Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
“Lay hold on eternal life.”
1 Timothy 6: 12
The quality of vitativeness may be defined as the love for life. Life may be defined as animate
existence, existence based upon the union of a body and life-principle. If the definition of life is
limited to the life of souls – animal and spirit life – it might be defined as conscious existence, a
definition that would exclude plant life, since no form of plant life has consciousness. Eternal
life would mean endless conscious existence, except in God’s case we must add beginningless to
Mortal Versus Immortal Life
There are two kinds of life:
(1.) Mortal: Mortality may be defined as dieable, a condition in which death is possible, but not
necessary. Man and angels were both created mortal. Had they been created immortal, they
would be death-proof, they could not die; but Scripture, experience and observation proves that
man can die, and the Scriptures teach that the impenitent angels will all die (Matthew 25: 41)
(Hebrews 2: 14).
(2.) Immortal: Immortality is a death-proof condition, a condition that only Divine beings
possess – God, Christ and the Church (John 5: 26) (2 Peter 1: 4). While angels are incorruptible,
that is, decay-proof, Divine beings are both incorruptible and immortal. Human beings will have
neither; the bodies of the restitution class will both decay and be mortal; hence to keep from
dying they will have to continue to eat earth’s perfect fruitage to replace the decayed cells of
God the Source of Eternal Life
God is the Source and the sole Giver of eternal life. He planned it, made all the provisions
necessary for it and gives it to the faithful; and Jesus is the Agent through whom God gives it.
Eternal life is gained by a conditional process. The tentative right to eternal life on the various
planes of being is given as a gracious gift by God; and the fixed right to eternal life on any of
these planes will be given to fulfillers of these conditions. For example, during the Millennial
Age Christ will place the human race under the law of duty love, and will gradually give the race
life-rights. (Those life-rights include perfect bodies, earth, atmosphere, climate, health, food,
drink, shelter, dominion over the earth, its contents and its pertinent laws of nature, social
arrangements, education, companionship, worship, etc.) By the end of that Age He will give
them the completion of those life-rights and the right to eternal human life tentatively; and if
they obey faithfully amid the trials of the Little Season they will receive the right to eternal
human life fixedly, while the unfaithful will forfeit their tentative right to eternal life and its life
Eternal Life with Eternal Joy
The joys of eternal life will be manifold in service and practicability:
(1.) The joys of the Christ class include their sight of, association with, and service of God and
Christ; their possession of the Divine nature, heirship of God and joint-heirship with Christ;
association with one another; the best of homes; the finest of reputations; and the privilege to be
the leaders of all ranks of spirit beings, including all future creations. During the Millennium
they will have the joy of restoring the obedient of the race to perfection and eternal life; and their
eternal work will be to bring new orders of beings into existence and to develop them to
perfection and eternal life (Isaiah 9: 7).
(2.) The joys of the other spirit classes lower than the Divine nature include their sight of,
association with, and service of God, Christ and His Bride.
(3.) The joys of the restitution class will include perfect harmony with God, the Christ class and
with one another; they will have a perfect dominion over the earth, its animal life and its natural
laws; and they will go on eternally expanding their store of knowledge along all lines, bringing
out new inventions and developing the arts to perfection.
Life is one of God’s most valuable gifts. Even on the human plane in imperfection, temporal
human life is the most valued individual possession, as Jesus implies when He asks, “What shall
a man give in exchange for his soul [life]?” (Matthew 16: 26). Aspirants for eternal life on any of
its varied planes should endeavor with every power of being to obtain things of such great value
as their lasting possession.
Return to Graces of
Christian Character Main Page