Immortality vs. Eternal Life

7 May

One common theme among the various vampire-related fiction today is whether or not immortal beings would be bored. Take, for example, the character of Edward Cullen in the Twilight series–a perpetual high school student. Blech! Religiously, we talk about immortality as a gift from our Savior Jesus Christ, living forever in Heaven. But that’s not the greatest gift that God has to give us. There is more to be had than sitting on clouds playing harps for eternity.

In April of 2008, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave a talk to the Church titled “The Gospel of Jesus Christ“. In it, he talks about eternal life, as opposed to immortality, and what they mean to us. Immortality is the gift of the resurrection to everyone who will live on this earth. Because Christ died and rose again on the third day, the bands of death were broken. Each of us, after we leave this mortal life, will have our bodies and spirits reunited, never to be separated again. Eternal life, on the other hand,

is the greatest of all the gifts of God … , for it is the kind, status, type, and quality of life that God himself enjoys. Thus those who gain eternal life receive exaltation; they are sons of God, joint-heirs with Christ, members of the Church of the Firstborn; they overcome all things, have all power, and receive the fulness of the Father.

Eternal life is the opportunity for eternal growth. Instead of being stuck forever on a cloud, we are still growing and learning, inheriting all that the Father has (Romans 8:16-17).

So what do we do to get more than cloud-time? Elder Perry made the analogy to a recipe for a delicious dish. We have a recipe to follow in order to achieve the dish as pictured in the cookbook, and if we really want that dish,  we have to try to follow that recipe. “If directions are not followed or an ingredient is left out or miscalculated,” Elder Perry explains, “the desired taste and appearance are seldom attained.”  In order to gain eternal life, we have to follow the “recipe” provided for us–the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Developing faith, repenting of our sins, being baptized, receiving the Holy Ghost: these aren’t just nice ideas, these are the ingredients to the recipe for eternal life! Following these steps will bring us in line with our Savior’s teachings and qualify us to return to our Father’s presence and inherit all that He has to give us.

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One Response to “Immortality vs. Eternal Life”

  1. zo-ma-rah May 8, 2011 at 2:25 am #

    Great thoughts(well except for the Twilight reference). This to me is one of the exciting concepts of the Gospel and Mormon Cosmology. Not only being ale to live forever. But to be able to inherit all that God has. He is our Father and it is our birthright as His children to inherit what He has.

    Thank you for your definition of the Gospel. That is exactly what Christ himself explains in 3rd Nephi. He tells us that His doctrine is this, Faith, Repentance, Baptism of water, and Baptism of Fire and the Spirit. The Lord even goes so far as to say that if anything more or less than these things are preached as the Gospel then it comes from evil. The Gospel really is so simple.

    The analogy of the recipe is interesting. I would add that it is impossible for us to get the recipe right. That is why we need our Saviour Jesus Christ(the master chef). No matter how badly we mess up or how horrible our cake tastes as long as we are focused on following Him he will fix our errors. And the end result will be as delicious as if He had cooked it Himself.

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