“How old is God?” It sounds like a silly question, but it’s not when you get down to it. Does the Bible tell us there was a time before God existed? If not, what does that tell us about God’s nature?
Does the Bible Tell Us How Old Is God?
Unlike many religions, the Bible doesn’t describe a god birthed from other gods (the Olympians birthed from Gaia and Uranus, etc.). It starts with God creating the heavens and the earth, with no details about God’s existence before he started this process.
Scholars have argued that passages like Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Revelation 12:7-9 describe events that occurred in heaven before the first day of creation. In this view, “the king of Tyre” in the Ezekiel passage and “the great dragon” in the Revelation passage is Satan, an angel who rebelled against God and started a war in heaven. This war presumably ended with Satan falling “like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18) before appearing as a snake in the Garden of Eden.
Beyond these suggestions, we don’t get any Biblical details about God’s activities before he created the earth. However, multiple Bible verses talk about God’s traits. These descriptions consistently state that God is eternal—he has always been there.
“God, in His internal being, is raised above time; in His eternal absoluteness, He is throned above temporal development, and knows, as the Scriptures say, no changeableness.”—James Lindsay, “Eternity,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
10 Bible Verses That Say God Is Eternal
These verses are a sampling of the many places where the Bible describes God as eternal, everlasting, the Alpha and Omega (“beginning and end”), or other words that indicate he has no birth nor death. He has always existed and will always exist.
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27a NIV
“How great is God—beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.” Job 36:26 NIV
“For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” Psalm 48:14 NIV
“But you, LORD, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations.” Psalm 102:12
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” Isaiah 40:28 NIV
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’” Revelation 1:8 NIV
“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17 NIV
“The LORD reigns for ever and ever.” Exodus 15:18 NIV
“You, LORD, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation.” Lamentations 5:19 NIV
“LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die.” Habakkuk 1:12a NIV
Even when the Bible isn’t explicitly talking about God’s qualities, the names it lists for God indicate some of his qualities. Jehovah, the name for God that was so sacred the Israelites feared to speak it, literally means “I am.” As Easton’s Bible Dictionary explains, this name highlights that God is “the unchanging, eternal, self-existent God.”
So, the final answer to “how old is God?” is that he has no age. He has no birthday, no funeral. You may wonder how that works.
How Can God Be Eternal?
Everything we experience in life has some beginning and some end. Therefore, we struggle to imagine an eternal being. Surprisingly, logic shows that the universe we live in requires an eternal creator behind it all. Hope Bolinger observes in her article “Where Did God Come From?” that discussing God’s origins takes us to Aristotle’s argument for an “unmoved mover.” Essentially, Aristotle argues that if we had a finite being who created the world, something must have created that being. And something that created that being. And so on. And so on to infinity.
Thus, we end up with an infinite series of creators, which is a logical impossibility. Peter Kreeft sums up the problem in his First Cause Argument:
“If there is no first cause, then the universe is like a great chain with many links; each link is held up by the link above it, but the whole chain is held up by nothing. If there is no first cause, then the universe is like a railroad train moving without an engine. Each car’s motion is explained proximately by the motion of the car in front of it: the caboose moves because the boxcar pulls it, the boxcar moves because the cattle car pulls it, et cetera. But there is no engine to pull the first car and the whole train. That would be impossible, of course. But that is what the universe is like if there is no first cause: impossible.”—Excerpted from Fundamentals of the Faith by Peter Kreeft
Thus, there must be a force that started everything off. Something must have moved the universe into motion and yet cannot itself be moved: an eternal, uncreated God who was always there.
Why Does it Matter That God Is Eternal?
The fact that God is eternal doesn’t just solve logical problems with what created the universe. It also has implications that help us understand him better, and why the Bible ascribes other qualities to him.
It establishes he is God above all. When God revealed Himself to the patriarchs (Abraham, Moses, etc.), there were plenty of pagan religions with gods who claimed to have various levels of power. One of the Old Testament’s recurring themes is that these idols are nothing, that God is the ultimate power. His claim to be eternal is key that claim: he was not fathered by another god, like Zeus and his siblings in Greek mythology. He does not have a pending date where he will die to have other gods take his place, like the Norse god Odin at Ragnarök. God was there from the beginning and will continue to be there forever.
It verifies his promises. The Bible is full of moments where God makes promises to people. He promises Abraham that his descendants will become great nations (Genesis 17:4-8). He promises that the Messiah, the “Prince of Peace,” will come (Isaiah 9:6-7). He promises eternal life to the Messiah’s followers (John 3:16). God can only follow through on these promises if he is eternal himself. Only a god with no end date can guarantee what will happen to Abraham’s descendants in the far future. Only a god who is above and beyond time (and capable of knowing all times) can know who will come at a future date. Only an eternal god can promise eternal life to others. As James Lindsay observes in his entry on the word “eternal” for The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, “Of that eternal life He is Himself the guarantee—“Because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19).”
It reinforces his other qualities. God’s many qualities (omnipresence, omnipotence, etc.) work together, sometimes making each other clearer. For example, the fact God is eternal helps explain how God can be all-knowing (omniscient). A god who hadn’t been around from the start could potentially have things he didn’t know. Since God has always been there, logically it’s possible for him to be all-knowing. As Dr. Adrian Rogers puts it, “God inhabits eternity. God sees the beginning. God sees the middle. God sees the end. God sees it all at one time. God is all-knowing—He can’t learn anything.” The fact that God is eternal also means that he doesn’t change, which makes him all-faithful. We can trust his loving nature because he is the same God yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
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G. Connor Salter is a writer and editor, with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing from Taylor University. In 2020, he won First Prize for Best Feature Story in a regional contest by the Colorado Press Association Network. He has contributed over 1,000 articles to various publications, including interviews for Christian Communicator and book reviews for The Evangelical Church Library Association. Find out more about his work here.
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