wherever I set my feet there is death.”


“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3)

The Bible tells us that God has life in Himself (John 5:26). This statement is logically true inasmuch as nothing could exist unless there was an eternal source of Life to begin with. The human mind comprehends quite clearly that something cannot come from nothing. The Eternal source of everything else is God – who has life in Himself. The essential revelation of God in Jesus Christ is God’s desire to share His Eternal Life with his human creatures. Amazing, but true.

In the ancient literature of human civilization we hear a clear echo of the human heart’s desire for life everlasting in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Warren Carroll states: “The most striking characteristic of the Epic of Gilgamesh is its absolute honesty in facing the riddle of death.” For all his feats of heroism, Gilgamesh, the dragon-slayer, cannot slay death. After lamenting the death of his dear comrade-in-arms, Enkidu, Gilgamesh goes in search of eternal life in order to escape the “house of darkness.” When he finds the only man to have cheated death, Utnapishtim, he receives the grim news that Utnapishtim’s gift cannot be shared.  “What shall I do,” says Gilgamesh to Utnapishtim, “Death is dwelling in my bedchamber…wherever I set my feet there is death.”

Father Garrigou-Lagrange states that:

“In the preaching of Jesus, everything is directed immediately toward eternal life.”

The great spiritual writer, Father Lallemant, goes even further in associating Jesus with eternal life. He states:

“Everything in Jesus is a principle of eternal life.”

Jesus himself says, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and that “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). This eternal life is given to us initially in baptism (“the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” – see John 4:15; 3:5; CCC 694), and is continually nourished in us through the Holy Eucharist (“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day” – John 6:54).

“The term eternal life is a central theme found in the Gospel of John. The very purpose of John’s gospel was that ‘you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name’ (Jn 20:31; cf. 1 Jn 5:13), ‘life’ being synonymous with ‘eternal life’. Jesus says that, ‘this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent’ (John 17:3). Howard Marshall believes that ‘the most comprehensive term in John for what Jesus gives to people is life or eternal life, which is to be understood as sharing in the life of God [John 1:4]’ ” (from Theopedia).

Are you searching for eternal life? Stay very close to Jesus Christ in faith, hope and love, for he is the principle and source of what you are looking for.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Tom Mulcahy

References: The discussion regarding the quest for eternal life in The Epic of Gilgamesh is derived from Chapter One of The Founding of Christendom by Warren H. Carroll. In The Spiritual Doctrine Father Lallemant says, in a discussion on Holy Communion, that “Everything in Him is a principle of eternal life for Himself and for men; everything in us is a principle of corruption and of death for ourselves and for others.” In The Three Ages of the Interior Life the great Father Garrigou-Lagrange writes:

“In the preaching of Jesus, everything is directed immediately toward eternal life. If we are attentive to His words, we shall see how the life of eternity differs from the future life spoken of by the best philosophers, such as Plato. The future life they spoke of belonged, in their opinion, to the natural order; they though it “a fine risk to run,” without having absolute certltude about it. On the other hand, the Savior speaks with the most absolute assurance not only of a future life, but of eternal life superior to the past, the present, and the future; an entirely supernatural life, measured like the intimate life of God, of which it is the participation, by the single instant of immobile eternity.”

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