He has put eternity in their hearts [Ecclesiastes 3:11].
What is it about the human heart that longs for more than this world? What makes us gaze skyward, probe the expanse of space, and study the stars? Could part of the image of God in which He created us include a foretaste of infinity and eternity?
I was recently updating my work calendar for the 2021 meeting routines. It dawned on me how bound I am to time even when I have no guarantee I will even see tomorrow. Past time is forever gone, the future is tick-tocking toward me. Although the present is my current opportunity, it steadily erodes into history past. With each passing moment, eternity still looms on the horizon.
What a Concept—Eternity
As time-bound, time-structured creatures, eternity is difficult to grasp. Endless existence. Infinity. No countdown, no frenzied schedule, no busy routine, no alarm clocks.
As made in God’s image [Genesis 1:26], let’s consider God’s eternality. He has always existed—eternity past, the present capsule of time, and eternity future. From the vast expense of infinity, He carved out years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds, milliseconds, nanoseconds and so on. He made time measurable, consistent, and reliable.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven [Ecclesiastes 3:1].
Time helps us understand God’s Word, His overall plan, and His sovereign purposes. Time also make us aware it is an unforgiving and diminishing commodity. It cannot be retrieved and relived, cannot be stored up or replenished, and will one day expire.
God invented time to help us regulate our lives and give us a timing perspective to understand Biblical prophecy. Genesis 1:14-18 confirms God’s creative genius in establishing time—sun, moon, stars, evening, morning, night, and day.
Thus says the Lord, “Who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (The Lord of hosts is His name)” [Jeremiah 31:35].
Bound by Time
With no concept of time, how could we understand the books of Daniel or Revelation? When Jesus said, “Surely, I am coming quickly” [Revelation 22:20], how would we know what He meant? By referencing Jonah’s three days and three nights in the fish’s belly, Jesus gave notice of how many days between His burial and resurrection [Matthew 12:40].
Like a divine timer winding down, time as we know it will one day end and open the door to eternity future. Revelation chapters 21 and 22 reveal God’s plans to make a brand new heaven and earth. Revelation 22:5 says there will be no more sun so the ordinary means of keeping time will be removed. Imagine that—eternity without the structure of time.
So, God invented this current capsule of time; yet still created us as eternal, immortal beings. Why?
Engineered for Eternity
We have been engineered for eternity. In wanting His creation to endure through the ages with Him, God grants life after physical death. Those who make the freewill, conscious choice to spend eternity with Him will do so. Those who don’t have only one final destination apart from everything He is—hell.
Scripture tells us believers will reign with God in heaven, on the new earth, and in whatever galaxy He purposes for “what’s next” [Revelation 20:6]. It is difficult to imagine the grandeur, beauty, peace, order, safety, and right-ness of an eternity with God!
However, God’s Word also warns that unbelievers will spend eternity separated from God in torment [Revelation 20:11-15]. Quite possibly the two main torments of a lost eternity will be the absence of God’s presence and the regrets of opportunities lost.
Either way, there is life after death.
Aside from Scripture, numerous documented journeys of near-death, after-life experiences confirm life after death. Even my father had his after-life experience. Should we choose to downplay or excuse those experiences as part of lingering residual cognitive processes, we arrive back to the original question. What is it that makes us long for more than this world?
Though created as eternal beings, we often forget the inevitability and infinity of eternity while prioritizing all we do around this fleeting, finite thing called time. Paul explains the difference: “The things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” [2 Corinthians 4:18]. Yes, everyday life requires attention and involvement. But we have a tendency to devote too much time, energy, and investment on this life (the seen) and not enough on the life hereafter (the unseen).
Facing Eternity—Are We Ready?
Once we set our sights on eternity, the next question is: Are we ready? What happens when death ends our time and ushers in our eternity? To personalize it, each person must ask, “Am I ready?”
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment [Hebrews 9:27].
We only have this present moment. “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” [2 Corinthians 6:2]. No one is promised tomorrow. Today is all we have—yet, not even the entire day, only this moment. What will I do with this present moment of time? Will I choose to spend eternity with God or without Him? Will I use this moment as any other earthly moment or as an investment in eternity?
While focusing on the necessities of this life, may we do so with our minds “set on things above” [Colossians 3:2]. May we make eternal investments “where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” [Matthew 6:20]. Additionally, may we make eternity-based decisions in what we do each day. May we be so in tune with heaven that our hearts long for our eternal home.
Even more, may we fervently and expectantly desire to see Jesus and be satisfied to awake in His likeness [Psalm 17:15].