John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 ¶ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The same word is translated with two English terms in these two verses: eternal and everlasting. In a sense it is very fitting, because the term is really broader than either word independently, but both help us understand the character of this very important word.
This word is a modifier of “life” in both verses. The word eternal carries not just a quantitative aspect but there is also a connotation of quality attached to the time. It is endless for sure, but it is also experiential real life without any percieved end. The experience of no end or no death will concretely change the quality of life we enjoy. It will change our perspective since here on earth we seem to be “heading toward” a termination of earthly life and are caught in constant cycles of time. In the eternal day we will exist without reference to an end and such profoundly fixed cycles of time.
But the word does also mean an unlimited duration of time. And that duration begins the moment we experience the salvation mentioned in these verses. The life Jesus gives freely by faith is profoundly different than what we have without Him here on earth. I can't wait to experience eternity's fullness.