Eternal Life.

J. A. Trench.

Article 14 of 55 from 'Truth for Believers' Volume 2.

Eternal life may be truly said to be the life of the Eternal Son (as of the Father and the Holy Ghost); morally and essentially it is the life of God, and this life was in Him. For we must remember, if we speak of the Son in eternity, it is of God the Son we speak. His relationship and place with the Father in the Godhead, characterised the life in which He was manifested down here to us; but, to say of the Second Person of the Godhead that He was Eternal Life absolutely in His own Person from eternity (as of Him alone), seems to me to involve serious confusion, and to carry our thoughts beyond what creatures, such as we are, may affirm.

The only passage that I can find that presents "eternal life" before its manifestation in the Lord Jesus down here is 1 John 1:2, and there it is such a life as was "with the Father." Now I believe this to refer to the Son — in the Son with the Father — but the force of the expression is to me the place and relationship implied and not specifically the Person. It is this that gives its characteristic blessedness to the divine life, as "eternal life," into which we are brought. It is a life such as was with the Father, and can be thus said to be in the Son because of His relationship and place with the Father from eternity; though, for us to be brought into such relationship, it must be brought into and revealed in the Son become man, and redemption be accomplished, that He may set us — not, indeed, in the relationship of the Eternal Son with the Father, but in the relationship of sons with the Father — in that place and relationship in which Jesus was seen as man down here (but "alone" then), and by reason of which (when redemption was accomplished) He can say, "My Father and your Father," etc. It appears to me, indeed, that this is the very reason why 1 John 1:2, does not bring in expressly the Son, because, if before incarnation it could have been only as the Second Person of the Godhead He was brought in — a relationship that none other could be brought into — yet the life could be so characterised essentially and eternally, because of that relationship; nor did it cease to be a life with the Father when He entered into it as the Son become man, in which condition it was for the first time manifested to us, and so that we could be brought into it by His death and resurrection.