Doctrinal Statement » Death
What actually is death according to the Bible?
The Bible speaks of two births and two deaths; the first in both cases is physical. The second in both cases is spiritual. Let's examine each one separately.
The first life to exist on earth consisted of a man and a woman. Adam was formed out of the dust of the ground as recorded in Genesis 2:7 after which God breathed into the man's nostrils breath to give him life. For a while Adam was alone, and then God took a rib from Adam and with that rib he created a mate for Adam Genesis 2:21-23. The name Adam appears without explanation as to where it originated but Adam called the woman Eve as recorded in Genesis 3:20. The name Adam means "earth born or man of red earth." The name Eve means "the mother of all living."
So to this point the existence of both the man and woman were supernatural, miraculous events.
In Genesis 4:1 is the record of the first intimacy between Adam and Eve described as "Adam knew his wife." From their union came two sons which were the first physical births recorded in the history of the world. Genesis 4:1-2 bears the record of both births. It is interesting to note that nothing is said about Eve receiving the breath of life, but it is obvious that however she was given life it came from God and it was miraculous as was her creation from a single rib. Further nothing is said of the two boys receiving that gift of life but they had to have gotten it somewhere or they would not have continued to exist. I contend that every birth is supernatural in that man was created in God's image which is spirit and that the bodies we receive are there as housing for our spirits. The spirits we receive from God are a supernatural event from the beginning of every person's life. God spoke to Jeremiah and said; "Before I ever formed you in the womb I called and ordained you to be a prophet to the nations." The business of creating life in whatever form it exists is solely the prerogative of God alone. So then there is the physical birth that we inherit from our parents through God's creative genius. It shouldn't take a course in biology or anatomy to grasp the incredible structure and elements contained in our bodies. They are great miracles on their own with amazing possibilities from our brain to our toes.
Spiritual birth also belongs to God alone. Because of Adam and Eve man inherited a sin nature that is more apt to do what is wrong than right. That nature left to itself would be increasingly evil and would be capable of the most horrid crimes imaginable. The Bible speaks of that nature as carnal and dead in sin and trespasses. The Bible is specifically clear that sin leads us to eternal damnation if not repented of. That is what is known as spiritual death or the second death.
The first death is physical when the spirit leaves our bodies and the physical part of us ceases to be functional because the spirit within has left. At this point the spirit is not in limbo because it was designed to live forever in one place or another. The Bible teaches that there are two places that spirits go to after death. Those places are determined by prerequisites. Let me explain.
The first place I will mention is the worst place because I like to end on a positive note. I am not excited to write about the first place but I must if I am to be honest with the reader. First let me explain the prerequisite to going there.
All through our lives we are given choices between good and evil, right and wrong, obedience to or rebellion against God and his laws and commandments. The wrong choices are called sin and sin must be punished if it is not repented of. Since the spirit is designed to live forever and can't die the place it goes to must be eternal. The place where people go after death is called Hell in scripture, but contrary to popular belief, Hell is not eternal. It is only a holding place before every person who ever lived and died in sin is called up for judgment before God throne as described in Revelation 20:11-15. The day of judgment is described briefly in these verses as well as what is called the second death which is spiritual. The final destination for those who died in their sins is called "the lake of fire." There is no description of the lake of fire in this portion of scripture but it's clearly explained as eternal in various scriptures throughout the Bible and a horrible place to be.
Why would anyone go to the lake of fire?
People who go to the lake of fire are those who have disregarded or mocked God or were busy with the affairs of this life and didn't take God seriously when he warned them through the Bible. Many of them never even read a Bible and mocked those who did and who tried to warn them of the judgment to come. The Bible even tells Christians to warn men to "flee from the wrath to come." People who go to Hell and then the lake of first not only ignore the promises of God that he will punish sin but they also ignore and even mock God's offer of forgiveness that he freely provided for everyone who would receive it. In so doing they determine their own punishment by their own choice. God made the way to be forgiven of sin and be granted eternal life in a place where there is no pain, sorrow, sickness, crying or death. That opportunity came in the form of Jesus Christ, God's only begotten son who died a brutal death in the place of all who would put their faith and trust and hope in him. His blood shed on Calvary was payment in full for our sins.
So all who reject God's free gift of eternal life are damned and it is irreversible. What a horrible and avoidable tragedy to suffer when God freely showed his love making a way of escape for us!
So there is a physical birth and physical death, and, as shown above there is also a spiritual death but there is also a spiritual life that is eternal. Revelation 21:1-4 speaks of this precious promise that can be had for those who will repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and eternal life. Go and read the promises given there. There is so much God has to offer us. It speaks of a New Heaven and a New Earth and a New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven to the New Earth. Then it speaks of God coming down to dwell with those who loved him and were saved by him through the sacrifice of his son. It goes on to say that God will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, sorrow, crying or pain for those things are passed away forever. Verse 8 speaks again of those who will be in the lake of fire. This is then followed by a vision of what was to come of a radiant city and all that entails.
Think of it! Why would anyone trade in that beautiful and amazing experience in the presence of God forever for the crumbs of this life no matter how rich a person can become or how popular or successful. All that won't matter on the day of judgment. It will be totally insignificant compared to the glory of being in God's presence at peace forever.
In the Old Testament a man of God challenged the people of Israel with these words; "Choose ye this day who you will serve, but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord." Jesus Christ spoke these word to those who listened to his teachings; "Ye are either for me or against me." Obviously that doesn't leave any gray areas in between. Eternal death or eternal life. What will be your choice dear reader? Choose wisely. We don't know when our name will be called to move from earth to eternity. The wise will prepare. Sadly many will not! I pray you, dear reader, will not be one of the foolish ones who puts off the decision until it's too late to reverse it.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER: Where did the spirits of Eve and her children come from and all children ever born since then. Does God create a spirit for each individual baby as they show up on earth or were human beings given power to procreate physically and spiritually?