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Is the eternal life unique as it is?

Can there be two or three eternal lives? Apostle John said that those who believe in Christ the Son of God have eternal life (1 John 5:13). When the fall of man had just taken place, God made sure Adam wasn't able to partake of the tree of life and, thus, start living forever (Gen. 3:22,24). Was that eternal life that was contained in the tree of life the same as the life that apostle John is talking about in his epistle?

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closed as not constructive by wax eagle Jan 9 '12 at 19:23

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Are you asking about the words in these two texts or about some doctrine doctrine or multiple cycles of life? I think this could be worded better but first we need to know what the question really is about. If it's about the interpretation of those two texts it might actually be better served on the Hermeneutics site! – Caleb Jan 9 '12 at 13:36
Or are you talking about multiple levels of eternal life, e.g. heaven (and purgatory?) and hell. – Wikis Jan 9 '12 at 14:08
I am simply talking about life. You know, you are reading these words, you are typing some words now, you are breathing because you have life in you. If you can see through your window a green tree and some birds sitting in it, you know that the tree is green and the birds are singing, because they have life in them. Now if you happen to see a corpse of a human, or of a bird or a dry tree trunk, you will know for sure that they can't breathe or move by themselves because there is no life in them (it used to be in them, but now it's not there, i.e. that life was/is not eternal). – brilliant Jan 9 '12 at 16:18
This question needs a substantial edit before it fits with the quality guidelines laid out by this community. Please clarify a doctrine you are asking about. – wax eagle Jan 9 '12 at 19:24
@wax - I have already clarified it in my comment above - it's a doctrine about eternal life. I don't know what further clarification is needed. – brilliant Jan 11 '12 at 0:41
up vote 3 down vote accepted

There is a distinction between living forever on earth and eternal life.

Although we are not given overt and explicity details about this, it appears that the tree of life enabled Adam and Eve to live forever on earth. Prior to the Fall, this was great. After the Fall, however, this would have caused mankind to remain in an unredeemed body that is incapable of fully realizing the relationship with God for which we were created. Thus, physical immortality in an unredeemed state is really an entrapment apart from the glory God desires for us to experience.

Jesus specifically defines eternal life in John 17 as the ability to know God. This is what John was also referring to in John 20:30-31 as well as the verse you mentioned--1 John 5:13. Eternal life is being in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ the Son. This, again, is to be distinguished from physical immortality.

And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3 ESV

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31

If one lived forever in a physical body that is under the curse and not be able to separate from that into a glorified body, then our relationship with God would be ultimately limited. For, as the Scripture says, when we see God face to face, then it is when we will know Him fully, as we are fully known by Him.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV

So, immortal physical life is distinct from eternal life. The former would inhibit our relationship with God, while the latter gives us a relationship with God.

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To refer to John 17: (And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. John 17:3 ESV) – OnesimusUnbound Jan 9 '12 at 17:22
@OnesimusUnbound Thanks. I've added the reference in the answer. Nice catch! – Narnian Jan 9 '12 at 17:25
@Narnian - Thank you for your answer. So, the tree of life, according to your question is the physical life then, right? "The former would inhibit our relationship with God" - I am a bit puzzled here. Why do you say inhibit? Why would then God need to give us the tree of life in the future again (Rev. 2:7)? – brilliant Jan 9 '12 at 17:57
@brilliant Great question! The tree of life in the future will be in heaven, so that would not give physical immortality. Eating of it in a glorified body would not inhibit our relationship with God, for that will already be fully realized at that point. – Narnian Jan 9 '12 at 18:00
@Narnian - So what will it be needed for then? – brilliant Jan 9 '12 at 18:05

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