1999 James A. Fowler
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I. Biblical usages - NASB (exhaustive)
A. Greek word athanasia
- "no death"
Cor. 15:53 - "this mortal must put on immortality"
Cor. 15:54 - "when this mortal shall have put on immortality"
Tim. 6:16 - "King of Kings and Lord of Lords; who alone
B. Greek words aphtharsia and
- "no destruction, no corruption, imperishable"
2:7 - "those who seek for glory, honor and immortality,
(will get) eternal life"
Tim. 1:17 - "believe in Him (Jesus) for eternal life. Now
to the King eternal, immortal, invisible,
the only God..."
Tim. 1:10 - "our Savior, Christ Jesus, abolished death,
and brought life and immortality to
light through the gospel"
II. Background of thought concerning immortality
A. Greek philosophy
indicated that soul of man is essentially divine, pre-existent
limited divinity, eternality and immortality to "active
intellect" of man's soul (rationalism)
B. Jewish thought
Did not believe in future life
Matt. 22:29 - "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures,
or the power of God."
Believed in resurrection of the body
Such was a reanimation or re-embodiment of physical, racial Jewish
bodies in a physical, national
III. Immortality in Biblical perspective.
A. God and immortality
5:26 - "the Father has life in Himself..."
Tim. 1:17 - "the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the
is an attribute of God alone
Tim. 6:16 - "who alone possesses immortality"
attributes are exclusive and non-transferable
manifests His attributes ontologically
God expresses Himself in His own Person and presence
God expresses Himself in His own acts
God expresses Himself by His Son and His Spirit
B. Man and immortality
is not essentially or inherently immortal
physiologically - body
psychologically - soul
spiritually - spirit
2. We must
not attribute God's attributes to man
Such deifies man
Man is not divine, eternal or immortal
Such realities are extrinsic to man.
life and immortality can be invested in man
God is the creative source and sustenance of all forms of life
9:6 - "Thou doest give life to all of them"
17:25,28 - "He Himself gives to all life and breath..."
Tim. 6:13 - "God, who gives life to all things"
God is the sole source of spiritual, eternal life in man.
17:3 - "this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the
only true God, and Jesus Christ
whom Thou has sent"
Christocentric immortality and eternal life
Tim. 1:17 - "the King eternal, immortal..."
14:6 - "I am the way, the truth, and the life"
3:4 - "Christ is our life"
Tim. 1:10 - "Christ Jesus abolished death, and brought life
and immortality to light through
Immortality in man is derived ontologically and dynamically from
God in Christ by His grace
11:26 - "everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never
14:19 - "because I live, you shall live also"
Immortality in man is conditioned on our receptivity of the ontological
essence of God's immortality
made available in Jesus Christ
2:7 - "those who seek..immortality, find eternal life"
6:8 - "the one who sows to the flesh reaps corruption, but
the one who sows to the Spirit
shall from the Spirit reap eternal life"
Immortality and eternal life are received in regeneration
3:7 - "you must be born again"
3:16 - "whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have
Pet. 1:3 - "born again to a living hope through the resurrection
of Jesus Christ from the dead"
Immortality and eternal life will be displayed in our future
The glorified and spiritual body will be an immortal body
Cor. 15:53,54 - "the mortal shall have put on immortality"
Spiritual immortality of eternal life is not delayed until bodily
resurrection. It is not just
a future acquisition.
There is a perpetuity and continuum of our spiritual identification
with the character and
destiny of spiritual being.
No denial of the perpetuity of hell
25:41 - "eternal fire prepared for devil and his angels"
25:46 - "eternal punishment"
Thess. 1:9 - "eternal destruction..."