The Immortality of Man
From our study of Learning Activities #4, and #10 through #13 we discovered that mankind is tripartite containing body, soul and spirit (See Learning Activity 4). Additionally we studied that mankind can have eternal life which is separate and distinct from biological or physical life. Eternal life may ONLY be found in a relationship in Jesus Christ as Jesus IS eternal life and when He comes to live within the believer, the believer now has eternal life. Eternal life is a person and that person is Jesus Christ!
As you discuss the subject of the mortality of mankind with other Christians, you will find the prevalent view to be that man is physically mortal (he/she will physically die), but the soul and spirit part of man can be immortal and therefore will spend eternity either in a place called heaven (if that person was “good” on earth) or hell (if a person never became a Christian while living biologically here on earth). It will be this understanding, whether man is mortal or immortal for eternity, that we will be studying in this Learning Activity. I will not at this time be addressing the question of whether or not there is a place called heaven and for that matter, whether there is actually a place called hell. These terms will be covered in other Learning Activities.
1. 1 Timothy 6:16
2. Who is it that is being spoken of in the verse above?
3. What does this verse say about God?
4. What does this verse tell us about ourselves?
The Greek word that is translated “immortality” in the verse above is “athanasia.” This word is correctly translated as either “deathlessness” or “immortality.”
5. Genesis 3:22
6. Who is “the man” being spoken of in the verse above?
7. What did God say would happen to Adam if he had eaten from the tree of life in the Garden of Eden?
8. What does this tell us about Adam?
9. Psalms 22:29
10. What do we discover about man’s soul in the verse above?
From what we have studied thus far, we may be at a point where the thought has occurred, What is a person? Let’s look at this briefly.
We can all relate and understand the human body. Since the human body is physical we can see and touch and that makes it easy to relate to. But is the body really a “person” all by itself?
11. James 2:26
12. In the verse above, what does James say a body needs in order to be alive?
Now that we know that a body needs a spirit to be alive (spiritually), we logically would ask, So where does this spirit come from?
13. Genesis 2:7
14. From the verse above, what can we conclude is the source of man’s spirit?
15. In addition, what can we say about the soul of man from Genesis 2:7?
16. Ecclesiastes 12:7
17. In the verse above the dust returning to the earth is referring to the physical body dying and returning to dust, Genesis 2:7. What does the Ecclesiastes verse also say happens?
18. If the spirit which breathed life into the person and made them a living soul leaves, what can we deduce happens to the “living soul” at death when the spirit leaves?
That is exactly what happens to a non-believer when they die. However, this is NOT the case for one who believes!
19. 2 Corinthians 5:1
20. What is it that Paul tells the Corinthians that they (we) have when we physically die?
21. 2 Corinthians 5:2
22. Why do you think the Apostle Paul states that while we are alive in this earthly body “we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house (tabernacle, see verse one) which is from heaven?”
We may conclude from the above that mankind does not innately possess a natural immortality. When the non-believer dies they cease to be. When a believer under the New Covenant dies they receive a new glorified body from God that is compatible with eternal life. This eternal life is found only by having Christ indwelling the believer which is what happens when a person becomes a Christian (see Learning Activities #8 and #8A). Everyone who died under the Old Covenant went to Sheol (the New Testament word equivalent is Hades), until they were judged and then believers were given their glorified bodies (see Learning Activity #51).
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