VIEWS about life and death are many and varied. Some feel that after death they will live on, perhaps in another form or in another place. Others feel that they will be reborn to live another existence. Still others think that death simply ends it all.
You may have your own belief on the subject, depending on your upbringing or cultural background. Since opinions as to what happens at death differ so widely, is there someone or somewhere we can turn to for reliable and truthful answers to this puzzling question?
For centuries, religious leaders have taught the doctrine of the immortality of the human soul. Followers of nearly all major religions—Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and others—believe in the existence of an immortal soul, which is said to survive the death of the body and live on in the spirit realm. Buddhists, on the other hand, believe that by way of countless rebirths, the force, or mental energy, within a person can reach a blissful state called Nirvana.
Majority of people around the world have come to believe that death opens the door to life in another world. To many, death is therefore an important step in the cycle of life, and dying appears to them to be part of God’s will. But what does the Bible say about the matter?
The Bible thus makes clear that humans are not created as individuals with a soul that is immortal. Rather, each individual is “a living person.” That is why, search as you may, you will not find any Bible text that uses the expression “immortal soul.”
Our Creator did not intend for humans to live just 70 or 80 years on earth and then move on to spend an eternity in another realm. His original purpose was for his human creation to live forever right here on earth as his obedient children. This grand purpose is an expression of God’s love for humankind, and it will not be thwarted. (Malachi 3:6) Reassuringly, the inspired psalmist declared: “The righteous will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it.”—Psalm 37:29.
The Bible says that the dead are in the grave, awaiting the resurrection. (John 5:28, 29) They are not suffering or in any kind of pain, for “the dead know nothing at all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) In his teachings, Jesus likened death to a deep sleep. (John 11:11-14)
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