In this section we look at three aspects of God as he is in himself … as he is before the beginning of all things, and apart from his relationship to all that he created.

These three aspects of God’s being are:

•    Eternity
•    Trinity
•    Holiness

These are essential aspects of God’s being. They express and define what he is: eternal, triune and holy. They set boundaries around the way we understand God; they outlaw any lesser concepts and definitions of God. They are true of God whether we and the world exist or not.

As we work through these studies you will realise that it is not possible for us to speak of these eternal aspects of God without speaking from our own finite perspective. We can only speak of him because he has chosen to reveal himself to us in our time/space world.

In addition, we can only understand these and other aspects of God’s being if we speak of them in terms of thesis – what God is, and antithesis – what God is not. Because he is in himself one-of-a-kind it is impossible to adequately describe him except by using contrast. We cannot say ‘God is like’, as there is absolutely nothing that he is actually like. There is nothing and no one who was there before the beginning of time, and the world, and us. We can only say God is …, and God is not … .

You will also realise as we work through these studies that other aspects of God’s being could have been included in this ‘before the beginning’ section: God is love and God is light are two such aspects. Because they are best understood in terms of God’s relationship with us, they are the focus of studies in other sections.

Also included in this section, by way of contrast, is a study on a range of human concepts of god.