What unseen things are eternal?

“We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

There is a physical realm and a spiritual realm. The physical realm is finite. The universe had a beginning and will have an end. The spiritual realm is infinite.

Science deals with the physical realm. Philosophy and religion deal with the spiritual realm.

Philosophically, if something exists now, something must have always existed. According to scientific observations, the physical realm has not always existed. Thus, it must be something spiritual that has always existed.

Intelligence is the most exalted phenomenon we observe. The intelligence of one person is more amazing than all the physical things of the universe combined. Thus to conclude that an intelligent, Spiritual Being has always existed, is logical and consistent with scientific observations and philosophical principles.

Paul’s statement that “the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18) is scientifically and philosophically sound.

What unseen things are eternal? First, and foremost:

God is eternal.

Moses was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter and had access to all the wealth of Egypt. Yet, beyond the vanity of visible things, he saw the Unseen God: “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:24-27).

How could Moses ‘see’ the unseen God? The same way all men and women of faith are conscious of God’s presence. God has made Himself known. Paul explains: “What may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful” (Romans 1:19-21).

The story is told of an atheist who sneeringly asked a little girl if she believed in God. When she replied that she did, he said: “I’ll give you a euro if you can show me where God is.” She replied, “Sir, I’ll give you 5 euros if you can show me where God isn’t!”

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:3).

God is self-existent, He always has existed and always shall exist.

When God told Moses to rescue His people from Egypt, Moses asked: “When I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them? And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you”’” (Exodus 3:13, 14).

The one true God does not need a proper name to distinguish Him from other gods. He is God. He is the Lord. He is ‘I AM’, Infinite Being.

Among the people of Israel this became a sacred designation for God. The Hebrew word, sometimes transliterated as Jehovah or Jaweh, is called the Tetragrammaton because it consists of four consonants. Ancient written Hebrew did not include vowels. The vowels had to be inserted mentally when the text was read. Thus, many written words could have different meanings depending on which vowels were added.

I once asked a rabbi why Jews do not pronounce the Tetragrammaton. His explanation was that the written word could mean ‘I am’, ‘I was’ and ‘I shall be’ depending on the vowels added. Thus, to pronounce the word would limit its meaning.

This designation for God appears more than 6000 times in the Old Testament. When the text was read aloud, however, the word for ‘Lord’ was read. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the New Testament writers used the Greek word for ‘Lord’ to translate Old Testament quotations containing the Tetragrammaton except in a few instances where the Greek word for ‘God’ appears.

Jesus is I AM.

When the writer of Hebrews says: “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), he is ascribing this trait to Christ.

That Jesus is the same, relates to what is said of God in the Psalms: “Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will have no end” (Psalm 102:25-27).

This Psalm is addressed to God (verse 24). The designation ‘Jehovah’ is used seven times (in verses 1, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19 and 22). God does not change. With the “Father of lights” “there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:16). “For I am the LORD, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6).

In Hebrews 13 it says that Jesus Christ is always the same. In Hebrews, chapter 1, Psalm 102 is applied to Christ (preceded by Psalm 45:6, 7).
“But to the Son He says:
‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;

A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.’
‘You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,

And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
They will perish, but You remain;
And they will all grow old like a garment;
Like a cloak You will fold them up,
And they will be changed.
But You are the same,
And Your years will not fail’”
(Hebrews 1:8-12).

This text proclaims the deity, eternity and changelessness of Christ.

The immutability of Christ is contrasted with the continually changing universe that will pass away. Jesus said: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

“They will perish, but You remain. . They will be changed, but You are the same” (Psalm 102:26, 27). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God’” (Isaiah 44:6). The two words ‘LORD’ in this verse are translations of the Tetragrammaton. The I AM is the first and the last.

In Isaiah 48 the Lord says: “I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last” (Verse 12).

In the Revelation to John, Jesus says: “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore” (Revelation 1:17, 18). “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:13). Thus, the designation, the First and the Last (which can only apply to God, the I AM) also applies to Christ.

Jesus told the unbelieving Jews: “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). If Jesus had said ‘I was’ He would have only stated that He existed before Abraham. By saying “Before Abraham was, I AM” He declares Himself to be Jehovah.

“We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

We endure as seeing Him who is invisible.

God is eternal, He is I AM. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is also I AM with the Father. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever” (Hebrews 1:8).

“The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary” (Isaiah 40:28). “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17).

Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version, ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers. Permission for reference use has been granted.