Time or Eternity? ™

Is man Mortal or Immortal?

In Immortality/Eternal Life on February 4, 2011 at 8:00 am

God said to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eat est thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:16, 17)

In regard to those living since the fall, God’s ultimatum has been sent through the prophet: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Eze. 18:4, 20) Paul tells us, “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6 : 23) And, “In Adam all die.” (1 Cor.15:22)  Still we find that an opposite opinion is held regarding this question. Its origin was in the garden of Eden. Satan was its author as he appeared to Eve and invited her to eat of the forbidden fruit. He told her that God’s statement that death would be the result of eating the fruit of that tree, was not true. Satan said, “Ye shall not surely die.”( Gen.3:4)  And this great deceiver still finds a large following who accept his teaching upon this subject in the face of the plain “Thus saith the Lord.” Hence, from the pulpit, and by the religious press of the day, we are told that at death man does not really die. We are told that the soul, which is claimed to be the real thinking, intelligent part of man, is immortal, and hence can never die.   To those sorrowing because of the loss of loved ones, the all-prevailing source of comfort and consolation is that their beloved dead are not really dead, but that the intelligent part, the soul, has, instead, actually entered upon a higher state of existence and enjoyment. It is explained that, “There is no death; what seems so is transition.” And the poet sings, “Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul.” This all seems good, so far as sentiment goes, but is it true? It is not always safe to trust sentiment and popular theology too implicitly. God knows all about it, for the nature of man and his destiny were planned by Him, and human theories, be they never so popular and world-wide, and theology, be it never so positive, will not change God’s plans and purposes.  God’s word, the Bible, was given to reveal to man God’s plans and purposes regarding the human race. It tells of man’s origin, explains his present condition, and foretells what his future will be. It is, therefore, safe to rely implicitly upon the statements of the Scriptures for a definite settlement of a question of such vital importance.  “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20) A mortal, as defined by Webster, is, “A being subject to death.” The following texts show the Scriptural use of the word :— “Shall mortal man be more just than God?” (Job 4:17) “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body.” Rom. 6:12. “He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Rom. 8:11) “For this corruptible must PUT ON incorruption, and this mortal must Put On immortality.” (1 Cor.15:53)  The foregoing texts teach plainly that man is mortal, subject to death. Our “mortal bodies” shall be quickened at the resurrection of the just, and at that time “this mortal must put on immortality.” “Then [at the resurrection] shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Cor.15 : 54)

Webster defines immortal as “Not mortal; exempt from liability to die; undying; imperishable; lasting forever; having unlimited or eternal existence.” If God gave man such qualities as are expressed in this definition, with power to transmit them to his offspring, as must be the case if the theory of natural immortality be true, it is reasonable to suppose He would reveal the fact in His word. Has He ever made such a revelation? No, not in a single instance is it to be found in the Bible.  In the Old Testament the words immortal and immortality are not to be found. In the English version of the New Testament the word “immortal” occurs once :— “Now, unto the King eternal, immortal invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”(1Tim. I : 17)  The word immortal is never in the Bible applied to human beings.  The word immortality occurs five times in the English version of the New Testament, as follows :—  “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality [God will give] eternal life.” (Rom. 2:7) This shows that we do not now possess immortality, for if we do, why should we be instructed to seek for it?  “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Cor. 15:53, 54)  This quotation ‘refers to the resurrection to take place when Christ comes to receive His own. And the statement is distinctly made that man is now mortal, but at that time immortality is to be “put on,” before he can inherit the kingdom prepared for the righteous. “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto.” (1 Tim. 6:16)  The preceding verse shows that reference is here made to “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”  Here Paul plainly states that God alone possesses the attribute of immortality.

“Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”(2 Tim. i :8-1o)  Here we are told that the truth in regard to immortality is brought to light “through the gospel.” Reason and science can not demonstrate it. Neither can the oracles of heathenism, the decretals of the pope, nor the creeds of churches reveal it to us. God’s word alone can give us the desired light.  Death has been the lot of man ever since the fall of our first parents, but Christ will destroy it. Immortality is not now possessed by the sons of Adam, but will be given to the saints when Christ, “Who is our Life, shall appear.”

“How has Christ brought life and immortality to light? Answer: By abolishing death. There could have been no life nor immortality without this; for the human race was hopelessly doomed to death through sin.

Then by what means and for whom has He abolished death?  Answer: He has abolished it by dying for man and rising again, a victor over death; and He has wrought this work only for those who will accept of it through Him; for all who reject His proffered aid, will meet at last the same fate that would have been the lot of all had Christ never undertaken the work of redemption in cur behalf.  Thus through the gospel — the good news of salvation by His sufferings and death — He has brought to light the fact, not that all men are by nature in possession of immortality, but that a way is opened whereby we may at last gain possession of this inestimable boon.”

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