Monday, November 25, 2013
Christians often evangelize by telling people that every human soul is eternal and that after we die we will continue to live in immortality. The only question, we suggest, is whether or not we will live forever with God in Heaven, or suffer forever in Hell. But is this idea actually taught in the scriptures? I would say, no. Here’s why.
From the beginning, in the book of Genesis, why does God banish Adam and Eve from the Garden after they have sinned? He says it's so that they won't "eat of the Tree of Life and live forever." (Genesis 3:22)
So, apparently the only way that Adam and Eve would live forever is if they were to eat from the Tree of Life.
Remember, the punishment Adam and Eve received for eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? It was this: "You shall surely die" (Genesis 3:2)
Now, if death was the punishment for their sin, and if they were prevented from eating from the Tree of Life because to do so would be to "live forever", then are human souls inherently eternal?
I don’t think so. For example, Jesus says:
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life..” (John 3:36)
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. “ (John 5:21)
“Yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” – (John 5:40)
“Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.” (John 6:47-48)
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – (John 10:10)
Paul and the other Apostles also affirm this idea that only those of us who are in Christ have life, and without Christ we have no life beyond this one:
"…your life is hidden in Christ" and "when Christ, who is your life, appears, you will appear with him also." (Colossians 3: 3-4)
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12)
Therefore, the evidence of scripture seems to overwhelmingly support the idea that only those who are in Christ will enjoy eternal life. Those without Christ, will not live forever but will, as Jesus warns us, “perish”. (See John 3:16)