’s hard to imagine God viewing the whole span of history from a single vantage point.
But anything less would be a far weaker God—a God unlike the God of the Bible.
This topic doesn’t just matter to one’s understanding of God. It affects one’s view of heaven and the seventh day of creation.
The Reformed doctrine of predestination correlates perfectly the idea that God is outside of time. The phrase, “from all eternity” in Chapter three of the Westminster Confession of Faith is a reference to eternity being not just a long time in our time dimension, but somewhere else.
God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: — Westminster Confession of Faith 3:1a
If God is outside of time, how can whatsoever comes to pass be any other way?
These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.