ROMAN was a young boy when a close friend of his was killed in a car accident. “The loss of my friend shook me up terribly,” he says. “For years after the accident, I wondered what happens to us when we die.”
Why ask the question?
Human death seems unnatural. No matter what age we are, we usually do not want to die. Many fear what comes after death.
What do some say the answer is?
Many believe that at death some part of the person lives on. They believe that good people will be rewarded in heaven, while those who were bad will be punished eternally for their sins. Others think that at death a person ceases to exist and eventually is completely forgotten.
What do those answers imply?
The first answer assumes that at death a person does not really die. The second implies that life is pointless. Those who hold to this latter view may adopt the fatalistic attitude: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we are to die.”
What does the Bible teach?
The Bible does not teach that at death some part of a person lives on. God inspired King Solomon to write: “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) Those who are “conscious of nothing” are totally unaware of their surroundings. They cannot feel or act. So the dead cannot help or harm the living.
Contrary to what many believe, God did not purpose for humans to die. He created the first human, Adam, with the prospect of living forever on earth. The only time that God mentioned death was when he told Adam of the punishment for disobedience. He restricted Adam from eating the fruit of a certain tree and then warned him that if he ate from it, he would “positively die.” (Genesis 2:17) If Adam and Eve had remained obedient, they and all their descendants who were loyal to God would have lived forever on earth.
Adam chose to ignore God’s warning. He sinned when he disobeyed God, so he died. (Romans 6:23) No part of Adam survived his death. Rather, at death Adam ceased to exist. God said to Adam: “In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19) Because all mankind descended from Adam, we inherited sin and death from him.
Despite Adam’s poor choice, God will fulfill His purpose to populate the earth with Adam’s descendants. (Genesis 1:28; Isaiah 55:11) Soon, Jehovah will bring back to life the majority of those who have died. Speaking of that time, the apostle Paul said: “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Roman, quoted earlier, studied the Bible and learned what it teaches about death and about Jehovah God. What he discovered had a profound impact on him. Read his account in the article entitled “The Bible Changes Lives”.