The Bible says that in the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. (John 1:1) It goes on to say that The Word, Jesus Christ created all things and without Him, nothing was made that was made. (John 1:3) A confusing way, perhaps, to say that Jesus Christ of the triune God-head, creating everything.
Christ ordered creation so that an innumerable part of God’s creation reproduces after its own kind, whether they are mammals, reptiles, fowl, fish, insects, or others. Single cell organisms and even plants are able to reproduce in some fashion, from the pollen in flowers migrating by wind or insects to other flowers through pollination to reproduce after its kind to pinecones carrying seeds for new seedlings to sprout. Reproduction and birth, life and death are common to so much of the universe. Humans, however, are unique in the marvelous story of creation.
When a human child is born, from the time even upon its conception, that tiny collection of cells developing is different than anything else in the cosmos. Human beings are absolutely the only beings that carry as part of that individual, an eternal soul. From the moment of conception, that human baby has a soul. The part of those cells which makes them a person, truly is immortal. When God breathed life into the lifeless figure of Adam, He set the standard. The breath of life contains the soul which God has chosen to live forever, to be part of a relationship between God and His creation.
God spoke, as recorded by Moses in Genesis, to the pre-incarnate Christ and the Holy Spirit and said, Let us make man in our image (Genesis 1:26) and that simple statement set in motion the creation of immortal human beings, whose outer body will grow old and decay, but the person – the soul will live forever. King David knew that his child who died as a consequence of David’s sin would be with him in heaven. But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. (2 Samuel 2:23).
Where each person will live forever is a choice made somewhere within the divine decrees of God and each humans’ freedom of choice, but every person – every soul lives forever. Only those who know Christ as Savior, who come to the Father through Christ, will live forever in heaven. The rest are condemned to a life of eternal torment, pain beyond expression, and separation from the love of God. Hell is a place never meant for humans but designed for those angelic beings that revolted against God and were cast from heaven before time began. God has longed for that relationship and has done everything to assure each of us a clear pathway to the cross.
The uniquesness of the human soul as eternal is awe inspiring alone. Still, the story, continues that not only are those who follow Christ to live immortal lives in heaven after their earthly body is destroyed by physical death, but those who follow Christ begin living their lives in heaven the moment they accept Christ’s gift of eternal life. Reread that last sentence and let it sink in. We’ll wait.
Humans need not wait until their souls are freed of their ‘earthly coil’ a term coined by Shakespeare in Hamlet. Positionally, those who are saved by grace are already ‘in heaven.’ Paul writes, in his letter to the church at Ephesus, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ...” (Ephesians 1:2-3) The language used shows a completed work. Has blessed us shows that it is already finished. We already have every spiritual blessing that are found in the heavenly places. Certainly we can say, ‘it doesn’t feel like I’m in heaven’. Of course, we are not physically there but positionally. What that means is that when you die in Christ you need not worry about am I going to heaven because you are already there. Allow me to use a simple example. Your parents are citizens of the United States living in Germany. While they are there, you are born. You are positionally an American citizen although you have never been to America. You, however, have all the rights, privileges, and all the blessings of being an American although you have never set foot in this country. Does that help? No one, legitimately, can take your American citizenship from you. If you leave Germany and come to the passport control for the United States of America, they will not look at you and say, you are not a citizen, you must go to the other line and they will consider your request and your credentials. No, they will say, “Welcome Home”.
Once you have really and truly accepted Christ’s eternal gift of salvation, you are a citizen of heaven. When you arrive there, escorted by angels into the very presence of Christ, He will welcome with open arms and as He holds you, will whisper, ‘Welcome Home.’