If we were created in God’s image, why aren’t we immortal?

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Question: Man was created in God’s image and since God is immortal, doesn’t that mean that man is also immortal?

Answer: The Bible teaches that man is mortal (Job 4:17). Only God has immortality (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 that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). Since the word immortal means “not subject to death,” there could be no question of death for a soul possessing an innate immortality.

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 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 idea of the immortality 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.”

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 Tim. 1:17).

Here are the five references that contain the word “immortality”:

  • 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?  In Romans, Paul quotes the prophet Elijah as saying of his enemies, “They seek my life.”  We understand from this that the prophet’s enemies did not yet have his life in their hands.  Therefore, when we are exhorted to seek for immortality, for a life that knows no end, we must conclude that we do not now possess such a life.
  • 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 exhorted to “seek” immortality, and why we are told that immortality is something that is to be “put on” “at the last trump.”

Only God has immortality at this time and will give immortality to the saints at His coming.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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