Be careful when you pray for eternal life. Eternal life is a contradiction in terms. and you may not get what you expect.
Eternal does not mean the same as never-ending time. Eternal means time is irrelevant. The question, “What time is blue?” is meaningless because colors have nothing to do with time. The concept of colors is eternal.
We live in the realm of time; the eternal is in the realm of the divine. When you are born, you move from the eternal into the world of time. When you die, you move out of time into the eternal. So say the theologians. (See the Aldous Huxley quote in the 12/31 posting and the symbolism of Shiva in the 10/2/2009 posting.)
But the second word, life, is in the realm of time. Life is change, and anywhere you have change, you have a before and after, which is time. Life without change is not life. It would mean no events, no movement, no action, no fleeting thoughts, no momentary impressions.
So what could eternal life possibly mean? Certainly there would be no reuniting with loved ones, no singing of praises, no walking on streets of gold, no sipping of milk and honey. At best, you would be in an unchanging state of bliss, without, of course, any concept of time passing, which is in that other realm that you are no longer part of. Can’t imagine what this would be like? Don’t even try.
And that’s not bad. Would you really want to live forever, in any form? Forever is a long time. The universe will be a dead, burned out void, humanity gone for billions of years, yet forever will not even have begun.