Below is a list of people claimed to be immortal. Please note that this list does not reference purely spiritual entities (spirits, gods, demons, angels), non-humans (monsters, extraterrestrials, elves), or artificial life (artificial intelligence, robots).
Historical, mythological, and religious immortals
This list comprises people claimed to achieve a deathless existence on Earth. This list does not contain those people who are supposed to have attained immortality through the typical means of a religion, such as a Christian in Heaven. It also does not include people whose immortality involves living in a place not on Earth, such as Heracles on Mount Olympus or the Eight Immortals of Taoism in Mount Penglai. It also does not include people who, according to their religion, became deities or actually were a deity the whole time, such as Jesus of Nazareth (who as part of the Trinity was also God) or Parashurama (who was, according to Hinduism, an avatar of Vishnu).
These lists are in chronological order, though some dates are approximate.
People who claimed to be immortal themselves
These people have all verifiably made claims of immortality, or at least lifespans of indefinite reach.
- Count of St. Germain (d. 1784), a mysterious noble and alchemist. In his writings, he claimed to be centuries old along with other fanciful claims. Various occultic and religious organizations have adopted him, with some claiming he is alive today.
- Leonard "Live-Forever" Jones (1797–1868), an eccentric who ran for President of the United States in every election between the late 1840s and 1860s on a platform of immortality. He believed that mortality was simply a matter of poor morals, and with prayer anyone could live forever.
- Alex Chiu (b. 1971), developer of a "Magnetic Immortality Device." He purports that his magnetic rings, if worn correctly every night, will allow anyone to live forever.
Claimed to be immortal by others
Often the records are too few to determine if these people actually claimed immortality themselves, or even existed. However, significant sources show they are claimed to be immortal by various religions and folk legends.
- Melchizedek (18th century BC), a priest. According to some translations of Hebrews 7:3: "Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he (Melchizedek) remains a priest forever." Some Christians believe he was a type of early Christ.
- Tithonus, who in Greek mythology was granted eternal life but not eternal youth.
- Several men and women whom the ancient Greeks considered historical figures, like Menelaus, Helen, Achilles, Memnon and Peleus, achieved physical immortality through the intervention of the gods.
- The Wandering Jew (b. 1st century BC), a Jewish shoemaker. According to legend, he taunted Jesus on his way to crucifixion. Jesus cursed him to "go on forever till I return." Thus, the Wandering Jew is to live until the second coming of Jesus.
- John the Apostle (AD 6-101), one of Jesus's followers. Some Mormons, in conjunction with their own scriptures, interpret the biblical scripture found at John 21:21-23 to mean that John will tarry or remain on the earth until the Second Coming.
- The Three Nephites (between AD 34 and 35), three men described in the Book of Mormon who are given power over death in order to fulfill their desire to minister among men until Jesus comes again.
- Sir Galahad (dates for his life fall between the 2nd century and the 6th century), one of the three Arthurian knights to find the Holy Grail. Of them, Galahad is the only one to have achieved immortality by it.
- Merlin (dates for his life fall between the 2nd century and the 6th century); in some accounts, Merlin is trapped by an enchantment by Nimue, and while some end with Merlin dying, in others he remains in the trap (variously a tomb, a cave, or mist) indefinitely.
- Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel (15th century AD), alchemists who were reputed in later manuscripts to have acquired immortality through the use of the Philosopher's stone.
Notable failed quests for immortality
- Gilgamesh (possibly reigned during the 26th century BC) after the death of his companion, Enkidu, Gilgamesh pursues immortality to avoid Enkidu's fate. Gilgamesh fails two tests and does not become immortal, realising instead that mortals attain immortality through lasting works of civilization and culture. Appropriately, Gilgamesh's story is considered the oldest story recorded.
- Qin Shi Huang Di, the First Emperor of China who reigned during 221 BCE–210 BCE, also sought immortality in his old age. He sent hundreds of people to find the legendary elixir of life, but failed. He died of mercury poisoning after he had eaten too many mercury pills, prescribed by his court doctors to make him immortal.
- While Mount Olympus actually exists, the Greeks understood a distinction between the Olympus of the Gods and the part that could be seen by humans.
- Dag Øistein Endsjø. Greek Resurrection Beliefs and the Success of Christianity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2009.
- The Immortal by JJ Dewey
- 3 Nephi 28
- Cosmic Teams!. Accessed March 3, 2008
The achievement of the seven cosmic circles does not equal Adjuster fusion. There are many mortals living on Urantia who have attained their circles; but fusion depends on yet other greater and more sublime spiritual achievements, upon the attainment of a final and complete attunement of the mortal will with the will of God as it is resident in the Thought Adjuster.
When a human being has completed the circles of cosmic achievement, and further, when the final choosing of the mortal will permits the Adjuster to complete the association of human identity with the morontial soul during evolutionary and physical life, then do such consummated liaisons of soul and Adjuster go on independently to the mansion worlds, and there is issued the mandate from Uversa which provides for the immediate fusion of the Adjuster and the morontial soul. This fusion during physical life instantly consumes the material body; the human beings who might witness such a spectacle would only observe the translating mortal disappear "in chariots of fire."
Most Adjusters who have translated their subjects from Urantia were highly experienced and of record as previous indwellers of numerous mortals on other spheres. Remember, Adjusters gain valuable indwelling experience on planets of the loan order; it does not follow that Adjusters only gain experience for advanced work in those mortal subjects who fail to survive.
Subsequent to mortal fusion the Adjusters share your destiny and experience; they are you. After the fusion of the immortal morontia soul and the associated Adjuster, all of the experience and all of the values of the one eventually become the possession of the other, so that the two are actually one entity. In a certain sense, this new being is of the eternal past as well as for the eternal future. All that was once human in the surviving soul and all that is experientially divine in the Adjuster now become the actual possession of the new and ever-ascending universe personality. But on each universe level the Adjuster can endow the new creature only with those attributes which are meaningful and of value on that level. An absolute oneness with the divine Monitor, a complete exhaustion of the endowment of an Adjuster, can only be achieved in eternity subsequent to the final attainment of the Universal Father, the Father of spirits, ever the source of these divine gifts.
When the evolving soul and the divine Adjuster are finally and eternally fused, each gains all of the experiencible qualities of the other. This co-ordinate personality possesses all of the experiential memory of survival once held by the ancestral mortal mind and then resident in the morontia soul, and in addition thereto this potential finaliter embraces all the experiential memory of theAdjuster throughout the mortal indwellings of all time. But it will require an eternity of the future for an Adjuster ever completely to endow the personality partnership with the meanings and values which the divine Monitor carries forward from the eternity of the past.
But with the vast majority of Urantians the Adjuster must patiently await the arrival of death deliverance; must await the liberation of the emerging soul from the well-nigh complete domination of the energy patterns and chemical forces inherent in your material order of existence. The chief difficulty you experience in contacting with your Adjusters consists in this very inherent material nature. So few mortals are real thinkers; you do not spiritually develop and discipline your minds to the point of favorable liaison with the divine Adjusters. The ear of the human mind is almost deaf to the spiritual pleas which the Adjuster translates from the manifold messages of the universal broadcasts of love proceeding from the Father of mercies. The Adjuster finds it almost impossible to register these inspiring spirit leadings in an animal mind so completely dominated by the chemical and electrical forces inherent in your physical natures.
Adjusters rejoice to make contact with the mortal mind; but they must be patient through the long years of silent sojourn during which they are unable to break through animal resistance and directly communicate with you. The higher the Thought Adjusters ascend in the scale of service, the more efficient they become. But never can they greet you, in the flesh, with the same full, sympathetic, and expressionful affection as they will when you discern them mind to mind on the mansion worlds.
During mortal life the material body and mind separate you from your Adjuster and prevent free communication; subsequent to death, after the eternal fusion, you and the Adjuster are one--you are not distinguishable as separate beings--and thus there exists no need for communication as you would understand it.
While the voice of the Adjuster is ever within you, most of you will hear it seldom during a lifetime. Human beings below the third and second circles of attainment rarely hear the Adjuster's direct voice except in moments of supreme desire, in a supreme situation, and consequent upon a supreme decision.
During the making and breaking of a contact between the mortal mind of a destiny reservist and the planetary supervisors, sometimes the indwelling Adjuster is so situated that it becomes possible to transmit a message to the mortal partner. Not long since, on Urantia, such a message was transmitted by a self-acting Adjuster to the human associate, a member of the reserve corps of destiny. This message was introduced by these words:
"And now, without injury or jeopardy to the subject of my solicitous devotion and without intent to overchastise or discourage, for me, make record of this my plea to him." Then followed a beautifully touching and appealing admonition. Among other things, the Adjuster pleaded "that he more faithfully give me his sincere co-operation, more cheerfully endure the tasks of my emplacement, more faithfully carry out the program of my arrangement, more patiently go through the trials of my selection, more persistently and cheerfully tread the path of my choosing, more humbly receive credit that may accrue as a result of my ceaseless endeavors--thus transmit my admonition to the man of my indwelling. Upon him I bestow the supreme devotion and affection of a divine spirit. And say further to my beloved subject that I will function with wisdom and power until the very end, until the last earth struggle is over; I will be true to my personality trust. And I exhort him to survival, not to disappoint me, not to deprive me of the reward of my patient and intense struggle. On the human will our achievement of personality depends. Circle by circle I have patiently ascended this human mind, and I have testimony that I am meeting the approval of the chief of my kind. Circle by circle I am passing on to judgment. I await with pleasure and without apprehension the roll call of destiny; I am prepared to submit all to the tribunals of the Ancients of Days."