Skip to comments.What Happens When You Die?
Posted on 06/25/2011 7:52:46 AM PDT by Bed_Zeppelin
What happens when you die? The Bible uses the word death in different senses. Jesus said: And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Mt 10:28). Also in Revelation 20:6, John speaks of a second death, apparently distinguishing it from the first death or the usual understanding of death.
It is important to note that the only way to escape the second death and Hell is through the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn 11:26). Make sure to be in on that one! Now we turn to what happens to Christian believers at the first death. Paul addresses the issue of what happens to Christians when they die in 2 Corinthians 5:8 when he says we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. This refers to the intermediate state between a believers death and the resurrection of all believers bodies at the Parousia.
I have always thought that heaven is temporary state until Jesus returns for the general resurrection of the dead (Dan 12:2; Rev 20:4-6). So if you die before Christ returns, I always assumed you exist as a spirit until then. It seems to me that we consist of material and immaterial elements and in our present lives we are in a state of conditional unity. A useful analogy for conditional unity comes from chemistry.
Did you know that every summer, including this one, thousands of people will die from dihydrogen monoxide inhalation? Yes it is true they drown while swimming in pools, the ocean or lakes. Its a bad joke. Dihydrogen monoxide is H20 or plain old water. Now of course we all know that water is not usually dangerous and is, in fact, essential for life.
But what happens when you break water down into its two components hydrogen and oxygen? It suddenly takes on drastically different properties. In fact, it gets downright dangerous. In the presence of an oxidizer like oxygen, hydrogen can catch fire, sometimes explosively, and it burns more easily than gasoline does. According to the American National Standards Institute, hydrogen requires only one tenth as much energy to ignite as gasoline does. So when water is separated into its two elements, they are nothing like water.
It seems appropriate to think of the body and soul in the same way. In life we are like a molecule consisting of body and soul. At death the material and immaterial are separated and take on different properties. The material body decays and the immaterial soul transfers into the spiritual dimension. So what does the New Testament tell us about this process?
According to some scholars, Paul does not seem to believe in a bodiless ethereal state in heaven rather an immediate transformation to a new body. F.F. Bruce thinks Pauls view is that some sort of body is essential to personhood. This is most evident in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 where he speaks of putting on the heavenly dwelling. Paul argues that we put it on so that we will not be found naked (2 Cor 5:3) which likely refers to the intermediate state in which believers spirits are with God but they do not yet enjoy their resurrected bodies.
Accordingly, Bruce argues that Paul did not envision an intermediate state as a disembodied spirit and that it is difficult to distinguish any difference between this and the glorified body believers are to receive at the Parousia (1 Cor. 15:51). He believes that Paul is teaching that believers receive their eternal resurrection bodies at death, rather than waiting for Christ to return in glory.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Php 3:20-21)
Scholars have different views on this. Like Bruce, W. D. Davies argues, there is no room in Pauls theology for an intermediate state of the dead. But 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 seems to place this at the last trump the return of Christ. The general consensus of conservative theologians seems to support an intermediate state between death and the resurrection body. Millard Erickson argues, there is no inherent untenability about the concept of disembodied existence. The human being is capable of existing in either a materialized (bodily) or immaterialized condition.
Many commentators view the 2 Corinthians 5:1 passage as Pauls hope of receiving the resurrection body at Christs return. Another view of Pauls argument about not being found naked is that it was intended as a polemic against those who taught existence in a state of disembodied immortality. There are passages in the Bible that seem to support the idea of a temporary disembodied soul state (Rev 6:9) but even here these tribulation martyrs put on white robes. Isaiah 14:9-10 seems to describe the disembodied souls of the dead being stirred up. 2 Corinthians 12:2-3 also supports the idea of existence outside of a body.
I guess biggest question you have to ask is that if we get a body at death, then what is resurrection of the dead at Christs return for? It would no longer seem necessary (1 Thes 4:17; Rev 20:4). It seems to be tied to our old body in some way. Accordingly, there seems to be an intermediate state of some sort. A humble posture is in order as the evidence does not seem conclusive either way. Perhaps the resurrection body is granted but not fully realized until Christs return?
Either way the biblical teaching is clear that believers enjoy immediate fellowship with the Lord. Contrary to the teachings of Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovahs Witnesses, the idea of soul sleep is not supported by the biblical text (Luke 23:43; Phil. 1:23; Heb. 12:23). This offers great comfort to the loved ones of Christians. They need not grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thes 4:13).
Finally, 2 Corinthians 5:6-10 offers ample motivation for living to please God as well. We are charged to live courageously in knowledge that we will soon appear before the judgment seat of Christ when we shall give an account of our lives (Ro 14:12).
Although I went Catholic school for12 years I never believed any of this. I really tried, but it’s just not there for me.
This goes against the Bibles teaching about the “dead in Christ shall rise first”. Even Jesus taught death was like a sleep. Sorry, I’ll stick with the Bibles plain teaching rather than someones interpretation of how they would like for it to be.
>>> It’s interesting that no one who was raised back to life in biblical times had any stories to tell about what happened to them while they were dead.
This is not true. I’ve seen several stories and videos of first hand witnesses sharing their experience in heaven following a near or full death experience.
My expectation is that at that point, I will start voting Democrat.
That isn’t truwe,read Revelation were the martyers are under the alter, asking how long, they are given white robes and told to wait until the number of their fellow servants were killed as they have been killed (paraphrase can be found in REV 6)
*This shows that we will be conscience and aware of events in heaven and on earth to some degree.
That isn’t true,read Revelation were the martyers are under the alter, asking how long, they are given white robes and told to wait until the number of their fellow servants were killed as they have been killed (paraphrase can be found in REV 6)
*This shows that we will be conscience and aware of events in heaven and on earth to some degree.
Revelation is a book full of symbols. It teaches real things, but the symbol itself is not the literal teaching.
There is much symbolism in Revelation but there is also literal events and passages. This specific event is meant to be taken literally if read in context.
Was never familiar with this.
I was taught that my physical being was derived from the primordial soup and then to complete me god gave me a soul. Through both of these I developed emotions.
Which in a way explains everything. Physically we are all the same however, there we’re two other paths. God with spirituality and Satan with emotion.
God gave us the ability to love, be compassionate and forgiving. Satan gave us jealousy, avarice and hate.
God gave us the ability to think as individuals. Satan gave us groupthink. God gave us the ability to be the master of our own domain. Satan gave us rulers and enslaved us.
Now you know the evolution of conservatism and liberalism.
It would seem your belief is that God and satan are equals.
And there is the rub.
How come we can accept symbolism and allegory in Revelations, but some folks expect us to take EVERYTHING else in the Bible as fact?
I believe God gave us the ability to think. And thus, the ability to draw our conclusions.
I deeply respect everyone’s view on their religious beliefs. What a wonderful world it would be if everyone else held the same respect.
“Master of our own domain....”
You know that phrase alone is enough to take this thread in a completely different direction.
Apocalyptic imagery is pretty easy to spot. Certain passages use it and certain passages don’t. How we interpret scripture depends on the genre.
Left something out. When you die, your physical being is destroyed. However your spiritual being lives on and will eventually find another physical being to live within.
Which probably would explain why throughout the years you have great people who contribute accomplishments that benefit humanity. Then you get a Hitler every so often.
Which could also explain why over the course of story, the Jews have given humanity such great gifts and the Muslims give us bomb vests.
It is my belief that God created us to be intelligent and if we remember that CONTEXT is king when reading the bible it would save us alot of grief, there are difficult passages but when reading Revelation or other prophetic scripture it really isn’t too difficult to discern symbolism vs. literal passages. It is good too that we can disagree with respect, something rare is this world. Blessings!
Then what about the Transfiguration of Christ when He met with Moses and Elijah? Were they not dead but still communicating with Him? Not arguing, just not sure about the “soul sleep” theory.