i don’t think it has to mean eternal in that statement.
my simple understanding is this.
lasting life and lasting damnation…it works as a sentence, so flip around our cultural bias, and you might assume from this that life lasts an age and so does the damnation.
but it doesn’t end there. the lasting life is further explained in other places (and clarified) to mean that one shall never perish. however, as for the damnation, we are told that death and the grave itself will be destroyed at the end in the lake of fire.
also we’re told that no man is cast off by the Lord forever (Lam 3:31). so we have to take the original statement as comparing to long lasting conditions, and THEN look at what is meant. lasting life is lasting because one will not perish. death and judgement can last a long time, but they don’t last FOREVER, because we are told that death will be destroyed, and that God won’t cast us away forever.
i suppose you could expand on Paidon’s example this way.
"…and all my packing will be sorted, some into a heavy box marked “CDs” and the other into a heavy box called “Books”
and then later on we could flesh out what i mean by “heavy” when it comes to the box of CDs, and leave the heaviness of the Book box as vague, for the reason that the CDs tend to be a constant and known weight, whereas the books could be many sizes.
similarly, the lasting life is VERY lasting, and so can be stated as such, but the other long lasting quantity of time for judgement is left vague because different people may experience it for different lengths of time.
i’m sure that’s clear as mud, but that’s how i see it.
also, Jesus uses the term “eternal life” in John 17 when He is praying for His disciples, but rather than define it as a period of time without end, or even without death as you might think, He defines it as “knowing the Father and knowing The Son”, which is clearly a qualitative statement. now maybe “aionian” is not the word used there, so that may be irrelevant to this specific point, but honestly i think we can get a bit trapped into HAVING to translate this word a given way, and yet i personally feel there are alot of even better reasons to assume God gets what He wants in the end and becomes All in All.