What is death? Is it the cessation of all life? Or is there something more to it. There certainly is and the Bible explains it to us. In fact, it is very important for us to understand the different types of death and how they pertain to us.
The First Type Is Physical Death
Many theologians have taught that physical death was not a part of the original intention of God. They teach that either we were to live forever in the Garden of Eden or that we would be translated into another state at sometime in our existence, such as Jesus was after His resurrection.
Personally, I believe that God knew what was going to happen. After all, he created a creature (human being) that had the ability to either choose to live with Him or to reject Him. This is the result of being created with a free will. This means that we have the freedom to live how we want to and to choose what we want to choose.
However, God had a very good reason for doing what He did. God gave us free will so that we could freely love. Remember, love cannot be commanded or forced, by its very nature; it can only be freely given. Since God knew that there would be some who would reject Him and His love, He limited the time that we would have to learn how to love and live under His guidance.
Thus, death was a part of the original creation. At first it was a very long time. Genesis 5:25 says that Methuselah lived to be 969 years old. Later, God limited the life span of a human to 120 years (Gen. 6:3). God shortened our lifetime because of our sin. Few people live to be this old, but none live to be older than this.
Why did God shorten our lifetime? According to Genesis 6, sin had become rampant. Multitudes of people were sinning and rebelling against God’s instructions. God simply said that people do not need more than 120 years to decide if they want to live with Him or not.
The fact is that physical death is a part of life. We are to expect it and there is no way out of it. However, it is important to remember why we even have this much time to live on this earth. This is a probation period. It is time for us to learn to love God and learn to follow His plan for our lives. If we can do this, we can live forever in His paradise (heaven). To learn more about this, read “What Is My Purpose For Living.”
The Second Type Is Spiritual Death
How many people understand what spiritual death is? In fact, how many people even think about it or acknowledge it? It is the least understood, yet the most important death of the three. In its most simple terms, it is the spiritual separation of a human being from God.
God’s original plan was for human beings to be in continual fellowship with Himself. This is why He put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It was a special place where He could come down in the cool of the evening to have fellowship with them.
Why couldn’t He just live in them as He does today? Remember, the Holy Spirit was not given to the human race until after Jesus bodily ascended into heaven. They did not have this privilege of having God (the Holy Spirit) living in them. It was a physical experience for them. They met God in the Garden each evening.
What happened? Read Genesis 3. This is the story of how Satan (as the serpent) tricked Adam and Eve into sinning against God. This sin was rebelling against God by doing what they thought was best instead of following the instructions of God. By doing this they destroyed the harmony that was the norm in the Garden of Eden.
Because of this action, they were cast out of the Garden and made to live in the rest of the world. Why is this important? The Garden of Eden was a place of harmony that God could enter into and communicate with His creation. The rest of the world was full of disharmony. Where all this disharmony came from is a matter for the Theologians to discuss.
The problem was that they are now separated from the fellowship of God. This was not only physically but spiritually. They are now on their own. Yes, they can still talk to God, but they cannot have the intimate fellowship with Him that they did have. This was not to happen again until after Jesus came and then ascended back into heaven.
The only exception to this was when the Holy Spirit temporarily filled various prophets and gave them special information for His people. We can read about these times throughout the Old Testament.
It was after Jesus bodily ascended into heaven that He sent the Holy Spirit to us. The Holy Spirit has the ability to live within everyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
The important point is that spiritual death is when we refuse to seek out and have fellowship with God. It is when we think that we do not need God. But spiritual death can be defeated. Keep reading.
The Third Type is Eternal Death
Spiritual death is what can, and often does, lead to eternal death. It is simply the fact that if we physically die while we are separated from God, that condition will be permanent, it will last for all eternity. The truth is that if we do not want to live with, and in, God’s presence while we are on this earth, God will not force us to live with Him forever.
Remember, God created us as free creatures. We are free to determine our own destiny. God will never take that freedom away from us, even if it means being separated from Him forever.
So, what happens if we are separated from God forever? Well, in the spiritual world, there are only two places. One is where God is and the other is where God is not. What is this place where God is not? Well, it was created for Lucifer (Satan) and all the angels that followed him in his rebellion against God. God had to have a place to put them, since they were destroying the harmony of paradise (heaven).
So God created a place where all of the rebellious angels could be held for all eternity. God’s presence would not be there. If you want to know more about what type of a place this is, read my article on “Heaven and Hell.”
So, what happens to all the humans that have chosen to not live with God? There is only one place where they can go and that is the same place that God created to keep all the rebellious angels. You do not want to go there.
God’s Remedy for the Second Two Types
How do we defeat spiritual death, and thus, eternal death? We cannot escape physical death, but we can escape spiritual death. All we must do is to accept Jesus as the Lord of our life and commit ourselves to following His plan for us. When we accept Jesus as the Lord of our lives, that is what we are committing ourselves to do, to follow His plan for us.
No, God did not give up on us. He provided a very simple way for us to defeat eternal death. This solution is given to us in John 3:16 (NKJV): “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
It seems very simple; in fact some say that it is too simple. This idea cannot work. “If sin is so terrible, God would not make the solution so simple.” But the fact is; He did. God loves us so much that He made it very simple to defeat spiritual death and thus, eternal death.
If you want to have eternal life instead of eternal death and you still have questions about God’s plan for you, read my articles under the subject of “salvation.” They will help you to understand what God wants you to know. Then give your heart and life to Jesus and we will meet in heaven.