Is Christ MORTAL?

We humans are mortal and we will all die one day. There is a huge gulf between the living and the dead with no islands in between. There are no half dead people except in Hollywood movies. The adjective ``mortal'' is like the adjective ``pregnant'', it is a case of only yes or no, there is no such thing as a little pregnant or a little mortal. One is either one or the other: pregnant or not pregnant, alive or dead, mortal or immortal. There are no states in between. Any living being who is not mortal is immortal and any living being who is not immortal is mortal. All mortal beings will one day die otherwise they are not mortal.

Surprisingly to many Christians, there are some Christians who claim that the resurrected Jesus is not immortal. Here is an amazing quote from one group whose leader claims unique expertise in matters of the Godhead: "Christ is the beginning of the creation of God but is not immortal. Only God is immortal."

If Christ is not immortal then he can only be mortal; there is no other possibility. If he is mortal, then he must eventually die. We will return to this extraordinary claim at the end of this article.

The basis of this minority doctrine that Christ is not immortal is a single verse:

1 Timothy 6:16
who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

This verse by Paul to the Greek Timothy may appear to claim that when these words were scribed, around 60 AD, there was only one immortal being in the universe. All agree that the Father has existed forever in the past and will exist forever in the future, and is unquestioningly immortal. The argument is that if there was only one immortal being in 60 AD, it must have been the Father; therefore Christ could not have been immortal at that time and is not immortal now. The implication is that Christ is mortal, which requires by definition that he one day die.

If Christ is not immortal, what hope do the rest of us have for immortality? Yet we read in the Bible verses such as Romans 2:7: Romans 2:7
to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;

Eternal life requires that one exist for eternity. A mortal being will one day expire. A mortal being cannot have eternal life and still be mortal. Anyone who is given eternal life will be immortal. To most, this is very plain but some cling to their view of 1 Timothy 6:16 and deny that Christ or any of the resurrected Christians is or ever will ever be immortal (because ``only God is immortal''), which demands that they be mortal and eventually expire.

What is the truth of the matter? What does the Bible record? Is this the correct meaning of this scripture? Let us open our Bibles and let the Bible tell us.

The Messiah

Firstly let us look at scriptures relating to Christ the Messiah. Isaiah writes of the birth of the Messiah and informs us that he will rule for evermore. Isaiah 9:6-7
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." {7} Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

To rule for evermore, one must be immortal. A mortal being cannot rule for evermore. Only an immortal being can rule for evermore. Thus this first scripture is a tick for the affirmative. Similar thoughts of ever lasting rulership are expressed in Daniel. Daniel 2:44
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand for ever;

This verse tells us the kingdom will stand for ever, and does not necessarily mean the rulers will live for ever. There could be a long succession of mortal rulers with the kingdom itself continuing for all time. The next verses add some more information. Daniel 7:13-14
I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. {14} And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

Now we are told that HIS dominion and HIS kingdom will be everlasting, implying that he himself will be everlasting. But could it mean that the kingdom he begins will be everlasting, even though he himself will one day pass on? Daniel 7:17-18
`These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. {18} But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, for ever and ever.'

Here are saints (people of the Most High, Christians) who shall receive rulership of the kingdom for ever and ever. Those who apply this in conjunction with Rev 1:14 ?? take this to refer to resurrected Christians who will then rule forever, and necessarily live forever. Dissenters could claim this will be a future event when Christians will be appointed to a government, and the government will last but individuals will die and be replaced by other humans. Similar remarks could also be made about the next verse. Daniel 7:27
And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.

Taking all these verses together, the impression is that the resurrected Christians will be part of a world-ruling government established by the returned Christ. The alternative of a succession of human bureaucracies seems very unlikely. Let us continue precept upon precept, line upon line. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
16 For the LORD himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; {17} then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Paul informs us that the resurrected Christians will always be with the Lord, which requires that both they and the Lord live forever or else they cannot always be together. These verses eliminate the possible alternative of a perpetual succession of bureaucracies. 2 Timothy 1:10
and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

If Christ Jesus has abolished death and brought life and immortality, then he himself is surely everliving and immortal. Revelation 1:17-18
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, {18} and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Here are words attributed to Christ himself -- Christ is alive for evermore.

From all of the above verses, we are drawn to the inescapable conclusion that Christ is alive for evermore, i.e. he is immortal! Well, what about the people who have become Christians?

Christians

We noted above that Christians will rule with Christ, will be part of an everlasting kingdom, and will be with the Lord for evermore, but there are further scriptures we ought to look at too. Daniel 12:2
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Here Daniel wrote that many of the dead would come to life and live everlastingly, but he does not directly identify them. From other scriptures which we will consider later, we would identify these as the Christians to be resurrected at the return of Christ.

Jesus spoke of the righteous going into eternal life. Matthew 25:46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Paul thought God had promised eternal life to Christians. Titus 1:2
in hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised ages ago

This may refer to the writings of Daniel, written "ages ago" in Paul's time frame. John is specific that Christians are promised eternal life: 1 John 2:25
And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.

John further wrote that Jesus claimed those who believe in him would have eternal life if he were lifted up, which he was at Calvary: John 3:14-15
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, {15} that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."

Again John reports that believers will have eternal life: John 3:36
He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.

Believers have eternal life, do not come into judgement for sins, and avoid death by passing from death into never-ending life. If their lives did end at any time, they would not have passed from death. Therefore their lives are endless. John 5:24
Truly , truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John wrote of a way of life leading to eternal life: John 6:27
Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal."

We can have eternal life because the Father wants us to have it, and we will acquire it at the last day (resurrection). John 6:40
For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

There is fruit leading to eternal life: John 4:35-36
Do you not say, `There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest. {36} He who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.

Jesus claimed to be able to give eternal life. As emphasis, we have the addition that such shall never perish. This is immortality. John 10:28
and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.

Here is yet another promise of eternal life: John 12:25
He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

The relationship with God and Jesus, described in John 17, leads to eternal life. John 17:3
And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

Jesus told Mary that a believer will never die, which is eternal life. John 11:26
and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" Do you believe that a Christian can acquire immortality? Mary did (verse 27). If a Christian can, Christ himself certainly has done it, at his resurrection. Refer also to the verses by Paul in 1 Cor 15 below. Galatians 6:8
For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. That is another claim by Paul, this time to Christians in Galatia, that a Christian will reap eternal life, i.e. immortality. He wrote a similar claim to the Greek Christians in Corinth: 1 Corinthians 15:53
For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. In that section about the resurrection of Christians when Christ returns to rule this world, is described a fundamental change which explains how immortality is acquired by mortals: there is a change in the nature of the being, from a perishable being to one which is inherently imperishable. If the new being were not inherently imperishable, it would be perishable and therefore mortal because there is no other alternative -- only mortal or immortal.

Paul, in his second epistle to the Greek Corinthians, again wrote that there is a different body or nature waiting for Christians after death, an eternal body, and therefore implying immortality: 2 Corinthians 5:1
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Paul wrote to the Romans that Christians will be rewarded with immortality and eternal life: Romans 2:7
to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; Also in the following verses of the same book by Paul: Romans 6:22-23
22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. In two consecutive verses is the declaration of eternal life for Christians. 1 Timothy 6:19
thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed. This verse alludes but does not specify. Paul was writing to Timothy who was a teacher and therefore knew if there was immortality ahead or not. We cannot tell from this verse alone. He refers to the future and indicates we should be laying a good foundation for it but this alone does not detail a mortal future or an immortal one. The term "life indeed" implies something different from the "life" we now have which terminates in death of the body but this sentence does not tell us anything more. However we can be certain that Paul believed that Timothy would understand his meaning. 1 Thessalonians 4:17
then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Paul writing to the Greeks at Thessalonica used the phrase "always be with the Lord", implying eternal existence together and therefore immortality. Luke 18:28-30
And Peter said, "Lo, we have left our homes and followed you." {29} And he said to them, "Truly , I say to you, there is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, {30} who will not receive manifold more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life." Luke quoted Christ's promise to Peter, the disciples, and those who suffer for the sake of the kingdom of God that they will in the future receive eternal life. Jude 21
keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude assured Christians of his time ("those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ", verse 1) there was for them eternal life from the LORD Jesus Christ at a time in the future. There is a heavy witness of scriptures by Daniel, Matthew, Luke, John, Paul to the Romans, Paul to the Corinthians, Paul to the Thessalonians, Paul to the Galatians, and Jude that Christians will gain eternal life and immortality. Now that we have examined these weight of scriptures, what is your view? Does Christ have eternal life? Is Christ immortal? Was the Father the only immortal being in the universe in 60 AD? Will resurrected Christians have eternal life, or will they be mortal? After the resurrection of Christians at the return of Christ will there be only one being with immortality or will there be at least many thousands? After the second resurrection, after the New Jerusalem is established and humans have been transformed into spirit beings, will there be millions with immortality and eternal life, or will there be only one with immortality? On one hand we have dozens of scriptures promising eternal life, and on the other we have one scripture which some use to deny it, claiming that there will only ever be one who has immortality? Which do you take to be true? Does one scripture disprove the unanimous claim of dozens of other scriptures, or have its proponents misinterpreted its meaning? Let us continue further in our Bibles.

Paul's Belief


Is there really a contradiction? Did Paul make a mistake? Did Paul
around 60 AD believe that Christ was mortal? Let's review the writings
of Paul on this topic of eternal life.

To those at Rome:

    Romans 2:7
to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; Romans 6:22-23
22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:22
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life. To those in Corinth: 1 Corinthians 15:53
For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. 2 Corinthians 5:1
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. To those in Thessalonica: 1 Thessalonians 4:17
then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. To Timothy: 1 Timothy 6:16
who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:19
thus laying up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life which is life indeed. 2 Timothy 1:10
and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. To Titus: Titus 1:2
in hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised ages ago To those in Galatia: Galatians 6:8
For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. We see that Paul had no doubt that Christ already had eternal life around 60 AD and that Christians will have eternal life after the resurrection. If 1 Timothy 6:16 implies the contradiction that Christ was not immortal around 60 AD, which is the way a very small minority read it, the other explanations are that the English translation upon which the claims for contradiction are based is in error or is misleading, or there is some irrational misinterpretation of this scripture in an endeavour to bolster some preconceived doctrine, i.e. "we would like to use it to prove X, so we will interpret it in a way that supports our doctrines about X". We will look closer at these out-of-context claims towards the end of this article.

A Closer Look at the English


Let us have a closer look at the verse and its context in English
translations.

    1 Timothy 6:15-16
and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, {16} who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. To identify the individual under discussion in verse 16 we need to identify the clues: 1) in verse 15, "the blessed and only Sovereign", 2) the "King of Kings and Lord of lords", and 3) in verse 16, "dwells in unapproachable light" and "no man has ever seen or can see".

1) Who is the Sovereign?


The word translated "Potentate" in 1 Timothy 6:15 is used only three
times in the New Testament, here and in Luke 1:52 and Acts 8:27. Neither
of those other verses answer our question. Let us look closer to Jesus
and his power in other scriptures.

    Mat 28: 18
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. "All" is a pretty strong word. Jesus has been given ALL authority in heaven and earth. Why? So he can sit back, relax and do nothing, or would that statement imply he was to actively use it? The next two verses assure us that he would use it: Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, [even] to the end of the age." Amen. Peter's first epistle tells us this power is being used. 1 Peter 3:22 (NKJV)
who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. The book of Hebrews tells us all the angels worship him: Hebrews 1:6 (NKJV)
But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him." Some claim this applies only to angels who function as messengers (and not to other heavenly beings) (see also the article "Christ and the Angels") but John describes how this is happening now and the worship includes ALL of the heavenly beings other than the Father: Revelation 5:11-14 (RSV)
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, {12} saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" {13} And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, "To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!" {14} And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped. John writes of the respect that the Father requires us to have for his only Son: John 5:22-23
The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, {23} that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Notice the phrase amplifying how to honour the Son, "even as they honor the Father". Not "half as much". The NIV has "just as they honor the Father". This is what the heavenly host was doing in Revelation 5. Paul provides further information on the Sovereign in his first writing to the Greeks at Corinth: 1 Corinthians 15:23-26 (NKJV)
But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those [who are] Christ's at His coming. {24} Then [comes] the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. {25} For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. {26} The last enemy [that] will be destroyed [is] death. Christ must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet, telling us that he is reigning now and will continue to reign until "the end". If "the end" has not happened, then Christ is still reigning. Death, considered by the Greeks to be one of the early beings to form out of Chaos (the first existing thing, a living being to them), is still with us and has not been destroyed. When humans exist no longer and all who accept salvation have been transformed into immortal beings, there will no longer be any possibility of death and death will have been destroyed (by converting inherently mortal beings into inherently immortal beings which do not die). That has not happened yet and hence Christ is still reigning as supreme ruler. After that future happy time, Christ "himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him" (verse 28). 1 Corinthians 15:27-28
"For God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "All things are put in subjection under him," it is plain that he is excepted who put all things under him. {28} When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one. This verse tells us Jesus is not now acting merely as a deputy to the Father, otherwise there could be no handover to the Father in the future. If Jesus is now acting on behalf of the Father, then verse 28 makes no sense. (It would be foolish to interpret this situation to mean that the Father is not in ultimate control or that the Father is now in subjection to Jesus. John 17 informs us of the beautiful harmonious everlasting relationship the two have, and in which they want Christians to share. There is no conflict between them, nor can there ever be.) Note that there is coming a time when death will be destroyed, i.e. no one will die from that time, showing that all who are in existence at and after that time are inherently immortal because they cannot die. Otherwise Death would not have been destroyed. This coming time of everlasting life is confirmed by 1 John 3:9 which tells us that "no one born of God commits sin; for God's nature abides in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God". We know from Romans 6:23 above that death is the result of sin. It makes sense therefore that if there is no sin, there is no death.

2) Who is the King of Kings?


Let the Bible provide us with the answer.

    Revelation 1:5
and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood Revelation 17:14
they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful." Revelation 19:16
On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords. These three scriptures, the only ones in the New Testament on this topic, inform us that the resurrected Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Therefore any claim that someone else owns the title King of Kings has no scriptural basis. As explained above, 1 Corinthians 15:28 tells us Christ is not in this position only by delegation, acting as a deputy, with the Father being the true King of Kings. The three verses tell us he is not a deputy. The verses in Revelation chapters 17 and 19 explicitly identify him as this person. Do those who regard him as a lowly deputy, acting as the King of Kings, also take Revelation 17:14 to mean that the Father is the true Lamb, and Christ is the Lamb only by delegation?

3) Who dwells in unapproachable light?


What is true at one moment of time is not necessarily true at another
moment in time. What was true of Jesus at one time is not necessarily
true at another time. What applied in 30 AD did not necessarily apply in
60 AD. Bearing this in mind, let us now examine what the Bible tells us
about the appearance of Christ at various times.

During his earthly ministry, Jesus was a man and was seen and touched by
people of his day.

    1 John 1:1-3 (NKJV)
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life; {2} the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us; {3} that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship [is] with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. John 1:14 (NKJV)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. After his resurrection, he was seen by many in human form, even though he was no longer human. 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 (NKJV)
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, {4} and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, {5} and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. {6} After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. Some time later, around 37 AD (according to Unger's Bible Dictionary, article ``Paul''), Jesus appeared to Saul (later known as Paul) on the road to Damascus. Acts 9:1-9 (NKJV)
Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest {2} and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. {3} As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. {4} Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul , Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" {5} And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It [is] hard for you to kick against the goads." {6} So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord [said] to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." {7} And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. {8} Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought [him] into Damascus. {9} And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Christ appeared to him but what did Paul see? A light from heaven which blinded him. Paul related this incident in Jerusalem to a mob of angry Jews: Acts 22:6-11 (NKJV)
"Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. {7} "And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, `Saul , Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' {8} "So I answered, `Who are You, Lord?' And He said to me, `I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.' {9} "And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. {10} "So I said, `What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, `Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.' {11} "And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus. In verse 11 Paul told how he became blind because of the brightness of the light, which was far brighter than the midday sun. Paul, a man, was not able to view Christ at that time. The next recorded human viewing of Christ was by John in a vision around 90 AD, recorded in the Book of Revelation. Revelation 1:13-16
and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round his breast; {14} his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, {15} his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters; {16} in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. Quite a change from the figure which was seen in the short time after his resurrection around 30 AD. When Paul wrote to Timothy around 60 AD, what was the state of Christ? There is no specific verse with a description but Paul had earlier seen only a dazzling light on his Damascus journey. The Bible evidence is therefore that around 60 AD Christ dwelt in unapproachable light and in that form no man has ever seen him or can see him. What man has seen Christ sitting at the right hand of the Father where he was when Paul wrote to Timothy? In the Mount Olivet prophecy of Mat. 24, there is a description of Christ's return Matthew 24:29-30 (NKJV)
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. {30} "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. We read that Christ told the disciples that all people "will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven". What does "see" mean? Will people be able to see him as he was seen during his human life? Will they be able to gaze into his eyes? Will they be able to tell the colour of his eyes from their position on earth while he is "on the clouds of heaven"? Will they observe the texture of his face, as did his twelve disciples? Or will they see only a blinding light as Paul did? In the absence of specific information, we can only make educated guesses from other verses. Mat 24:30 tells us Christ will come with power and great glory. A similar reference to glory occurs in Ezekiel 43:2 where Christ is described as entering the new temple in Jerusalem and the earth will shine with his glory, an event which has not yet happened and therefore refers to a future time. How will he appear? Are people able to stand observe the event? Ezekiel 43:1-7 (NKJV)
Afterward he brought me to the gate, the gate that faces toward the east. {2} And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice [was] like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. {3} [It was] like the appearance of the vision which I saw; like the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city. The visions [were] like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. {4} And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. {5} The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. {6} Then I heard [Him] speaking to me from the temple, while a man stood beside me. {7} And He said to me, "Son of man, [this is] the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever. No more shall the house of Israel defile My holy name, they nor their kings, by their harlotry or with the carcasses of their kings on their high places. Daniel was a man much loved by God and wrote some significant passages which he himself did not understand. One which is relevant to this topic tells us that the resurrected Christians will shine like the sun. Then how much more so does Christ now. Daniel 12:1-4 (NKJV)
"At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands [watch] over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, [Even] to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book. {2} And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame [and] everlasting contempt. {3} Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever. {4} "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." The scriptures therefore tell us that "who ... dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see" is an accurate description of the resurrected Christ in his immortal and incorruptible body, as he was when Paul wrote to Timothy and as he is today and will be forever more. We conclude that the Bible verses show that 1 Tim 6:15-16, written around 60 AD, is referring to Christ in his resurrected form, the Sovereign of the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of lords, who is now dwelling in unapproachable light at the right hand of the Father, and whom, in his resurrected glorified form, no man has ever seen or can see.

Only One Immortal Being in the Universe?


The phrase ``who alone has'' implies membership of an unstated group,
i.e. ``who alone (of a certain group) has''. To which group did Paul
expect Timothy to assume he referred?

Suppose ``who alone has immortality'' of 1 Timothy 6:16 means ``who
alone of all the beings in the universe has immortality''. This
implication is claimed by the teachers of the Christ-is-not-immortal
doctrine. Where does that leave the resurrected Christ of 60 AD?
Well, he must be mortal and will eventually die. As we have seen this
contradicts many scriptures and is supported by no corroborating
scriptures. The logical conclusion is that verse 16 was not intended to
be construed as ``who alone of all the beings in the universe has
immortality''.

There are two sources of error in the interpretation of this verse which
is used to relegate Christ back to mortality. Firstly there is the
probability of the wrong group being assumed, and there is the
possibility of misinterpretation of the Greek word translated as
``immortality''. Let us now consider these in turn.

What more sensible alternative do we have for the group ``who alone of
(some group)''? What would Timothy have assumed? The context of the
verse is discussed later in this article but suffice it here to point
out that Paul is exhorting Timothy to strive to serve the Master in
spite of obstacles and hardships, and to gain his breath-taking reward
at the resurrection, as did Christ, the example for us all. A sensible
alternative would be something like ``who alone of all humans'' or ``who
alone of those called''. The meaning then becomes ``who alone of all
humans has immortality'', which is in complete harmony with the other
scriptures. There was more than one immortal being in the universe when
Paul wrote to Timothy, but only one who had once been a human. At the
future resurrection there will be many, many more immortal beings in the
universe, all of whom had formerly been mortal humans. Paul wrote of
this to the Corinthians, and his first letter to them gives us an
insight into the word translated in 1 Timothy 6:16 as ``immortality''.
Let us take a closer look at the Greek ``athanasia'' and what it meant
to Timothy.

A Closer Look at the Greek


In 1 Timothy 6:16, the word translated as ``immortality'' is the Greek
word ``athanasia'' which literally means ``deathlessness'', and occurs
only three times in the entire Bible; the other two being in 1
Corinthians 15:53-54. Paul used the word athanasia in his first letter
to the Greeks at Corinth and in his first letter to the Greek Timothy
(1 Timothy 6:16).

    1 Corinthians 15:53-54
For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. {54} When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." These are the only verses which tell us about how this word was used in Greek. There is no other information in the New Testament. From these and other verses in context we can see that: 1) human beings do not have athanasia 2) humans can gain athanasia, by a resurrection and a change of body 3) after gaining athanasia, a subsequent death is impossible 4) possession of athanasia by a being implies a probable previous existence as a human being but any conclusions more than these are mere speculation because there simply isn't the evidence in the scriptures which have been preserved. Thus all resurrected sons of God have athanasia. The question we need to consider is -- does anyone else have athanasia? Deathlessness is a word which is not used in normal English and it is easy to read meanings into it, but to understand it properly we need to think like those to whom Paul wrote. To a Greek, who had athanasia?

A Quick Review of Greek Creation

We will be in a better position to answer this question after we know how the Greeks thought about creation and death. Unfortunately we do not have space here for such a lengthy study but several books can be recommended -- "Children of the Gods" and "Greek Mythology" (see details at the end of this article).

To the Greeks, what we call mythology was not mythology, but was religious belief of the factual state of the world.

The following is taken from "Children of the Gods".

Greeks thought of many things as living beings. In the beginning was a formless being, a mixture of all matter named Chaos. Eventually, from this being condensed two other beings, the male Ouranos (Uranos) who was the Sky, and the female Gaia who was the earth beneath the sky. (See chart in the Appendix). They touched only at the horizon, forming a river named Ocean. Deep beneath the surface of Earth was the Underworld or Hades, a nine day's drop from the surface. These beings were perpetual and there was no question of their ever dying.

Gaia and Ouranos had a brother Erebos (Darkness) and sister Night, which spread across the universe. Night had some children, one of whom was Death.

Gaia and Ouranos produced three half-tree half-men offspring, each with fifty heads and a hundred hands. They produced three one-eyed sons called Cyclopes, like a mixture of men and rock and fire. They then had twelve more children, the Titans (honoured ones), which had no fixed form. After quarrels and wars, the Titans came to be in control. The defeated were banished to Tartaros in the Underworld but lived on. No one ever died during this period even though there were violent battles and wars. Those who were injured soon recovered to full strength.

Time passed and Kronos the chief of the Titans ruled his kingdom and produced children which he ate to prevent any possible coup by his sons. After more scheming and violence, a child, Zeus, was smuggled out of Kronos' clutches and eventually overthrew his father, releasing his trapped two brothers and three sisters. These six were known as the "gods" and they in turn produced many offspring. For forty years, war raged between the Titans and their allies and the gods and their allies. Eventually the gods were victorious and the others were banished to Tartaros. Still there was no death; no-one ceased existence.

Various sporadic wars broke out in later years, including a rebellion against Zeus by the other gods. In later years, Prometheus, a Titan who had sided with the gods in the war against Kronos, experimented with clay to find some use for it. He invented clay people, small images of the gods. That is the Greek explanation of the origin of people. It was only at this time that death of any beings occurred. The Greeks referred to people as the "thnetos", the "dying". In Western society, we think of ourselves as the living; Greeks thought of themselves as the dying.

Even though the thnetos died, no others did. Prometheus was punished by Zeus for creating and helping the clay people in the following version from "Children of the Gods": Zeus' anger was a lightning-storm, a blare of thunder. The sky darkened; the earth shook; the gods shrank back in fear. And for Prometheus, Fire-thief, there was no escape. There was the hiss of a thunderbolt, a flare of light, an eruption of pain. Black, greasy smoke; a stench of charred flesh; silence. There was worse to come. Might and Force, the gods' slaves, gathered up the rags of Prometheus' body. Hermes led them and Hephaistos limped beside them with chains of unbreakable steel. They took Prometheus to Mount Caucasus, a jagged tooth of rock in thin, cold air. Might and Force stretched him on tiptoe and held his arms high while Hephaistos chained him to the rock. Their job done, the gods went back to Olympus. Prometheus was left alone. He could see and hear nothing. His charred flesh stuck to the rock; his muscles locked with cramp; his wrists and ankles were ripped ragged by the chains. Then, in the echoing dark, he heard wings whir. A black shape loomed over him. There was a searing pain as a curved beak tore into his ribs, stripping its way past bone and sinew till it found his liver. Did this kill Prometheus? The vulture of Zeus. All day long it gorged on his flesh. At night it rested, and his wounds healed ready for the next day's pain. Prometheus, Fire-thief, was locked in an eternity of suffering. There was no death for these beings, the descendents of Chaos. The punishment of Zeus was that Prometheus had his liver pecked out and devoured each day, only to heal over night ready for the next day's re-run, because he could not die.

In this Greek universe, only the clay people could die, those invented by one of the beings to whom death was irrelevant and inapplicable. When they died, their clay bodies perished and their immortal souls departed to the Underworld for all eternity. Some few were granted special favour by the gods and were released from the Underworld.

Is a Stone Mortal or Immortal?

This is intended to be a serious question. Is "immortal" an appropriate adjective for a stone? A stone endures and does not die; is it therefore immortal? Of course not; mortal and immortal are not adjectives that are used of stones. Stones cannot be categorized into the living and the dead.

The Greek beings which preceded people were ever living. There were no dead ones. Mortal and immortal are inappropriate adjectives. They were everlasting and perpetual.

How Would Paul Describe the Father?

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthian 15:53-54 that the thnetos can put on athanasia. In Greek this corresponds to a release from the Underworld. Only the thnetos were subject to the state of death, being trapped in the Underworld for eternity, and only they could move to a state of deathlessness. Gaia and Ouranos were not. They existed before Death existed and they never die. Therefore they are not subject to Death and do not eventually go to the Underworld for eternity. Consequently they could never be released from a place to which they could never go. There are other obvious examples of these beings which are not subject to Death and could never be imprisoned in the Underworld, e.g. Night. Paul used athanasia in relation to Christians who had died, and, in the Greek belief, had gone to the Underworld. It is highly unlikely Paul would use this Greek word in referring to the Christian God who existed before all that was created and lives for all eternity, but its use with Christ would be quite acceptable because he lived a life as a thnetos.

"Who Alone Has Athanasia"

The phrase "who alone has athanasia" of 1 Timothy 6:16 necessarily refers to a group of individuals with some characteristic(s), as was mentioned earlier. Paul did not explicitly state the group he had in mind as already noted. Most will take this to mean "who alone (of all the human believers and worshipers of God since the time of Adam) has athanasia" because Christ is the only one of the human believers and worshipers of God who has ever been resurrected, but some claim this should be read as "who only (of all beings in heaven and earth, including all human believers and worshipers of God since the time of Adam, including all the angels, and including Christ and the Father) has athanasia". Let us analyze this in more detail.

Assume "who alone" includes all beings in heaven and earth. As we have seen, Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 15 that a thnetos who has been resurrected has athanasia, has a changed body, and is incorruptible. Christ therefore has athanasia. Let us assume that athanasia is not limited to resurrected Christians (including Christ) and that the Father has athanasia. Perhaps some angels have it too. Then there is at least one non-thnetos who had athanasia around 60 AD. With Christ, who gained athanasia by a resurrection, that meant there were at least two beings with athanasia.

However we are assuming that Paul wrote that, of all the beings in the universe, only one has athanasia. This creates a logical contradiction, which means one or both of our assumptions must be wrong. We cannot have both 1) "who alone" includes all beings in the universe, and 2) the Father has athanasia.

The Father either does or does not have athanasia. There cannot be degrees of possession. If the assumption that the Father does have athanasia is correct, then the "who alone" assumption must be incorrect, i.e. "who alone" refers to the thnetos and not to all beings in the universe, and Paul was referring to Christ in 1 Timothy 6:16. If the assumption that the Father does have athanasia is incorrect, then only Christ has athanasia and we are again left with the conclusion that Paul was writing of Christ in 1 Timothy 6:16.

Hence logic tells us that Paul was writing of Christ, not of the Father.

Other Objections

As noted earlier, attempting to force a scripture to support a preconceived doctrine often leads to irrational justification such as redefining meanings of English words.

The Christ-is-not-immortal doctrine attempts to redefine immortal from the true meaning of living forever to other meanings like -- having lived forever in the past, or being able to pass on life to others.

Without going into side issues of whether these do or do not apply to Christ, the core of the matter is that the true meaning of the English ``immortality'' has been twisted to support the doctrine that Christ did not exist at the beginning of time. This doctrine may or may not be true, but we need to be honest and accept that 1 Timothy 6:16 is about a different issue altogether and that immortality (athanasia) tells us absolutely nothing about the infinite past, only that the holder was previously a mortal human who has been changed by a resurrection from the dead as Paul described in 1 Corinthians 15 and will live into the infinite future.

Another claim is that Christ is not really immortal of himself, but only ``by delegation''. This is another example of redefining the meaning of an English word to support a preconceived doctrine. Webster defines ``delegation'' as ``the act of delegating or condition of being delegated'' and defines the verb ``delegate'' as ``to send or appoint as a representative with authority to act; to entrust or commit (authority, power, etc.) to one being thus sent or appointed''. Delegation is only of power to do something, authority to do something, etc. Properties which are inherently associated with a being cannot be delegated or received by delegation. What a person is can be changed only by changing the person, not by delegation. God intends to give us immortality by changing us at the resurrection, not by leaving us as we are and ``delegating'' eternal life to us.

Blue eyes are inherent properties of the individual and cannot be delegated to one who has brown eyes. A two meter stature of a basketball player is a property of the individual and cannot be delegated to an African pygmy to boost his height. Health is another property and as such is not subject to delegation. How wonderful it would be if health could be delegated! Imagine the scene at a hospital: ill and injured people are received at the admissions centre and are met by a strong and healthy doctor who delegates his health to them. The admitted patients are immediately discharged strong, renewed and healthy, courtesy of the delegated health from the doctor. This could be utilized by the military. Appoint the strongest fittest man as the General and have him delegate his skills and fitness to his troops. Ensure the medical corps are all high ranking officers so they can delegate their strength and health to the casualties arising on the battlefield. Within minutes of being badly injured, a soldier could be back in the front line fit and fresh. In the commercial world, ensure the corporate officers have the skills and knowledge that are desired in underlings and have the officers delegate them to their subordinates. In the academic world, educated teachers could delegate their knowledge and abilities to their students.

Of course, none of these happen, not because people refuse to delegate, but because it is not possible to ``delegate'' such things. Properties of an individual cannot be received by delegation. Eternal life includes a permanent form of unbelievably good health and we have seen that good health is not and cannot be delegated. Immortality is a property associated with the immortal incorruptible body that Paul described to the Corinthians. It is gained not be delegation but by permanently changing our mortal corruptible bodies into ones which are immortal and incorruptible. This change in bodies is not delegation; it is a gift of God.

Further, delegation is not permanent and can be revoked. Immortality is an everlasting gift of God and cannot be revoked. The one who has delegated authority, power, etc. has it only because that one does not have it by virtue of what that one is. If the delegate had the power, authority, etc. inherently, there would be no need of delegation. If one could ``receive'' immortality by delegation, then that person would not be immortal at all, having that immortal condition only as a temporary revokable loan. If the person were really immortal to start with, then delegation of something which one already has is senseless, both on the part of the intended giver and on the part of the intended receiver.

The delegation doctrine denies the permanent gift of God which, as we have seen above, he has promised in many scriptures.

The Context

A common error in Christian doctrines is the plucking of scriptures out of context and using them to justify a belief. It is important to establish the context of Paul's writings. Let us look at some out-of-context errors and misuse of 1 Timothy 6:16.

1. Attempt to prove the Trinity

This argument proceeds along these lines:

From 1 Timothy 6:16, only one being is immortal. Everyone agrees God the Father is immortal. As shown above, the scriptures show that the resurrected Christ is immortal. Therefore the father and Christ must be one being.

2. Attempt to prove that God had no beginning.

This claim is based on the misinterpretation of "immortal" as "having eternally existed", made by taking English synonyms of "immortal" instead of considering the real meaning of the Greek word that Paul chose. In English, an immortal being could have existed from eternity past and be alive now and into the infinite future, or it could have had a beginning a measurable time ago and be alive for evermore. In the first case, the being would have had no beginning and no end. In the second case, the being would have a beginning but no end. Can the first case, no beginning, be justified by the Greek that Paul wrote to Timothy? Recall the scriptures above where Paul wrote to the Corinthians that Christians will put on immortality (athanasia) at the resurrection. They will then have no end but will definitely have had a beginning. The only other use of the word athanasia is in 1 Timothy 6:16 and there is thus no evidence to support the claim that it proves God had no beginning. As we have seen from the Greek, athanasia has nothing whatever to tell us about the origin of a being. Any contrary claims are baseless speculation in opposition to the evidence of the preserved New Testament scriptures.

Furthermore, the context is not a discussion about the origin or age of God. The theme of the book is easily discerned from reading it. However, some comments from the New International Version Study Bible are included here: "1,2 Timothy and Titus are known as the Pastoral letters because they give instruction to Timothy and Titus concerning the pastoral care of churches." ("The Pastoral Letters") "During his fourth missionary journey, Paul had instructed Timothy to care for the church at Ephesus (1:3) while he went on to Macedonia ... . When he realized that he might not return to Ephesus in the near future (3:14-15), he wrote this first letter to Timothy to develop the charge he had given his young assistant (1:3,18), to refute false teachings (1:3-7, 4:1-8; 6:3-5, 20-21) and to supervise the affairs of the growing Ephesian church (church worship, 2:1-15; the appointment of qualified church leaders, 3:1-13; 5:17-25). ... A major problem in the Ephesian church was a heresy that combined Gnosticism (...), decadent Judaism (1:3-7) and false asceticism (4:1-5). " ("Background and Purpose", 1 Timothy). The Outline provided in this Bible is as follows: I. Salutation (1:1-2) II. Warning against False Teachers (1:3-11) A. The Nature of the Heresy (1:3-7) B. The Purpose of the Law (1:8-11) III. The Lord's Grace to Paul (1:12-17) IV. The Purpose of Paul's Instructions to Timothy (1:18-20) V. Instructions concerning the Administration of the Church (chs. 2-3) A. Public Worship (ch. 2) B. Qualifications for Church Officers (3:1-13) C. Purpose of these Instructions (3:14-16) VI. Methods of Dealing with False Teaching (ch. 4) A. False Teaching described (4:1-5) B. Methods of Dealing with It Explained (4:6-16) VII. Methods of Dealing with Different Groups in the Church (5:1-6:2) A. The Older and Younger (5:1-2) B. Widows (5:3-16) C. Elders (5:17-25) D. Slaves (6:1-2) VIII. Miscellaneous Matters (6:3-19) A. False Teachers (6:3-5) B. Love of Money (6:6-10) C. Charge to Timothy (6:11-16) D. The Rich (6:17-19) IX. Concluding Appeal (6:20-21) We see here that Timothy was in for an unpleasant period of confrontation and opposition as he fought against the false teachers. It would be easy for a lone minister to become disillusioned and discouraged by the weight of the opponents. Even reading the duties listed by Paul for him to do may even have been daunting to young Timothy. The charge at the end of the epistle is obviously intended by Paul to boost Timothy's spirits for the tasks ahead. Reading the verses 6:11-16 shows that Paul used Jesus as an example of one who had fled from the love of money, and pursued righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness, had fought the good fight of the faith, taken hold of eternal life, testified and made a good confession before his opponents, and kept the commands of the Father without spot or blame. Paul goes on to describe how great is this Jesus now. There is no reason to believe from this context that the charge in VIII.C is an exposition of the nature of God.

3. Proof that only God existed in the beginning.

This is an error similar to the previous one. The meaning of the Greek word athanasia is distorted to make it appear to fit the claim of God's unique existence in the beginning. Twisting Paul's use of this verse does not provide verification. This claim is also taken out of context as was the previous misuse.

4. Proof that only God can give life.

Consider the following extract from Dr Samuele Bacchiocci's (draft, August 1997) "Immortality or Resurrection? A Biblical Study of Human Nature and Destiny", chapter 3 "The New Testament View of Human Nature": The expression "immortality of the soul" does not occur in Scripture. The Greek word commonly translated "immortality" in our English versions of the Bible is athanasia. This term occurs only twice in the New Testament. The first time in connection with God "who alone has immortality (athanasia) and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see" (1 Tim 6:16). Obviously, immortality here means more than endless existence. It means that God is the source of life (John 5:26) and all others receive eternal life from Him. There is no basis for the final two sentences other than preconceptions. As we have seen, athanasia has nothing to do with a source of life. While it is true that God is the source of life, this extract from Paul's writings are not on this topic. Dr Bacchiocci's next paragraph has a few words missing or out of order but it is as follows: The second time the word "immortality-athanasia" occurs in 1 Corinthians 15:53-54 in relation to the human mortal nature which will put on immortality at the resurrection: "For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality (athanasia). When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality (athanasia), then shall come to pass the saying that is written: `Death is swallowed up in victory.'" Paul here is not speaking of the natural immortality of the soul, but of the transformation from mortality to immortality that believers will experience when Christ returns. The implications of this passage are clear: human nature is not endowed with any form of natural immortality because it is perishable and mortal. Immortality is not a present possession, but a gift to be bestowed upon believers at Christ's coming. In this paragraph, Dr Bacchiocci uses athanasia correctly, to confirm his claim that the natural human has no immortal soul. The reader will notice that this use is at odds with his statement in the previous paragraph that "Obviously, immortality here means more than endless existence", where he then went on to provide his own interpretation, viz. that having athanasia means being the unique source of life. His error arises from working with the English word "immortality" and then reading a desired meaning into it to fit the verse and desired doctrines, rather than firstly evaluating what the word meant to the Greeks to whom Paul wrote, then analyzing the verse using that meaning. This is the same error made by the group mentioned at the beginning of this article, which also twists athanasia to mean source of life and uses the twisted meaning to support their doctrine that Christ was a created being. However, even without the knowledge of the Greek understanding, Paul's plain statements to the Corinthians that all resurrected Christians will have athanasia should loudly ring alarm bells that there is a serious error with the claim that athanasia is the ability to give life and is unique to the Father.

Overall Conclusion

The unanimous voice of the scriptures is that the resurrected Christ is immortal and will live forever. When Paul wrote to Timothy around 60 AD, there were (at least) two immortal beings in the universe, one of whom had previously been a human, a "thnetos" to the Greeks of Paul's time, and had permanently escaped the confinements of Hades, having gained athanasia. What a marvelous promise God extends to us, that we may also gain athanasia and share in this never-ending future.

Further Reading

"Children of the Gods", by Kenneth McLeish, Publisher: Longman Group Ltd, Essex, England, 1983, isbn 0-582-39115-6

"Greek Mythology", by John Pinsent, Publisher: Newnes Books, 1982, isbn 0-600-34278-6

Appendix


Relationship of some early Greek beings.

(p 227 of McLeish)

                        Chaos
                          |
                      ---------
                      |        |
                    Gaia  =  Ouranos

                          |
           -----------------------------------
           |              |                   |
                          |
  3x100 hand giants       |              3 Cyclopes
     Briareus             |                Brontes
     Gyges                |                Steropes
     Kottos               |                Arges
                          |
                          |
           ------------------------------------
           |                                   |
   6 male Titans                          6 female Titans

              Kronos       =              Rhea
                           |
                           |

                       "the gods"
        Zeus, Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Poseidon, Hades


Written by Selwyn Russell, first published September 1997. Copyright Selwyn Russell 1997. Permission is hereby given to reprint or copy this article for non-commercial purposes with acknowledgement and creditation.


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