How Old Is God
John S. Robertson’s articles are for Children, true; but more, they will help the parent and the Sunday School teacher in finding answers to some of the baffling questions raised by the little ones which God in His providence has entrusted to us. There is a series of these. Read them all and keep them for reference.
“Granpa”, said John, looking up from his place on the floor, where he had been colouring the picture on his Sunday School paper, “How old is God?”
Grandpa smiled down at the earnest little face looking up at him. Then reaching down he picked up„ from the floor, the rubber band John had been using to keep his colouring crayons together. He handed it to his grandson, saying, “Tell me, where is the beginning of this band?”
John took the rubber band between the thumb and forefinger of each hand and moved it along between his fingers. Finally, he looked up and exclaimed, “I really don’t know.”
“Now that is strange,” grandpa replied. “Here you have something you can see and feel and yet you can’t tell me where it begins. Perhaps you can tell where it ends.”
John continued to move the band between his fingers, all the time examining it. Then, looking up again, he declared, “It has no beginning, nor end. It just goes on and on.”
“Well,” announced grandpa. “That is just like God. He has neither beginning nor end either. Now, how old is a person who has neither beginning nor end?”
“I guess there is no number you can give for God’s age,” volunteered John.
“Speaking of numbers,” interrupted grandpa, “Can you write the counting numbers in their correct order, John?”
“Why, yes,” he replied and began to write them down 1, 2, 3, … When shall I stop?”
“When you get to the last one,” offered grandpa, smiling broadly. “That will take a long time,” the boy protested, stopping his writing. “How do you get the next number after the one you have just written?” inquired grandpa, patiently.
“By adding one to it,” came the immediate response.
“Well, then,” questioned grandpa, “when anyone wrote what he thought was the last number could you write still another one by just adding to his number?”
“I would think so,” John replied. “If that is so,” pursued grandpa, “how long could you go on writing numbers?”
“For ever,” John replied soberly.
“Do you know the name your mathematics teacher would use to describe a set of numbers that goes on for ever?” asked grandpa.
“No, I don’t,” said John, truthfully.
“I will tell you,” offered grandpa. ‘He would call it an infinite set. That means it has neither beginning nor end. Sometimes people say God is infinite.
“But,” expostulated John, “the counting numbers begin with one.”
“Let me show you,” explained grandpa,” that there is a set of numbers that has neither beginning nor end. What number comes before one?”
John thought for a moment and then suggested, “Zero comes before one.”
“What number comes before zero?” was the next question.
“There is no number before zero,” declared John.
“Let me show you,” continued grandpa, “that there is not only one number but an infinite number of numbers before zero. I will put one end of this yard stick on the ground and I want you to show me where 1 foot above the ground is and where 2 feet above the ground is.
John did this by first placing his finger on the 1 foot mark and then on the 2 foot mark on the yard stick.
“Now.” requested grandpa,” show me where 1 foot below the ground is and where 2 feet below the ground is.”
John thought about this for a minute and then blurted out, “I would have to dig down into the ground to do that.”
“Would it be easier to write down this than show it?” asked grandpa.
“Of course,” John replied, and wrote down ‘1 foot above the ground,’ ‘2 feet above ground,’ ‘1 foot below ground’ and ‘2 feet below ground.’
“There is a much easier way to write it than that,” volunteered grandpa. For 1 foot above the ground I would simply write ‘1 ft.’ but for 1 foot below the ground I would write a negative sign before the 1 and it would appear as ‘-1 ft.’ Then 2 feet below ground would be written ‘-2 ft.’ What number would come before -2?”
“A negative three,” responded John. “So we could go on forever with these numbers.”
“That is quite correct,” agreed grandpa. The negative number simply indicates we are going in the opposite direction and our set of numbers looks like this … -5, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, … The dots at the beginning and at the end show that we could go on forever with these numbers. We could say this set is endless but we prefer to call it an infinite set. You see, John, God is endless or God is infinite. We can now answer your question, ‘How old is God?’ by using a word like endless but with the word age in it.
“Ageless,” cried John. “God is ageless.”
Passages to Read: Gen. 1:1, 3:14, 21:33; Psa. 41:13, 45:6, 90:2, 93:2, 102:24-27, 103:15-17; Prov. 8:22-30; Isa. 26:4, 40:25-28, 41:4; Mic. 5:2; Hab. 2:12; Rom. 16:26; Heb. 1:8; Rev. 1:18, 4:8-9, 10:5-6.