Eternal life – Quantity or Quality

Eternal life is to be seen in opposition to eternal death/damnation and is not necessarily a question of quantity of time, but a contrast of how that timeframe will be spent.  Jonathan Edward’s famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” is partly renowned for its illustrative portrayal of God’s judgment and wrath towards sinners.  What grabs the attention is when you learn that this is not just some small timeout, lecture, or scolding, but a torturous and eternal punishment for having eternally offending the one eternal and glorious God.  When the Bible speaks of there being eternal life in Jesus, we are to read that as something counter to eternal judgment and punishment.  Even sinners can expect to face an eternity of life, but the quality of that life is not something to reflect upon lightly.  It is a terrible thing to ignore a boss or parent and to exert our own power and will. To do so provokes their just wrath for disobedience and yet how much more is it to offend the God who gave us life and breath?

Thus the timeframe is not something to think about exclusively in the sense of more time. The element of time is present, but the focus is upon how that eternal state will be spent.  We can all think about needing more time, or wanting more time to accomplish things, go places, and in my case read, write and teach more.  We think of loved ones and lament the lack of time spent with them, or the time missed out for those who have already passed on.  We all want more time, and the fact is, we all are really going to get it.  We spend hours at various jobs earning pitiful hours of vacation time, which when taken we try to cram in it as much enjoyment as possible.  We would not hesitate to work at a job for one day if they held out the promise that it would yield ten years of vacation. Yet for some reason we do not see the correlation of the brevity of service in this life in comparison to an eternity in a Godly recreation of paradise.


1 John 5:11,

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.


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