God's Divine eternity as a starting point for considering the supernatural realm

Introduction:      

       We live in a physical world – or, is it just a physical one? So many people in today’s culture live as “practical naturalists”, that is, they live as if the only thing that exists is the “natural” or “physical world”. The goal of this course is to introduce listeners to a “Biblical view of the supernatural”.

      When I say: “supernatural”, what is meant? The word, “supernatural”, is made up of two words. The first term, “super” refers to what is “beyond something” in terms of quality and quantity. The second term, “natural”, derives from a Latin root that refers to “the essence or being” of something. Whenever we put these two terms together, they give us a word, “supernatural”, that points us to a realm that is included in the Christian understanding of what makes up our world.  The great 19th century theologian B.B. Warfield once noted: “The supernatural is the very breath of Christianity’s nostrils and an anti-supernaturalistic world atmosphere is to it the deadliest of toxic gases.” We will aim, in this course, to recapture a Biblical view of the supernatural. Why? So we can best approach life in this world, the one beyond it, and the God that reigns supreme over all of it.

Course overview:

  1. Eternity P1 - God exists (that God is)
  2. Eternity P2 - God's attributes (what God is)
  3. Eternity P3 - God's identity (who God is)
  4. Meet the angelic realm - the Divine council
  5. Meet the angelic realm - cherubim, seraphim, the watchers
  6. Meet the angelic realm - messengers from God
  7. Cosmic fallout - Lucifer becomes Satan
  8. Cosmic fallout- the demonic realm and it's ranks, activity
  9. Glories of heaven.
  10. Why Hell?
  11. The End: Lake of Fire/New Heavens & Earth
  12. Q&A, class wrap-up

 Session 1 – Eternity part one – God exists

1. Scriptures and definition of the eternal God and supernatural.

      As we begin to consider the supernatural realm, we must begin with the only being that is eternal by nature - God. God is eternal. As we consider this first heading under “eternity”, we can refer to God’s existence by the phrase: "that God is". Hebrews 11:6 expresses: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Eternity is foundational to thinking about God (see Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:16-17; 1 Timothy 1:17).

We could define eternity as: "without beginning, without end, fulness of being without the limitations of time." Passages such as Psalm 90:2; 102:25; Isaiah 57:15; John 1:1-3; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Timothy 6:16; Rev. 4:8 speak to us of God's eternity.  Boethius, a 6th century Christian thinker, defines eternity as: “the complete, simultaneous and perfect possession of everlasting life.” In thinking about: "that God is", i.e., His existence, other related perfections fill out our basic idea about God.

A. There is God’s Divine "immensity", that perfection dealing with God's relationship to space as He being in it and beyond it (see 1 Kings 8:27; Acts 17:25-30).

B. There is Divine infinity, speaking of the endless extent of the Divine nature. Paul speaks of God's Divine power or omnipotence in Romans 1:20.

C. God being a spiritual, immaterial being, per Jesus' words in John 4:24.

D. God as a Personal being that creates, Genesis 1:1; 33:6; 1 Cor 8:6; 2 Peter 3.

E. Ways to think about God’s Divine eternity and the supernatural realm.

       New Testament passages such as Colossians 1:16-17 and Hebrews 1 speak of “God” and “everything else”. The “everything else” refers to creation. Creation is divided up into two distinct and somewhat interactive realms: “visible” and “invisible”. The “invisible” realm is another way of talking about “the supernatural realm”, as it refers to an unseen part creation (God of course is His own, separate, uncreated reality apart from creation). God of course is deemed “invisible” (1 Timothy 1:17), spiritual (John 4:24) and personal (Acts 17:25-30). He differs by the fact He is without beginning (Psalm 90; 102; Revelation 4:8) and self-existing apart from and prior to creation (Isaiah 44:6; 43:10-11). There is an illustration I can think of to approach the otherwise incomprehensible truth God’s Divine eternity and His relationship to the supernatural.

Illustration: God and “everything else”

“God” ß∞ à “angelic realm, humans, cats, wooly-worms, amoebas, atoms”.

2. Where we get this notion of divine eternity?

A. Scripture.

B. The beginning of the universe. For the universe to have begun, it needed its origin in a cause that is without beginning. Moreover, for there to be a finite universe, produced by an eternal being, the eternal being had to have had a will and and a mind.

C. The attributes of God. Consideration of God's attributes demonstrate this most essential perfection of eternity. Omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence and other perfections require a God that is not bounded by time.

3. Take-aways for your life.

A. What we learned today. As we close this first class, we note that reference to the phrase: "that God is" means His existence. Eternity was defined as: "without beginning, without end, fulness of being without the limitations of time." Standard arguments for God’s existence bolster this claim of Divine eternity, since they show that the finite realm of creation requires a timeless, spaceless, immaterial, infinitely powerful, all present mind with a will we call: "God".

B. We need greater awareness of the supernatural realm. A.W. Tozer once remarked about God’s Divine eternity and the supernatural realm’s relevance to our lives:

“A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting our response to His Presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality.”

C. How we live day-to-day. Giving time to think about God’s eternity lifts our focus from the horizontal, visible world of our five senses to that of the “stuff” that drives us to worship. To realize that we live out our daily lives and spiritual lives before a holy, eternal God to whom we are accountable, and that, in the Person of the Son, came as “God with us” to be “man for us”, ought to sharpen our awareness of Him.

D. Strengthening our prayer lives. When we pray, we ought to think of prayer as “the greatest adventure”, since we are treading into the very foothills of God’s eternal presence. We could say far more, but let us live this week in light of this truth that God, is, eternal.