Immortality is the goal of all Christians around the world. What is it? How do we attain it?

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Immortality is defined as “Undying, Incorruptible, does not degenerate, possessing the ability to live forever”. Quoting from “Websters’s New World Dictionary”, it defines immortality as “..deathless; living or lasting forever”. Immortality is the goal of all Christians around the world (Romans 2:7)

The Bible states that “Only God has immortality” (1 Timothy 6:16). But it also states that God will give the gift of immortality to His redeemed. (1 Corinthians 15:52-54) So although it is true that only God possesses immortality, it is equally true that He can give this gift to anyone He pleases.

All angels are immortal (Psalm 104:4) including Satan and all his demonic angels (Ephesians 6:12). I believe this because they are beings of light of extreme brightness (Acts 12:7, Matthew 28:3, Luke 10:18) that excel in strength. (2 Peter 2:11, Psalms 103:20) No mere mortal man or all the men on earth that ever lived can ever equal the strength and glory of just one single angel. We are the only beings in God’s created universe who are mortal. (2 Corinthians 4:11, Job 4:17, Romans 6:12). God created Adam and Eve as mortal human beings. (1 Corinthians 15:45-47) They were created as mortal because God made them from the soil of the earth. This is what Paul refers to as the “Natural Body” (1 Corinthians 15:44-49). It is because of their mortal physical flesh that they needed to eat the fruit of the Tree of Life in order to live perpetually. Had they been created as angels, they would have had no need for the Tree of Life for they would have been self-sustaining and would not be susceptible to death as are the angels.

Many believe that, the fact that Adam and Eve had access to the Tree of Life before their fall, this made them immortal. Not necessarily. God formed them from the soil of the earth which was converted into flesh and blood. (Genesis 2:7) They were created from perishable materials. These materials are ingredients of a mortal being. When God created them, He supplied them with a world full of vegetation for food, (Genesis 1:29) water for drinking and vegetation (Genesis 2:10), and an atmosphere rich in oxygenated air to breathe. (Genesis 1:7) In Hebrews 1:7 the Bible states that God created angels of flaming fire. Not that they are actually made of fire, but they are spiritual beings that radiate light just as fire radiates its own light. Angels are not made of flesh and blood. They were not created with corruptible materials like Adam and Eve. They were not created with bodies that are prone to death and decay. There is a big difference between men and angels. The Bible states that we were created a little lower than they (Psalms 8:5). Do not confuse the word “little” to mean that there was very little difference between the two. You have to look at who we and the angels are being compared with. Who else is there but God? So in comparison with God, there is very little difference between us. But in physical composition, there is a great deal of difference between angels and humans. Angels are not flesh and blood. They are spiritual beings whose physical makeup is far beyond our understanding or knowledge.

If Adam and Eve did not have the vegetation God supplied as food, they would have starved to death. If they did not have water to drink they would have died of thirst. If they did not have air to breath they would have died of suffocation. If this were not true, then God would have supplied these things for no reason at all for they would not have even needed them. Even the vegetation and all the animals were mortal. Genesis 2:5-6 states that the vegetation grew out of the ground after God supplied it with water and moisture. Had God not watered the land it would have remained barren. All life on Earth is also dependent on the sun. Without it, everything would die.

God barred Adam and Eve from accessing the Tree of Life so that they do not spend the rest of their mortal life in sin. (Genesis 3:22) The Tree of Life would have perpetuated their mortal life indefinitely as long as they continued to eat from it. However, before their fall, we must assume that since they were flesh and blood they were still prone to injury and even death. Injuries would possibly heal completely in a very short time in their perfect physical state. But having 100% of their mental capacity, accidents were probably never in their lifestyle until after the fall.

When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, (the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”), there was no immediate change in their physical state. The instant they disobeyed God and ate the fruit, they did not suddenly become prone to disease aging, and death. As mortals, they were susceptible to these things already. This is the reason they needed access to the Tree of Life. The Bible states that had God not barred them from accessing the Tree of Life they would have continued living on and on perpetually as long as they ate of its fruit. (Genesis 3:22-24) God gave them a rule that stated that if they ate the fruit of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”, they would surely die. By placing the Tree of Life out of their reach, the curse of death was upon them. Their bodies began to die. Without the restorative and healing properties of the Tree of Life, their mental and physical health began to degenerate. It took almost a thousand years for their bodies to finally succumb to death. The curse of sin was activated when God removed the Tree of Life from their presence.

The Tree of Life was designed for Adam and Eve so that their mortal life would continue perpetually. As long as Adam and Eve ate of its fruit they would not age or die.

“The fruit of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden possessed supernatural virtue. To eat of it was to live forever. Its fruit was the antidote to death. Its leaves were for the sustaining of life and immortality.” (Testimonies for the Church Vol 8 pg 288)

I use the EGW reference above although it may seem to contradict what I’m saying. However, she supports my view nonetheless because even though she says that the leaves of the tree were for the sustaining of life and immortality, she uses the word sustain. This means that if the consumption of this fruit was interrupted or stopped, immortality would also be interrupted or stopped. In other words, to live forever as a mortal, one must continue to eat of it.

Adam and Eve were mortals, flesh and blood, being given a constant supply of immortal rejuvenation by way of the fruit of the Tree of Life.

“It was only a few generations back when Adam had access to that tree which was to prolong life. After his disobedience, he was not suffered to eat of the Tree of Life and perpetuate a life of sin. In order for man to possess an endless life he must continue to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life. Deprived of that tree, his life would gradually wear out.” (Spiritual Gifts Vol 3 pg 64)

When God barred them from accessing the Tree of Life, then the process of dying and aging began. The residual effects of the Tree of Life remained in their genes as well as their children for hundreds of years. But they both eventually died. Adam died of the ripe old age of 930 years. (Genesis 5:5) Methuselah may have had a greater portion of that residual effect in his genes but he too died of old age at 969 years. (Genesis 5:27) The life span of men has been decreasing as the residual effects of the Tree of Life have been diminishing more and more. God saw it necessary to cut our life span drastically shorter by introducing a meat diet. (Genesis 9:3) He did this so we do not suffer such long lives in a world of horrible wickedness, disease, and sorrow.

Satan is an immortal being. God created him perfect. (Ezekiel 28:15) He was the anointed covering cherub and one of the greatest of God’s created beings. Satan and all the fallen angels as well as all the angelic beings in heaven are all immortal. Just because the bible states that “Only God has immortality.” does not mean that no one else is immortal. What it means is that only God is the source. God is the sole possessor of this unique phenomenon. The text says that He“Alone has immortality” not that, “Only God is Immortal”.

Let's not confuse immortality with the term “Eternal”. God is the only eternal being in the universe for He has never had a beginning and never will have an end. But His creation possesses His gift of immortality. Paul states that we will put on immortality before we ascend to heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:53) Our mortal bodies will change to immortal bodies. Jesus states that we will be like the angels in heaven. (Mark 12:25) We will no longer be flesh and blood but will have glorified bodies just like the angels do.

Many would argue that since Satan and his angels will eventually be destroyed at Christ’s third coming this proves that they are not immortal. We must remember that immortality is a gift from God. Life itself is a gift from God. God is the sole possessor of this gift. To say that “Only God has immortality” would be just as true as saying that only God has life. Both statements are true for God is the only source of both. So God can remove the gift of immortality just as easily as he can remove the gift of life. God Himself says “…I kill and I make alive…”. (Deuteronomy 32:39) He can take away anything He gives. He’s God. But in the meantime, Satan and his angels are enjoying the remaining portion of their immortal lives deceiving as many as they possibly can. They know that eventually they all will be destroyed so they want to take as large a multitude as they possibly can to perdition with them.

Remember, immortality does not equal eternity. Eternity is a time frame that never ends. Immortality is a physical state that renders the possessor of it immune to death, disease, aging, or in need of any external sustenance whatsoever. This physical state may indeed last for eternity as long as the gift remains with the one possessing it. But an immortal being is not an eternal being for this is a qualification that belongs to God alone. An immortal being does not need food, water, air, sleep, rest or even love. An immortal being is self-sustaining. The gift of immortality itself is a gift that God endows upon someone understanding that without God, that gift would cease to be. Since God is a constant, so is the gift of immortality. Therefore, the possessor of the gift of immortality can indeed be considered self-sustaining for that is the qualification of the gift in the first place. It is to render the possessor of it completely independent from anything external for its existence. God is the source. Without God this gift would not exist. For immortality to continue to be in effect, God must continue to apply the properties it was designed for. Just as God breathed the breath of life into Adam and he became a living soul. Adam was alive all by himself as long as he possessed God’s breath of life. The same with an immortal being, he remains immortal as long as that gift is still with him.

Let’s consider EGW explanation of the Sadducees view of life after death. They believed that men possessed the same physical properties after the resurrection as they did before they died. EGW states:

“The Sadducees reasoned that if the body is to be composed of the same particles of matter in its immortal as in its mortal state, then when raised from the dead it must have flesh and blood, and must resume in the eternal world the life interrupted on earth. In that case they concluded that earthly relationships would be resumed, husband and wife would be reunited, marriages consummated, and all things go on the same as before death, the frailties and passions of this life being perpetuated in the life beyond. In answer to their questions, Jesus lifted the veil from the future life. “In the resurrection,” He said, “they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” (DA pg.605)

As mortals, we have a way of life that is unique to mortals alone. Our current family structure was created by God, custom-made to fit our mortal composition. Immortal beings do not procreate. They were created directly by God. We, however, were not created directly from God’s hand. We were born from a mortal father and mother. We have been procreating since Adam and Eve. The fact that we are conceived of the union of a sperm and an egg and develop through the process of cell division and growth proves that we, since Adam and Eve, are mortal beings. Why is this? Obviously, if the sperm and egg are not united then the resulting life would not occur. Both cells would die if not united. And even when they are united, the resulting embryo must be nourished for cell division to occur.

We are a unique race in this universe. We were created for a specific purpose in God’s universal blueprint of perfection. There is a reason why He created humankind on this planet as mortal flesh and blood creatures. God’s all-knowing wisdom saw it fit to make us an example to the universe that weak, mortal, and defenseless creatures can accomplish greater things than even the angels ever did. One day, we will be like them. But they will never know what it was like to be puny, weak, bacteria-like creatures, completely dependent on our environment just to exist. They will never know what it is to be redeemed from a sure curse of our own making, destined to extinction. Our place in the universe gives a clear testimony of how awesome and unbelievably kind and loving our God is. This mortal race will soon become an immortal trophy in God’s eternal treasure chest.