What Happens When You Die?


What happens after you die? There are several popular theories, but none of them can be backed up by the Bible.

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” —Martin Luther

Okay, here’s one truth that no one likes to think about too much, particularly after watching the latest zombie flick:

Your body will decompose. 

Yuck. No need to talk about this one much. Whether your body is cremated, put in a casket, or donated to medical science...the result will be the same:

All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. —Ecclesiastes 3:20

What happens after that? There are several very popular theories out there (but none of them can be backed up with the Bible): 

  • Soul sleep. This is the “eternal nap” theory. The soul still exists, but in death it goes into an unconscious snooze forever.
  • Nihilism. I call this the "poof" theory. After death, the soul and spirit just kind of evaporate and cease to exist altogether.
  • Reincarnation. This is the “repeat” theory. When any living thing dies, its soul goes into other living things—actually becoming something else over and over again in a never-ending cycle of life and death.

None of that sounds like a great option, in my opinion. HOWEVER, there is definitely a flip side of the coin of death—and it's really awesome if you know Jesus Christ personally: 

Your spirit will dwell.           

For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. —2 Corinthians 5:7-8 

This passage reveals the heart of a godly, and yet struggling, man. Paul says that he would prefer to be away from the body... he would rather be dead. When the body dies, our spirit is freed from tangible flesh and we can be with the Lord at home—home, where we will be alive and aware, home with the Father experiencing His love without distraction, home where we belong. 

Paul had this in perspective—and I think it’s one of the reasons he lived such a free, focused, purpose-driven life. Yes, he knew he had good reasons to stay. But he knew from the heart that he would be moving on to much, much better things, and it gave him the freedom to live powerfully and fearlessly while on earth. 

Father, conform my perspective of death to the principles of Your Word. Release my grip on physical life, which I cannot keep, so I can live freely in light of eternity, prioritizing my days for the things that will last forever. Amen. 
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