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Excerpts From
Life and Immortality by Basil Atkinson (1895–1971) - Download PDF Article
An Examination of the Nature and Meaning of Life and Death as They are Revealed in Scriptures

(Born in 1895, Basil Atkinson, from Great Britain, gained a PhD in 1926 at Magdalene College, Cambridge. From 1925 to 1960 he served as Under-Librarian in the University Library there. He became well- known in evangelical circles as a leader of devotional Bible readings. He was the main adviser of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union during the years when the Inter-Varsity Fellowship was being built up and conservative Evangelicals were trying to extricate them­selves from liberalism. He was the great pillar of orthodoxy.)

In the sections that follow I have sought to use positive argu­ments drawn from Scripture only and to examine as far as pos­sible all relevant scriptural material...We will ask ourselves the following questions. If Man's consciousness is carried by an invisible part of him which survives, how is it that unconsciousness can supervene from a physical accident such as a blow on the head? Should we not reasonably have supposed it to continue unaffected by sleep, accident, or any physical cause? If the godly are in a conscious disembodied state of bliss after death but before resurrection, how is it that there is no hint of recollection of it by the half dozen or so persons whose resurrection to life on earth is described for us in the Bible? If the godly dead are now in a state of perfect satisfaction and bliss, what is the ob­ject of their resurrection? If the ungodly are in conscious misery for eternity and above all if they continue in increasing sin for eternity, how can we believe the apostle's supreme declaration in 1 Corinthians 15:28 that God will be all in all without narrowing its scope and distorting its meaning? ... Finally I would ask all who are interested and especially any who remain unconvinced by the arguments of the sections that follow or feel doubts over them to look up carefully the references given and earnestly and honestly to search the Scriptures to see whether these things are the same time to remember that God speaks of Himself as the One "who only hath immortality" (1 Tim. 6:16), words which lan­guage forbids us to interpret as the ONE Who only has no beginning, but as the One Who alone has natural immortality in Himself..."

As we cannot understand what the Bible reveals about immortality and a future life until we discover the nature of death, so we cannot understand what it teaches about the mean­ing of death until we first obtain a clear idea of the nature of man...We must go to the Scriptures and seek to read them without the intrusion, as far as possible, of any precon­ceived ideas, in the light of the Holy Spirit's guidance. If we are given grace to do this we can be assured of finding the truth. No one who believes that the Scriptures are God's Word written can believe that they can be inconsistent with themselves. Thus humble study and research must reveal a clear and consistent teaching on any subject ... into which we are led to search. It is evident that the Scriptures must be clear and not confusing.

(Read the full PDF article.)


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