51. Were we created as eternal beings?


If we lay aside our preconceived positions and ask what the scripture teaches it seems clear that we all start life as LOST and MORTAL unbelievers...  the opportunity and freedom of choice to seek for more is available to ALL.


Those who seek God discover His grace and His awesome love for us and the eternal life He offers us in Christ. This is what the expression 'born again' or 'born of the Spirit' describes.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' NKJV
We are born of the spirit when we come to the place in our lives where in simple faith, we surrender ourselves to the love and care and provision of God for us.


The new testament speaks of the unregenerate man as a 'natural man'

1 Cor 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.   NKJV
This refers to a man who has NOT received the Holy Spirit 
To receive the things of the Spirit ...and the Spirit Himself, we must be 'born of the Spirit' ... this is a work of God alone. (John 1:12-13)


Apart from this the scriptures confirm our mortality from the beginning....

Gen 3:19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread 
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return."   NKJV
Gen 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. NKJV
Nephesh (נֶפֶש‎ nep̄eš) is a Biblical Hebrew word which occurs in the Hebrew Bible.The word refers to the aspects of life, and human beings and higher animals are both described as having a nephesh. The Hebrew term נפש‎ is literally "living being", although it is commonly rendered as soul in English translations.
Please note that according to the scriptures man did not exist as a spirit being before God formed him in the womb. Man's life does not exist apart from God and it is nothing other than the breath of God Himself that gives and sustains life. Brethren our lives are in HIS hands.
The scripture is emphatic that God MADE or CREATED man and that he did NOT procreate man. Jesus alone is referred to as the 'ONLY BEGOTTEN SON' (John 1:14 and 18 and John 3:16 and 18). Jesus in human form alone was the product of God and woman. (Luke 1:35)
God tells us clearly that He personally created Adam and that it in this sense that Adam is also the son of God (Luke 3:38)
God created man and woman as mature beings who were ready and able to multiply. Evolution has no answer as to how the human race could have evolved, with two independant and incredibly complex and complimentary beings suddenly able to 'multiply' at the same time. God tells us simply that woman was a special creation ...one COMPARABLE to man ... and made for the purpose of companionship and procreation. (Gen 1:28)
The scriptures teach no other source of LIFE...inannimate matter cannot evolve into LIFE....it never has and it never will. Each of the species God created was to mate and fill the earth 'according to its kind'. Fish have never given birth to chickens...neither have apes ever given birth to humans....despite what evolutionists may claim.
Ps 139:13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother's womb
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.   NKJV
We were each awesomely created with a unique purpose
Eph 2:10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. NKJV
God provided for mankind's every need... demonstrating His love for creation
Gen 2:9 And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. NKJV
God gives mankind a choice... either to trust the love and goodness of his Creator and to simply enjoy a relationship with Him ... or to seek an alternate way of existing APART FROM dependence on and relationship with God. Adam and Eve's choice unfortunately was that which humanity in the main today still makes ... "I'll do it my way".
Gen 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die"    NKJV
God did not say that man would eventually die... or die after 900 more years...but IN THE DAY that you eat. Adam died physically about 900 years later but he was banished from the presence of God immediately. God did not say ' Your body will die but your soul will live on'...God tells Adam that YOU would die. It is hard to see any way that the concept of an immortal soul can be supported in the light of these verses. 
Mankind made the wrong choice even after having been warned of their MORTALITY. They then discovered what DEATH really was ... that apart from relationship with God life, as God intended it for mankind, is over. There is no satisfaction in or purpose for life on earth without God. Mankind through Adam and Eve chose to detach themselves from the only life source. (Rom 5:12-14) This is the DEATH which happened ...the end of direct personal relationship with God himself, which God created mankind to enjoy and be sustained by. This death happened on that very day as promised (Gen 3:24).
Gen 3:19     Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return."      NKJV
Mankind is now told that apart from God they are DUST and certainly MORTAL. Please note that God speaks to man as YOU. All of YOU including your body and soul amount only to dust. This passage comprehensively excludes any scope for an 'immortal soul', which Greeks around the time of Plato believed to be the very essence of man and which they believed would live on after physical death. By translating the word 'nephesh' as 'soul' instead of 'living being' many have been deceived into believing that unregenerate man has an immortal essence. This is contradicted in numerous scriptures telling us that the fate of unregenerate man is death.
God reveals what He had really offered mankind....and what Adam and Eve had really turned their backs on.
Gen 3:22  Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"    NKJV
If mankind had chosen to trust God instead of listening to the serpent (devil) and then trusting THEMSELVES, they would in time have eaten the fruit of the other tree...the Tree of LIFE...and then received eternal Life.
Eccl 12:6    Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed
Or the golden bowl is broken,
Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,
Or the wheel broken at the well. 
7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it. NKJV
Life is the opportunity for each of us to seek God and in Him to find immortality.
Ezek 18:20  The soul who sins shall die.  NKJV
Under the Law God offered life to Israel as a reward in return for obedience Deut 30:19. BUT if they sinned they (including their SOUL) would DIE.
Acts 17:26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; NKJV
Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  NKJV
Titus 1:1-3  Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior; NKJV
Paul confirms that eternal life was promised to man BEFORE TIME BEGAN....and we know that one does not hope for a promise for something that you already have. The Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden is the first mention of the promise which God offered to mankind. Please note that the 'tree of life' was there even before man sinned....it was not an after-thought.
Please also note that mankind's decision to eat of the other tree....rather than the "Tree of Life" was driven by greed ("it looked good and was desirable to make one wise") which came when they believed Satan's lie that God was actually trying to deprive them of something GOOD when He said "Do NOT eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil". They should have responded saying 'The God who made us has blessed us with every GOOD thing has warned us of danger because He LOVES US and wants to protect us from death'. They instead chose to agree with the serpent and relied on their own judgment to determine what was right.
A surrender to doing life God's way is at the core of the word 'repentance' .... in Greek meaning "to change your way of thinking".... specifically about God.
Eternal life is the GIFT of God to those who trust or believe in Him, or seek after Him...or come to Him. 
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting lifeNKJV
The choice for all mankind remains today...find eternal life or PERISH (Luke 13:3, John 3:15, John 10:28, 2 Thes 2:10, 2 Pet 3:9)
1 Cor 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality . 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality , then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."    NKJV
1 Tim 6:15  He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.  NKJV
The above verse also eliminates all possibility of mankind being immortal APART FROM GOD. It is ONLY in our union with Him as now made available through Christ's death on the cross, that the scripture teaches this eternal life is available.
What Jesus offers to the world today is the way to find God and in Him to find ETERNAL LIFE
John 14:6   Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.    NKJV
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in deathNKJV
Please note that John here is refering to the ETERNAL life having been found....i.e. when we have been BORN AGAIN.
Luke 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"     NKJV
God gives His Holy Spirit to dwell in those who SEEK Him and ASK. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee that we have eternal life.
There are hundreds of scriptures reminding mankind of their mortality and that we all will perish or die  i.e. that apart from God we face ONE certain reality.... DEATH.
John 3:18  "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. NKJV
The condemned man does not need to be judged again.
John 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."  NKJV
The apostles preached it...
Acts 13:46   "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us:
'I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.'"   
48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. NKJV
Those who did not believe did NOT have eternal or immortal life. ...this was the fate of all unbelievers according to the scriptures...
Isa 26:14   They are dead, they will not live;
They are deceased, they will not rise.
Therefore You have punished and destroyed them,
And made all their memory to perish. 
Does the unsaved or 'natural man' have a spirit?
1 Cor 2:14  But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. NKJV
The unsaved person does not have the capacity to know the things of God ...ie he CANNOT because he is NATURAL or FLESH ... and God is SPIRIT.
Acts 19:1  ... And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" NKJV
Isa 42:5 Thus says God  the LORD,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it,
Who gives breath to the people on it,
And spirit to those who walk on it:    NKJV
Brethren, the scripture is clear...the Holy Spirit is a GIFT which God gives to people WHO believe...or seek Him. It gives man the ability to interact with God.
Does the scripture give any support for a doctrine of pre-existance of humans
This would contradict the teaching of the scriptures in many places as it would suggest we existed as spiritual beings before taking on physical form. The process was that God first made Adam...and then breathed life (His breath) into Him. The scripture knows nothing of humans having eternal spirits apart from being born again of the Spirit...when our human souls are united with and indwelt by the eternal Spirit of God.
John 8:23 And He said to them, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.  NKJV
1 Tim 6:14 ...until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. NKJV
The clear teaching of the scriptures is that the ONLY human who had immortality (of his own) was Jesus.
The only pre-existence the scriptures teach is that of Christ.
John 1:1   In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  NKJV
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  NKJV
John 3:13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. NKJV
What about the scriptures which refer body and soul and spirit?
Scriptures must be viewed IN CONTEXT. The first question to ask when wanting to understand the intent is "WHO is being addressed?"
Matt 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul . But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. NKJV
This scripture is addressed to the APOSTLES... those who had believed and been BORN AGAIN. Men could now only destroy their bodies as their souls have souls have been UNITED with Christ....and they therefore have eternal life. God alone has our eternal destiny in HIS hands. (John 10:28-29)
1 Thess 5:23  Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. NKJV
This scripture is also addressed to BELIEVERS who were born of the Spirit in Thessalonica... and were suffering persecution. Their born again spirits and souls were now united with Christ....and His spirit was dwelling in them. 
1 Cor 6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.   NKJV
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  NKJV
This verse is addressed to Hebrew BELIEVERS... showing them how to discern between the works which they themselves were doing in efforts to EARN God's blessing (the soul) ... and those which God was leading them to do (by the Spirit)
Heb 12:9 Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? NKJV
Please note that this passage also exclusively addresses BELIEVERS and in this context refers to God as 'the Father of spirits'. This passage does not in anyway imply that all mankind have spirits... It refers to those who have believed and have been born again of the Holy Spirit (John 3:6). THESE are the children of God (John 1:12-13). Man and woman WERE NOT CREATED AS SPIRITUAL BEINGS (John 3:6). Nor do they become SPIRITUAL beings with eternal life UNTIL they have chosen to eat of the TREE OF LIFE.
Some will raise Job 32:8 ...but if we look closely we will see that Job walked and talked with God. He had sought God and HAD received the gift of God's spirit (i.e. he was regarded BY GOD as 'blameless and upright and one who fears God' Job 1:8) and thereby understanding and wisdom and even eternal life. The 'unwise counsel' from Job's friends is hardly something we should base our doctrine on (refer Job 42:7-8).
Zech 12:1  Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: NKJV
This is clearly speaking of man at creation as detailed in Genesis 1 and 2 and the breath of God breathed into man as the life force which returns to God at death .. Ecc 12:7. The spirit spoken of as 'the spirit of man' is solely referring to that which given to all mankind in the natural sense...ie consciouness and including his emotions, reason, conscience and will at birth. Please note that Zechariah was also born again by the Spirit AFTER his encounter with God. (Zech 1)
What about the fact that were are created in God's image?
Gen 1:26 Then God said,"Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image ; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. NKJV
Brethren just because God is Spirit this verse in no way implies that man was created a spirit .... or should we equally assume the following:-
God must also have a body because we are in His image and likeness?
God is mortal because we are in His image?
God must exist as 'male and female' because we are in His image and likeness?
The intent of this expression is that we were created as beings able to commune with God. We were created to be able to understand what God says and to relate to Him. There are many scriptures using anthropomorphic language which are clearly figurative... 'the eyes of the Lord'.... ' the hand of the Lord', etc.
An interesting confirmation about man being created as a mortal being WITHOUT an immortal soul comes from the Jewish perspective....
The Jewish Encyclopedia 
The consensus opinion of the Jewish rabbis on what the Old Testament taught is summed up in the following extract from the Jewish Encyclopedia .... 
"The belief that the soul continues its existence after the dissolution of the body is a matter of philosophical or theological speculation rather than of simple faith, and is accordingly nowhere expressly taught in Holy Scripture."
The belief in the immortality of the soul came to the Jews from contact with Greek thought and chiefly through the philosophy of Plato, its principal exponent.
Points to Ponder
If one has been raised in a traditional Christian church such as Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox or Church of England.... or even Lutheran, Methodist or Presbyterian then the various doctrines of infant baptism certainly confuse the issue.
Being raised as a R/C church member I was always told that I was 'born again' and had received the Holy Spirit because of what the church had done for me. There is one major problem however with this doctrine. This contradicts the FACT that the clear teaching of scripture is that man cannot be born again by the 'will of man'...or the 'will of the flesh'...'BUT of God' alone. The GIFT of eternal life is something only our Heavenly FATHER gives by GRACE to those who seek Him, who believe in Him and who come to Jesus. This is NOT something an infant can do OR that parents can do on behalf of the child OR that a 'church' can do on behalf of the child for the parents. It is something we each must do for ourselves.
After almost 20 years of being told that I had everything I needed from God because of being raised and heavily involved in my church, I encountered the Living God and WAS born again of the Spirit. God in His awesome GRACE reached out and drew me to Jesus. AND THEN I HAD ETERNAL LIFE AND RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD! (this was something millions of Charismatics discovered in the 1970's Charismatic Revival)
Brethren, if you are relying on your 'church affiliation' and adherence to their rules to qualify you to obtain eternal life then you have not got it...and then and you are sadly still DEAD according to the scriptures.
The great dilemna created by infant baptism is what happens when the baptised (and even confirmed) child grows up and chooses to have NOTHING to do with God? Will they they then still have been 'born again' and have eternal life? Are they saved? ...or do they need to find another 'place' to be in forever because they now supposedly have eternal life? (ie an eternal place like 'Purgatory' or 'Hell' where they are to spend forever due to their own choice?)
Refer section 53.
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