Many people believe that Jesus is referring only to some future time by using the term eternal life. But the expectations of a future life cannot but devalue the present life. It causes us to be torn between two interests, each of which is weakened because we have devoted time and energy to the other. For many Christians this is strictly the future because of unhappiness and unhealthiness in the present.
This has caused the flurry of theories (since about 1830) of how ‘The Second Coming’ will take place. Terms like ‘rapture,’ and ideas of tribulation, are all lined up and given place as ‘theological truth’ and they greatly take away from the present and the responsibility of the present. Pre-tribulation and rapture thinking have almost completely neutered the people of God in these chosen theories. One cannot be potent and effective only emphasizing the thought of ‘leaving this old cruel world behind.’ This is absentee living.
An eternal life is not in the future. It is a present life, but a life that goes beyond only the present because we have the kingdom of God on earth and a foretaste of things future and the reality of things present.
“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Jesus