Focusing On The External

Posted on: March 13th, 2022

The Bible and the history it records starts with these words: “In the beginning, God…” From the very first statement in the Bible, God is revealed as the eternal Creator. When Moses blessed the children of Israel in Deut. 33:27, he said, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” Paul wrote in Romans 1:20-21, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful…” God is eternal. He has always been and He will always be. And God wants us, as His creation, to view our lives in relation to eternity. God created us with a much larger purpose than to simply be His people here on this earth. He created us with the capacity to sense that there is something beyond this temporary life. In Ecclesiastes 3:11, Solomon tells us that the Lord “has put eternity in their hearts.” We were made with a capacity to grasp eternity and with a purpose to know the eternal God!

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and theologian –noted especially for his contributions to the study of fluids. I had to memorize what is known as Pascal’s Law (the basis for hydraulics) in several physics courses I took in college. However, I am more impressed with his observations concerning the spiritual realm. Pascal wrote in “Pensses”

“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God Himself.”

Pascal was basically saying that there is a longing for the eternal in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any physical thing. Pascal was simply stating what the scriptures had already declared (see Eccl. 12:13; John 4:13-14; Acts 17:27-28). Only God can fill that eternal place in our hearts. Life will never be as full or good without a relationship with the Lord. We may try to fill that longing for the eternal with money or fame or popularity or our jobs — but those kinds of things will not satisfy. A focus on merely physical things and relationships will not make life what it ought to be. It will not satisfy what we were made for. Only the eternal God can fill that void and longing – that sense of being created for more than just what we can see around us.

That’s why Paul told the Corinthians in 2 Cor. 4:18, “…while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Paul said our focus should be on the things which are not seen. What we see around us is only temporary. It is not going to last. And if we focus on just the temporary, we will never see the eternal. It is essential that we learn to look beyond this life. Because the things that we cannot see are the very basis of our faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:3). As His people, God has provided us with ample evidence of His existence and His love for us – but we have to lift our eyes above this life to begin to see and understand eternity. <Kevan O’Banion>