First off, let me unequivocally state that I do not believe God works in patterns. It is my testimony that God has a pattern, and every single-little-itty-bitty action that has gone on before or has yet to come fits that pattern. Moses is given many instructions while on Mount Sinai, but God’s final word of instruction is, “Do all according to the pattern shown to you on the mountain.” God is One, therefore the pattern of God – which is his very nature – is also one.
That said, it seems to me that there is a bit of confusion surrounding the idea of God’s promise of eternal life. As is stated in The Glory of Kings, being made in the image of God is not an event, but a process. Part of that process is, as Paul tells the Corinthians, that the seed is the natural body, but the fruit of that seed is a spiritual body. That which is temporal is planted and dies, but that death results in a harvest that is eternal.
Plato defined eternal, aionios, as more than merely forever, but rather as an existence outside of the boundaries of time. The writer of Hebrews defines Christ as having neither beginning of days nor end of life. John says, “In the beginning was the word.” This is the eternal God, composed of that which Plato saw as indivisibility, or, we could say, Oneness. This is he who calls himself, “I Am.”
But Plato believed this concept applied only to the gods, and was outside of the grasp of men. The soul and spirit could not be destroyed, but neither were they eternal. This is a position that would compass most Christian belief. We are immortal, not eternal. Yet this is what John tells us:
And this is the testimony: that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
If the constitute life of Christ consists of no beginning and no end, and this is the life we share in, then we must consider ourselves as more than immortal. Mere immortality is for lesser beings. The process of being made in God’s image requires the eternal. Again, John tells us:
And this is eternal life: that they might know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
The ability to come to know God is only available to those who share in God’s Oneness, in his eternal, in his aionios. God took upon himself our temporal nature, our natural body. He became a seed unto death, and we became known to him. Now, we take his eternal nature, his spiritual body. We become that eternal fruit and start the process in which he becomes known to us.
Thus, God’s question to Job renasces from the vantage point of truth:
Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare to me, if you have understanding.
And from this perspective, the redeemed will see themselves in the words of Solomon:
The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old… When he prepared the heavens, I was there.