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Reframing Catholic Theological Ethics$

Joseph A. Selling

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198767121

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198767121.001.0001

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(p.205) Appendix 2 ‘Eternal Life’ in the Gospel of John

(p.205) Appendix 2 ‘Eternal Life’ in the Gospel of John

Source:
Reframing Catholic Theological Ethics
Author(s):

Joseph A. Selling

Publisher:
Oxford University Press

The concept of the ‘eternal life’ plays a small but significant role in the synoptic gospels where the ‘kingdom’ seems to be the core of Jesus’ message to his disciples and anyone who will listen. One prominent place that the notion of eternal life does appear is in the parallel narrative about ‘keeping the commandments’ which is also featured in these pages. Such an anomaly leads one to wonder about the origin of that text and raise the question why, if the authors of the synoptics were aware of the concept, did they not repeat it elsewhere?

Nevertheless, eternal life does play an important role in John’s version of the good news. He mentions it no fewer than seventeen times.

  • John 3: 14–16: And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

  • John 3: 36: He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.

  • John 4: 14: whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

  • John 4: 36: He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.

  • John 5: 24: Truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

  • John 5: 39: You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me.

  • John 6: 27: Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.

  • John 6: 40: For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

  • John 6: 47: Truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.

  • John 6: 54: He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

  • John 6: 68: Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’

  • John 10: 28: …and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.

  • (p.206) John 12: 25: He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

  • John 12: 50: And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me.

  • John 17: 2: …since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him.

  • John 17: 3: And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.