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Here and Hereafter

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    13 The Life Everlasting

    A SUBLIME faith is announced in the closing words of the “Apostle’s Creed;” “I believe in .... the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” This life everlasting is the great theme of the gospel; and the careful student will notice that inspiration has chosen a special word to designate it. Among the different kinds of life brought to view in the New Testament, and the different terms employed to describe them, one particular term seems to be consecrated to be the vehicle of expression whenever this higher and more lasting life is referred to. Of the one hundred and thirty times of its occurrence, not more than ten times is it used to designate anything else by the everlasting life to be conferred by the Son of God upon his people; and most of these may, by implication, be referred to the same thing. This word is (zoe); and no other term is ever used to describe the life which is set before us as the hope of the gospel. This term is always translated “life.”HHMLD 257.1

    There is another kind of life also spoken of in the New Testament Scriptures, and another term is used to indicate it. This is the physical, animal, transitory life common to all living creatures; and the term employed to express it is (psuche). This word is never coupled with the adjectives “eternal” and “everlasting;” and, with the exception of one expression, is never applied to the future life.HHMLD 257.2

    The Saviour uses the expression (several times quoted in the Gospels), “He that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it.” Here the word rendered “life” is; and it is used in its proper sense, referring to this present life. The future life is then referred to by the pronoun “it” ( ), which by grammatical construction belongs to the just before expressed. We are, however, to consider the more than a hundred and twenty times in which we are assured that the future eternal life we are to enjoy is the zoe-life; and this includes all that is essential to the psuche-life, and infinitely more. In the former, the latter is absorbed and swallowed up. Hence, while grammatically the idea is limited to a future psuche-life, logically the (auten) “it,” which we are to find thereafter, if for Christ’s sake we lay down our psuche here, embraces the zoe-life; and hence the expression can hardly be taken as an exception to the rule above stated.HHMLD 258.1

    The distinction between these words should be carefully noted. Zoe is always rendered “life.” Psuche is forty times rendered “life,” but is fifty-eight times translated by the word “soul.” This has tended greatly to confuse the subject, and mislead the reader. If some uniform rendering could have been given to this word, showing it to represent some lower kind of life than zoe, a distinction would have been preserved quite essential to a clear understanding of the subject.HHMLD 258.2

    Take these examples: “In him was [zoe] life; and the [zoe] life was the light of men.” John 1:4. “And this is the record that God hath given to us [zoen aionion] eternal life, and this [zoe] life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath [zoen] life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not [zoen] life.” 1 John 5:11, 12. “We know that we have passed from death unto [zoen] life, because we love the brethren.” 1 John 3:14. But in only the second verse from this statement (verse 16) we have this: “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his [psuchen] life for us; and we ought to lay down our [psuchas] lives for the brethren.”HHMLD 258.3

    The psuche-life we derive from Adam; for “so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living [psuchen] soul.” The zoe-life we derive from Christ; for “the last Adam was made a [zoopoioun] quickening spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45); that is, the one who gives the zoe-life. This Adamic life we have first; we obtain the spiritual zoe-life afterward; for so the record continues (verse 46): “Howbeit that was not first which was spiritual, but that which is [psuchikon] natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.” The psuche-life is never said to be eternal or everlasting; the zoe-life is always everlasting; that is to say, whenever the terms “eternal” and “everlasting” are used in connection with “life,” it is always the zoe-life. The other is common to all living creatures; it is of the earth, earthly, transitory, and destined to come to an end. And he who possesses nothing better nor higher than this life, must at last perish and become extinct.HHMLD 259.1

    How, then, are we to secure a title to the life everlasting? — Only through Christ; for he alone is the (zoe) life; and he that hath not the Son, hath not life. The psuche-life we obtain through generation; the zoe-life through re-generation. The latter comes to us from another source, through a different channel; it is of a different nature, spiritual and divine. It is the life of God, through which alone we become partakers of the divine nature. “For the law of the Spirit of [zoe] life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2. “The true antithesis,” says Trench, “of zoe is thanatos [death].”HHMLD 259.2

    This life we do not now in reality possess. According to a text already quoted, God hath given unto us this eternal life (in purpose); but this life “is in the Son.” So long as we are united to Christ by faith, so long we have a connection with this life which will, if continued, give it to us in actual possession at last. The evidence and representative of this life for the present time, is the Holy Spirit, which we have in our hearts. For the apostle says, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9. If he is none of Christ’s he has not Christ; and if he have not Christ (or the Son), the other text, assures us, he has not (zoe) life. And this is the only life that takes hold upon the future. If a man has not the Spirit of Christ, he has no hold upon his life; if he has that Spirit, then he has a sure pledge of it. And if with that Spirit in his heart he even falls in death, he sleeps “in Jesus” and his “life is hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3. And then “when Christ, who is our (zoe) life, shall appear,” we, receiving from his hand the actual gift of the life everlasting, “shall appear with him in glory.” Verse 4.HHMLD 260.1

    Thus Christ becomes the second Adam, sustaining the same relation to the multitudes endowed with eternal life that the first Adam sustains to the inhabitants of this world, possessed of their temporary, physical, and mortal life. He is the great Life-giver, the author of eternal salvation to all them that believe. But if we say that every man has eternal life in his own nature by creation, we rob Christ of his high prerogative, and his crowning glory. And this is done by that system of theology which has been dominant in Christendom ever since the great apostasy was accomplished in the Christian church, and the Dark Ages settled down upon the world. And how tenacious still are multitudes of this view which so dishonors our divine Redeemer! In the language of another, “How unwilling dying man is to put his entire dependence on Him who died to redeem him from death! How reluctant he is to give him all the glory of his salvation!”HHMLD 260.2

    We point the reader to a more excellent way, — a way which shall in the end prevail; for finally every creature shall ascribe the praise and glory of his salvation to Him who sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb. Let us begin here to anticipate the true strains in that song of adoration.HHMLD 261.1

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