The view from my new apartment.
I’ve often paused on shopping visits to Waitrose to take in the magnificent view from the check out, but never conceived I’d live in a place where I could indulge myself in it constantly. I think my guardian angel was taking notes and passed them on lol!
The first thought when hearing “eternal life” tends to be “life after death”, but either believers are right and all live eternally or atheists are correct and there is nothing after death (in which case also nothing to worry about since you will no longer be aware).
Examined logically “eternal life” (as expressed in Biblical texts etc.) denotes something more than survival because it is partaken by some and not others. It seems to be speaking rather of quality of life – living rather than existing. As Braveheart so aptly states, “All men die, but not all men truly live!” There’s a difference between eternal life and eternal survival. Eternal survival in an environment in which you felt trapped, fearful, or alone would be the worst kind of hell!
So what is meant by “eternal life”? John clarifies “This is eternal life, that they may know … the only true God, and Jesus Christ…” We are told Jesus came that we might “have life and have it more abundantly” an enriched life, beginning not at death but the moment we come to truly know him in a personal and intimate way, a life enriched by the power and joy of his spirit, possessed not at death but right now in our present life and that to come.
When our hearts are wintry,
Grieving or in pain,
Thy touch can call us back
To life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead
And bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat
That springeth green.
(From “Now The Green Blade Riseth” by John. M. C. Crum)
Colour decked, the marbled skies entwine in splendid hue
And echoed in the earth below a rendered scarlet dew.
All earth besmirched with war and pain while heavens gaze on down
“T’was given to the hand of man,” God answers with a frown.
“And rendered up upon that day, he hands it back to Me,
E’en sky above, polluted, foul, which once was wild and free.”
The sins of man recorded here and buried in the clay
The skull, the bone, that once were fair, in dead abandon lay.
The blood soaked down within the soil, the dirt, the filth, the grime,
A thousand belching factory’s smoke eclipse the sun’s dim shine.
And man, what has become of him, the first creations prize,
He’s turned away to hate and sin, from truth he’s turned to lies.
“But see,” God says, on looking down, “some jewels within this flock
Of anguished souls intent on gain, still cling unto the rock.
They shine and glimmer in the dark and round them shines a light
That though the darkness press it hard continues in the night.
In them a seed, though thinly sowed, a hope that lies within,
That to the promise, stained in blood, they set their hopes to win.
To these brave few shall dawn a day when dark is turned to light
For all the evil then shall flee the day I join the fight.”
Alone we watch last leaves of autumn fall upon this world
Fearing stark winter follows icy breath in hand.
Alone we watch the fleeting sun rise and set its measure of time
Believing one day the frost shall melt at the coming.
Alone we ponder and learn of wonders withheld，
And yet, at small space, from our present eyes
Alone we partake as one that peeps through a slit at a waiting world of wonder
One that is warmed with thoughts and emotions as yet unformulated.
For light streams through in colored glory from worlds beyond if we still ourselves to listen
Soft words of comfort echo through chasms formed by love long ago
Yet still they calm our senses , refresh our vision, as a fresh wind from the mountain.
Stop, look up, and we will see fresh vision here with God with we…
(While troubled and pained by recent attacks in London and in Syria I came across this old poem and found comfort.)
Seen this way around it’s easier to understand. “God is love” John states. Not “God is a loving God”. Love that most wonderful, unexplainable, illogical, and irresistible power we all long for in our lives is God’s spirit manifested in us. The degree of love we manifest to others is the measure of our walk with God, (not an adherence to doctrine). “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for another.” “He that loves has fulfilled the law!”
It’s my personal belief that this is the case even with some unbelievers (that they walk close to God without yet realizing it).