What Happens To Your Soul When You Die
Many Christians think of the soul as an immortal entity within us that goes on living after death. What does the Bible say? Describing the creation of human beings in the beginning, the Bible says, And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul . Other Bible translations say, . . . and man became a living being . God did not put a soul into man. He formed the body from the dust of the ground, and then He breathed His life-giving spirit into the lifeless bodyand the result was a soul, or a living being. When a person dies, the reverse takes place. The breath of life departs from the body, and the soul no longer exists. Thats what the Bible says. The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it . At the resurrection, God reunites the body and His life-giving spiritand the person lives again.
If souls existed as separate entities that lived on after we died, that would mean we have immortality. However, the Bible says human beings do not have immortality. Only God is immortal . Paul says that the righteous seek for glory, honor, and immortality . If we had immortal souls, why would the righteous seek after something they already have?
Your Body And Soul Need Redeeming From The Fall
David wrote in Psalm 19 about the wonder of Gods world, His creation. But in verse seven David makes a turn. The general revelation gives evidence of Almighty God, but special revelation, Gods Word, is necessary to do this one thing: revive the human soul. Psalm 19:17 says The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul .
Indeed, we are to be born again, the soul undergoing a supernatural transition, making it fit for heaven. Our souls are lost without redemption.
The Bible teaches that there is no other redemption available except that way that Almighty God has provided through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ: And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved .
What Happens After Death
It is important to admit that the word soul is not merely a disembodied entity. In the Bible, soul is who you are. Consider Genesis:
God breathed the breath of life into Adam, and he became a living soul . Thus, in the biblical view, Adam does not havea soul Adam is a soul . The soul is, literally, . . . that which breathes, the breathing substance or being. In his article Soul, G.W. Moon says In Christian theology the soul carries the further connotation of being that part of the individual that partakes of divinity and survives the death of the body.
According to Saint Thomas Aquinas, who follows Aristotle in his definition of the human soul, the soul is an individual spiritual substance, the form of the body. Both, body and soul together, constitute the human unity, though the soul may be severed from the body and lead a separate existence, as happens after death. The separation, however, is not final, as the soul, in this differing from the angels, was made for the body.
The Psalmist spoke of our soul as the very inmost being of our person: Praise the Lord, my soul all my inmost being, praise his holy name .
Jesus spoke of the inestimable value of the human soul :
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell .
Therefore, we must admit:
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Can We Contact The Dead After They Are Gone
The answer is no. Any attempt to dabble in spirit contact is strictly forbidden in the Bible. It is sometimes called necromancy or sorcery or dealing with familiar spirits. Remember, demons can masquerade as the dead. They can even mimic the voices of our loved ones and give information that only the dead person would have known . In case this isnt clear, let me make it plain. Do not attempt to contact the dead through any means at allséances, parlor games, crystal balls, psychic readers, channelers, or mediums. You are involving yourself in that which God forbids. Leave the dead alone.
Bible Verses On The Future Resurrection Of The Dead
Here are other Bible verses that reiterate the truth that the dead will be resurrected at a future time. These can provide comfort when we are dealing with the death of a loved one.
- Jesus Christ speaking: This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life and I will raise him up at the last day .
- Jesus Christ speaking: Do not marvel at this for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forththose who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation .
- The apostle Paul writing: Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changedin a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed .
- Samuels mother, Hannah, in one of her prayers: The LORD kills and makes alive He brings down to the grave and brings up .
- Isaiah prophesying: Your dead shall live together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead .
And later there will be another resurrection of those who in their lifetime had not been called to be followers of Jesus Christ.
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Is There A Second Chance After Death
This is the popular view of many people who hope that those who did not accept Christ in this life will somehow have a second chance after deatheither in the afterlife or perhaps through reincarnation. The answer is quite simple: There is no biblical support whatsoever for the notion of a second chance. Hebrews 9:27 declares that we die once and after that comes the judgment of God. Let no one be mistaken on this point. The only opportunity you will ever have to get right with God is the opportunity God affords you right now. If you dream of coming to God after you die, you are nursing a vain hope.
Concepts Of Life After Death
The Christian end-time expectation is directed not only at the future of the church but also at the future of the individual believer. It includes definite conceptions of the personal continuance of life after death. Many baptized early Christians were convinced they would not die at all but would still experience the advent of Christ in their lifetimes and would go directly into the Kingdom of God without death. Others were convinced they would go through the air to meet Christ returning upon the clouds of the sky: Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we shall always be with the Lord . In the early imminent expectation, the period between death and the coming of the Kingdom still constituted no object of concern. An expectation that one enters into bliss or perdition immediately after death is also found in the words of Jesus on the cross: Today you will be with me in Paradise .
Eternal life is personal life, and precisely therein is fulfilled the essence of humanity created according to the image of God. Within eternal life there are differences. In the present life there are variations in talent, duty, responsibility, and breadth and height of life, just as there are also distinctions in wages according to the measure of the occupation, the sacrifice of suffering, and the trial . Correspondingly, the resurrected are also distinguished in eternal life according to their glory:
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How Can Christians Help
1. Pay Attention and Ask Hard Questions.
Christians are not to make judgments about others destiny. That is Gods prerogative, delegated to Jesus . But Christians who want to reach out to people who may be contemplating suicide should become aware of signs someone is thinking about suicide.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifelinesays there are three major signs of immediate suicide risk.
- A person talks about wanting to die or kill oneself.
- A person is looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online for information about suicide, or obtaining a gun.
- A person talks about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
Also, be alert to new or increased behaviors that may relate to a loss, sudden change, or painful event. David Murray at HeadHeartHand says:
Although its counter-intuitive, the most important thing to do is to ask the person if they are thinking about taking their life. Do so in a non-threatening, non-confrontational way, to make it as easy as possible to speak openly about their thoughts and feelings.
This may encourage a suicidal person to admit their need and seek professional help.
2. Listen to Those in Grief and Weep with Those Who Weep .
You Might Be Surprised To Find Out That The Common Belief That Man Has An Immortal Soul Is Not A Teaching That Comes From The Bible
Death is a reality of life, though its never pleasant to consider. Death can be devastating, separating us from family and friends. We want to believe that something better awaits a loved one who has diedthat he or she has gone to a better place.
What happens after death is a mystery, complicated by the belief most people have that death doesnt really mean the end of life. Most Christians and non-Christians alike assume that when a good person dies, his or her soul immediately departs for heaven , and when an evil person dies, he or she goes to the burning fires of hell to be tormented for eternity.
That belief is based on the false premise that each of us is an immortal soul living in a physical body, and when the body dies, the soul continues to live. If that were true, then the soul would need some place to go when the body dieswhich brings us to the common conceptions of heaven and hell.
The truth is a completely different scenario. We need to understand the purpose of life and why we die. When we understand what life and death are all about, we can know that something much better does await those who have diedbut it probably isnt what you thought. The Bible reveals that the soul is not immortal and after death a person goes neither to heaven nor to hell.
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Other Views Within Christianity
Though most Christians agree on the basic beliefs about the afterlife described above, there are some differing views on aspects of life after death.
Catholicism. The Catholic church teaches the doctrine of Purgatory, that Protestant Christians do not usually accept. According to the official teachings of the Catholic church, called The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Purgatory is a final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.
Pope John Paul II said Purgatory does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence.
Catholicism teaches that those who have a relationship with God but are not fully purified will have eternal salvation but still need further purification after death. After purification in Purgatory, they achieve the perfect holiness required to be in the presence of a perfectly Holy God.
The Catholic Church partially bases the doctrine of Purgatory on Scripture passages referring to a cleansing fire. It also draws this concept from a passage where Jesus said that those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this age or the age to come. The Catechism of the Catholic Church further states, From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come.
Most Protestants believe that Jesus sacrifice fully paid for all of our sins and fully purified all who believe in Him, so there is no need for further purification after death.
E How Do We Know Whos Right
How do we know which one of these three views is the correct one? They are all talking about something that we certainly cant prove. I think we have to remember our second class where we talked about our sources of knowledge. What is the basis for our belief?
Dont laugh! I think a lot of people base their beliefs on TV and movies. A few years ago I was at an Alpha meeting and after watching the video, the leader asked, Do you think its prideful for someone to say they know for sure that they are going to heaven.?
One lady said, No, I know Im going to heaven. Ive never committed adultery or murdered anyone.
Another lady said, But thats not what the Bible says is how you get to heaven.
The first lady said, Well, last Tuesday, I was watching Crossing Over. And they had a séance and contacted their Grandma. They asked her where she was. She said she was in heaven. They asked her how to get there. Grandma said to just be good and they would get to heaven.
That lady held up a Tuesday night TV show against the Bible as her authority.
Is Hollywood a reliable source?
2. Past Lives Therapy
Is hypnosis a reliable source?
3. Near Death Experiences
What do you do with the testimonies of those who died, and tell how they went to some place with a bright light or saw the streets of gold in heaven?
That leads us to the next point What is an objective source for believing in heaven?
4. The Bible Says So
John 6:39 11:25-26
5. The Incarnation and the Resurrection.
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How Is Death Like Sleep
Death is like sleep in that no conscious thought occurs when one has died. People who are dead are completely unconsciousunaware of the passage of time and without any feelings or awareness of themselves or their surroundings.
These Bible verses elaborate on how death is a state of unconsciousness:
- His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth in that very day his thoughts perish .
- For the living know that they will die but the dead know nothing .
- Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going .
But another reason death is analogous to sleep is because, as is stated by some of the above scriptures, death is temporary. When someone falls asleep, they will eventually wake up. When someone dies, they experience the sleep of death for a period of time, but will awaken in the future. The Bible calls this the resurrection of the dead.
The Truth About Life After Death Provides Hope And Comfort
While it may be comforting to those coping with the death of loved ones to think of them as looking down from heaven, this belief is not supported by the Bible. Instead, Gods Word comforts us with the fact that God will raise them to life again, and all will have a chance to become children of God, who will live happy, productive and abundant lives forever!
In the meantime, there is no suffering in the grave. The dead have no thoughts or consciousness and are unaware of the passage of time. They are sleeping in their graves.
But God promises they will live again! When the dead are resurrected, it will be as though they have awakened from a deep sleep.
Paul likened the perception of the dead from the time they die to the time they are resurrected as like a moment, in the twinkling of an eye . That means that the time between death and resurrection is like a split second to the personthe blink of an eye.
When the dead are resurrected, it will feel like their death occurred a moment agoeven though their death could have occurred hundreds of years before!
We can take great comfort in knowing that when they awaken, they will rise in a much different world, a world that Jesus Christ and the resurrected saints will have been ruling.
So, to summarize, do we go to heaven when we die?
The Bible answers this question very clearly: No. Only Jesus Christ has gone to heaven. Human beings dont go to heaven or hell at death.
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D Theism Says: Resurrection
The Bible teaches that man will be resurrected and face the judgment of God. Those who believed in Jesus for salvation will spend eternity with God. Those who rejected Jesus will spend eternity in hell with Satan.
There are a number of Bible scholars who say that hell is not forever. They call their view annihilation. They say that the fire may burn forever, but what is thrown in the fire is burned up and ceases to exist. I dont want to get into the discussion about whether hell is eternal or not, but I do want you to recognize that the naturalists view of annihilation is not the same as the theists view of annihilation. These theists believe in resurrection, judgment, temporary punishment and then annihilation