Friday, February 17, 2017

A Voice from the Past - Novatian

Because, since He has not any beginning, so consequently He is not conscious of an ending; unless perchance—and far from us be the thought—He at some time began to be, and is not above all things, but as He began to be after something else, He would be beneath that which was before Himself, and would so be found to be of less power, in that He is designated as subsequent even in time itself. For this reason, therefore, He is always unbounded, because nothing is greater than He; always eternal, because nothing is more ancient than He. For that which is without beginning can be preceded by none, in that He has no time. He is on that account immortal, that He does not come to an end by any ending of His completeness.

Novatian, 200-258 AD, Treatise Concerning the Trinity, Chapter II, (translated by Rev. Robert Ernest Wallis, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, T & T Clark and Wm. B. Eerdmans, Vol. V, p.1015)

What implications does the eternity of God have for us? What application does it have to our lives?


  1. The implications for me is the way that I imagine the afterlife where I will exist in a reality where time does not exist.

    1. I am not myself convinced one way or the other whether in the afterlife we go outside time or whether we are creatures of time and will meet God inside a new time stream of some sort. But it is helpful to understand the options.

    2. I have always wondered about this whole idea of time and whether another time bounded existence awaits us when we die. I question whether heaven could exist in such a time bounded realm. If it did then it would seem that God might not exist there because time appears to be something he created. It seem more logical, even though it is unimaginable, to think that we will enter an existence where we are no longer bound by time and, unlike this world, will be in the very presence of God.

    3. I can make arguments both ways. It is clear that God is present everywhere and can invade any time-bound realm as long and as frequently as He wants to. Note His regularly walking with Adam in the cool of the day. And I wonder it we as finite creatures could absorb being outside of time. But I am not dogmatic either way, but prefer to wait and see how it all works out.

  2. It makes sense to me that God does not exist in something (i.e. time) that he created. Hence, heaven is not bound by time since it is his residence ... if God has a residence.