The Everlasting And Eternal Question
Trying to understand eternity from a finite mind can be a formidable task. A beginning and an end dictate everything in the world of man. Birth is where life begins and death is when life ends. Anything that has a beginning will have an end. What is new today will deteriorate into something that corrodes over time and eventually stop working. Insurance is the philosophy there is an end in sight and protection is needed against the results of certain loss. Each day has a beginning with the sun rising and an end with the sun setting. The universe and the worlds contained in its sphere will come to an end one day. So how do we understand this ‘everlasting’ and ‘eternal’ language Jesus uses to describe what happens after death? Immediately the mind is drawn to the knowledge that death is not an end. Life after death suggests there is no final disposition of man and that he continues to exist after the body dies. This is an everlasting and eternal question.
Believers in the word of God learn from the beginning that man was created in the image of God. This creation is the eternal spirit of man. Accepting the Bible as truth one realizes that we are all eternal creatures that will have an existence beyond the grave. The body will return to dust but there is another body. Those who do not believe in God deny the existence of life after death. Sadly they will find themselves believing it too late. Another body exists that will never die, never decay and never cease to exist. Life for all men will be an everlasting existence that will never have an end – and that is hard to wrap the mind around to understand its meaning. Adam lived to be nearly one thousand years old but he died. If eternity was three thousand years, we could understand or even ten thousand years. There would be a beginning to eternity and then an end of eternity. The truth is that eternity existed before the world was created; exists now and will exist when we die. Each one of us inhabit eternity the moment we are created in the image of God.
What is hard to grasp in the feeble mind of man is how a person can suffer in an everlasting torment. Jesus said there was a place of everlasting punishment. He calls it everlasting fire, everlasting destruction and everlasting chains. On this side of death, there is an end of pain but on the other side of death there is no end. Thinking about the nature of everlasting fire should cause every person to flee to God for salvation. Denying it will not change its reality. Sin will take a person further than they want to go and keep them longer than they want to stay – eternal punishment.
The joy for the child of God is that eternal life has no end. The mind can hardly understand this but what a joy to know that all the peace of God’s blessings are enjoyed in a place where eternal time is without end. John will write in the Revelation that all pain will be taking away – forever. Sorrow will never be a part of eternal life. No more tears – forever. The former things will never be a part of the life of those who die in the Lord. Whether I can understand this on this side of Heaven matters little to the realization of what it will be like to experience eternal life.
One final note: everyone will experience the same thing in death. Everlasting! Eternal! The majority of men will be cast into everlasting fire. How everlasting sad that is. Eternal life will be for those who love the Lord and do the will of the Father. What is your answer?
Eternity is the lifetime of the Almighty. (Anonymous)