What Is Life?

t is a question every person at some point considers. I want to get at more specific question, “What is life in the Bible?” Jesus said he had come that we might have life to the full (John 10:10). We know that Adam and Eve lost their lives due to rebellion (Genesis 2:17). We know we will all die (Hebrews 9:27). So, what does it mean to live?

What we see in the Garden of Eden, in the very beginning, is that God created Adam and Eve to live in his presence with his provision enjoying his goodness and his glory. When the first couple ate the forbidden fruit their souls died (Ephesians 2). They were separated from their Creator. As they were exiled from the garden, they no longer had access to the life-giving sustenance of the Tree of Life. Their bodies would now catch up with their souls. That means that life outside of the garden is really the process of dying.

This picture in Genesis gives us a good working definition of what life in the Bible is all about, what Jesus came to give us (John 10:10). Biblically speaking, life is dwelling in God’s presence with his provision enjoying his goodness and his glory. That’s the picture we see of how we will spend eternity! There’s even a Tree of Life in the new creation (Revelation 22).

In the beginning we truly lived: Adam and Eve dwelled in God’s presence with his provision enjoying his goodness and his glory. But we have been kicked out of God’s presence since Genesis 3. No one has bodily dwelt with God since then . . . that is until Jesus ascended back to heaven (Luke 24). And he has promised that where he goes, he will come back to get us so that we might be with him . . . so that again we might truly live (John 14)!

Here’s a Psalm to reflect upon today as you think about, long for, and confidently expect Christ’s future return and our future dwelling with him:

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

(Psalm 16, ESV)