Do You Understand Eternal Life? ~ BitterSweetLife

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Do You Understand Eternal Life?

"And this is eternal life," said Jesus, "that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." In terms of a "metaphysical definition" of the afterlife (or priorlife, as I like to call it), this may be the closest thing we have from Someone who knows. Jesus said this as he prayed to his Father, the disciples listening. If they were anything like us, his sentence may have been mind-bending.

They would have realized, for example, that eternal life represents more than infinite elapsed time that would reduce us to shrunken heads with withered sticks for limbs. Instead, eternal life in its essence has a relational focus: friendship with the unimaginably deep persons of the trinity. "Knowing the true God" is a goal that defies a long weekend or a spiritual retreat, and those who follow Jesus would acknowledge this. But we don't necessarily realize that a lifetime or a thousand years are equally inadequate. So in light of knowing the Father and Jesus, eternal life is extremely practical.

Unfortunately, we tend to pick up on "eternal" and downplay "life," emptying the phrase of the greater part of its meaning. Sure, "eternal" is a long time. But "life" is, at the very least, the antithesis of protracted tedium. The way the concept of "eternal" trips us up betrays the fact that we're more familiar with the 60-hour work week than with any deep experience of vitality.

Time--the mysterious way it both bores us and confines us--we think we understand. Life--the fact that we have hardly grasped it, and only haltingly understand its relational center--this reality still eludes us.



Like what you read? Don't forget to bookmark this post or subscribe to the feed.

4 comments:

R. Sherman said...

Nice thoughts.

I've always maintained that time is a property of this universe which God created. God exists outside of time; for Him it is meaningless. I would anticipate that it will be such for us ultimately, as well.

Cheers.

MICHAEL said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ched said...

the fact that we have hardly grasped it, and only haltingly understand its relational center--this reality still eludes us.


Good Words.

Camille said...

Thanks for pointing out the "relational" aspect of eternity. It sounds like something we can literally strive for.

 

Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife