I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around the reality of eternity. God’s Word also uses the terms “everlasting”, “forever”, etc. I don’t know whether there will be “time” as we know it (with one year equaling 365 days i.e. one complete orbit of the Earth around the Sun). But however the word “time” is used after Christ returns, born again, resurrected Christians will live forever in God’s presence.
It is impossible to comprehend eternity. But I came up with this story which will perhaps give us a start.
One day in Heaven a group of the born again saints came before God the Father and asked, “Could You teach us more about eternity? Can You help us better comprehend what ‘eternity’ means?”
God replied, My children, I will try to explain in terms you can understand. First of all, recall this passage from My Word:
29) Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31) So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. (Matt. 10:29-31)
Now, My children, how many birds – not just sparrows but all birds – do you think there are on Earth?
The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with a number. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated by several trillions. Then He wrote the total number of birds down in His ledger.
Then God asked, Now, My children, how many hairs do you think are on all the heads of all mankind?
The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with a number. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated by several trillions. Then He wrote the total number of hairs down in His ledger.
Then God said to the saints, My children, consider these two passages:
He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. (Psa. 147:4)
That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; (Gen. 22:17)
Then God said, Now, My children, how many stars do you think there are? Here’s a hint – even ungodly, atheist scientists are awed by the number of stars in My universe; some scientists estimate there are between 100 and 200 billion currently observable galaxies, each with billions of stars. (1)
The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with a number. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated by trillions. Then He wrote the total number of stars down in His ledger.
Then God asked, My children, how many grains of sand do you think there are – not just on the seashore, but in the whole Earth?
The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with a number. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated by trillions. Then He wrote the total number of grains of sand in His ledger.
Then God asked the saints,
How many leaves do you think are on all the plants on Earth?
How many blades of grass do you think are on Earth?
How many granules of dirt do you think are in the Earth?
How many snowflakes do you think are on the Earth?
And … how many drops of water do you think are in all of Earth’s oceans and other bodies of water?
The saints conferred for awhile, then presented God with the numbers. God chuckled, for the saints had underestimated each of the numbers by trillions. Then He wrote the total numbers of leaves, blades of grass, granules of dirt, snowflakes and drops of water in His ledger.
God passed around His ledger for the saints to see. As they pondered the huge numbers in awe, God called forward one of the saints. Then God gently placed ten drops of water in the palm of the saint’s hand. And God said, My children, let Me ask you just one more question. How many total atoms do you think are in My entire universe? Here’s a hint. One of Earth’s scientists has made this estimate when discussing molecules:
… the number of [known] stars in the heavens is “an unbelievably large number,” but then… you will find the same number of molecules “in just ten drops of water.” (2)
The saints conferred for awhile, then replied: “We don’t know the total number of atoms, let alone molecules – we can’t even fathom such a number.”
God chuckled, then wrote the total number of atoms in His ledger, for He knew the exact number. When He announced the number, the saints bowed down in awe at God’s Creation. Then God said, My children, here is My point. You began by asking Me, “Can You help us better comprehend what ‘eternity’ means?” Think of it this way. Imagine that each atom in My universe represents one year of “Earth time”. When this number of years has passed, this will literally be just the BEGINNING of eternity with Me.
Dear reader, eternity is a long, long time. Imagine time that is infinite, that never ends. Unfathomable, but true.
Now, where do you want to spend your future – eternally in God’s presence, or in eternal torment in the Lake of Fire? Only a fool, a lunatic or an unbeliever would choose eternal torment by remaining an unbeliever. Yet most people do choose to remain unbelievers. As creatures with free will, they stubbornly refuse to believe the Bible and the message of salvation, rejecting Christ.
Dear sinner, I would plead with you to:
Repent of your sins and your ungodly, self-centered life
Believe Christ died as the “sin debt offering” (paying the penalty of eternal punishment for your sins) and rose again
Accept Christ as your Saviour today
Turn your life over to Christ as Saviour and Lord (commit your life 100% to Him)
Live for Him the rest of your life, in total obedience to His Word
Your eternal destiny is at stake.
(1) Elizabeth Howell, How Many Galaxies Are There?
(2) Comments by David Blatner, as discussed by Robert Krulwich in Which Is Greater, The Number Of Sand Grains On Earth Or Stars In The Sky?