Eternal Life, as I now conceive of it, has nothing to do with never dying. Everything that lives dies. Or so it seems. It seems every life is incomplete until death completes it. Even the human race as a whole, which can be considered more (relatively) immortal than any individual human member, is mortal in the sense that all its descendants might go extinct a million or a billion years from now. Even All Life on Earth as a whole, which is even more relatively immortal than the human race or any individual species, will as far as we know go extinct several billion years from now when the Sun expands to consume the Earth in a very hot “Lake of Fire”. Still, that’s not going to happen for several billion years! Don’t let it ruin your day!
Eternal Life, to me, is like the promise that “You will never have never lived.” Nor, for that matter, will any living or once-living life on Earth or even on other planets ever have never lived. Thus, “Eternity” as I define it has less to do with endless passage of Time and more to do with the permanence of the Past in 4D (3D space + 1D time) SpaceTime. It’s kind of like Time is vertical and Eternity is horizontal. The Eternal Past is like a deep bedrock laid down layer by layer by the passage of time. It’s a direct consequence of the fact, if it is a fact, that the Past will always exist, that the Past doesn’t cease to exist when the Present moment leaves it behind.
According to this definition, all life on Earth has Eternal Life because all life is Eternal, because Eternity is not as much a quality of life itself as it is a quality of the inanimate matter and energy and space and time underlying and supporting the complex Chemistry of Life. At every Present moment, The Eternal Past, all the way back to the Big Bang, will never have never happened and continues to exist. Or so it seems.
In the living human world, the human race exists in the Present as the collection of all living (3D) human bodies. In 4 dimensions (including time), every living member of the human race is connected to the 4D network of all human beings who ever lived through its parents and their parents and their parents and so on as far as the most recent common ancestors of all living human beings (Adam and Eve) and beyond. “Adam and Eve” (living in the Past) are in turn connected through their parents to the rest of the Earthly 4D Tree of Life (aka (an Evolutionary) God) all the way to Abiogenesis (the beginning of all life on Earth). All ancestors of “Adam and Eve”, are of course common ancestors of all living humans, because “Adam and Eve” are.
A 4D understanding of the Eternal Past gives new meaning to the ideas of an Afterlife and Heaven. It seems to be not such a far reach to believe that our consciousness at death might be freed from its attachment by the laws of Thermodynamics to the ever moving Present moment. The substance and reality of one’s Afterlife might just be the countless moments of one’s lifetime in which one was conscious, right up to the moment of death, all preserved in the Eternal Past.
As for Hell and punishment and promoting Morality, the Afterlife will include copies of EVERY moment of our lives – the worst as well as the best – which seems reason enough to try to be virtuous (whatever that means to us) while we live. Everything in our lives is as permanent in the Eternal Past as the Eternal Past is permanent.
Perhaps the “soul” is to the 4D human brain as the mind is thought to relate to the 3D brain. The human brain exists from birth in four dimensions and none of the laws of Particle Physics I know contradicts the reversibility of time. An electron moving forward in time is equivalent to a positron (an anti-electron) moving backward. It seems not so far-fetched that some kind of interaction might be possible from/to a later part of my connected 4D human brain to/from an earlier part of the same 4D brain. I admit this is highly speculative, but it is the same brain and it seems that such an ability, were it physically possible, might be selected for survival by Evolution.
In summary, I’ve suggested all Life is Eternal if the Past is. The Afterlife might be how we experience our lives preserved in the Eternal Past, after we die in the Present. It seems there may be many different possible ancestral “gods”, but the presumable singularity of Abiogenesis suggests there is one and only one true ancestor and God of all life on Earth both now and for all time. The elusive soul might best be understood as the 4D human brain, connected from birth to death through the fourth dimension of time.
As always, I am prepared to discuss these ideas and respond to constructive criticism in the comments below.