O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

If you believe in fulfilled Eschatology, then you probably believe that our life is now, in Christ, and that nothing can take that away. You also believe that we are now in the body of Christ, and that His kingdom is fully realized, yet we don't see it with our eyes because we are still in mortal bodies.

Nevertheless, it occurred to me recently that there are two terms used for our "life after this life". They are "immortality" and "eternal life"

So, do you believe there is a difference between the two? If not, why are two different words used? If so, then what is the difference? 

Would like to hear others weigh in on this issue.


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Great post, and it sure is true that this topic is tainted with futurist ideas.

So then, if immortality and eternal life are not "afterlife" issues, then what words ARE dealing with the afterlife? After all, even we in the preterist community are fond of discussing the afterlife albeit with the view of the resurrection in mind. 

So are we incorrect in tying in the resurrection with the afterlife? Even if one concedes that the resurrection in 1 Cor 15 is a "corporate" resurrection, it is a resurrection nevertheless. And if it is, then we are only arguing about whether it is an individual body or a corporate body, but no mention is made about what we are resurrected TO. That is, no matter which side you may come down on about the resurrection, you still have to discuss what we become AFTER that event. 

I personally believe I have been resurrected, now, in this life, to newness of life in Christ. Using John 17:3 as the definition of eternal life, I therefore have eternal life now. So then, if I am NOW in a resurrected state, the only thing that would be different post mortem is my earthly body and my proclivity to sin inherent in this body of death.

Therefore, is the resurrection about the afterlife at all? Or, rather, is it about a change of relationship towards God? I lean towards the latter.

If it is about a change in relationships (being counted as justified in His sight through Christ), then what other words besides immortality and eternal life ought we to use when speaking about our states of being after this life? Many christians use the term "in heaven" to describe this. 

What do you like to use to describe the afterlife?

I googled, "aphtharsia septuagint" and then clicked on the link to the book by Frederic William Farrar. I started at page 387 and then found some interesting thoughts around page 389. He makes the argument that "the Jew's had never faced the abstract concept of "endlessness", while I don't know if he can make that argument while looking at the Hellenized Judaism of Christ's time. I think that there is life after death, I don't know if it is everlasting but just life with God.

Good morning Doug.

What do you like to use to describe the afterlife?

I wish I had an answer for you that would help, but I really just don't know. I believe the redemption plan had to do with restoring the relationship lost at Eden. I believe a misunderstanding of ANE culture and language, along with demanding physical/literal interpretation of covenantal/spiritual conditions has brought us mishmash of terms that confuse the purpose of God's plan and go beyond anything the writers of scripture were describing.


Your Wrote: "So then, if I am NOW in a resurrected state, the only thing that would be different post mortem is my earthly body and my proclivity to sin inherent in this body of death".

I think you may wish to re-think the idea of Death in Paul's comment "who will free me from this body of Death" ect. as this relies on materializing evil...............

The implications for redeeming / resurrecting a physical mortal body are, I think, a bit of a "dead end"      ( couldn't resist the pun ) and lead to all sorts of difficulties, and Why would you want to?  Our mortal body isn't evil..........after all Jesus had a mortal body and He was without Sin.



You are assuming I said something I didn't say..

1. My earthly body WILL be different. I said that. That is true. Christ's was different. First, it was bloodless. Second, it was glorified. It could pass through matter.  But in many ways it was the same, such as the ability to eat. The glorified body is able to do things our earthly body is unable to do.

2. My proclivity to sin IS inherent in this body of death. The question is, what is meant by "body of death"? You are assuming I believe that this BODY is where sin resides. I am not saying that. I am saying that this body is corruptible, therefore, it will die. Even if I NEVER sinned a moment, the BODY would die. That is why it is corruptible, and that is why it is a body of death. 

What then is wrong with my "body"? Nothing at all, as it was designed. What happens though, as we mature, is that we see the temptations to sin around us, we give in to our lusts, and then we sin. The sin does not necessarily corrupt our bodies (though that is possible if we, say, contracted a disease resulting from the sin) But no matter what we do, we will die. And, when we die, we become free from the proclivity to sin which is part of the human condition. Being "trapped" inside our bodies means that we are constantly exposed to sinful temptations, and we often give in to them. This "body of death" is the condition we are in as humans. Once free of that condition, we no longer will have the constant temptations. As new creatures, freed from those temptations, we will be alive as free spirits in God's presence. Our glorified bodies will be our possessions that we will use to carry out God's will in eternity.


Your wrote:

"My earthly body WILL be different. I said that. That is true. Christ's was different. First, it was bloodless.

Oh...........................that bloodless body!

Your know Doug:

  • "That is True", is not an argument ( even when you use really big letters )
  •  Maybe Paul is speaking of Sin dwelling in him, not his mortal body.

The idea of waiting for mortal death until I can be free of the "law of Sin & Death" seems like an Oxymoron.

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death".

I feel that the beauty of The Gospel is that God has met us in the person of His Son and meets us with Mercy. Mortal death is not for me a gateway to this reality.



I was not making an argument when I said "That is true". I was saying that I "truly" said "My earthly body WILL be different" I believe it will be different, just as Christ's was different. I don't know why you disagree with that premise.

But as far as whether I have to wait for physical death to be free of the law of sin and death, surely you understand the principle Paul was expounding when he said "Who shall deliver me from this body of death"?

Ro. 7:24

23but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

True enough that I don't have to wait for mortal death to have fellowship with Jesus. Of course! And, true enough that grace and mercy upholds me even in my sin. Yet sin still exists in this flesh. The idea of progressive sanctification is an odd idea that many christians blindly embrace. That is, the idea that we become more and more Godly as time passes as we "purge" the sin that is within us. But scripture says that we ARE sanctified, it does not say that sanctification is a process, as though God is more pleased with us as we "get better" over time. The covering of Jesus blood is an instantaneous act on God's part that puts us positionally in favor with God, but only because God the Father positions us behind Jesus, so that He sees the righteousness of Jesus when He looks our way. There is no way to be better than that, no matter how much time passes!

OK, so how about going back to my original thread?

I want to know about immortality and eternal life, and how they relate in the bible. Is orthodox christianity misunderstanding these terms?

Hi Doug,


Just a thought… from a covenant eschatological perspective the “body of this death” is indicative of the old covenant mode of existence, as opposed to “the body of Christ” i.e., the new covenant mode of existence.


That word translated BODY being often rendered in the singular doesn’t change nor negate this… Paul OFTEN spoke of the corporate “body (singular) of Christ” of which they were all collectively members.


As for “eternal” and “immortal” – when you said… I personally believe I have been resurrected, now, in this life, to newness of life in Christ. Using John 17:3 as the definition of eternal life, I therefore have eternal life now. – this then would be correct for “eternal”, i.e., it is fullness of life NOW, as per Jn 10:10.


“Immortal” on the other hand literally means “deathless” – the sole essence of God. “Incorruption” is inconsistently in some places rendered “immortal” and again along covenant eschatological lines can be understood as speaking of the old covenant mode of existence that was in the process of passing away in the “this generation” – from the Cross to the Parousia of Christ.


Always a pleasure engaging you :)

Since you quoted Jn 10:10,  let's discuss that for a moment...

There are many groups of Christians who key in on this verse - wrongly, and take it to mean that Jesus was simply telling His disciples that if they would follow Him, they would have "health and wealth" now, in this life. This perspective has brought lots of suffering and needless angst on the body of Christ, since its apparent that following Christ is a great way to bring persecution and just the opposites of health and wealth.

The gospel isn't about "living it up" in this life, although the clean living illuminated in scripture tends to health and even wealth, in good times. But following Christ will bring discord amongst family members and external persecution by people who see christians as threatening to their own desires to sin.

Therefore, what DID Jesus mean by "abundant life"? I think you properly showed that it is about "long term relationship" with God, through Christ. When we are told that only God has immortality, we are given a glimpse into a principle of heavenly government that is astounding. 

Since God is the only source of agelessness and "forever life", the only conclusion I can come up with is that all of creation, including the angels and redeemed people in Christ, are totally dependent for their own immortality. I might call it "conditional immortality", since the condition is that we are in Christ to receive it. Without that condition, the alternative is death!

So then, I am still perplexed about the subleties between scripture's use of eternal life and immortality as they apply to us. Why would the same identical concept use two seemingly different words? If immortality is the same as eternal life, why separate the two ideas with two words? Are they really the same concepts? If so, what are the important differences?


Christ's earthly body was and forever will be unique - because his mission was unique. It is a mistake to believe that we will be like him

Temptation is NOT sin. If it is then Christ sinned. But sin is not linked to our mortal bodies - the ability to sin was created in us and will only diminish when we truly surrender to God's will. Now in this life or in the next

Of course they are - all lexicions, concordances and translations are produced by people who believe in futurism so they are all contaminated with error - and even pagan beliefs inherited from our Roman inspired church culture


It is very clear that since the beginning in the garden of Eden that the theme of life and death is interwoven throughout the pages of the bible and the gospel.

God gave Adam and Eve one command. They were, in a sense, given "conditional immortality" at their creation. As a preterist, I believe that they were made just like the rest of men on earth but put in a special place that others did not have. Basically, Adam and Eve were mortals, just like everyone else, but were going to be directly taught by their creator, in contrast to other men who just did whatever they wanted, essentially deciding for themselves what was good and what was evil.

But God's implied offer of  everlasting life, when He said "You may freely eat of all the trees EXCEPT the tree of knowledge of good and evil" meant that God WANTED them to eat of the Tree of Life. I see it as almost like an altar call - a decision time. They chose to be just like all the other men on earth at the time, knowing good and evil by disobeying God and rejecting His offer of eternal life, had they eaten of the tree of life.

When they were driven from the garden, their access to the tree of life, the gospel in essence, was taken away. They were sent out to live as others, making their living by their own wits without the blessings of continual God guidance.

The serpent told them "you shall not surely die, since God knows when you eat of the fruit, you will be as god, knowing good and evil" So again, the theme of life and death was woven into the original creation story.

We are told in the New Testament that if we reject the idea that WE know what is good and evil, accepting Christ as our Lord and teacher, that we  gain eternal life. This is a repetition of the garden theme, with Christ replacing Adam as the bridge to God. I believe God intended Adam to be the bridge to Him, by having Adam be the high priest for mankind, showing them the creator's ways instead of their chosen method of knowing good and evil. Christ is that way now, but of course, God did know even before the foundation of the world that Christ would have to die. But having Adam attempt and fail to achieve what only God could do was to show us all that there is no salvation in man's knowledge or abilities. But I digress...

When Paul was on trial between the Pharisees and Sadducees, he stated that he was a pharisee, and played the resurrection card, knowing that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. Can it be inferred from this that (at least the Pharasaical) Jews of his time had some notion of eternal life, since the resurrection was part of their doctrines? I do not know WHAT they believed about the resurrection, but they did have some notion of life after death. So I think Farrar's idea that the Jews did not know anything about endlessness is just nonsense. In fact, in light of Genesis, and the numerous Psalms of David which talk about being with God forever (Psalm 23 comes to mind) "Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.", I can only conclude that eternity has been in man's heart

Ecclesiastes 3:11 11 "He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end."




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