Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

Search:

Or browse the dictionary by selecting a letter!
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

ETERNITY

in its full sense, duration of being without beginning, succession, or ending. Only God possesses the fullness of eternity, since only he always existed (no beginning), has no succession (no change), and will never end (no cessation). It is defined Catholic doctrine that God possesses the divine Being in a constant undivided now. His eternity is the perfect and simultaneous total possession of interminable life.

Rational creatures share in God's eternity, but only approximate it, by participation. Angels have a beginning, and they have a succession of past, present, and future, but they have no cessation since they are pure spirits that will never die or cease to be. Human beings likewise have a beginning and they have succession, but unlike the angels they will die in body, to be later resurrected, while the souls live on forever. In God's absolute power, however, angels and human souls could be deprived of existence. Their eternity depends on the goodness and will of God.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Church Fathers: The Other Greek Apologists April 19
Mysteries, again and again! April 17
Tips for getting comfortable with evangelization April 17
The Shroud of Turin on Display (and an odd canonical case against it) April 16
The Vatican says the LCWR is acting Catholic. And that's news. April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16
Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn CWN - 4 hours ago