The books of the Bible are inspired messages from God. “All scripture is inspired by God …” 2 Timothy 3:16. The Bible teaches that God wants all men to live forever in loving harmony. 1 Timothy 2:3,4 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved…”
God offered Adam eternal life if he would obey; but hardship and death if he disobeyed. (Genesis 2:16,17) “…God commanded the man (Adam), saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.’”
When Adam disobeyed this command, Adam fell from perfection and began the dying process. As sinful, dying humans, Adam and Eve could only beget sinful children. “For I was born a sinner – yes, from the moment my mother conceived me,” Psalm 51:5 (NLT). Thus, the death sentence came upon all mankind.
However, even before the earth was created, God foreknew Adam would sin. So God had already planned mankind’s recovery from death through Jesus. (See 1 Peter 1:18-21.)
God’s son, the man Jesus, could have lived forever! But Jesus exchanged His human life, for Adam’s life and accepted Adam’s death sentence. Thereby, Adam (and all of his children) could be released from the grave. Mankind would again have the opportunity to have eternal life through Jesus. “…through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous,” Romans 5:19.
So, how can we live forever? There are two roads to eternal life, both based on obedience. In the present, a person may accept Jesus as his savior, deny his own will to obey only God’s will, and follow Jesus’ example of sacrifice. This is a difficult path and spirit-begotten Christians will suffer. However, the reward for the faithful is the divine nature in heaven! (See 2 Peter 1:4.)
The rest of mankind will be released from the grave in the resurrection. John 5:28, “… an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear his (Jesus’) voice and come forth…” When Jesus reigns all earth, mankind will be restored to perfection and taught righteousness. (See Isaiah 2:2-4, Jeremiah 31:31-34.) Those who choose to obey God’s laws will have eternal life on earth, while all the disobedient will die never to live again. Revelation 21:4 shows us the happy ending: “and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning or crying, or pain; the first things (in this present evil world) have passed away.”