First of all, I just discovered that I haven’t posted a blog here since Christmas. I knew I had missed a coupla weeks, but I didn’t realize that I hadn’t even created a 2023 folder for my writings, much less written anything to put in it! So I really need to discipline myself to take the time every Tuesday (as I was doing before) to write.
Second, the idea for this entry actually started several years ago when I was still visiting the fitness center at the Y. I had befriended an elderly German gent, a retired OB-GYN and classically-trained musician, named Win. Win was not at all into religion, so he and I had some edifying discussions, since he was never obnoxiously defensive about his beliefs, nor was I. Rather, we were each interested in seeing how much we might learn from the other. We found ourselves basically “comparing notes” on issues. The fact that we could end our workout time as friends spoke volumes.
One time I remember we somehow got onto the topic of God’s being infinite. It was one time that I think I introduced an idea that made Win pause. He was OK with the idea that God would never die. But he had never considered that God was never born. As with most of us, Win was simply projecting into the future and saying, “OK, God will always exist,” but I asked him if he ever thought “backwards” into the past to realize that God had always been? That God’s eternity moved in both directions, past as well as future? That God always was, is, and always will be?
This is where I find Revelation 22.13 to be somewhat misleading. Here, God says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” The intent, of course, is to affirm that God exists continuously, but to use terms like “First” and “Beginning” suggests that there must have been a time, an era, if you will, when God did not exist. That would lead automatically to the question of how God came about or where God “came from.” Perhaps even, “who” was God’s creator? And we know, of course, that there is none greater than God, no one who existed before God because God never had a beginning per se.
To those of us who live in three dimensions and are trapped in time and space, the idea of anyone or anything having no beginning is inconceivable. If God is here now, we reason, then God must have come from somewhere. Where is God’s origin? God must have emerged from someplace in order to be here now. That would make sense to how we understand things to be.
But God never wasted a millisecond worrying about conforming to human understanding. If we aren’t equipped to understand that God has always been – did not “originate” anywhere, has no beginning or “birth” – then we simply must face the fact that we will never understand in this life. Someday it will all make sense, but not before we take that final ride from here to … infinity.