WAS MANKIND CREATED TO LIVE FOREVER?
WHERE WILL YOU SPEND ETERNITY? To answer that question, we first have to see how each of us is made. In Genesis 2:7 it says, “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 soul.” He was made a perfect man from the dust of the ground, but he did not become “alive” until the breath of “life” (spirit) was breathed into him. Then man became a living soul. It was the breath of life that allowed him to live. This breath of life is also called the “Spirit of God” and it is also referred to by many people as the “living soul.” It is the spirit/soul that makes man distinct from the animal world and makes man unique among all of God’s creation (see 1 Thess. 5:23). With the spirit, man became God-conscious and that allows man to know, understand, and have communion with God. Man was created to have an intimate relationship with his Creator. Not a religion but a relationship with God Almighty.
This is confirmed and referenced in Job 32:8, “But there is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.” This is also referenced in Revelation 11:11-12, “Now after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.”
God’s great desire was to have communion and fellowship with man, so He created man and placed him in a “material” world. For man to communicate and have a tangible relationship with the physical world, God created man with a “physical” body capable of such communication. However, because God is “Spirit” (John 4:24), man was able to communicate with God in spirit because at creation God placed the spirit of man within his body.
Man, a “living soul,” stood between two worlds and belonged to both. Through his body, man was linked to the visible, material, and earthly world around him and through his spirit he was linked to the spiritual, eternal, and heavenly world of God Himself.
WERE WE CREATED TO LIVE FOR ETERNITY?
The answer to that question is a resounding “YES.” According to Scripture, this is what happens when a man physically dies! Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, “Then the dust will return to the earth (this is the body), and the spirit or the soul returns to God that gave it.” Everything goes into reverse. Man’s breath (the spirit) leaves his body and returns to God and man’s physical body returns to the earth and later becomes dust. There are two different entities making up the human being. There is the spiritual body and the physical body. We have to keep both of these in mind when discussing death, because at death each of these entities takes a different path.
The Bible tells us that the body is the “house” in which our spirit or soul lives. Our bodies are not really us; it is just a house in which our soul lives. We can understand this because we live in a house. The house is not us; it is just the place where we live. If the house that you lived in burnt to the ground so all that was left was dust and ashes, would you not move to another home? The same is true with your spirit or soul once your physical human body dies.
What happens when a believer dies? His soul/spirit goes to be with the Lord. The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:8, “That when we are absent from our bodies we are present with the Lord.” At our physical death everyone’s soul/spirit goes back to God who gave it. Ezekiel 18:4 tells us exactly who “owns” your soul. “Behold, all souls are Mine.” Every person’s soul/spirit who was ever born throughout the history of mankind: believer and non-believer alike; belongs to God and will return to God upon man’s physical death.
At the very instant of death the spirit is received by God while the human physical body stays here and begins to decay and turn to dust. The spiritual part of man survives death and continues to have consciousness and identity. It is the spirit or soul of a saved believer that rejoices at the death of the body. This was so important for us to know that Jesus made sure to tell us. In fact, the very last words that Jesus spoke before He died on the cross told us that. “And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, Father, into your hands I commit My spirit. Having said this, He breathed His last (Luke 23:46).”
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Here Paul is simply telling us that if we only knew what lay ahead for us in death, we would welcome death with open arms. That is also why the apostle Paul said, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Why did he say that it was “gain” to die? Because to die is to go to be with Christ and it is far better than being here.
Death is not the tragic final act in this drama we call life, but instead death is a glorious homecoming to our Heavenly Father and to our loved ones who have gone before us. Psalm 116: 15 puts it so beautifully when it says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful ones.” The death of a faithful one is precious to the Lord because through death that loved one is now in the very presence of God the Father. That loved one is home in the arms of Almighty God.
We should not be surprised that the Bible tells true believers that they should look upon death almost as a special gift. Only death can give us the gift of eternity. That is why Christ could say, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him (GOD) who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The body might temporarily be in the possession of cancer or heart disease or find itself in any number of other horrible death dealing circumstances, but these enemies cannot prevent the soul/spirit from going to God.
When Stephen was about to die, he did not ask for the grave to receive him, but said, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit (Acts 7:59)!” Clearly, he was not looking forward to an unconscious existence but awaited the immediate bliss of heaven in fellowship with Christ and the Father.
To die as a believer is to go home to heaven. To live here is like existing in a foreign country. This world is not our home. In Romans 12:2, Paul urges us “not to be conformed to this world.” The word “world” used here means the society or system that man has built in order to make himself happy without God. It is a kingdom that is antagonistic to God. According to Scripture, the god and prince of this world is Satan. All unconverted people are his subjects. He seeks to attract and hold people through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). The world has its own politics, art, music, religion, amusements, thought-patterns, lifestyles, and it seeks to get everyone to conform to its culture and customs. It hates non-conformists, like Christ and His followers.
We have to remember that we are in this world but we’re not of this world. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him (1 John 3:1).” Someday we’ll understand this distinction much better but for now the future is ours by faith. Believers go directly into the presence of Christ at death. They are conscious and in command of all their facilities. As the great evangelist D. L. Moody said before he died, “Soon you will read in the papers that Moody is dead. Don’t believe it. For in that moment I will be more alive than I have ever been.”
All human life comes from God, who gave it, and all things depend on God who created all things; whether a person recognizes these facts to be true or not, these facts are reality. For the believer and follower of Jesus Christ, new joys come after death. Only through death can we go to our heavenly home and be with God.
So, we can say that death has two faces. To the UNBELIEVER the very thought of death is terrifying or at least it should be, but for those who have made their peace with God, death is a blessing because death is a means of redemption, a doorway into an existing and joyous adventurous eternity with God the Father and Jesus. When the final curtain parts for every one of us, nothing can keep us from answering His summons. A few seconds after we die, we will either be “ELATED” or “TERRIFIED.” Then, it will be too late to reroute your travel plans or to make amends.
In summary, we can see plainly from Scripture that God has made every one of us (believer and unbeliever alike) to live for all eternity! It is God’s divine intention that all men should spend eternity with Him and, while it is true that not all will, God appeals to all men to come unto Him. Man was made in God’s image and the future fellowship in eternity will be one in which eternal beings enjoy the presence of God and one another for all eternity.
God gave man dominion over the earth. All the fruit of the trees was his to enjoy except the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This was God’s TEST upon man to remind man that God was to be the Lord of his life and that His will was supreme. It revealed the fact that Adam was responsible to God, His Creator. It teaches us again that we are all responsible to God. This fact was taught in the Garden of Eden and whether we believe it or not or whether we accept it or not we are still accountable to God and one day we shall give an account to God.
According to John 5:28-29; physical death is not the end of man’s existence. It wasn’t God’s intention to create man to live short focused, small agenda lives, but to create man and to place His SPIRIT inside of man with the intent that man would live and have fellowship with Him forever. You have to understand that God is spirit and spirit cannot die. God cannot die and neither can God’s Spirit in man die.
We are not annihilated as so many falsely think. Don’t fall for Satan’s lie: “Don’t worry; after death you cease to exist.” No man was created just to come into this world and to die here after a short existence! Man was not created just for the experience of earth but, rather, he was created for eternity. Every person comes into the world as an eternal, immortal soul who has been made for eternity and accountable to God. “Then the dust (physical body) will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it (Eccl. 12:7).” The instant after our physical death our spirit returns to God, the Judge of all. In the case of a BELIEVER, it’s to be with God for all eternity. But in the case of an UNBELIEVER, the spirit goes to Hades; there to await the Great White Throne Judgment of God (Rev. 20:12-14) and then later to be sent to a place of everlasting conscious punishment (Matt. 25:46), a place originally prepared for Satan, where unbelievers are separated from God for all eternity. The solemn truth is that every person who has ever lived or will ever live falls into one of these two classes: “LIFE” or “CONDEMNATION” (John 5:29). Simply, “to be with God” or “to be separated from God” for all eternity.
The choice is yours to make regarding your final destination, while you’re still alive, as to where you want to spend eternity.
Question: “Is there any reason why you would not be willing to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?”
A closing Comment / It is difficult to understand why so many people have no concern for their eternal souls. Men seek to guarantee a comfortable future for themselves on this earth. They buy life insurance and invest in bonds, real estate and other securities but God says, “For what shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul (Mark 8:36).” According to Scripture – the real us – the soul/spirit will live for all eternity. Your soul is more valuable to God than the entire world.
F/B – Signs Of Our Times
Understanding The Signs Of Our Times.com
Ascribed to by:
Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man
Dr. Lian Maun Kim Koinonia Baptist Seminary- Yangon, Myanmar