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What is…
death
and why does it exist?

The whole world lives in the fear of death, to one extent or another.

Your self is not your body

“And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” —Genesis 2:7

“That the human self involves more than the body is clear to all except the most rigorous material determinists…” —Dr. R.C. Sproul, “The Origin of the Soul,” Tabletalk

Human souls never cease to exist

When considering the subject of death, it is first very important to understand that every Earthly human being consists of 2 most basic parts—a physical body and an invisible soul/spirit. The Earthly body is an arrangement of matter in which your soul temporarily dwells. A human body without a soul is lifeless; it cannot live. Like a husk, the physical body may be damaged, altered, grow old and be burned to smoke and ashes. Regardless of the body’s ultimate demise, you will continue to exist. Your soul is the real you, and it is eternal. It will always exist, because it is sustained by God’s power.

Why? That is our Creator’s will and His purpose is not fully revealed. It was truly a wondrous thing when God created Adam and Eve “in His image” at the apex of the Creation Week.

Physical death of humans and animals

Physical death is the effect of sin. It did not exist in the original Creation when Earth was a paradise.

Physical death is but once (9:27).

…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment… —Hebrews 9:27 KJV

It is universal.

By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Genesis 3:19 NASB

Through Adam, Death
Dr. John F. MacArthur, Litt.D., D.D., The Master’s Seminary
length: 26 minutes

Spiritual death

Due to the fallen nature of all mankind, our souls are born spiritually dead—slaves to sin.

“…dead in…trespasses and sins …following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience…in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind…” —Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV

“Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” —Ephesians 5:14

See: Spiritual darkness

What Does Being Spiritually Dead Mean?

length: 2 minutes

The Second Death

The “second death” (Rev. 2:11) is the everlasting perdition of the wicked (Rev. 21:8), and “second” in respect to natural or temporal physical death.

See: Eternal death

Death of Christ

Jesus has by his own physical death taken away its sting for all His true followers (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

The death of christ is the procuring cause incidentally of all the blessings men enjoy on Earth. But especially, it is the procuring cause of the actual salvation of all his people, together with all the means that lead thereto. It does not make their salvation merely possible, but certain (Matthew 18:11; Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:4; 3:13; Ephesians 1:7; 2:16; Romans 8:32-35).

“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” —Hebrews 2:14 NASB

How did Jesus Christ die? Answer

“Adam, by God’s design, was the representative for the whole of mankind. What he did affected all of us. The proof: we all sin. The proof: we all die. Adam’s one sin caused all the human race to fall into corruption, sin, and death. This explains life as we know it. …One act by the Lord Jesus Christ offering His life on the cross provides for His people the antidote to Adam’s sin. Adam’s sin brought death to all. Christ’s death brings life to all.” —Dr. John F. MacArthur, Litt.D., D.D., The Master’s Seminary

Through Christ, Life

Dr. John F. MacArthur, Litt.D., D.D., The Master’s Seminary
length: 54 minutes

Jesus Christ, the Death Conqueror

Is Jesus Christ a man, or is he God? Answer

Is Jesus Christ really God? Answer

Was Jesus Christ God, manifest in human form? Answer

If Jesus is God, how could he die? If Jesus died on the cross, then how can he be alive today? Answer

Jesus Christ: His Identity, Life, Death andResurrectionAbout JESUS CHRIST—Answers to frequently-asked-questions

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Will all mankind eventually be saved? Answer

Freedom from the fear of death

  • How can I be and feel forgiven? Answer
  • How can I be sure of my salvation? Answer
  • Can a saved person become lost? Answer
  • What is “the unpardonable sin”? How does sin become “unforgivable”? Answer
  • FORGIVEN?—If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer
  • FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

“Peace I leave with you,
My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid.” —John 14:27 NKJV

John 14:1-6

Hebrews 2:14-15

Aspects of death

Various aspects of death are represented in Scripture.

  1. “The dust shall return to the earth as it was” (Eccl. 12:7).

  2. “Thou takest away their breath, they die” (Psalms 104:29).

  3. It is the dissolution of “our earthly house of this tabernacle” (2 Corinthians 5:1); the “putting off this tabernacle” (2 Peter 1:13, 14).

  4. Being “unclothed” (2 Corinthians 5:3-4).

  5. “Falling on sleep” (Psalms 76:5; Jeremiah 51:39; Acts 13:36; 2 Peter 3:9.

  6. “I go whence I shall not return” (Job 10:21); “Make me to know mine end” (Psalms 39:4); “to depart” (Philippians 1:23).

Grave

The grave is represented as “the gates of death” (Job 38:17; Psalms 9:13; 107:18). The gloomy silence of the grave is spoken of under the figure of the “shadow of death” (Jeremiah 2:6).

Death as a punishment

See: Punishments mentioned in the Bible

Care for the physical body after death

Resurrection of the dead

The soul after physical death

Infant death

What is the eternal destiny of an infant who dies? Answer

Do Aborted Babies Go to Heaven?

Dr. John F. MacArthur, Litt.D., D.D., The Master’s Seminary
length: 4 minutes

Life Before BirthHave questions about life before birth, or a woman’s choice about pregnancy and abortion? Discover reliable answers

Suicide

  • SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer
  • If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer

Ghosts

Reincarnation

What does the Bible say about REINCARNATION?

Also see

Article Version: May 21, 2019