What Is Death?

There have been many misconceptions concerning what death is. It all started with what Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden. Most people think of death as the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an animal or plant. In other words, our body ceases to function and we stop living. The Bible gives us a much better and different explanation.

There Are Two Definitions Of Death

The first definition, we all know and understand. When our body dies, it decays and returns to the dust from which it was made. Remember the verse in Genesis 2:7 (NIV): “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground.”

Ecclesiastes 12:7 describes this process. It recognizes that our body is made from the dust of the ground. Eccles. 12:7 (NIV): “and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” This is physical death.

The second type of death is something that many people do not understand. It is this. Death is the separation of our spirit from God and His influence. Actually, this is the most important definition of death. This death will affect our lives forever. This is spiritual death.

Our Spirit Will Never Cease To Exist

Let’s look at the second part of Genesis 2:7 (NIV): “and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (living soul).” This is quite different from how God created the animals.

Look at Genesis 1:24 (NIV): “And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.’ And it was so.”

God did not breathe anything into the animals. In fact, He said that the land (the earth) would produce these living creatures. When they die, they cease to exist because there was nothing eternal breathed into them.

However, when God created human beings, He added an element that He did not put into the animals. Genesis 2:7 says that God put an eternal spirit into human beings. Genesis 2:7 (NIV): “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (living soul).”

How do we know that it was “eternal?” It is because God “breathes” from Himself directly into us. God does not create our spirit, He breathes into our body something that comes directly from Himself and what comes directly from God is eternal. That is our spirit.

What Happens After Physical Death?

The first thing that we must understand is that our spirit never ceases to exist. God creates our spirit as an eternal entity. Thus, the question is: What happens to it when we die a physical death? We determine that before we die. Remember, God created us as free creatures. We are free to do whatever we want to do. That includes what happens to us after we physically die.

If we have chosen to live with and for God while we are here on the earth, we simply continue the life that we have chosen and go to live with God in heaven. God said that we make this choice by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. To understand this better, read some of my articles under the category of Salvation.

What if we have not made this choice? What if we have chosen to live outside the law of God? What if we have determined that we do not need God in our life? The choice that we have made will not miraculously change when the die physically. It will remain the same.

If we have chosen to live outside of God’s love and presence while we are here on the earth, that choice will remain the same when we leave the earth. Thus, we have chosen to live eternally outside the presence of God. Thus, where do we go?

We Determine Our Destiny While We Are Living On The Earth

Listen to what God says to those who choose to live apart from Him. Matthew 25:41 (NIV): “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” Some say that this only applies to those who do not take care of those in need.

However, as with all Scripture, we must understand its meaning within the context in which it was written. Study the whole chapter and you will understand that this teaching  is referring to anyone who does not do the will of the Father in heaven. And what is the Father’s will? First and foremost, it is to accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior.

How Do We Know This?

All we need to do is to read the Bible. God gave us His Bible so that we would know what we need to know.

Listen to just a couple of the passages that tell us how we determine our destiny. Romans 6:23 (NIV): “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is as plain as it can get. If we live a life of sin, that is, a life in rebellion to the will of God, we will die (be separated from God). And if we physically die while we are in this condition, we will be separated from God for all eternity.

Even Old Testament passages tell us this. Listen to Proverbs 21:16 (NIV): “A man who strays from the path of understanding comes to rest in the company of the dead.” What is the path of understanding? It is living within the will of God.

Eternal Life Comes Through Jesus Christ

Listen to what the Bible says. I John 5:12-13     “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

What did Jesus, Himself, have to say about it? Listen to John 8:51 (NIV): “I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death.” No, He did not mean physical death. He means spiritual death. If we will never see spiritual death, what does that mean? It means that will never be separated from God and will live with Him forever.

What did Jesus mean by “if anyone keeps My word?” His word is the whole Gospel that He taught while He was on the earth. If you study everything that He taught, you will come to the conclusion that you must accept Him as your Lord and Savior.

So the question is: “What is your decision?” Where you spend eternity depends upon the choice that you make while you are alive on this earth.


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