Infinity and eternity are considered to be synonyms by many, but they have different meanings. Infinity is defined as being without end or boundless like our space-time fabric, while eternity is defined as that which transcends time becoming timeless reality.
Let’s examine our universe. I believe that space-time is boundless, stretching to its maximum expansion and then collapsing back to its minimum compression. This constant expansion and contraction is boundless as both space and time are infinite. Thus, our universe is a perpetual time machine, going from a Big Bang to a Big Crunch and then a Big Bang all over again.
But our universe is not eternal because time is a fundamental part of its matrix. Eternity dispenses with time so there is no past, present, or future. Eternal existence is without reference to calendars or clocks. Eternity is a timeless world.
Einstein explained that there is no absolute simultaneity of events. An event should appear to happen at the same time to different observers, but this is not the case. An observer on a speeding train may observe an explosion before somebody who is standing along the rail. Neither observer can claim to be correct as to when the bomb went off. This is simply the strangeness of special relativity.
Thus, some philosophers have referenced special relativity as why time is not linear or even real. If absolute simultaneity does not exist, how could we ever say that an event is in the present? There is no absolute present in special relativity.
But our understanding of eternity may help scientists reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. Some theories of quantum gravity indicate this world does not have time on its side. In this strange world, time may not play a role. In effect, quantum mechanics may intersect with quantum gravity completely outside of the space-time fabric.
In the quantum world, a particle can be in two places at the same time; so this may be a “matterless reality,” which would be, at a minimum, have a completely new set of rules for its physics. And considering eternal possibilities, it might be God’s world.
So when I talk about infinite life in the universe, I am talking about the stardust that formed us and prior to that has formed billions of other forms of matter and will continue to form matter in the future as the space-time fabric expands and contracts forever.
However when I talk about eternal life, I am referring to God’s timeless and matterless world which exists without time and space. So how do we even know it exists? Well, we know the quantum world exists, but we do not know much about it. We know that the laws of physics that we use do not apply in this world.
And there is an even more potent reason: there cannot be more infinities than one because one infinity would limit the other. In effect, our closed infinite universe must be inside an eternal world because it cannot be within another infinite world. In other words, whatever is outside our infinite universe is where creation occurred since one of the laws of physics is that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in this universe. Thus, creation of our time-space fabric universe occurred in the eternal world of God.
When we pray to live forever, we need to be careful what we pray for. We may just get what we requested. Living forever in the world of infinity is what we are doomed to do. Our recycling universe takes us through time, probably forwards and backwards forever. I get dizzy just thinking about it. That would not be my first choice.
However, reaching the eternal world of God will be a much more difficult journey. My guess is that it will be completely foreign to us and we will have to let God manage that trip for us if we are to have any chance at all.