Mark Driscoll: Eternity Is Timelessness


Today I heard Driscoll say that God is eternal, which means that he’s timeless while still acting within time.

So why does he seem to think that eternal condemnation necessitates something other than that - infinite time?


Maybe you could ask him?



There are two distinct uses of “eternal”:
(1) that which extends infinitely into the past as well as the future.
(2) that which transcends time

I always thought that the historical use of “eternal” was (1), but recently, I found out that it is, in fact (2).

When Augustine and other writers from the fourth century spoke of God being “eternal”, I had thought that they were saying that there is an infinite regression of time into the past, during which God always existed, and that there is an infinite progression of time into the future during which God will always exist. But as it turns out, that is not what they were saying at all. Rather they were saying that God is timeless; His existence is outside time, or transcends time. Thus (2) rather than (1) is the classical view of the eternality of God.

Those who hold such a view are called “eternalists”. An eternalist affirms that God does not now exist. What they mean is that God does not exist within time, and therefore does not exist now. Rather he exists outside of time (whatever that means). Even the present tense “exists” implies now, and so it seems difficult for the eternalist to even affirm that God exists. But what other choice is there for the eternalist’s desire to affirm the existence of God outside of time? Maybe a timeless tense must be invented. I hereby coin the word “ouxist” to refer to timeless existence. Then the eternalist can say, “God doesn’t exist; He ouxists.”

If you wish some in-depth reading about God and Time, I suggest the book God & Time, Four Views with contributors Paul Helm, Alan G. Padgett, William Lane Craig, and Nicholas Wolterstorff.


Good question! Sometimes our theological preconceptions fog up our sight regarding inconsistencies in our beliefs…