Eternal life

June 3, 2011

"And this is eternal life, to know the Father and his only Son Jesus Christ."

In the 2000 years since Jesus walked the earth the details around
eternal life seem to have grown.  Truth be told, the imaginations of
artists, writers, poets, and theologians have created a bit of a mess
for those of us in the trenches of everyday ministry.  The question
asked of Jesus about the woman married to seven brothers seems tame
compared to the many ways in which our modern conceptions of heaven and
hell have become convoluted.

How old will I be?
Will that kid who picked on me in middle school be there?
Does Alabama always win in heaven?
Does Alabama always lose in heaven?
Will I have my hair back?
Will I catch the big one?
Will my ex still bother me there?

It is really hard for us not to think of heaven in terms of this
mortal life because this mortal life is all we know.  So we picture
pearly gates, mansions, rivers, and trees. We picture angels playing
harps as we walk around in white robes thinking lofty thoughts and, at
least occasionally, praising God.  We think we have a list of questions
to ask, things like: why didn't you cure cancer, why didn't you stop the
tornadoes, why'd you take my mother/father/sister/brother so young,
etc.

Jesus talked a lot about the Kingdom. He talked some about eternal
life. He talked very sparingly about heaven. For all the speculation
over the last 2000 years, it has to be said that Jesus' description,
nay, definition of eternal life in the High Priestly Prayer should be
sufficient.  Eternal life is knowing God the Father and God the Son.
Sure, it is a little weak in the pneumatology, but still, knowing God is
a sufficient description of eternal life. The other details, sights,
sounds, smells, or Will Ferrell movies are insignificant in the light of
God's grace and love.

Originally posted at Draughting Theology.