I am Robby Reed, creator of this web site and author of this article, will now present my theory concerning ETERNITY. Please note that my theory is pure conjecture! My theory is this: Although ETERNITY is plainly a god-like figure, I believe he represents a real person!
As my readers know, I believe that when a "fictional" character or scene has tremendous resonance and power, it is usually because that character or scene is based on real life. It almost HAS to be! Because if it has nothing to do with real life, then it would be irrelevant to real life, and could not have any real power or resonance in real life.
So who could ETERNITY be? Well, the character was created, visually and plot-wise, by Steve Ditko -- ALONE. No one else. Stan Lee had nothing to do with the character until he saw Ditko's pencils and wrote the character's dialogue.
The character is portrayed as a cosmic, all-knowing being from whom Doc seeks knowledge -- but ultimately, ETERNITY does not fulfill Doc's wishes, at least not directly. Instead, ETERNITY tells Doc he already HAS what he needs. This story functions as a climax to Ditko's entire run on Dr. Strange.
As detailed in our Secret Origins of Spider-Man series, Ditko's work is surprisingly auto-biographical. But Steve Ditko was unhappy at Marvel at this time, and would soon leave the company, never to draw either Spidey or Doc again. As we explained in our Spider-Man Origins series, Ditko may have stayed as long as he did because the Ditko family, immigrants from the Ukraine, believed very strongly in the motto "NEVER QUIT." This fierce determination can be seen when Spidey famously lifts that giant machinery off himself.