How do you measure eternity?

I’ve heard different definitions for eternity. I listened as evangelists stood in churches my father pastored and attempted to explain how long eternity was, hoping to encourage the nonbelievers to believe.

One of their attempts involved a bird and a mountain made of the hardest diamond. Every one hundred years, the bird would approach the mountain to sharpen its beak. When he had finally worn away the mountain, only one second of eternity had passed.

Unfortunately, these, and other similar illustrations, attempt to relate eternity to time. But eternity can’t be measured in chronos (chronological) time because it is concocted in kairos (God’s) time. Yet, the message gets across. Eternity is a long time to spend apart from God.

The Bible says anyone who fails to believe in Christ by faith spends eternity in a place absent of God. “And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15 NLT).

Hell may seem unfair. To put someone there eternally with no hope of escape or relief may seem even more unjust. But I don’t make the rules; God does. I’ve heard the statement, “It doesn’t seem fair for God to send someone to hell.” But God doesn’t assign anyone to hell. We make this eternal choice if we refuse to believe in Jesus’ payment for our sins.

Some choices have eternal consequences, and whether to choose or refuse Christ is one of them. From the beginning, God established the guidelines. As Creator, he has the authority. Accept him and abundant life and eternal life in heaven is ours. Reject him, and misery and hell will follow. We may wish it another way, argue with God that it should be, or even refuse to believe he exists, but such vain attempts won’t change anything. Reality is what it is.

Since God has established life’s guiding principles, it’s fair for him to punish eternally those who choose to walk another way—snubbing their noses at him in the process. How much better to choose the brighter path?

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