In Genesis 1:26-27 we read...
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
When we look around us we see all sorts of people - different skin colors, different physiques, different features. If we had no other indications from scripture of God's makeup we could reasonably accept that God is an old man sitting on a throne in the sky zapping things around by pointing bony fingers. There are many artist's renderings portraying Him just like that.
Does God really look like us? We are physical beings with definite forms. We are bound by space and time. We cannot be in two places at once.
Is God a physical being with a definite form? Is He only in one place at a time?
In John 4:24 we read...
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Here we see that God is a spirit. Being a spirit He has no physical form. As a spirit He is not bound by space or time.
Since the Bible says we are created in the image of God and God's image is a spirit, could it be we are spirits as well?
In Genesis 2:7, it says...
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Notice that man was formed of the dust of the ground and ONLY became a living being AFTER God breathed the breath of life (His spirit) into his nostrils.
It is our spirit, or life force, that makes us who we are. Without life, we are merely clumps of dust. Prior to God breathing the breath of life into man's nostrils man was not a living being.
Since God is a spirit and not a physical being He does not breathe as you and I. God has no need to breathe. Yet the Bible clearly says He breathed into the man's nostrils. What did He breathe since He does not breathe? Obviously a part of Himself. That part of Himself is our spirit. Our spirits make up who we really are, it only follows that it is our spiritual image that is in the likeness of God. Our spirits, actual parts of God, dwelling in our bodies, make up our earthly existence.
However, we know that we do not live forever in our physical bodies. At some point our bodies will once again become lumps of dust. What then will happen to our spirits?
Since we are in likeness of God, a part of Him is in us, let's see how long God, that part of Him in us, lives...
For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “ I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)
In these passages the Bible says there never was a time God did not exist and there will never be a time when God will not exist.
We see that God is eternal but what about us?
Everyone living will eventually die a physical death. Let's look at what the Bible says about physical death...
The Bible says physical (earthly) death is a separation of the body and spirit.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26)
The Bible says physical (earthly) death is a departure.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. (Philippians 1:23)
For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. (2 Timothy 4:6)
The Bible says physical (earthly) death is a bodily return to dust and a spiritual return to God.
Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
The Bible says physical (earthly) death is a destruction of our earthly house, tent (bodies).
For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2 Corinthians 5:1)
The Bible says physical (earthly) death is a giving up of the ghost (spirit).
Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. (Acts 5:10)
The Bible says physical (earthly) death is a sleep.
These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. (John 11:11-14)
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
The Bible also talks of a spiritual, or second death.
Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (Revelation 20:14)
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
The Bible says spiritual death is separation from God and is caused by sin.
These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
Everyone on earth, no matter how sinful, enjoys some of the blessings from God simply by being physically alive. Sunshine, rain, food, pleasure, friendship, sleep and so on.
Separated from God means you will enjoy none of the blessings from God. Not one. All that will be left will be misery, weeping and gnashing of teeth, unending torment and agony.
19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ (Luke 16:19-26)
In the first chapter of Romans, beginning with verse 18, we find a list of sins that separate us from God. If you commit ONE of those sins ONE time verse 32 says...
"who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."
How many lies does it take to be a liar? How many times does one have to gossip to be a gossip? How many broken promises does one have to make before one is untrustworthy? Well, man has degrees of sin and applies his degrees as he sees fit. God says once.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
Sounds completely hopeless, doesn't it?
But you see, God can do the impossible, He has put hope in hopelessness.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)
Here are some quotes from the Bible about the Christian and physical death.
Physical Death is a rest for the Christian.
13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)
A Christian’s Physical Death is better than the day of his birth.
A good name is better than precious ointment, And the day of death than the day of one’s birth; (Ecclesiastes 7:1)
A Christian’s Physical Death is a gain or a plus.
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)
Physical Death is victory for a Christian.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “ O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:50-57)
How one avoids spiritual death...
- John 6:45, Romans 10:14-17 ~ Must hear the gospel
- I Corinthians 15:1-4 - Death, burial and resurrection of Christ
- Romans 10:17, John 8:24 - Must believe the gospel
- Luke 13:3 & 5, Acts 2:38, Acts 17:30 - Must repent, change your way of thinking toward sin
- Acts 8:37, Romans 10:9-10 - Must confess Christ
- Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16 and others - Must be baptized
- Revelation 2:10, I Corinthians 15:58, Romans 8:1 - Must be faithful
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