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Immortality and Eternal Life

by Leaun G. Otten

The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints teaches that the work and glory of God is to bring to pass both the immortality and the eternal life of men and women (Moses 1:39; 2 Ne. 10:23-25). These two conditions in the afterlife are not necessarily synonymous, though each is given as a consequence of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

Immortality is to live forever in a resurrected condition without death that was introduced to this world through the Fall of Adam and Eve (2 Ne. 2:22-23). Through Jesus Christ's Atonement, all living things will receive a resurrection, the spirit and the flesh uniting never again to be separated, and will live forever in an immortal state (2 Ne. 2:8-9; 9:13; Alma 11:45). Immortality is a free gift from God because of unconditional grace, and does not require works of obedience. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22).

"Eternal life" is a higher state than immortality alone and means to live forever in a resurrected condition in the presence of God, and to become like God. It likewise is available only through the grace of Jesus Christ and is the greatest of all gifts that God bestows upon his children (D&C 14:7). Eternal life is exaltation into the type and quality of life that God lives (See Godhood). Receiving eternal life is conditional, predicated upon obedience to the fulness of gospel law and ordinances (D&C 29:43-44; 130:20-21). It requires voluntary obedience to all of the ordinances and principles of the gospel, beginning with faith in Jesus Christ and continuing through baptism, the laying-on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the covenants of the Endowment and marriage in the temple, and of enduring to the end.

(See Basic Beliefs home page; Teachings About the Afterlife home page.)

Bibliography

Smith, Joseph Fielding. Man, His Origin and Destiny, pp. 271-72. Salt Lake City, 1954.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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