Man Is An Eternal Creation
On the sixth day of creation, God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." (Genesis 1:26) With those words, God created the man and the woman in His image. To understand the nature of man, it must be remembered that man was created different than the land animals or birds of the air or fish of the sea. While there are similar traits found in man as well as animals (blood, skin, hair, eyes, etc.), the distinctive nature of man sets him apart from all creation in whose image he is created.
Man was created by an eternal Creator who has no beginning nor end. Man was created by this eternal Creator and was created to be without end. Man has a beginning but he has no end. The image of God is placed within the tent of the human framework that exist a certain time upon the earth. When the body fails and dies, it returns to dust from whence it came. "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being ... How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before a moth? ... For He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." (Genesis 2:7; Job 4:19; Psalm 103:14) In death, the body returns to the dust and the spirit of life returns unto God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
The existence of man does not cease at death. As man is created to be an eternal creation, death is only the termination of the fleshly habitation. When the eyes close in death, the eternal creation of man continues to exist. Paul exhorts the saints in Corinth with this hope when he writes, "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." (2 Corinthians 5:1)
The hope and realization of the Christian is that when death comes, life begins anew in the presence of God. As all men are made in the image of God, Christians are made in the image of Jesus Christ. Because of that renewal, our death is but an open door that we may be ushered into the eternal abode of the Godhead. It is living with this knowledge that assures us of a better life.
The focus of the material world is never our goal. We realize that all things in the world are temporary. The treasures of this life are destroyed by decay. Thieves will break in and take away our possessions. There is injustice in the world, death, crying, sadness, disease, heartache and the frailty of flesh. Knowing that we are eternal and that our eternal being will bask in the glory of God's light, our hearts yearn for the world without end.
Jesus said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21) The treasures of the heart are found in the knowledge of an eternal existence with God. Life is short here but life is eternal after death.
What does this knowledge of eternity give me in my life? It reminds me that my life here is short but on this short life, eternity depends. If I have not obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ, I should fear the knowledge of my eternal being. When death comes and I am found outside of the covenant of God, "everlasting punishment" will await me. In the blessing of eternal life comes the knowledge that punishment will also be eternal. (Matthew 25:46)
The lawless will suffer "everlasting fire." (Matthew 25:41) Jesus describes the endless suffering in Mark 9:43-44, "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched -- where `Their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'"
The second thing to be considered about the eternal creation of man is when a man is condemned to "everlasting fire," he will know the pain of suffering. Jesus said the fire will not be quenched and the eternal creation of man will endure the suffering of torment forever. The rich man of Luke 16 illustrates the reality of this eternal suffering: "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, `Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'" (vv23,24)
The rich man had died (v22) and his body buried in a lavish tomb (no doubt). When he "awoke" in eternity, he was no longer enjoying the finer things of life but his life had taken away the finer things of eternity - he was suffering! He made no preparations for life beyond the tent of flesh but he was still existing. He had done evil in his life and he was suffering the penalty of damnation. (John 5:29) He was being punished for this rejection of the will of God. (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
The lake of fire John wrote about in Revelation 20 is real and forever real. "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." (v15) The eternal creation of man will suffer without end in a world of blackness, gnashing of teeth, crying and terror. The Christian does not fear these things as the promise of "eternal life" is given through the blood of God's Son. Romans 8:1 declares, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." Eternal life is life eternal with God as He is not "willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
To be in Christ brings the realization of the hope of eternal life without condemnation. We walk in the Spirit and do not serve the flesh. "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." (Romans 8:16,17)
What does this bring to my life in the knowledge of my eternal creation? I am not condemned, God desires me to be saved and has prepared a place for me and that I am His child! With the knowledge that I am a child of God, I have right to the tree of life! "Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city." (Revelation 22:14)
Death comes to all men and it will surely come to me. In whatever fashion death overtakes me, my eyes close and my eternal creation continues to live. The corruptible will put on incorruption and this mortal will have put on immortality. My eternal creation will awaken to a world of glory and praise to the Creator. I will know, I will feel, I will understand the measure of eternity. I will never hear a cry or a tone of sorrow anymore. I will never know the pain of death nor the torture of the curse of sin. I shall His face and His name will be upon my forehead. I will never know night again and there will never be a need for a lamp or the light of the sun for the Lord God will give me light and I will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:1-5)
The greatest gift of creation was the making of man in the image of God. The greatest gift of love is when the man, made in the image of God, rejected his Creator and rebelled but found salvation to be created in the image of God's Son. All men are created in the image of God but not all men are created in the image of Jesus Christ. All men will face the Creator in the day of judgment as all men are accountable to the Creator, made in the image of the Creator.
Eternal life awaits those who were created in Christ - "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10) This creation takes place in the burial of Jesus Christ. "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection." (Romans 6:3-5)
You are eternal! You cannot change that! You can change where you will spend eternity! When you open your eyes in death, what will you hear? "Well done, good and faithful servant," or "Depart from me, workers of iniquity?" The answer you give is eternal.
By Kent E. Heaton Sr.
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