gift of life #3
comparing God with humans
We have been talking about God’s exclusive immortality. The Bible often identifies God by drawing attention to this exclusive attribute. When God is mentioned, his infinite and immortal nature is often listed as part of his title, identifying him as different from all other beings.
- He is called the “Living God” 28 times. By contrast, we humans are called God’s creatures. As such we die. We are dying by nature. He is the source of our lives, but our lives come to an end, while his does not.
- He is called “the eternal God” twice – once in each testament. His name and attributes endure forever. We are not eternal, but he is.
- He is “the immortal God” in Romans 1:23. We are called mortal man in the same verse.
- Both Abraham and Isaiah called God “the everlasting God.” We humans do not last forever. We are perishable. We fade away like the color on a leaf. We return to the dust from which we were made.
God is different. He is exclusively immortal. This, as well as his other exclusive attributes – like holiness and omnipotence – make it appropriate for us to worship him exclusively. Conditional immortality is – at the heart of the issue – a doctrine which seeks to preserve what the Bible reveals about God. Listen to David’s prayer in Psalm 39:
4 “O LORD, help me understand my mortality and the brevity of life! Let me realize how quickly my life will pass! 5 Look, you make my days short-lived, and my life span is nothing from your perspective. Surely all people, even those who seem secure, are nothing but vapor. 6 Surely people go through life as mere ghosts. Surely they accumulate worthless wealth without knowing who will eventually haul it away.” 7 But now, O sovereign Master, upon what am I relying? You are my only hope! 8 Deliver me from all my sins of rebellion! Do not make me the object of fools’ insults! 9 I am silent and cannot open my mouth because of what you have done. 10 Please stop wounding me! You have almost beaten me to death! 11 You severely discipline people for their sins; like a moth you slowly devour their strength. Surely all people are a mere vapor. (Selah) 12 Hear my prayer, O LORD! Listen to my cry for help! Do not ignore my sobbing! For I am dependent on you, like one residing outside his native land; I am at your mercy, just as all my ancestors were. 13 Turn your angry gaze away from me, so I can be happy before I pass away” (Psalm 39:4-13 NET).
David looks at his life from God’s perspective. To him, even a lifetime is nothing – as a mere breath. Breathe in, breath out, that is it. That is a human life from God’s perspective. David admits that God alone is immortal. God shares that divine characteristic with no one – at least not yet. David’s point is that since God will outlast his problem, it is God he will turn to with the problem, instead of trying to solve it himself. His only hope is in God.
If you have any questions about this teaching, you can ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join me for this entire series as we search the scriptures to learn about the gift of life.
(listen to the audio file at Afterlife)