Eternity…What is it?
Eternity is a word without a real meaning. If we look it up, the closest definition would be something like this: “…a state to which time has no application; timelessness.” The simple words would be “forever and forever” which is definitely difficult to understand.
Almost all religions have a belief in an eternity. Some think that they have to work for it. Others believe that it is a gift of God, through His Son Jesus Christ. Another faith thinks that life just begins again and they hope that they will return as a more elevated human and not one of the lowly animals or insects. The whole concept is so broad and “endless” that the mind cannot comprehend. The question then is whether we should even be concerned about something in which we do not have a real answer? I think so. We plan ahead for many things: Our wedding day, our place of residence, our finances, our grave-site…but why not think about the eternal? Somehow I think it should be thoughts of joy instead of foreboding…especially when we have had loved ones who have gone before us.
We know we were born. We also know that we will all die eventually. Our love for each other draws a great well of desire to want to see each other again in eternity. Do we have the perfect answer to eternity…no…not in ourselves, but yes, in the Holy Scriptures we have promises. We are told, “...to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” (2nd Corinthians 5:8) That verse alone should give us great hope. We are promised a resurrection of the body, just as Christ was resurrected. When I decided on cremation after death, my thought was to wonder how all of those dust pieces were going to be put back together. How juvenile a thought was that! If He can sling the stars into orbit and match up molecules, He will have no trouble with the resurrection!
As a Christian, I believe in eternity. It may be hard for an atheist who thinks when one dies it is the end of everything, but I have always felt that if there could possibly be any truth in this belief, I would have lived a happier life because of my own joy in believing in God and the comfort it has given me. How sad and morbid to believe that there is no one who will enjoy eternity with the Maker of our most glorious universe. Those who have had a near-death experience recall a wonderful feeling of love. They speak of seeing someone that appears to be God waiting for them in a bright light. According to some records, surprisingly, 75% of those thinking they were dying as atheists have told of this same experience.
Recently, I saw a special on the amazing new parts of the universe that have only been identified by the most powerful telescope sent into space. The most familiar and powerful so far has been the Hubble Space Telescope. Nevertheless, there is “a new kid” in the making.
The newest and most powerful telescope is the James Webb Space Telescope. It is to be the successor to the Hubble telescope and will be launched in 2021. Here are a few facts concerning the future launching:
The James Webb Space Telescope will be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket. The launch vehicle is part of the European contribution to the mission. The Ariane 5 is one of the world’s most reliable launch vehicles capable of delivering Webb to its destination in space. The European Space Agency (ESA) has agreed to provide an Ariane 5 launcher and associated launch services to NASA for Webb. (Nasa)
Why do I digress from writing about eternity to telescopes? It is with delight that I think those who are experiencing their eternity are having a perfect understanding of the formation of the universe and all there is on other planets. If there is life on other worlds, our loved ones would have the joy of knowing this. (Forget about the Hollywood version of the “little green man with a pointed head.”)
Thinking of the possibilities makes “eternity” seen a little shorter than “forever”…mainly because it would take forever to know all there is to know, which is impossible without the mind of God. Could it be that He will provide His mind for us to know and understand all these glories, that we have only slightly seen through the telescope, and be able to experience the glories for eternity?
(A side-thought: I can’t imagine that we will be going from planet to planet as on some fast-moving whirlwind because the Scriptures also says that there will be a place of peace. He promises that the lion will lay down with the lamb. Could that mean that at the Savior’s return to earth that He will also bring those with Him who have died and bring absolute peace onto a new earth? )
And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Isaiah 11:6 (NASB)
Jesus also prayed a prayer to his Father in Heaven, who made the universe that He wanted us to know the glories of the universe: “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (John 17:24)
Regardless of what eternity may mean, we will draw our last breath and then we will know it all. TO GOD BE THE GLORY
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