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Question:
I’m confused by a seemingly contradictory set of verses. There are MANY verses that talk about Jesus giving us eternal life of here are a few: Matthew 19:29; John 3:15; John 3:16; 1 Timothy 6:12… all these verses talk about mankind having eternal life. But then, there’s this verse: 1 Timothy 6:15-16 “…God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal…”
The word ‘immortal’ does mean everlasting (or eternal) life. So, according to that last verse, God is the ONLY being who will have eternal life. What then, happens to the rest of us Christians? Can you explain this apparent contradiction?

Answer:

Scripture contains nothing TRULY contradictory; there are mistranslations, difficulties and things we don’t yet understand, but the honest Bible student will never have to worry that God has contradicted Himself. He is incapable of doing so!

You have lifted the phrase from context, which tends to get us in trouble:

1 Timothy 6:15-16 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. (NKJV)

First, the Scriptural evidence that man is created to live eternally (either in heaven or hell) is plain and abundant, so I won’t deal with that. The fact that the human spirit, once created, will exist forever, is assumed for the sake of this answer.

We also know that God is eternal as well, but how does God’s “eternal” differ from man’s “eternal”? God’s “eternal” is both past AND future, while man has a finite beginning. God is eternal in ALL directions, whereas man is eternal only moving towards the future.

Now take that and add it to the other descriptions that apply only to God in this verse: unapproachable light, no man has seen, everlasting power….. adding “who alone has immortality” speaks of the fact that God alone has no beginning and no end. He alone has always existed. All of the attributes in this verse apply to God alone and no other.

Remember, Scripture interprets Scripture. Look at the verse in context. Consider other verses that talk about the same topic. The Bible can’t truly contradict itself, so throw out that possibility and look for alternative considerations that aren’t so obvious on the surface.

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