“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 is possibly the most famous verse in the Bible. It is so often said that its promise is life everlasting for those who believe in Jesus.
Certainly in our modern vocabulary the word “eternal” means “forever” or “everlasting”. Eternal life is almost universally understood as everlasting existence, immortality or life “in heaven”.
(Type “eternal life” into Wikipedia or Google and you’ll see what I mean. It does, however, also yield the song “Eternal Life” by Jeff Buckley… sublime.)
But is eternal life (zōē aiōnion) really the same thing as “everlasting” life? Is that what is meant by the phrase in the Gospel of John? Read the rest of this entry