© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Biblical usages - NASB (exhaustive)

    A. Greek word athanasia
         1. Meaning - "no death"
         2. Usages
              I Cor. 15:53 - "this mortal must put on immortality"
              I Cor. 15:54 - "when this mortal shall have put on immortality"
              I Tim. 6:16 - "King of Kings and Lord of Lords; who alone possesses immortality..."
    B. Greek words aphtharsia and aphthartos
         1. Meaning - "no destruction, no corruption, imperishable"
         2. Usages
              Rom. 2:7 - "those who seek for glory, honor and immortality, (will get) eternal life"
              I Tim. 1:17 - "believe in Him (Jesus) for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal,                   invisible, the only God..."
              II 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
         1. Plato indicated that soul of man is essentially divine, pre-existent and eternal.
         2. Aristotle limited divinity, eternality and immortality to "active intellect" of man's soul               (rationalism)
    B. Jewish thought
         1. Saduccees
              a. Did not believe in future life
              b. Matt. 22:29 - "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of                    God."
         2. Pharisees
              a. Believed in resurrection of the body
              b. Such was a reanimation or re-embodiment of physical, racial Jewish bodies in a physical,                    national community/kingdom.

III. Immortality in Biblical perspective.

    A. God and immortality
         1. God is immortal.
             John 5:26 - "the Father has life in Himself..."
             I Tim. 1:17 - "the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God"
         2. Immortality is an attribute of God alone
              I Tim. 6:16 - "who alone possesses immortality"
         3. God's attributes are exclusive and non-transferable
         4. God manifests His attributes ontologically
              a. God expresses Himself in His own Person and presence
              b. God expresses Himself in His own acts
              c. God expresses Himself by His Son and His Spirit
    B. Man and immortality
         1. Man is not essentially or inherently immortal
              a. physiologically - body
              b. psychologically - soul
              c. spiritually - spirit
         2. We must not attribute God's attributes to man
              a. Such deifies man
              b. Man is not divine, eternal or immortal
              c. Such realities are extrinsic to man.
         3. God's life and immortality can be invested in man
              a. God is the creative source and sustenance of all forms of life
                  Neh. 9:6 - "Thou doest give life to all of them"
                  Acts 17:25,28 - "He Himself gives to all life and breath..."
                  I Tim. 6:13 - "God, who gives life to all things"
              b. God is the sole source of spiritual, eternal life in man.
                  Jn. 17:3 - "this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus                       Christ whom Thou has sent"
              c. Christocentric immortality and eternal life
                  I Tim. 1:17 - "the King eternal, immortal..."
                  Jn. 14:6 - "I am the way, the truth, and the life"
                  Col. 3:4 - "Christ is our life"
                  II Tim. 1:10 - "Christ Jesus abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light                       through the gospel"
              d. Immortality in man is derived ontologically and dynamically from God in Christ by His                   grace
                     John 11:26 - "everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die"
                     John 14:19 - "because I live, you shall live also"
              e. Immortality in man is conditioned on our receptivity of the ontological essence of God's                      immortality made available in Jesus Christ
                     Rom. 2:7 - "those who seek..immortality, find eternal life"
                     Gal. 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"
              f. Immortality and eternal life are received in regeneration
                  Jn. 3:7 - "you must be born again"
                  Jn. 3:16 - "whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life"
                  I Pet. 1:3 - "born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the                      dead"
              g. Immortality and eternal life will be displayed in our future bodily resurrection
                  (1) The glorified and spiritual body will be an immortal body
                        I Cor. 15:53,54 - "the mortal shall have put on immortality"
                  (2) Spiritual immortality of eternal life is not delayed until bodily resurrection. It is not                          just a future acquisition.
                  (3) There is a perpetuity and continuum of our spiritual identification with the character                          and destiny of spiritual being.
                        (a) Not annihilationism
                        (b) No denial of the perpetuity of hell
                              Matt. 25:41 - "eternal fire prepared for devil and his angels"
                              Matt. 25:46 - "eternal punishment"
                              II Thess. 1:9 - "eternal destruction..."



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