What Is Life?

What constitutes life is a question that scientists have struggled with for many years. They are constantly trying to come up with a definition that satisfies them. The problem is that they are only looking at life from the perspective of the physical. The Bible explains very clearly what life is. And it distinguishes between physical life and spiritual life.

Physical Life Is Easy To Understand

Everyone understands what physical life is. We experience it everyday. Every living thing on the face of the earth that exists has physical life. There are actually three types of physical life.

First, there is the plant life. This enables all plants and microorganisms to exist and grow on the earth. Second, there is animal life. This includes all the animals and fish on the earth. Many people include humans in this second type of life. But as we shall see, human life is much different than animal life. They are two very different and distinct species.

Human Beings Were Created Separately

Finally, there is human life. Yes, humans can be considered a type of animal life but our Bible tells us that humans are distinctively different from animals. This is explained in Genesis 1. In the first 25 verses, we are told about God creating everything in the universe, except human beings.

Then it is recorded in Genesis 1:26 (NIV): “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’”

Humans were created as a very distinct species from all the rest of creation. Humans were created in the image and likeness of God. This is never said of any of the rest of God’s creation. We were given physical life, but separately, and with an additional element, from the rest of His creation.

Humans Were Given An Eternal Spiritual Life

We have to go to Genesis 2 to find out exactly what makes humans so different from animals. Genesis 2:7 (NIV): “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

When we combine Genesis 2:7 with Genesis 1:26, we see what the great difference is between human beings and all animals. We are made in the image and the likeness of God, Himself. How was this done? By God breathing into us a specially created spirit that comes directly from God, Himself.

This spirit is an eternal spirit. Since it came directly from the mouth of God, it will exist forever. It will never cease to exist. Notice that God did not do this for any of the animals. We are distinctly different from animals because we also have an eternal spirit. This is spiritual life which is distinct from physical life.

Our physical body will die. It will stop living and decay, returning to the elements that it was created from. However, our spirit will never cease to exist because it was not created from something physical, but rather from something spiritual, that is, from God Himself.

The Nature Of This Spirit

John 1:1-4 gives us an idea of the nature of this spirit that God breathes into us. The passage begins by saying that “the Word is God.” Every conservative scholar agrees that the term “the Word” refers to Jesus. It then goes on to tell us that everything that was created, was created by Jesus.

Finally, we are told in verse 4 that life comes through Jesus. This is not speaking just about physical life, but more importantly, spiritual life. This spiritual life comes directly from the nature of God.

When Jesus (God) gives life to someone, He gives part of His nature to that person. As a human being, we have part of the nature of God. This is why, unless we completely suppress it, our spirit constantly reaches out for communion with God. Our spirit desires communion with its creator.

This spirit that God breathes into us is eternal. That is, it will exist forever. However, because of Original Sin, our eternal spirit is separated from God. This is why we must make the conscious decision to want to live with God forever.

And God has made it very simple for us. All we must do is to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and our eternal spirit will be connected with God once again. This is why it is called the new birth.

Spiritual Death

If our spirit will never cease to exist, what does the Bible mean by spiritual death? If spiritual life means connected to God, then spiritual death means separation from God. And that is exactly with spiritual death is. It is separation from God. This is what happened when Adam and Eve first sinned. Their eternal spirit was separated from God. This is why they hid from God in the garden after they sinned. This event is referred to as “The Fall.”

The Bible goes on to explain that if we physically die while our spirit is still separated from God, our spirit will be eternally separated from God for all eternity. This is our purpose for living here on this earth. We are here to make the free choice whether we really want to live with God or apart from God.

This is why being born again is so important. Through the new birth, our spirit is reborn and we are connected with God once again. This is a free choice that we make. Nothing is forced upon us. God will never force us to live with Him. His desire is for us to live forever with Him. However, He created us with a free will, with the freedom to determine our own destiny.

Thus, There Are Two Types Of Life

The first type of life, one that we have no control over is determined by our parents. Our parents determine whether we will be given physical life or not.

The other type of life is spiritual life. This is the type of life that this article just talked about. We receive this only through a conscious decision to want to live with God forever. This is why it is called the New Birth. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our spirit is connected with God. This is what eternal life is. It is being spiritually connected with God through Jesus Christ.

We Pass This Life On To Our Children

When God first created us, He gave us a command and it is recorded in Genesis 1:28 (NIV): “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’”

God then put the power of creation into our hands. No, we are not gods, able to produce life on our own. Without God, we can do nothing. However, God said that through the act of procreation, we have the choice as to whether a new life is created or not.

So we can create a physical life, just as the animals can. What about that spirit that God breathed into Adam and Eve? God has committed Himself to breathe that spirit into each and every new human being that we create.

We Have A Responsibility

What we need to realize is that for each new life that we create, we are responsible for what happens to that child. We brought that helpless child into the world and we are responsible for what that child learns.

Remember, God said to “be fruitful and increase in number.” This can only means one thing. We are to create other creatures exactly like ourselves. This new creature will have a body just like ours and it will have a spirit just like the one that we have. However, through this creation, we have placed upon ourselves a very important responsibility.

Here is a very important fact. When a child is created, it knows nothing. Thus, it is our responsibility, as parents, to teach it what it needs to know. What does this mean? It means that if we do not teach our children about Jesus and the salvation that He offers us, God will hold us responsible for our lack of instruction. He will hold us responsible for allowing that new child that we created to reject God and His plan for him/her. It is our responsibility to teach that child to accept God and His plan for him/her.

Remember this. We are not held responsible for the decision that our child makes. Our only responsibility to teach our child about Jesus and His salvation that He has for them. This is what God will hold us responsible for.

What About You?

Have you received this life that God offers you through Jesus Christ? Or is your spirit still dead and separated from God? Do you desire to live with and have fellowship with God or would you rather go your own way and do your own thing? If it is the latter, your spirit is still dead and if you die in this state, you will live forever outside the presence of God. And the only place for you for all eternity is the place that the Bible calls Hell.

If you have not yet received Jesus as your own Lord and Savior, read my articles on salvation and especially the article How To Live Forever.


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