Last modified on July 10, 2024, at 17:37

Eternal life

Eternal life has two complementary meanings in the New Testament:

  • its primary meaning, as repeatedly used in the Gospel of John, includes immediate, complete, perpetual happiness in this life, thereby overcoming anxiety, addiction, and pain, now and forever;[1]
  • its merely temporal meaning, as used in identical ways by the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, is realizing endless happiness in heaven,[2] and to some extent the fullness of life in this lifetime to those that embraced his lessons on living a good life.

Today a more powerful term may be "infinite life" to best convey the original meaning, which connotes benefits now and not merely in the distant future. An addition of the connotation of God or good would also be appropriate.

Eternal life is the same as infinite time, and the development of the concept of infinity was primarily Christian. Before Christianity, the Greeks mocked the idea of infinity.

Combatting Anxiety

Realization of eternal life now, as in Jesus not needing food due to this, is a very powerful way to overcome anxiety:

Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought him something to eat?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.[3]

New Testament

All the explicit references to "eternal life" are in the New Testament, totaling 44 (18 of which are in the Gospel of John). The far higher frequency by which John the Apostle uses this phrase both in the Gospel of John and in First Epistle of John confirms that the author of these two works were the same person, in spite of liberal denial by some modern-day "scholars" who claim that the Gospel and Epistles of John were written by different authors.

Old Testament

The concept of eternal life exists in the Old Testament also. In Proverbs 12:28 (ESV):

In the path of righteousness is life,

and in its pathway there is no death.

See also


  1. John 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, and 12.
  2. Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:44; Luke 18:30
  3. John 4:31-36