What is death? There is an old saying that the only 2 things that are certain in life are death and taxes. Death is as much as of a mystery as life is. What is death exactly?
Webster defines death as the "permanent ending of life." The online Yahoo encyclopedia defines death as the cessation of all life (metabolic) processes.
Every living thing on this planet is born to die. Everyone of us is living on death row. One day our number will come up and we will stop breathing on that day. All of us have lost pets, friends, and family members and it is a painful process for the living to say goodbye to someone or some animal that they have grown to love.
There are a couple of times when I have had the misfortune of watching an animal or man die. One night I was bowling in league play. We were on our third game and one of my teammates who was around 70 years old was having a great game getting one strike after another. About the middle of the game, I watched my teammate roll a strike, turn around and smile, then collapse from a heart attack. He never got up. League play was halted for the night.
I had a pet dachshund who loved to run and chase squirrels, birds, and rabbits. I remember watching her from the bathroom window on the day she died. I thought of how happy the dog seemed to be. Later that day, I was taking some mail to the mailbox and was standing at the end of a driveway waiting for a car to pass (there is not a lot of traffic on the road which I live on). To my horror, I watched my pet emerge from the neighbor's yard on the other side of the street and run out right in front of the car. The hit did not kill the dog instantly, as she got up and ran to me and I took her into the house where she died a few moments later. The car never stopped and may not even have known what had happened.
Death causes grief and makes us want to cry. It is painful to say goodbye to someone you like or love. The Bible has a lot to say about death. What is death according to the scriptures?
Death can be defined as a separation. When we stop breathing, we become separated from our friends and family. Our body then begins to decay and rot. Our spirit and soul leave the body. James said in his Epistle that For as the body without the spirit is dead Chapter 2 verse 26.
Why do we die? For those folks who believe death is just a result of the imperfection of the process of evolution, death is just something we have to accept until our bodies find a way to conquer it. This type of thinking is foolishness and has no truth in it. Everything dies because everything is cursed. So why do we die? Why are we cursed?
The answer is in Genesis. God says Adam and Eve sired the entire human race and that they were created by God. Genesis 1:26 states Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."God referred to Himself in the plural by using the words "Our image". God is a triune being. He consists of body, soul, and spirit (Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit). Man is a triune being because he consists of a body, soul, and spirit.
The New Testament confirms that Jesus is part of the triune Godhead and, in fact, it was Jesus who created man. This is taught in Col. chapter 1 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Jesus not only made us He also redeemed us by taking the penalty of our sin upon Himself. So why do we die? Jesus created man with free will. It is man's choice to obey God or rebel against Him. Adam and Eve were created to live for eternity and God walked with them on a daily basis. He gave them only command. Genesis 2: 16 - 17 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
We all know what happened. Eve was regarding the fruit probably wondering why she couldn't eat it when Satan made his appearance and made Eve doubt the word of God which led to her eating of the fruit which brought the death penalty upon her. Adam, who couldn't bear the thought of losing Eve, also ate bringing the curse of death upon him as well as all his seed. The day Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they became spiritually dead because God would no longer walk with them in the Garden of Eden.
God told them that the day the ate the forbidden fruit they would surely die. Did the fruit kill Adam and Eve? No, it was the fact they disbelieved God's truth and believed Satan's lie which brought the curse of death upon all of mankind. God could no longer walk with them because they had sinned by being disobedient to God.
This is the curse that God pronounced upon man and woman, 16 To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you."17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return."
Because of sin, not only are we cursed but scripture states that all of creation is cursed. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. Romans 8:22
What is death according to scriptures? It is the fact our bodies will return to dust since they were made from dust. Our flesh and blood bodies belong to Satan and can never enter heaven. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 1 Cor. 15:50
Does this mean that we have no hope? Far from it. To fully understand the hope we have, we need to understand exactly what happens at death. Paul said There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.1 Cor. 15:44
Since there are two types of bodies, then there are two types of deaths. There is a physical death and there is a spirtual death.
Physical death is when our bodies cease to function or stop breathing. At that time our spirit and soul departs and the physical body begins to rot because it is, in fact, returning to dust. There is a separation taking place as the spirit separates from the body.
Remember when God told Adam and Eve that they would die the day they ate the forbidden fruit? They didn't did physically during that 24 hour period known as an Earth day. How does God regard a day? Psalm 90:4 states For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. God regards a thousand years as but one day. No man who has ever lived had lived to be a thousand years old. Adam and Eve lived over 900 years but they did not make it to a thousand so they did indeed die physically in God's day.
Spiritual death is separation from God. What does that mean? No one living on planet earth today has a clue as to how horrible a fate separation from God is. No one alive is separated from God because the rain falls and the sun shines on everyone no matter how evil they might be.
What separates us from God? Sin does. How do we become reunited with God? By believing and trusting in the redemptive work of Christ. Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.John 11:25
What happens to those who reject God? He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."John 3:36 The wrath of God abides all of those who refuse to believe the redemptive work of Christ becasue when God looks at them He sees a sinner and sin can enter into heaven.
Hebrews 9:27 states: And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, When we die, our spirit either goes to God or goes to a place we have come to know as hell. Hell is where God ain't.
To live, we first must be born physically. To gain eternal life, then we must be born spiritually. To gain eternal life, then the flesh must die. Paul clarifies this in 1 Cor 15 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man
What is death? For the ones who know Christ it is when we stop bearing the image of Adam and start bearing the image of Christ. It is but a step into eternity. For the ones who reject Christ, then they will never bear the image of Christ and will be separated from God for eternity.
Where you spend eternity is your choice. Which is the wiser decision, to choose life or choose death? What is death is a question everyone will have the answer to when they die.
Copyright 2005 by Gary Goodworth
What is death? This is a web page that is devoted to how Buddhists define what is death.
Fill out the form and receive a link to one of An Unseen World's webpages right into your inbox. As a bonus you will get an article from the archives of the Ezine Sight Unseen plus a link in each email that might interest you. Receive emails every 5 days.