For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—Eternal punishment is God’s punishment. Endless punishment is God’s punishment. ~D&C 19:10-12Reading this passage recently, it struck me that the words "endless" and "eternal" as names of God applied to other terms in scripture, as well; and it occurred to me to wonder what "Eternal Life" might mean when looked at in that light.
God is eternal. What He is, He is also called. Just as we call Robin Hood "archer", God is called eternal & endless. It's His nature, His identity, a descriptive term of what He IS. So "eternal life" isn't just life that lasts for all time, as I thought for much of my life. Scripture says time has a beginning and an end:
And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered. ~Moses 1:8Moses saw "the ends thereof". I think he saw the timeline of the world much like we see a piece of string, laid out straight. You can call one end of the string the beginning, and the other the end, but when you're looking down on it you can also refer to those two things as "the ends", because they are where the string's definite boundaries. If you were to pick up the string to tie a knot, you would talk about "the ends". We mortals talk about the "beginning" of time, because we move only in one direction through it; so the world, to us, has a beginning and an end. But to Moses, comprehending the entirety of creation in a moment, as God sees it, it made sense to say "the ends thereof".
So one quality of Eternal Life is that it is life outside of time, with power over it, or the ablility to move both forward and backward through it, as one can walk both up- and downstream in a creek. Eternal Life is not bounded by time, nor does time determine its flow.
Eternal Life is joyous, productive, active, glorious--just as God is joyous, productive, active, and glorious. Eternal Life is living the way God lives, taking part in the work He works, being one with Him in mind and heart. We talk about having an "outdoor life", or a "farming life". Those activities are our lives, for the time we engage in them. Not bounded by time, what God does IS His life, without beginning or end, or without the constraints of time.
God's way of living is focused on something that I personally rejoice in every day:
"For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." ~Moses 1:39God's work and glory--His existence, His activity, His joy--is in guiding and empowering individuals to join Him in His life: eternal life.
I don't know about you, but one of the deepest joys in my life is to be an instrument in bringing souls to know Jesus Christ, Who is the only way to The Father. Words fail me when I think of what that means, of the incredible blessing that pours down upon me from heaven when I see someone whom I love, someone God has sent into my life, come more fully into fellowship with Jesus, walk more closely in His love, and live a life more and more like His.
And the best part is I'm only scratching the surface here; truly, the mystery of Godliness is great. Praise God!
God, You are so amazing to me. Thank You for revealing this little piece of who You Are, for blessing me so generously every day, and even more so every moment of the day that I remember to turn my heart and mind to You. Thank You for all I'm learning, for the leaps and bounds in my faith, and for the increasing knowledge that You are eternal, and all that entails. I love how much I can trust You, God. I love how sure I can be in You, and how sweetly liberating and deeply empowering it is to be able to say, like Elijah, that You ARE the one and only Living God, and I look forward to each day as I learn to walk more fully in Your will, coming more fully into the new life You have given me as I receive more and more insights into Your character, Your life, Your being. Thank You, God, for the renewing of my mind, and the transformation that it brings! And please, help me to live as I see You live, and love as I see You love, so others might know You better, too. in Jesus' name. Amen.