By David Sanford, Crosswalk.com
Many children of all ages still love Buzz Lightyear’s favorite catchphrase. “To infinity and beyond,” indeed! Jumping from children’s fiction to reality, we land on 3 huge questions:
According to the Bible, do “infinity” and “eternity” describe (1) everything that’s true about who God is? (2) everything, some things, or nothing about what God says? (3) everything, some things, or nothing about what God does?
The answers to these questions matter a great deal—and will definitely bless you!
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“Infinity” in the Bible
The Lord God, the maker of heaven and earth, repeatedly describes Himself as infinite in power (almighty), dominion (everywhere-present), and understanding (everything-knowing). These terms speak of His infinite sovereignty, authority, grandeur, and majesty. To say the least, no one can out-power, sneak behind, or surprise God.
In addition to “infinite” and “infinity,” the Bible uses the synonyms “all,” “immense,” “fullness,” “supreme,” “great,” “vast,” “absolute,” “no end,” “without end,” “unlimited,” “limitless,” “without limit,” “no limit,” “no limitation,” “inexhaustible,” “unbound,” “boundless,” “fathomless,” “can’t be grasped,” “beyond comprehension,” “beyond telling,” “innumerable,” “measureless,” “beyond measure,” and “cannot be measured.”
3 “Infinity” Bible Verses
Psalm 147:5 says our Lord is vast in power and infinite in His understanding. What foundational truths about our God’s greatness and glory.
Ephesians 3:20 says God is able to accomplish infinitely more than we could ask, think, or imagine. No surprise! So, let’s imagine, think, and ask the Lord to do the impossible.
Philippians 3:8 says everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord. No other life purpose compares. So, let’s make it ours!
3 “Infinity” Synonym Verses
Isaiah 40:12 says God can hold the earth’s waters in His hand, use His hand to measure the precise length of the universe, put all the earth’s dirt into a planet-sized container, and then weigh every mountain. Nothing is too hard for God.
Luke 1:37 says nothing is impossible with God. What He can do is infinite, indeed!
We’ll get back to the 3 questions, but let’s first look at...
“Eternity” in the Bible
The Lord God, the maker of heaven and earth, describes Himself with three metaphorical names. The first and third appear three times each in the book of Revelation only. The second appears three times each in the books of Isaiah and Revelation.
All three are captured on the last page of the Bible in Revelation 22:13. First, He says: “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Second, He says: “[I am] the First and the Last.” Third, He says, “[I am] the Beginning and the End.”
These terms speak of the Lord’s eternal existence, nature, and being. And by eternal, God means from all eternity past to all eternity future. Anyone who isn’t that kind of eternal isn’t the Lord God, creator of heaven and earth.
In addition to “eternal” and “eternity,” the Bible uses the synonyms “lasting,” “everlasting,” “evermore,” “forevermore,” “forever and ever,” “forever,” “ever,” “immortal,” “indestructible,” “imperishable,” “unfading,” “abiding,” “enduring,” “unceasing,” “always,” “endless,” “never-ending,” and “without end.”
5 “Eternity” Bible Verses
John 3:16 says God so loved the world that He gave his only unique Son, Jesus, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. It’s the gospel message in a nutshell.
John 17:3 says eternal life is knowing the only true God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. That eternal life begins the moment the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us, and the angels rejoice in heaven!
Romans 1:20 says God’s invisible attributes, including His divine nature and eternal power, can be clearly perceived in what He has made. What He made, of course, is the heavens and earth.
Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is eternal death, but the gift of God is eternal life in our Lord Jesus Christ. When God gives that gift to us, everything changes.
2 Peter 1:11 tells how we can look forward to a rich, wonderful, vibrant welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
5 “Eternity” Synonym Verses
1 Chronicles 16:34 (and 11 more nearly identical verses) call us to give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His lovingkindness is everlasting. (The other 11 are 2 Chronicles 5:13, 7:3, 7:6, 20:21; Ezra 3:11; Psalms 100:5, 106:1, 107:1, 118:1, 118:29, 136:1; and Jeremiah 33:11.)
Psalm 90:2 says God is from everlasting to everlasting. That is, God has no beginning and no end. He always and eternally exists. He sees all of space/time in the eternal now.
1 Corinthians 15:53-54 says at the climax of history we will receive imperishable, immortal bodies. That way, we can live with the Lord forever on the New Earth—and beyond!
1 Timothy 1:17 says, and here I must quote verbatim: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (NIV).
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3 Huge Questions, Revisited
From what we’ve read above from the Bible…
(1) Do “infinity” and “eternity” describe everything that’s true about who God is? The answer is… yes!
That means His knowledge, insight, understanding, wisdom, and ways are infinite and eternal. It also means His marvelous, amazing mercy and grace are infinite and eternal. So is every other attribute or characteristic of who God is.
There’s nothing true about who God is that isn’t infinitely and eternally true. That’s why the Bible emphatically says He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
(2) Do “infinity” and “eternity” describe everything about what God says? The answer is… both yes and a qualified yes.
Qualified yes: The words of God, with an emphasis on His written Scriptures (Psalm 119:89, Psalm 119:160, and Isaiah 40:8), are eternal, but definitely not infinite. The Bible has a crystal-clear beginning (Genesis 1:1) and end (Revelation 22:21).
(3) Do “infinity” and “eternity” describe everything about what God does? The answer is… a qualified yes and a definite no.
Qualified yes: Everything God does was planned from eternity past.
No: God isn’t a perpetual motion machine. Past: He created the heavens and earth. Present: He governs the heavens and earth. Future: He will create new heavens and a new earth, which will be enjoyed by God (and us!) forever.
The next time you hear someone say, “To infinity and beyond,” remember “To infinity and eternity” describes everything about who God is, mostly describes what God says, and only partially describes what God does.
Let’s Make It Real
1. If someone tells you that God is somehow less than infinite and eternal, gracefully and truthfully correct them. You might say, “Actually, by definition, God is both infinite and eternal. Everything about God is infinitely and eternally true. To say the least, no one can out-power [flex your muscles], sneak behind [roll play], or somehow surprise God, wouldn’t you agree?”
Then stop talking, no matter how long they’re silent. Remember, they’re thinking. Honor that by not saying a word. Even if it takes a minute.
When they say “yes,” please don’t act surprised. Instead, smile, wait 5 seconds, and then ask how you can best pray for them. Be sure to pray daily and then follow up with them a week or 10 days later. Then ask how you can best pray for them over the next week or two.
The more you pray for them, the more likely they’ll grow closer to God.
2. If someone suggests the Bible isn’t authoritative or isn’t everything God has put in writing, kindly and truthfully correct them. You might say, “Actually, God has gone on record saying the Bible is both authoritative and complete. The Bible has a definite beginning and end. Anything else isn’t God’s written word. Yes, I read widely, but only the Bible speaks God’s love and truth directly into my heart and mind. Would you like to read a chapter of the Bible with me and see what it says to you?”
When they say “yes,” nod your head, wait 5 seconds, set a day/time/place to read/discuss Mark 1 together and thank them for pursuing this brief adventure with you. After you discuss half of Mark 1, you may want to suggest meeting again to finish the chapter. Promise you’ll finish this brief adventure next time. Of course, if they want more, say yes!
The more you read Mark’s Gospel with them, the more likely they’ll fall in love with Jesus.
3. If someone says God is doing a rotten job running the universe, graciously and truthfully correct them. You might say, “Actually, everything God does He planned from eternity past.
When God created the universe, He designed it to be perfect. Sadly, sin and evil corrupted the human race and all it’s touched here on earth. But that’s not the end of the story...not by a long shot. Someday, God will create new heavens and a new earth, which will be enjoyed by Him and us forever. In the meantime, God wants us to actively promote what is good, true, and right. In your heart, you feel the same way, don’t you?”
When they say “yes,” wait 5 seconds, and then ask if you can bless your city in prayer. Nod your head toward them, close your eyes, and immediately start praying briefly for God to bless your city. In particular, ask God to make righteousness and justice roll like a river through your city (see Amos 5:23-24). Then quickly say amen, open your eyes, and thank them so much for praying with you.
The more you use “we,” “our,” and “us” in word and deed, the more likely they’ll want to hear you pray again!
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