The Essence of Eternity
Friend and thinker Art Boulet has penned a great post on the essence of eternity...
[In] Ecclesiastes, the author writes, “[Yahweh] has put eternity in man’s heart.”I'd encourage you to go read the whole thing. Well said, Art!
“Eternity” is an interesting concept throughout the history of Scripture and philosophy. Perhaps when we think about “eternity” we simply think about a large amount of time that spans infinitely backward into the past and infinitely forward into the future. But there is a distinction to be made between our concept of “time” and our concept of “eternity.” As Herman Bavinck points out, the distinction is not simply quantity and degree, but quality and essence.
The quality and essence of what “time” actually is originated with the fall; with man becoming enemies with their creator and, as a result, perverting the ideal in which they were created. “Eternity” is what we were created for; an entirely different quality and essence of living; a quality and essence which is still within our hearts; a quality and essence for which we all long.
We try to fill the void of this longing in different ways. N.T. Wright points out, we all long for beauty, for spirituality, for relationships, and for justice. These are good concepts, but by themselves will never satisfy the lust for “eternity” which God has imbedded within our hearts. As St. Augustine writes elsewhere in his Confessions, “wherever the human soul turns itself, other than you, it is fixed in sorrows, even if it is fixed upon beautiful things external to you and external to itself, which would nevertheless be nothing if they did not have their being from you.”
The only satisfying resting place for our lust for “eternity” is the gracious arms of our Redeemer.