An old man had a story to tell. Unbelievable--yet eternally true. Compelled by the Spirit of God he learned to rely on in youth he penned events crucial to his contemporary audience and to those who would desperately need to know the truth centuries later. It wasn't his autobiography he wanted to share but rather his encounter with Messiah.
The man's name was John and he would write the fourth and final gospel describing what God in the flesh was like. Language would strain to fulfill this task as God's truth seems to dance beyond articulation. John would later refer to Him as Light, Lamb of God, Rabbi, Messiah and Jesus Christ.
But in the beginning was the Word.
Eternal means to be without beginning or end, both lasting forever and always existing. Perpetual. Ceaseless. Endless. Existing outside time.
John the Apostle reveals why he wrote this gospel "... But these have been 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 20:31
Or put negatively, outside of His name--there is only lifelessness.
Jesus Christ, the eternal second person of the trinity, the "Begotten God" is He who possess all life which is our light. It is He alone who gives the right to become His children.
Always existing. Revealer of the Father. Spirit who became flesh and stepped into time. Future predictor. Affirmed by the Holy Spirit. Served by Angels. Begotten. Existing before His earthly introduction. Creator of the world and unknown by the world. Exploding with grace. Dripping in truth. Eternal.
John expends enormous effort to show--in chapter one, the eternality of his savior and his friend.
It is entirely unimaginable that the Son of God would leap from His heavenly dwelling, cross the chasm from Holiness to brokenness, don the flesh of the depraved, assume the DNA of His own creation, submit to the shackles of time and geography and emotions and cravings and pain and live a perfect life--die a perfect death to give His eternal life to His children.
But there's no need to stretch imaginations--because this isn't make-believe, but rock-solid reality. John wants readers to know this fact because both in this story and in our own--it's going to look like Jesus isn't eternal. He will seem humiliatingly mortal. Painfully irrelevant. Entirely indifferent. Deaf and blind to our suffering or unable and unwilling to do anything about it.
But He isn't.
To receive this eternal life--there is a grasping of Christ on a soul-level with claws of faith. Holding tightly and guarding rightly the preciousness of Christ all the while resting in the reality that it's He who really holds us.
The contrast of heavenly and earthly things--of spiritual and physical realms, is a major theme of John's Gospel. And time-eternal exists first.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
"Lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles and run with endurance the race set before you. "