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Daily devotional - Following the Good Shepherd - Sheep and Shepherds in the Bible - sheep eating from the Shepherds pouch. July 2021 - Following the Good Shepherd - Sheep and Shepherds in the Bible - sheep eating from the Shepherds pouch.

Question and Answer | God's Attribute of Infinitude

Does God's attribute of infinitude mean that the past for us is like the present for God? In Ephesians 1:4 when it says that we were "chosen before the foundation of the world," is it like we were chosen now?

First, let me define a few terms that will be helpful to our discussion. When we say “the present,” we refer to a state of affairs involving everything that is actual. “The past” denotes states of affairs that were actual, and “the future” denotes states of affairs that will be actual. It is important to note that only the present exists; the past no longer exists and the future does not yet exist. It is also true that God is infinite with regard to time. In other words, He is eternal. Yet, there are different ways of understanding His eternality. According to one view, God exists outside of time in a hermetically timeless state and His age is null (ø). Our human, temporal measurements of time do not apply to Him, as He experiences neither the past, the present, nor the future. If, as this view suggests, God is “atemporal,” He chose us apart from time.

According to another view, He exists “forever and ever,” and His age is infinite (∞). He is all-enduring and experiences the present without beginning or end. If God is “omnitemporal,” He truly did choose us before the creation of the universe. In answer to your question, it is not the case that “the past for us is like the present for God” since God either exists outside of time or unceasingly exists in the present. Nothing exists in the past since the past is not a place for anything actual to exist. But from the perspective of our own temporal experience, we know that God chose us “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). We can confidently celebrate the central point of the verse: God chose to be in relationship with us!

BY Sanjay Merchant

Sanjay Merchant is Professor of Theology at Moody Bible Institute and a teaching pastor at Northshore Christian Church in Everett, Washington. He earned his Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University School of Religion, and Master’s degrees from Biola University. He enjoys helping his students wrestle with hard questions of the faith, teaching courses on philosophy, theology, and apologetics. Sanjay and his wife, Erin, have four children and reside in Roselle, Illinois.

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