Does man possess Immortality?

BibleAsk Team

Man Is Mortal

Some claim that since man was made on God’s image (Genesis 1:26,27), then he has immortality. But the Bible teaches that man is a mortal being (Job 4:17). All created beings must comply with specific conditions if this life is to be preserved (1 Corinthians 15:54).

The Bible declares of Godwho alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:16). The concept of an undying, immortal soul goes against the Bible, which teaches that souls are subject to death. “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20).

Jesus, declared that the soul could die, in Matthew 10:28. “And fear not them which kill the body … but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The wicked soul will die in the fires of hell. Therefore, it cannot be immortal by nature.

In all the 1700 biblical occurrences of the words “soul” and “spirit” not once are they referred to as being immortal or undying. There is not one text that supports such a teaching in the Bible.

The Origin of the Immortality of Soul

The idea of the immortal soul of man was given by the devil in Genesis 3:1-4: “Now the serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.” The Creator had declared that sin would bring death, but Satan said the opposite, “You will not really die.”

References in the Bible

In the Bible, the word “immortality” is used only five times. And the word “immortal” appears only once and it is applied to God only: “Eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God” (1 Timothy 1:17). Here are the five references:

  • Romans 2:7.  In this text. the Christian is exhorted to “seek” for immortality.  Why should he seek for it if he already possesses it? 
  • 2 Timothy 1:10.  This verse says Christ “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”  It is clear that so far from immortality’s being a natural possession of all men, it is one of the good things made possible through the gospel.  Paul wrote, “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ” (Romans 6:23).  Why would we need this gift if we already had undying souls?
  • 1 Corinthians 15:53.  This passage tells us when we shall receive immortality.  The time is “at the last trump.”  Then, “this mortal must put on immortality.”  Why should the apostle Paul speak of our putting on immortality at the future if we already possess it?
  • 1 Corinthians 15:54.  This verse simply adds the thought that when “this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”
  • 1 Timothy 6:16.  Here we learn that God “only hath immortality.”  This final text settles the matter, and explains clearly why we are admonished to “seek” immortality, and why we are told that immortality is something that is to be “put on” “at the last trump.”

From the Scriptures, we learn that only God has immortality at this time. And He will give immortality to the saints at His coming.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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