We believe that humanity was created in the image of God with the potential to become children of God, partakers of the divine nature. God formed humanity of flesh, which is material substance. Human beings live by the breath of life, are mortal, subject to corruption and decay, without eternal life, except as the gift of God under God’s terms and conditions as expressed in the Bible. We believe that God placed before Adam and Eve the choice of eternal life through obedience to God or death through sin. Adam and Eve yielded to temptation and disobeyed God. As a result, sin entered the world, and, through sin, death. Death now reigns over all humanity because all have sinned (Genesis 1:26; 2 Peter 1:4; Hebrews 9:27; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:12; 6:23).
The first chapter of the Holy Bible reveals that God created men and women in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). Humanity was created with a truly amazing potential. The future of humanity is to be children in the family of God (1 John 3:1-2; 2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 6:18).
The character of Almighty God is perfect. He is inherently good and cannot sin. Even God, who is all-powerful, does not create perfect character in humans by simply willing that result. The development of character requires a conscious decision by a free moral agent to take the responsibility to conduct his or her life based on a knowledge of what is morally right and what is morally wrong. It also requires a decision to choose what is right and to reject what is wrong.
When they were first created, our first parents, Adam and Eve, received a life of limited duration, a physical existence. "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" (Genesis 2:7). The Hebrew word nephesh, translated "being" in Genesis 2:7, is used in the first chapter of Genesis four times in connection with animals (Genesis 1:20, 21, 24, 30) and is translated as "body" in the phrase "dead body" in Numbers 6:6. The first man was later told, "In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19).
The biblical book of wisdom known as Ecclesiastes contains this exhortation: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Human beings are mortal, subject to corruption and decay. Human beings do not possess immortality in the form of a "soul." They are without eternal life. A biblical prayer declares: "What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth?" (Psalm 30:9).
God desires to give to every human being the gift of eternal life as a member of His family. Eternal life is not something that anyone can earn.
owever, God will not grant this precious gift to anyone who does not yield to Him and His law (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). In the Bible, eternal life in the family of God is called salvation. God reveals to us, through the divinely inspired Scriptures, that salvation is not automatically granted to every human being. He will bestow this blessing only on those who have proven their willingness to obey Him (Revelation 21:7-8).
God is not obligated to preserve us forever as His children, enjoying life in the spirit realm, but we know that God is love (1 John 4:8). Therefore, out of unselfish, outgoing concern for us, He has devised a plan whereby human beings can be given salvation, the greatest possible blessing that a loving Creator can bestow (Luke 12:32).
When God created the first human beings, Adam and Eve, He gave them access to the tree of life, symbolic of eternal life (Genesis 2:9; 3:22). He told them not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was symbolic of the human choice, apart from God, to determine what is right and wrong. He instructed them not to defy His revealed instructions and, by so doing, to sin (Genesis 2:9, 16-17). Sin leads to death (verse 17; Ezekiel 18:4, 20; Romans 6:23). Every sin damages the character of the one who commits it. To commit sin harms both the individual sinner and society in general.
Adam and Eve were free moral agents who, under the influence of Satan, violated God’s explicit command (Genesis 3:1-6). The first humans thus began to live in a manner contrary to the will of their loving Creator, placing themselves under the penalty of death, about which God had warned them in advance. No human being except Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has lived a sinless life (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Hebrews 4:15). In spite of human sinfulness, God’s ultimate plan for humankind has not been thwarted. In His omniscient wisdom, God provided a means by which human beings can be reconciled to Him (John 3:16-17). Human beings can still develop the godly character that is a prerequisite to receiving God’s most precious gift of eternal life as His children (1 Corinthians 15:22; Galatians 2:20). Apart from the deliverance that God has provided, death reigns over all humanity because all have sinned (Romans 3:23).
(For more details, request What Is Your Destiny?)
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