How old is God?Question: "How old is God?"
Answer: Age is a number that represents a span from beginning to end. In order to determine age, there must be a beginning. Human beings count age, beginning with our birthdays. The moment a baby is born, we start counting. It has been seven days since he was born, we say, so he is one week old. Two months old. Four years old. The time of a person’s lifespan always begins at the date of his or her birth.
God did not have a beginning; therefore, we cannot assign Him an age. He is outside of time, so the question “how old is God?” is a non sequitur. God created time as part of this universe to mark the passing of seasons and years for us (Genesis 1:14; Psalm 104:19). But He is not subject to time. In the New Testament, He describes Himself as “the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 1:8, 11; 22:13). Alpha is the beginning letter of the Greek alphabet, and omega is the last. In the Old Testament, the Lord describes Himself as “the first and the last” (Isaiah 44:6). God is saying that He is always present at all times. There is no past or future with God. Everything is as though it were occurring right now. That’s hard for us to comprehend since we are so bound by time.
When God identified Himself to Moses for the first time, He said that His name was “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). From those Hebrew words, we extract the more familiar name for God: YAHWEH. By saying that His name was “I AM,” God was teaching Moses that He was incomparable to any other. He is above, beyond, and all-encompassing. Time cannot confine or define God. In revealing His name, God made a statement of His own self-sufficiency, self-existence, and immediate presence.
God always has been and always will be. He has no beginning and will have no end. Asking “How old is God?” is an example of a category mistake—imputing a quality to something that properly belongs only to things of another category. Other category mistakes are evident in questions such as “How long has this gravel been dead?” (it was never alive) and “What does the color orange sound like?” (colors are not sensed audibly). The question “How old is God?” assumes that God should be categorized as having age, but He is timeless and does not belong in the same category as things subject to time.
Jesus had a physical birth on earth around the year 5 BC, but that was simply the incarnation of the eternal Son of God, who exists outside of time. The Lord existed before His physical incarnation. In fact, the Bible says the earth was created by Him and through Him (Colossians 1:16; John 1:1–3). Before Abraham was born, Jesus said, “I am” (John 8:58).
In short, God does not have an age. He is timeless. He is eternal (Genesis 21:33). He holds the universe together, and without Him nothing would exist (John 1:3). If God had an age, that would mean He had a beginning and there was a time when there was no God, and such a thing is impossible. Because God has always been, we can trust that He will always be and the future is secure for those who put their trust in Him (Psalm 9:10; Proverbs 30:5).
Recommended Resource: Knowing God by J.I. Packer
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