What if life really is a gift?
John 5:19-24: “Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works than these, so that you will be astonished. Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. The Father judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.'”
1 Timothy 6: 16: “It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.”
The Bible is full of statements that we tend to pay very little real attention to. It seems amazing to me how easily we Christians fall into talking about the “immortal soul” as though there is something inherently immortal in being a human being. This is certainly a faith tenet coming out of some Greek philosophy and some Eastern religious thought, but it is incredibly distant from biblical thought. (It is pretty distant from most of our available scientific data as well.)
Though much of the writing in the Hebrew Bible wrestles with whether life beyond death is possible or desirable, the outcome of this wrestling was a prophetic belief that God would someday overcome death with life—as a gift. The New Testament writings are a victorious celebration of how God has given a “firstfruits” evidence of this gift in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In all of these writings, one tenet is often explicit, and always assumed: human life is NOT inherently immortal. If we are to live beyond death, it will be a gracious gift from God.
Reflect a bit and be thankful: Life now is a gift. Your life, my life didn’t have to exist. Renewed life through God’s Holy Spirit is a gift; it wasn’t inherently in me. And if I live beyond death, it will be a gift of God’s love, not something inherent in my “soul.”
God’s faithful and loving nature, not the immortality of the soul, is the biblical crunch point!
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Ron Simkins