I like to distinguish between humans and God in relation to the duration of our existence. I think this is very important and will serve well to clear up some misconceptions while propelling the mystery of God substantially.

First, God Is not everlasting, he is eternal.
Second, people are not eternal, we are everlasting.

Please note, this is a distinction I make, not one that is necessarily inherent in these terms. Normally they can be used interchangeably.

Briefly, what I mean by this is that God does not exist in time going back an infinite amount of moments and then forward an infinite amount of moments.

Wrong:
<————-God—————>

God created time in the finite past. It is outside of him. He, in his essence, is in no way bound to time. He exists above time. This means that God, in His essence, does not experience a succession of moments. He exists in an “eternal now.”
This is what I mean when I say God Is eternal.

Next, people are everlasting in that we will exist forever, in time. It looks like this.

CORRECT
People—————>

We will never be eternal, as God is eternal. Why? Because it would be impossible for us to transcend time. The basic rule is this: once eternal, ‘always eternal, and once time-bound, always timebound.” We could not even peek our heads above the clouds and see timeless eternity for a second. Why? Because if we did, by definition, we would have always had to be eternal since there can be no change in an environment that has no before and after.

This Is why Paul dogmatically expresses that we will never see God (in His essence) because we can’t see God (in His essence). In order to see the essence of God, one must have “always” been eternal and only God, by definition, is eternal. So, in order to see God’s essence, one must be God!

1 Tim 6:16
He alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see.
Of course, we will see God In his incarnation, activity, and manifestations just as Moses did and all those who saw Christ. But even as Christ exists in a body, now and for the rest of time, he is not contained by his incarnation.

Latin: finitum non capax infinitum “the finite cannot contain the infinite.”

What a great phrase from the Reformers.

I hope that I have cleared some things up and helped muddy the water where it needed to be muddied. Behold the revelation and the mystery of God! He is ineffable, inscrutable, and holy beyond imagination.


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    20 replies to "Why We Will Never REALLY See God"

    • Ed Chapman

      You had said:
      “First, God Is not everlasting, he is eternal.
      Second, People are not eternal, we are everlasting.”

      But the Bible states:

      Genesis 21:33
      And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the Lord, the everlasting God.

      When all is said and done, eternal/everlasting life will still require a clock (TIME)?

      That has never been my understanding of scripture. We will be in TIMELESSNESS, just as God is in now.

      Where do the souls of those who have died go? Are they in “TIME”? Jesus is in “TIME” right now? Is Jesus God, or not?

      The bible states that we will have eternal life, therefore, we are eternal. Our spirits will never cease to exist, and that is eternal. Put an eternal body to it (Resurrected body), that is eternal life. Life requires a body, and that means that we will be ALSO immortal. We will be BOTH immortal and eternal, just like Jesus. And Jesus is God.

      I’m rather confused by your word twist. We know that God created time. But TIME will end at some point. I don’t see that you acknowledge the END OF TIME. You advocate that time continues. I don’t see any scripture to substantiate that.

      Are we not created in the IMAGE of God? What does that mean, exactly?

      1 John 3:2
      Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

      Is Jesus God, or not?

      John 14:7
      If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

      2 Corinthians 4:18
      While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

      Please elaborate on Paul’s teachings that “This Is why Paul dogmatically expresses that we will never see God (in His essence) because we can’t see God (in His essence). In order to see the essence of God, one must have “always” been eternal and only God, by definition, is eternal. So, in order to see God’s essence, one must be God!”

      The bible teaches that we will indeed see God. Who won’t?

      1 Corinthians 15:50
      Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

      This is why a resurrected body is necessary.

      Ed Chapman

      • C Michael Patton

        I think you have misunderstood quite a bit. I said that these words can be interchangeable. Therefore, I proposed a distinction for reasons of systematic theology and understanding how
        Our externality is distinct from God’s externality. You can definitely change the words to whatever you wish. The Bible verses you quoted are translations and the two words are used for both.

        Christianity is unique to all other worldviews in that we believe that God is both transcendent and immanent. Obviously I believe in the immanence of God as I explicitly used Christ as an example. Your attempted correction by using the same example I used makes me think you did not really read the post and are not taking this seriously. I often do this, so, no biggie.

        Time will never cease. As long as we exist, as long as space and matter exist, time must exist. Time is not a substance or thing. Time is simply a measurement of movements that details before and after. Therefore, as long as we exist, time must exist. Do you think there’s gonna be “time” when there is no before and after for us? Therefore there is no movement? We have no actions at all? That is simply not a biblical notion. We will never be static in such away. And, of course, we will never be God so we will never exist in timeless eternity. What do you think Paul says no man has seen God or Kensi God when he knows very well that we have seen Christ? He must be distinguishing between the transcendence of God and his immanence as this post has argued. God, in his essence , exist without relation to time and space and matter in his ontology.

        I know these are very difficult concepts to wrap your brain around. There is not a time in which you will be able to wrap your brain around it other than saying that it is a necessary theology and philosophy that does not contradict itself but creates great mystery. The secret things belong to the Lord. This is one of those things we don’t understand and may never understand. How can we understand how God creates everything out of nothing? Is the same idea.

        • Ed Chapman

          The point I was making really, was when you stated that “Time will never cease”.

          I totally disagree with that concept. Time will indeed cease.

          Revelation 6:14
          And the heaven (OUTER SPACE) departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

          Time only exists to those ALIVE in the HERE AND NOW who are clothed with flesh and BLOOD.

          The righteous dead are with God right now…in timelessness. Time does not exist for them.

          I don’t know where you get your concept from that time will never cease.

          I quoted you the following:

          2 Corinthians 4:18
          While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

          In a nutshell…if you can see it, it’s temporary. If you can’t see it, it’s eternal. God had to open the eyes of someone so that they can see Angels on horses in battle. Angels are also in TIMELESSNESS.

          There is no marraige in heaven, we will be like the angels. Manna came from heaven, and manna is angels food, and if it came from heaven, where God is, then the manna was also once in timelessness, and angels are in timelessness.

          And in the NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH, we will not remember a dog gone thing about THIS LIFE:

          Isaiah 65:17
          For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

          New heaven and NEW earth will not be in TIME.

          I don’t know where you get your concepts from, but wow.

          Ed Chapman

        • Ed Chapman

          Sorry, one more comment from me…

          You had said:
          “Do you think there’s gonna be “time” when there is no before and after for us?”

          My response:
          We were created, that tells me that we have a beginning…but I would also ask you something…When were YOU created? Conception? Birth? Or long before either? Say like…on the 6th Day?

          We are created in the image of God. He created us to be eternal. We will never cease to exist. We do have a beginning, but we will have NO END…even the unrighteous will have no end to existance. They will be in constant torment for eternity.

          Ed Chapman

    • C Michael Patton

      Ed, it really is rationlally, philosophically, and practically impossible for time to end and us to continue. Time can end, but that would require the cessation of all events and the elimination of space an matter. Like I said, I know this concept is hard, but it is true and it fits perfectly into the biblical understand of God and the eschaton. Every time I teach this, the class has a very hard time with it, but most eventually come around. It takes some time, but maybe this is a pebble in your shoe. I take that, my friend.

      Let me ask you this: do you think there will be any physical movement from our new bodies on the new earth in eternity?

      • Ed Chapman

        I would say the same critique to you about your philosophy.

        You had asked:
        “Let me ask you this: do you think there will be any physical movement from our new bodies on the new earth in eternity?”

        My response:

        Did Jesus walk thru walls?

        Ed Chapman

    • C Michael Patton

      But Ed, I do agree we will have no end. Time will go on forever. I explicitly stated this in the blog as a right view.

      • Ed Chapman

        Time will end. I never said “forever”. I said we exist eternally, just like God.

        God is a spirit. That means, so are we.

        John 4:24 God is a Spirit

        Hebrews 12:9
        Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

        And as a spirit, we exist eternally, where time has nothing to do with it. Time only pertains to the FLESH AND BLOOD that we are clothed with.

        Ed Chapman

    • C Michael Patton

      Okay. We agree. I just think you misunderstand my post. I probably was not very clear. We will last forever in time. God’s essence is above time and he is present in time. All good, yes?

      • Ed Chapman

        No, we don’t agree.

    • C Michael Patton

      Let’s go back to sometime very essential. How do you define time? It is worthless for us to discuss this unless we are talking about the same thing.

      • Ed Chapman

        Eternal has nothing to do with time. Temporal has everything to do with time.

        When God created the heavens and the earth, time began. Everything is temporal, including time.

        But when the heavens scroll back, and a NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH come about, there will not be time.

        All this talk about space and matter will be irrelevant.

        Ed Chapman

    • C Michael Patton

      Again, we need to define our terms. Please define time.

      • Ed Chapman

        No, because I will define it as something that is TEMPORAL.

        If Jesus can walk thru walls, which is IMPOSSIBLE to do for us FLESH AND BLOOD people, then that should be a HUGE clue that your science will not compute in the New Heaven and the New Earth, and our new bodies. It’s a huge clue, but you choose to ignore it.

        It’s like saying that there will be telephones in heaven, or bathrooms. Your science will be meaningless in heaven.

        Ed Chapman

    • C Michael Patton

      Okay. If you can’t even define that about which you are making arguments, there is no reason to continue. That is what you should do now: define time.

      There are two main theories when it comes to time. You may have to learn a little bit about Einstein and his theory of relativity, but it’s really cool. However, neither theory allows us to experience an existence outside of time.

      One more thing to realize as well: this is a view of Christianity. What I mean is that I am not putting forth anything new. This is the view of the historic Christian church. There’s not a single great theologian in the history of the church that denies God alone is atemporal. That doesn’t make it right, but maybe it will help you to have more motivation to look into this more.

      • Ed Chapman

        You are speaking of things of the here and now, but your science will be meaningless in eternity.

        Can Einstein scientifically explain how Jesus walked thru walls?

        What about that i before e stuff when he can’t even get his name spelled correctly?

        Your so called “historic” Christian church has been wrong about a lot of things. I wouldn’t put too much stock in the HISTORIC Christian Church…otherwise, you’d be Catholic. Do you believe that priests can forgive sin? Do you believe in purgatory? Historic Christian Church, huh? I don’t think so.

      • Ed Chapman

        You are hammering on the word SPACE in the calculation of time.

        In this, both the Bible and Science agree, that the universe is EXPANDING:

        Isaiah 45:12
        I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host

        Isaiah 40:22
        It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in” ESV

        Job 9:8
        who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea” ESV

        Isaiah 42:5: “Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it” ESV

        Jeremiah 10:12: “It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens” ESV

        Zechariah 12:1: “The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel: Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him” ESV

        Space is NEEDED to compute time. But what you continue to fail at is:

        Isaiah 34:4
        English Standard Version
        All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree.

        Revelation 6:14, ESV:
        The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

        Revelation 21:23
        And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

        Will you get tired in heaven, and need a nap? Will there be beds? Will Mike Lindell need to set up shop? Will there be a need for the power company? How about flat screen TV’s? Air Conditioners?

        Science…only for the here and now. The heavens (Universe) is expanding…but will roll up like a scroll. Science tells us about the expansion, but neglects to tell us about the rolling up part.

    • C Michael Patton

      Good conversation bro. But if you can’t even define that about which you are making an argument, I cannot evaluate and respond. So, let’s just leave it here, my friend. Thanks for the time.

    • C Michael Patton

      Pun

      • Ed Chapman

        Very good pun, I might add. Speaking of Time…there is a movie streaming in which time is a commodity, like currency. You can buy it, borrow it, earn it (wages), transfer it, and use it to pay bills, etc.

        The plot is that you are born with a FREE 25 years, plus credit for one additional year. The body does not age after 25 at all. When you turn 25, the countdown begins with a years time. You die when you are out of time.

Leave a Reply to C Michael Patton Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.