In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
— John 1:1, The Bible
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I am the one which was, who is, and who is yet to come. I am the Almighty.
— Revelation 1:8, also The Bible
We have no beginning. We have no end. We are infinite. Millions of years after your civilization has been eradicated and forgotten, we will endure.
— Sovereign, Mass Effect 1
Dean: So is this the part where you kill me?
Death: You have an inflated sense of your importance. To a thing like me, a thing like you, well... Think how you would feel if a bacterium sat at your table and started to get snarky. This is one little planet in one tiny solar system, in a galaxy that is barely out of its diapers. I'm old, Dean. Very old. So I invite you to contemplate how insignificant I find you. [forks over some pizza] Eat.
Dean: I gotta ask, how old are you?
Death: As old as God, maybe older. Neither of us can remember anymore. Life/Death, Chicken/Egg—regardless: at the end, I reap him too.
Dean: God? You will reap God?
Death: Oh yes. God will die too, Dean.
Dean: Well, this is way above my pay grade.
Death: Just a bit.
Nebula Man: I have lived three billion years. I might have grown huge enough to replace the entire universe. But there is something in me that remains small.
Frankenstein: Let that be your epitaph.
I can remember when your language was nothing but quaint little grunts and sneezes. That you will be slaughtered at my leisure is a foregone conclusion. So, go ahead and run your chubby little heart out.
Before Shinka's walls were built, before the torii at Okina stood, she was there, tall and proud against the sky, and she will be there long after they have fallen into dust.
— "Ayumi, the Last Visitor," Magic: The Gathering
Ere iron was found or tree was hewn,
When young was mountain under moon;
Ere ring was made, or wrought was woe,
It walked the forests long ago.
— Gandalf's Riddle of the Ents, The Lord of the Rings
The notes were painstakingly detailed, describing the origins of each [weapon], the name of the craftsmen, and in some cases, who had owned the particular dagger, sword, or spear over the span of centuries.
Remy found himself lost in the pages and time periods, remembering snippets of his own past when weapons such as these were carried with as much ease as a designer purse or iPod.
— Dancing on the Head of a Pin: A Remy Chandler Novel
Organic life is nothing more than a genetic mutation. An accident. Your lives are measured in years and decades. You wither and die. We are eternal, the pinnacle of evolution and existence. Before us, you are nothing.
— Sovereign, Mass Effect
Sometimes the discovery becomes massive and everybody in the world finds out at once and I end up on a pedestal. Sometimes they make me their leader, sometimes they call me an abomination, sometimes I get arrested and studied, usually it's all of this at once. I've been everywhere. I've done everything, spoken every language, built a pyramid, survived re-entry. History goes in cycles. If you watch it for long enough you can see the tipping points coming and be there when they happen. I invented fire, the wheel, the electric motor, antibiotics, you name it, every era, every country. Fought in X number of wars. Once, I actually ruled the whole world.
I've walked on the Moon barefoot.
— Anne Poole, Fine Structure
I have seen thousands of millions of years, [Tavi]. In a time such as that, oceans swell and die away. Deserts become green farmlands. Mountains are ground to dust and valleys, and new mountains are born in fire. The earth itself flows like water, great ranges of land spinning and colliding, and the stars themselves spin and reel into new shapes. It is the great dance, Aleran, and the lifetime of your race is but a beat within a measure... In that time, I have seen the deaths of many things. Entire species come and go, like the sparks rising from a campfire.
— Alera, First Lord's Fury
Tenant: Are you claiming that your people have been on the surface for over ten million years?
Rod: Oh, my people have been down there for much longer than that. No, I was just talking about me, personally.
Rod: If your next question is about skin cream, save it for later.
Vog: Conversion between my time scale and your own standard Earth years isn't hard, but there are a lot of zeroes. Rounding may introduce as much as a one percent margin of error.
Reverend Theo: The margin of error in your guess at your own age is bigger than the age of my whole species.
Vog: Like I said, I am having trouble understanding your perspective.
Eldest, that's what I am. Mark my words, my friends: Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the Little People arriving. He was here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the seas were bent. He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless—before the Dark Lord came from Outside.
— Tom Bombadil, The Lord of the Rings
There are not many of them, all things considered: the truly old. Even on this planet, in this age, when people consider a mere hundred years, or a thousand, to be an unusual span. There are, for example, less than ten thousand humanoid individuals alive today who have personal memories of the saber-toothed tiger, the megatherium, the cave bear. There are today less than a thousand who walked the streets of Atlantis. (The first Atlantis. The other lands that bore that name were shadows, echo-Atlantises, and they came later.) There are less than five hundred living humans who remember the human civilizations that pre-dated the great lizards. (There were a few; fossil records are unreliable. Several of them lasted for millions of years.) There are roughly seventy people walking the Earth, human to all appearances (and in some cases, to all medical tests currently available) who were alive before the Earth had begun to congeal from gas and dust. How well do you know your friends, your neighbours, your lovers? Walk the streets of any city and stare carefully at the people who pass you, and know this: They are there too. The old ones.
You know, I've been here for a very long time. I remember many things. I remember being on a shore-line, watching a little grey fish heave itself up on the beach. And an older brother saying "Don't step on that fish, Castiel. Big plans for that fish." I remember the Tower of Babel—all 37 feet of it, which I suppose was impressive at the time. And when it fell, they howled "Divine wrath!" But come on... dried dung can only be stacked so high. I remember Cain and Abel, David and Goliath, Sodom and Gomorrah.
My name is Luru Parz. I was born in AD 5279, as humans once counted Time. Now I have lived so long that such dates have no meaning. We have lost the years, lost them in orders of magnitude.
Huh, what a brat. Little children like you have no way to stand a chance against me, an eternal being. Your history of scarlet... Divided by my history, the result is zero. To an eternal one, your existence is but an instant.
It all began when your universe was forged in the crucible of the Big Bang. At this time, our civilization was already 17 years old. [...] For the first couple of milliseconds, everything was okay.
— Unnamed Nibblonian, Futurama
I suspect I saw the British Isles from what is now the French coast. Huge mountains on the other side of an enormous deep valley that was shadowed by the setting sun. This was before they were separated from the continent by the rising seas as the glacier was melting.
— John Oldman, The Man from Earth
Byrne: I miss the days when you didn't have to lather yourself with [sunscreen].
Adam: You mean before people knew about the dangers of overexposure to the sun?
Byrne: No, I mean before there was a sun.
— Mr. Young
For a trillion years I dwelt in solitude, content with my job and my stamp collecting, but then I looked across immensity and saw the big bang, and I was like,"Whoa, who's that?" And I knew then that I was lonely.
Don't quote the old magic to me, witch. I was there when it was written.
Hellboy... Your fall should be like the fall of mountains... But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning and shall be forever... The first and the last... The world come full circle.
— The Ogdru Jahad, Hellboy
The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old;
I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
When there were no watery depths, I was given birth, when there were no springs overflowing with water;
before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth,
before He made the world or its fields or any of the dust of the earth.
I was there when He set the heavens in place, when He marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
when He established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
when He gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when He marked out the foundations of the earth.
Then I was constantly at His side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in His presence,
rejoicing in His whole world
and delighting in mankind.
Our Galaxy is now in the brief springtime of its life — a springtime made glorious by such brilliant blue-white stars as Vega and Sirius, and, on a more humble scale, our own Sun. Not until all these have flamed through their incandescent youth, in a few fleeting billions of years, will the real history of the universe begin.
It will be a history illuminated only by the reds and infra-reds of dully glowing stars that would be almost invisible to our eyes; yet the somber hues of that all-but-eternal universe may be full of color and beauty to whatever strange beings have adapted to it. They will know that before them lie, not the millions of years in which we measure the eras of geology, nor the billions of years which span the past lives of the stars, but years to be counted literally in trillions.
They will have time enough, in those endless aeons, to attempt all things, and to gather all knowledge. They will not be like gods, because no gods imagined by our minds have ever possessed the powers they will command. But for all that, they may envy us, basking in the bright afterglow of creation; for we knew the universe when it was young.
—Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future
...no recorded event has occurred in the world but Damascus was in existence to receive the news of it. Go back as far as you will into the vague past, there was always a Damascus. In the writings of every century for more than four thousand years, its name has been mentioned and its praises sung. To Damascus, years are only moments, decades are only flitting trifles of time. She measures time, not by days and months and years, but by the empires she has seen rise, and prosper and crumble to ruin. She is a type of immortality. She saw the foundations of Baalbec, and Thebes, and Ephesus laid; she saw these villages grow into mighty cities, and amaze the world with their grandeur—and she has lived to see them desolate, deserted, and given over to the owls and the bats. She saw the Israelitish empire exalted, and she saw it annihilated. She saw Greece rise, and flourish two thousand years, and die. In her old age she saw Rome built; she saw it overshadow the world with its power; she saw it perish. The few hundreds of years of Genoese and Venetian might and splendor were, to grave old Damascus, only a trifling scintillation hardly worth remembering. Damascus has seen all that has ever occurred on earth, and still she lives. She has looked upon the dry bones of a thousand empires, and will see the tombs of a thousand more before she dies. Though another claims the name, old Damascus is by right the Eternal City.
—Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad