We are answering tough questions from Christian teens in this special series. If you haven’t read previous questions and answers, we invite you to look back at posts from the past several weeks and read those that interest you. [We’ve included a list at the bottom of this article.]
We also invite you to share these questions and answers with young people in your family and church. It is estimated that more than 70 percent of teenagers from Christian families are walking away from their belief in Christ during high school or college. Our hope is that answering some of their tough questions will help many think seriously about the great reasons to believe in Jesus.
Here is the next tough question from a Christian teen.
“How has God been here forever and how will he be here forever?”
How questions usually go to the ability someone has to do something. In this case, how does God have the ability to have been forever and how will He be forever? Ability usually goes to strengths, knowledge, skills, etc., but how would those play a part in God’s eternal existence? That is a tough question, but I think there are some good answers.
God is the Necessary Being, meaning He is necessary for everything else to exist. Everything else is contingent on God for existence. The tough part for us to grasp is how God exists necessarily and how He exists without beginning or end. I think God not having a beginning is harder to understand than His not having an ending. Everything has a beginning. We had a beginning. Animals had a beginning. The earth had a beginning. The universe had a beginning. So, why didn’t God have a beginning? How could there be anyone or anything that didn’t have a beginning?
For one thing God is much different than us. We might call Him Other in that He is a different ‘kind’ of being. We are human beings and God is the Supreme Being. There are and have been billions of humans, but only One God. Because of that, we would have no way of knowing specifics about God unless He revealed Himself to us. That’s what we have in the Bible – God’s revelation of Himself.
God revealed that He is Spirit and Invisible. God is immaterial and incorporeal. That’s certainly different than us. God is also Infinite in relation to time and space. He is Immense and beyond anything else that exists – anywhere. God exists outside our universe as the Creator of the universe. He also exists inside our universe as the God who is Everywhere Present. God is Immortal and Eternal. And He is Self-Existent. His existence is not dependent on anyone or anything. If He was, then God would not be Necessary. Something or someone else would be Necessary. The Bible reveals that God exists because He exists.
Moses asked God what he should say when the children of Israel asked for God’s name. God answered, “I AM WHO I AM … This is My name forever” (Exodus 3:14-15) This is the Name that speaks to God’s Self-Existence. The Hebrew word used for His name means ‘be.’ God is and has always been.
Moses knew God as few others knew Him. Here’s what Moses wrote about God –
“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 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
We also know that God is Personal. He is Three Persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) in One Being (God). That is also something we would not know about God had He not revealed it to us. God is One is primary in our understanding of the Eternal God. The other is that God is Three Persons in One Being. That is also primary in our understanding of the Eternal God.
We often think about God being All Powerful, All Knowing, Everywhere Present and Unchanging, but is that why He has existed forever and will exist forever? God is loving, kind, good, merciful, gracious, just, righteous and forgiving, but is that why He has existed forever and will exist forever?
This is important for us to understand. I’m very glad God has all those wonderful attributes, but they don’t explain why He has always been and will always be.
We think of people and things as having a beginning and an end. Everything came from something – except for God. He is Self-Existent and Eternal. I used to be an atheist, so that idea was very hard for me to understand and accept as true. Fortunately, God gave us many proofs (evidences) for His existence. Once we look at the evidence we can accept that God is not like us.
Even when we come to something as difficult as understanding His being Self-Existent, Eternal and Immortal, we can believe it because it’s what God reveals about Himself.
One of my favorite verses about this is Isaiah 40:28 –
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.”
These are hard things for us to understand. It’s difficult for us to search out God without looking to Him for knowledge and understanding. As the Apostle Paul wrote:
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”Romans 11:33
The Next Question
In the next part of our special series, Tough Questions From Christian Teens, we will address the question –
Is Hell Fair?
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.