It is one of the most remarkable things that in all of the biological sciences there is no clue as to the necessity of death. If you say we want to make perpetual motion, we have discovered enough laws as we studied physics to see that it is either absolutely impossible or else the laws are wrong. But there is nothing in biology yet found that indicates the inevitability of death. This suggests to me that it is not at all inevitable. – Richard Feynmen, Noble Prize, 1965
People are raised to think that everyone must physically die.
They therefore think, “death is something I must experience.”
They never even stop to consider any alternatives.
“Duh, of course everyone will eventually die.”
The fact that I am even writing this will probably cause suspicion to arise in some of you concerning my sanity.
But isn’t it insane to hold to an assumption without even allowing oneself to entertain other possibilities?
Have you considered any alternatives, ever?
Or is the general pattern of people dying throughout history too much for you to be able to ask, “what if death is not necessary?”
What if dying is something we choose to do by faith? That is, what if we die by believing that we have to die? What if we are the ones bringing death upon ourselves?
What if death is a disease? What if it’s not natural, not “the way things are supposed to be”?
No, I’m not in denial.
No, I’m not scared of death.
Yes, I understand that death is not the end of people.
But what would happen if a whole generation taught their children that they never have to die?
What if people began manifesting immortality?
If you think that such an idea did not exist among the early church fathers, think again.
Thus, taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death instead of all, and offered it to the Father. This He did out of sheer love for us, so that in His death all might die, and the law of death thereby be abolished because, having fulfilled in His body that for which it was appointed, it was thereafter voided of its power for men. – Athanasius
For this end did the Lord suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head, that He might breathe immortality into His Church. Be not ye anointed with the bad odor of the doctrine of the prince of this world; let him not lead you away captive from the life which is set before you. And why are we not all prudent, since we have received the knowledge of God, which is Jesus Christ? Why do we foolishly perish, not recognizing the gift which the Lord has of a truth sent to us? – Syrian Ignatius of Antioch
Let nothing exist among you that may divide you; but be ye united with your bishop, and those that preside over you, as a type and evidence of your immortality. – Syrian Ignatius of Antioch
But as my discourse is not intended to touch on this point, but to prove to you that the Holy Ghost reproaches men because they were made like God, free from suffering and death, provided that they kept His commandments, and were deemed deserving of the name of His sons, and yet they, becoming like Adam and Eve, work out death for themselves; let the interpretation of the Psalm be held just as you wish, yet thereby it is demonstrated that all men are deemed worthy of becoming “gods,” and of having power to become sons of the Highest; and shall be each by himself judged and condemned like Adam and Eve. – Justin the apologist
The ante-Nicene period, which covers the Apostolic, Apologists and Anti-heretical Fathers from the second to the fourth century…tend more to speak of salvation in terms of immortality and incorruption, yet they paved the way to the deification as they seem to trace this immortality and incorruption not only after death, but already on earth, a potential immortality, through imitation of God. – Angel Francisco Sanchez-Escobar
The whole idea seems whacko to us who have grown up with the concept of the necessity of death as a fundamental principle of what it means to be human. Yeah, that includes me too.
All I know is that the scriptures have some crazy things to say about immortality.
Think, for example, of Enoch and Elijah, who never tasted death and are still alive today even after thousands of years. Granted, they didn’t remain on earth. But perhaps they were foreshadowing a greater reality that was to come.
I know we have all been born into cultures that give us the preconception that we must die, and thus your reading of the following verses will inevitably be biased. That is, you will try to read it in such a way as to fit your paradigm of reality. But as you read the following verses, I’d encourage you to be aware of assumptions you might hold as much as possible and try reading them as plainly as possible without trying to allegorize or spiritualize them (extra credit: read the verses in context). I’m confident that if you do this, it will be clear that in one way or another these passages say something along the lines of we do not have to physically die.
“Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:26).
“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone… Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:9, 14-15).
“It has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10).
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever…Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever” (John 6:51,58).
“In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality” (Proverbs 12:28).
“Here is a secret truth for you: not all of us are to die but all of us are to be changed…for this perishing body must be invested with the imperishable, and this mortal body invested with immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:51,53).
On second thought, is this actually surprising? After all, when God created us, death was never a part of his intentions anyways, right?
I myself haven’t come to any hard conclusions on this. But I have gotten rid of the mindset that I must die, and I am willing to continue considering the possibility of immortality and dream of its reality.