Article Index

Page 3 of 16

LIFE OR DEATH


Jehovah’s Witnesses claim that Adam lost perfect human life both for himself and for his offspring, and that only someone who had a perfect life could pay the ransom. By “perfect life,” they mean eternal life without sickness, old age, and death (“What does the Bible really teach,” p. 47). But is that what the Bible teaches? It is true that Adam was created as the perfect being, but nowhere does it say that he was automatically created in an incorruptible body over which decay and death had no power. The Bible contains some facts that are not directly written but can be discerned. For example, Adam, Jesus and all of us should have been subject to the same principle of life, which says:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” (Romans 6:23)

This principle applies only within the law of life and the covenant between God and man. Under these provisions Adam could

  • be punished by death or
  • get the gift of eternal life.

Eternal life was to be a gift and, as such, it was to be given to a human only after that human had accepted and valued its worth more than anything else. Such a person would then have a special reason to love his Creator back, by obeying the law of life.

Adam did not seek to be created. Hence, life itself was not a gift but something that determines a living being. He could not have received the gift of eternal life if he had not exist as a living being in the first place, could he? In order to receive this gift, he had first to be alive and aware of what he was going to receive as a gift. For instance, if you were born as a male or a female, then it is implied that you are who you are, and you cannot view it as a gift you have received. Therefore, you cannot express gratitude for it. You will reciprocate love for other things that add something to your existence and not because you are male or female. Being alive is integral to every living creature. However, eternal life is a gift.

The most valuable gift is never given in advance, to buy one’s friendship or to bribe someone, but only after one develops friendship, respect and trust with that person. Besides, when something is given as a gift, then it should no longer be taken away. The donor may first allow the person to possess it for a while, in order to show their appreciation and responsibility. Only later, once the donor becomes convinced that the person is worthy of lasting friendship, can he / she firmly decide to give that person that most valuable gift into lasting possession.

God could only show his love through the most precious gift that man did not possess but had to receive. If he had eternal life at creation, then everything else would be less valuable than that. Hence, God would not be able to offer Adam something more valuable than what man himself already had when he was created. Then it would turn out that eternal life should have been taken for granted, and that Eve would be the most valuable gift God gave Adam. Then what would Eve get as most valuable gift, if she already had eternal life and a husband at the time of creation? Perhaps the Garden of Eden would be most valuable gift to her, because she already owned everything else. In any case, eternal life would not be a gift but something that were implied.

Eternal life was supposed to be the seal of their perfection, so they were to receive it as a gift to lasting inheritance only after they showed loyalty to God’s laws of life. Therefore, they were brought to Eden, where they were given access to the eternal life. Only then did they get “life in themselves” by means of the holy spirit. Thus, they were assured that they would not die as long as they had access to the tree of life. But they had not yet received eternal life into permanent possession because of the conditions they had to meet. Therefore, when Adam was created as a living being with divine qualities, then his Creator wanted to show his love for him by the gift of eternal life. This means that Adam was created as a mortal being. It was to be expected that man would return an even greater love to their Creator because of this gift. How, then, could he have been punished by death, if he was a mortal being in the first place? Let’s allow the Bible to explain it to us.