Bible Question:

What is life?

Bible Answer:

There are two kinds of life: spiritual and physical. Physical life is the life that we begin to experience at conception. King Solomon described it like this:

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” (NASB) Ecclesiastes 1:2

The Hebrew word that is translated as “vanity” is HEBEL. It means “emptiness, vain, breath, and air.” King Solomon’s point is that if one stops long enough to think about our lives, why we are here, and what the future holds; and if we are honest, we will discover that life is empty. Life has no meaning. Life is like a soap bubble. It goes “pop” and that is all that there is, unless one is a Christian. Here is the rest of the initial statement.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun? A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; and hastening to its place it rises there again. Blowing toward the south, then turning toward the north, the wind continues swirling along; and on its circular courses the wind returns. All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again. All things are wearisome; man is not able to tell it. (NASB) Ecclesiastes 1:2-8

His statement is true. Life is nothing but a cycle. A generation is born and then it dies. Most of us will never be remembered after a couple of generations. The sun rises and then sets. The sun continues but we don’t. The winds continuously blow. They come and go. We are born and then disappear. We do not return. Even the rivers continuously flow, but we do not. We come and then we go and are no more! That is life for the non-Christian. Life is emptiness. Life is work, work, retire, and die.

Therefore, King Solomon recommended the following,

Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. (NASB) Ecclesiastes 5:18

For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart. (NASB) Ecclesiastes 5:20

For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? (NASB) Ecclesiastes 6:12

So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun. (NASB) Ecclesiastes 8:15

Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun. (NASB) Ecclesiastes 9:9

Life is work, work, retire, and die. Our physical lives are meaningless, if we are not Christians.

Everyone will have a spiritual life. While our physical body will die, our spirit will live forever. Our spirits will either live with God forever or live in the lake of fire forever. That was Jesus’ message in Matthew 25,

These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (NASB) Matthew 25:46

It is also the message in Revelation 20,

And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. (NASB) Rev. 20:4-5

Then after the thousand years are completed, the following will occur,

And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (NASB) Rev. 20:12-15


Physical life is emptiness and futility if one is not a Christian. Everyone has spiritual life: heaven or hell. The choice is up to you. Jesus Christ is the path to eternal life. One must believe in Him, then He will take control of your life. We will close with a comforting word for Christians,

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (NASB) 1 Corinthians 15:58

Spiritual life starts when one believes in Jesus, and then one’s labor is not emptiness. Jesus has promised abundant life, peace with God, eternal life, and life to those who believe in Him and submit to Him.

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (NASB) John 10:10

I am the way, and the truth, and the life . . . (NASB) John 14:6

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (NASB) John 14:27

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (NASB) John 17:3

We were created not to live for ourselves but to know and love God. Our purpose in life is to discover God and enjoy Him. What could be more exciting than to know the God of the universe – our Creator? It starts by recognizing that we sin, mourning our sin, and then seeking His forgiveness.

Suggested Links:

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