ANSWER: To God "The King eternal, IMMORTAL, invisible, the only wise God" (1 Tim. 1:17).
Does not the Bible allow that man is immortal as well?
ANSWER: No; it says God alone is immortal. "The King of kings, and Lord of lords: WHO ONLY HATH IMMORTALITY" (1 Tim. 6:16).
Does it never apply the term "immortal" to man?
ANSWER: Never. On the contrary, it speaks of ,"mortal man" (Job 4:17).
Is man entirely cut off from immortality then?
ANSWER: No; but it is a thing he has to seek for in order to obtain it. "By patient continuance in well doing SEEK for glory and honour and immortality" (Rom. 2:7).
Is, then, the doctrine of immortality taught by the Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and others, a mistaken doctrine?
ANSWER: It must be so: "Jesus Christ ... brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" by "abolishing death" in his own person by resurrection (2 Tim 1:10).
May not the doctrine of philosophers and the doctrine of Christ have been the same, though taught at different times?
ANSWER: They are not the same: they differ on all points. The philosophers, like the Sadducees (Luke 20:27), denied the resurrection. Paul says the wisdom of the philosophers was "foolishness" in God's estimation (1 Cor. 3:19, 20). It led to the Corinthian denial of resurrection (1 Cor. 15). Paul told believers to "beware" of philosophy (Col. 2:8), which he speaks of as "vain deceit" and "babblings" (1 Tim. 6:20).
Wherein does Christ's doctrine differ from the doctrine of the philosophers? ANSWER: Christ teaches that men have no immortality in themselves (John 6:53); that they are mortal men — men in whom death works as a law of their being because of sin (Rom. 5:12; 7:24; 2 Cor. 1:9); and that only those who believe and obey him will receive immortality (John 8:12, 24, 10:27, 28).
Can you express it more shortly, and in Bible terms?
ANSWER: Yes; "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord " (Rom. 6:23).
Is immortality received in the present state of existence then?
ANSWER: No; it is conferred at the return of Christ: "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory . . . the righteous (shall go) into life eternal" (Matt. 25:31, 46). "At the last trump. . . . this mortal shall put on immortality" (1 Cor. 15:53). "Those that have done good ... shall come forth ... to the resurrection of life" (John 5:29). "Those that are accounted worthy ... shall not die any more" (Luke 20:35, 36).
What becomes of them meantime?
ANSWER: If they die, they "sleep in the dust of the earth" (Dan. 12:2). They are "THE DEAD in Christ" (1 Thess. 4:16).
Do you mean to say there is no consciousness in the death state?
ANSWER: Yes. The Bible explicitly declares it. "In death, there is no remembrance of Thee" (Psa. 6:5). "THE DEAD KNOW NOT ANYTHING" (Eccl. 9:5).
What becomes of the unjust?
ANSWER: They also sleep in the dust; but at the resurrection, they come forth to condemnation (John 5:29).
Is there a resurrection of the unjust as well?
ANSWER: Yes. "There shall be a resurrection both of the just and unjust" (Acts 24:15).
What is the difference between them in that case?
ANSWER: There is a great difference. They will "all appear before the judgment seat of Christ" to receive in body, according to what they have done (2 Cor. 5:10). While the righteous will enter an immortal state, the unjust will suffer "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish" (Rom. 2:8-9), and disappear finally in the corruption of the "second death" — or death a second time (Gal. 6:8; 2 Pet. 2:12; Rev. 21:8). "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever . . . But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off" (Psa. 37:29-38; 2 Thess. 1-8).
Is there not a single passage in the Bible that declares that men will not die?
ANSWER: Yes; there is one: "Ye shall not surely die" (Gen. 3:4) but the author of the saying was the serpent, who was a liar (2 Cor. 11:3).