Eternal Kind of Life
I had always thought that having eternal life meant unending life. Never really thinking that the word eternal is descriptive of not of time, but of timelessness. In order to be eternal it would have to have no beginning as well as no end.
It was while reading “The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard that I was first introduced to the concept that “Eternal life” refers to a KIND of life. (p.53)
In today’s terminology, I think it might be expressed “sustainable life”…the kind of life that could safely be allowed to continue “forever”.
When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God…(Genesis 3) God had told them that they would die as a consequence….and they did, but in the mean while, God had to remove them from the idyllic Eden (Gen 3:22) “lest he put forth his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” My Bible has a footnote there which says, “This sentence is left unfinished, as if to hasten to avert the tragedy suggested of men living on forever in their now fallen state.”
Now leaving Genesis and going to Jesus’ beautiful prayer for us which is in John 17, (Please read the whole lovely chapter...preferably in the Amplified Bible...haha) we see Jesus giving the definition of eternal life which Dallas Willard had indicated in his book. In v.3 (He is talking to His Father) Jesus says, “And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), whom You have sent.”
I feel like I could go in a few different directions from this point but I hate to have too long of a post….and I want to slow down and write thoughtfully…so for this time I will just leave it at this. “Eternal life” is not about “making it” to heaven….it it about becoming, through the work of Christ and the ongoing workings of the Holy Spirit, the kind of person whom Father God can safely allow to continue in a sustainable (perfect) ongoing life. (To be continued)