2 Timothy 1:10—If Jesus abolished death, why do we still die?

Problem: Paul affirms in this text that Christ “has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” But death is not abolished, since “death spread to all men” (Rom. 5:12), and “it is appointed for men to die once” (Heb. 9:27).

Solution: First of all, Christ did not abolish physical death immediately, but by His death and resurrection it will be abolished eventually. Christ is the first one to experience resurrection in an immortal body (1 Cor. 15:20)—the rest of the human race will experience this later, at His second coming (1 Cor. 15:50–56). Second, Christ abolished death officially when He personally defeated it by His resurrection. However, physical death will not be completely destroyed actually until He returns again and “death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54). For Paul tells us that “the last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.