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Old 06-16-2011, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Wa
5,302 posts, read 5,888,200 times
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What is Eternal Life?

Eternal life is a popular religious concept that is equated with the idea of life after death, usually in the presence of God. The expression "eternal life" Gr. αἰώνιος ζωή comes from the New Testament. It occurs in the Synoptic Gospels, but is an especially important theme in the Gospel of John (seventeen occurrences) and 1st John (six times), therefore we can trace the depths of this idea best in the Johannine texts.

"Life" is itself a favorite of John (thirty-six times in the Gospel and thirteen times in his letters) and without the adjectival modifier "eternal" still designates a special concept. "Life" and "eternal life" indicate something different from that of "natural and/or biological" life, which is referred to as "soul" Gr. ψυχή.

Natural or physical life ends in death, but life is viewed positively by the authors in the New Testament as God's greatest gift to humanity. In developing this idea, the author of the Gospel was not, feely inventing a line of thought, but rather he was working with and making full use of an existing theme shown in Matt 10:17,30 cf. Matt 19:16,29 and Luke 18:18,30 as well as Matt 25:46 and Luke 10:25 in relation to life in the Age to Come, ohjerwise known as the Kingdom of God Luke 18:30.

Scholars debate whether the Greek or Hebrew, or more particularly Gnostic or rabbinic, thought provides the background out of which the authors drew inspiration from the idea of eternal life. Though the discussion continues, the current tendency is to favor a Hellenistic Jewish (not purely Greek philosophical or Gnostic) background that interprets "eternal life" as a development of the apocalyptic and eschatological idea of two ages, "this age" and "the age to come" (cf. 1 Enoch and 4 Ezra). In such thought there is both a temporal and qualitative difference between the two ages, with the future being superior in duration and quality.

In the New Testament the concept of "eternal life" has both the notions of temporal (everlasting) and qualitative (abundance) superiority in comparison with natural or physical life, but the use of the phrase in the Gospel and 1st John reveals that the qualitative aspect is the foremost in the author's thinking. It is clear that the usage of it is not simply futuristic, as it is the present possession that is predominantly in view, or better yet, the quality of their existence in this life, for those who believe in Jesus. This does not mean there is no future dimension to eternal life, as in continuing beyond death, but the author is more concentrated and intends his focus on the importance of eternal life as a transformed human existence in the present tense than with developing it about life after physical death. Therefore, contemporary scholars and newer translations use "eternal life" rather than "everlasting life" for the Greek term, removing the emphasis of the durative theme and defining it with a more qualitative dimension.

In conclusion, "eternal life" is the life of God. Just as God breathed life into Adam; and his partner, Eve, who is the mother of all "living"; so too God spoke the divine Word of Life, Jesus Christ, who was incarnated in order for us to obtain eternal life. For us, Jesus is life, and through our belief in Him we receive his life which is God's own life breathed forth in Him. Jesus accomplished the promise of eternal life to believers by offering Himself in death and resurrection so He can communicate eternal life by breathing forth the life giving spirit upon them. WHile this life cannot be destroyed, and thus lasts forever, the main opponent of eternal life is sin, not death. Therefore because believers live in the physical and natural world having already received that which was bestowed in faith, they live opposing sin with no fear of biological death. Perhaps the single most definitive statement ever used in the New Testament for the characteristics of eternal life is in John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

Eternal Life described as knowing God does not refer to some mastered factual information or an ecstatically communicated spiritual experience, but rather to a thorough and on-going relationship with God, in and through the belief in Jesus who Himself brings the life of God into the lives of believers.

Thanks for reading.
Ken Palmer
Covenant Preterism
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:42 PM
 
Location: Seattle, Washington
8,435 posts, read 9,585,590 times
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Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:50 PM
 
Location: Indianapolis
4,325 posts, read 5,645,372 times
Reputation: 675
Quote:
Originally Posted by sciotamicks View Post
What is Eternal Life?

Eternal life is a popular religious concept that is equated with the idea of life after death, usually in the presence of God. The expression "eternal life" Gr. αἰώνιος ζωή comes from the New Testament. It occurs in the Synoptic Gospels, but is an especially important theme in the Gospel of John (seventeen occurrences) and 1st John (six times), therefore we can trace the depths of this idea best in the Johannine texts.

"Life" is itself a favorite of John (thirty-six times in the Gospel and thirteen times in his letters) and without the adjectival modifier "eternal" still designates a special concept. "Life" and "eternal life" indicate something different from that of "natural and/or biological" life, which is referred to as "soul" Gr. ψυχή.

Natural or physical life ends in death, but life is viewed positively by the authors in the New Testament as God's greatest gift to humanity. In developing this idea, the author of the Gospel was not, feely inventing a line of thought, but rather he was working with and making full use of an existing theme shown in Matt 10:17,30 cf. Matt 19:16,29 and Luke 18:18,30 as well as Matt 25:46 and Luke 10:25 in relation to life in the Age to Come, ohjerwise known as the Kingdom of God Luke 18:30.

Scholars debate whether the Greek or Hebrew, or more particularly Gnostic or rabbinic, thought provides the background out of which the authors drew inspiration from the idea of eternal life. Though the discussion continues, the current tendency is to favor a Hellenistic Jewish (not purely Greek philosophical or Gnostic) background that interprets "eternal life" as a development of the apocalyptic and eschatological idea of two ages, "this age" and "the age to come" (cf. 1 Enoch and 4 Ezra). In such thought there is both a temporal and qualitative difference between the two ages, with the future being superior in duration and quality.

In the New Testament the concept of "eternal life" has both the notions of temporal (everlasting) and qualitative (abundance) superiority in comparison with natural or physical life, but the use of the phrase in the Gospel and 1st John reveals that the qualitative aspect is the foremost in the author's thinking. It is clear that the usage of it is not simply futuristic, as it is the present possession that is predominantly in view, or better yet, the quality of their existence in this life, for those who believe in Jesus. This does not mean there is no future dimension to eternal life, as in continuing beyond death, but the author is more concentrated and intends his focus on the importance of eternal life as a transformed human existence in the present tense than with developing it about life after physical death. Therefore, contemporary scholars and newer translations use "eternal life" rather than "everlasting life" for the Greek term, removing the emphasis of the durative theme and defining it with a more qualitative dimension.

In conclusion, "eternal life" is the life of God. Just as God breathed life into Adam; and his partner, Eve, who is the mother of all "living"; so too God spoke the divine Word of Life, Jesus Christ, who was incarnated in order for us to obtain eternal life. For us, Jesus is life, and through our belief in Him we receive his life which is God's own life breathed forth in Him. Jesus accomplished the promise of eternal life to believers by offering Himself in death and resurrection so He can communicate eternal life by breathing forth the life giving spirit upon them. WHile this life cannot be destroyed, and thus lasts forever, the main opponent of eternal life is sin, not death. Therefore because believers live in the physical and natural world having already received that which was bestowed in faith, they live opposing sin with no fear of biological death. Perhaps the single most definitive statement ever used in the New Testament for the characteristics of eternal life is in John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

Eternal Life described as knowing God does not refer to some mastered factual information or an ecstatically communicated spiritual experience, but rather to a thorough and on-going relationship with God, in and through the belief in Jesus who Himself brings the life of God into the lives of believers.

Thanks for reading.
Ken Palmer
Covenant Preterism

Since life is Love in action, eternal life would be eternal love.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:39 PM
 
6,221 posts, read 7,337,867 times
Reputation: 697
I think I agree with the gist of what you are saying here Ken.

As you and Kat pointed out:
John 17:3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Its not really about quantity (duration), but quality - knowing God. Knowing LOVE.
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:27 PM
 
13,526 posts, read 17,803,793 times
Reputation: 16499
I will live on in my children, and grandchildren......to me, that is eternal life.
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Old 06-17-2011, 04:58 PM
 
910 posts, read 1,216,210 times
Reputation: 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by sciotamicks View Post
What is Eternal Life?

Eternal life is a popular religious concept that is equated with the idea of life after death, usually in the presence of God. The expression "eternal life" Gr. αἰώνιος ζωή comes from the New Testament. It occurs in the Synoptic Gospels, but is an especially important theme in the Gospel of John (seventeen occurrences) and 1st John (six times), therefore we can trace the depths of this idea best in the Johannine texts.

"Life" is itself a favorite of John (thirty-six times in the Gospel and thirteen times in his letters) and without the adjectival modifier "eternal" still designates a special concept. "Life" and "eternal life" indicate something different from that of "natural and/or biological" life, which is referred to as "soul" Gr. ψυχή.

Natural or physical life ends in death, but life is viewed positively by the authors in the New Testament as God's greatest gift to humanity. In developing this idea, the author of the Gospel was not, feely inventing a line of thought, but rather he was working with and making full use of an existing theme shown in Matt 10:17,30 cf. Matt 19:16,29 and Luke 18:18,30 as well as Matt 25:46 and Luke 10:25 in relation to life in the Age to Come, ohjerwise known as the Kingdom of God Luke 18:30.

Scholars debate whether the Greek or Hebrew, or more particularly Gnostic or rabbinic, thought provides the background out of which the authors drew inspiration from the idea of eternal life. Though the discussion continues, the current tendency is to favor a Hellenistic Jewish (not purely Greek philosophical or Gnostic) background that interprets "eternal life" as a development of the apocalyptic and eschatological idea of two ages, "this age" and "the age to come" (cf. 1 Enoch and 4 Ezra). In such thought there is both a temporal and qualitative difference between the two ages, with the future being superior in duration and quality.

In the New Testament the concept of "eternal life" has both the notions of temporal (everlasting) and qualitative (abundance) superiority in comparison with natural or physical life, but the use of the phrase in the Gospel and 1st John reveals that the qualitative aspect is the foremost in the author's thinking. It is clear that the usage of it is not simply futuristic, as it is the present possession that is predominantly in view, or better yet, the quality of their existence in this life, for those who believe in Jesus. This does not mean there is no future dimension to eternal life, as in continuing beyond death, but the author is more concentrated and intends his focus on the importance of eternal life as a transformed human existence in the present tense than with developing it about life after physical death. Therefore, contemporary scholars and newer translations use "eternal life" rather than "everlasting life" for the Greek term, removing the emphasis of the durative theme and defining it with a more qualitative dimension.

In conclusion, "eternal life" is the life of God. Just as God breathed life into Adam; and his partner, Eve, who is the mother of all "living"; so too God spoke the divine Word of Life, Jesus Christ, who was incarnated in order for us to obtain eternal life. For us, Jesus is life, and through our belief in Him we receive his life which is God's own life breathed forth in Him. Jesus accomplished the promise of eternal life to believers by offering Himself in death and resurrection so He can communicate eternal life by breathing forth the life giving spirit upon them. WHile this life cannot be destroyed, and thus lasts forever, the main opponent of eternal life is sin, not death. Therefore because believers live in the physical and natural world having already received that which was bestowed in faith, they live opposing sin with no fear of biological death. Perhaps the single most definitive statement ever used in the New Testament for the characteristics of eternal life is in John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

Eternal Life described as knowing God does not refer to some mastered factual information or an ecstatically communicated spiritual experience, but rather to a thorough and on-going relationship with God, in and through the belief in Jesus who Himself brings the life of God into the lives of believers.

Thanks for reading.
Ken Palmer
Covenant Preterism
Eternal life refers to life on earth, because in the spirit, life is already eternal as no spirit can die. Not that you will live forever, but that even after death, you reincarnate back to the world, oftentimes in another setting. Hope that helps?
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Quote:
What is Eternal Life?
Living forever with God, freed from the physical shell of the body.
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
2,705 posts, read 2,903,705 times
Reputation: 854
Quote:
Not that you will live forever, but that even after death, you reincarnate back to the world, oftentimes in another setting.
Are you referring to the New Earth and glorified human bodies? Your words are very interesting.
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
2,705 posts, read 2,903,705 times
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Eternal = Everlasting

They are synonyms for each other.
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Old 06-18-2011, 01:12 AM
 
910 posts, read 1,216,210 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theophane View Post
Are you referring to the New Earth and glorified human bodies? Your words are very interesting.
We are already in that new earth!

When Christ gave his life, he said it is finished. That marked the start of the New earth and new Heaven. There is no more curse. Since then all other events have been aligned according to the plan of God for the world.

A glorified human body simply means a body that has the Holy Spirit living in it. Full Stop! You banish the sting of death by filling your spirit with the spirit of God. Physical Death will surely occur (like when you are transferred from one location to another) but then you live because you must certainly reincarnate into the world. That cycle of life, transfer(which you call death), life is known as everlasting Life.
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