The Divine mind and will cannot regard Deity under the aspect of time. And it is in that timeless nature that the Infinite knows the finite. The finite is known and willed by God according to his own mode of consciousness, which, unlike ours, is transcendent and eternal. God, in knowing the imitability of his nature, knows his creatures. In willing his own perfection he purposes theirs, and has never lacked the full realization of his creative power and purposive providence. In what we call the distant future his activity will be no greater and no less than it has ever been. Thus sang the Psalmist: “In the beginning, O Lord, thou foundest the earth: and the heavens are the work thy hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest: and all of them shall grow old like a garment: and as a vesture thou shall change them, and they shall be changed. But thou art always the self-same, and thy years shall not fail.” (Psalm 101: 26-28) “The mercy of the Lord is from eternity and unto eternity upon them that fear him.” (Psalm 102: 17)
Eternally complete self-realization is possible to God only, who is the infinite and omnipotent mind. Eternity is not cumulative or acquirable by countless ages of existence: it is a single infinite fact without process or temporal qualities. Hence the universe can never become eternal; it is characteristically changeful and therefore temporal. Even could we suppose that it never had a beginning it would be in no sense eternal, since it can never include its future in any given stage. We learn from revelation that the world had, in fact, a first stage or beginning. Futhermore, eternity is nothing other than infinity under the aspect of duration. Thus only that which is infinite is eternal, and what is eternal must be infinite in every respect. Infinity is possessed in its entirety or not at all. The universe not being infinite, but finite, is thus known to be limited in duration. Thus temporal, it is incapable of eternity in the past and in the future. In no respect does it transcend the category of time, though the age of the suns has not yet been finally calculated by man.
The universe, at each moment, is, however, related by dependence to the whole of eternity. God’s creative act being eternal has no stages corresponding to the events of time. The eternal is one and indivisible. Whatever, therefore, is ever related to eternity is related to the whole of eternity. But to co-exist with the whole of eternity is not to co-exist always with eternity. Hence, though in the eternal comprehension of God things neither begin nor end, their own changeful and temporal character remains.