The One True God is self-existing; he always has been and always will be. How old, therefore, can we realistically say God is? The very question is incomprehensible. Whatever span of time we ascribe to God’s existence, he has existed for infinitely longer than that. Actually, it might make more sense to say we cannot meaningfully attribute the characteristic of age to God, although in Christianity he is described as the Alpha and Omega; the beginning and the end. In reality, there was no beginning and there will be no ending to God’s existence.
It would be great if there was a way that we could capture the essence of the above paragraph in a word that we can use in day to day conversation. For example, a person might be talking to their friend about their job which they have been doing for 25 years, and they might feel that 25 years is an incredibly long time to be working in a role. But then, they might feel they want to make the point that while 25 years is a long time, the amount of time God has been ‘working’ is infinitely longer.
My suggestion is that we coin a new phrase, ‘ingrascoth’, which we can define as, “indicating that God is infinitely greater in his attributes than we can express”. The phrase is short for the expression, ‘in the grand scheme of things’. So, for instance, a person may comment, “You know what, Martha? I realised today I’ve just surpassed the anniversary of my 25th year in this wretched job. What do you think about that, Hank?” And Hank might reply, “Martha, you made a big commitment, but, well, ‘ingrascoth’, as they say!” Ingrascoth indeed.
As well as applying to time, the phrase could also be used when referring to anything that needs to be put in its proper perspective or context, taking into account the infinite nature of God. So, I may have to go to the dentist, and comment, “It’s going to hurt, but ingrascoth!”, reflecting the truth that God could make me suffer for an infinite amount of time with agonising severity if he willed to do so.
This post is the latest installment in my Praise and Prose series, which examines the way we use language in light of certain truths concerning God’s nature and his absolute sovereignty over the unfolding of all events, which is a key principle of my philosophical perspective.
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