Summary: Is there life after death? Death and dying are an inevitable part of human life. We are all going to die? But will we all live again? What do philosophers and religion say about life after death? What does the Bible tell us?
What Happens When We Die?
Job 14:14 “If a man dies will he live again?”
Is this all there is to life? What happens when we die? If we die is that it? Are we simply absorbed into the cosmos? What lies beyond the grave? Is there life after death? Death and dying are an inevitable part of human life. We are all going to die? But will we all live again?
What do philosophers and religion say about life after death? What does the Bible tell us?
I. What the world’s says about Death
A. Cessation of Existence -“When you’re dead—you’re dead.”
1. There are those who teach that you cease to exist when you die – you are annihilated. Death ends everything; it leads to utter nothingness. It is the same as never existing in the first place.
2. Such a belief fosters the Epicurean philosophy of life.
B. Reincarnation – “You are a cuckoo bird appearing through windows of time in various forms and stages”
1. Reincarnation is the belief you have lived many previous lives and after you die you will return in another life form. If you have lived a good life, you come back as a higher life form, but if you haven’t, you will be reborn as a bug or snake or even a slug.
2. Leo Tolstoy - "As we live through thousands of dreams in our present life, so is our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life and then return after death.”
C. Soul Sleep – R.I.P. - between the time of our individual deaths, and the time of the final resurrection and judgment, we will be in an "unconscious" state
• Soul sleep’ is the idea that after death the soul ‘sleeps’ until the final resurrection. The soul is said to hibernate until the resurrection- when it is then awakened and reunited with its body. A belief held by SDAs, JWs, Christadelphians, and various cults.
D. Universal immortality – God is good all the time and won’t condemn anyone.
1. Universalism is a belief that all people will be “universally restored” after they die. In other words, it teaches that everyone, regardless of how they lived their lives on earth will eventually end up redeemed in heaven.
2. Mormonism teaches that “We either go to a Spirit world or to a place called Paradise. People, who received the gospel and were baptized into Christ’s church by someone having authority in this life, go to Paradise to wait to be judged according to the work and deeds in life and to be rejoined with their resurrected (renewed) bodies. If you didn’t have the opportunity to accept the gospel in this life then you have the opportunity to learn more about it in the Spirit World and will have the opportunity to accept it there as you are waiting to be resurrected. Thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ we will all live again.” (copied - mormon.org)
II. What the Scriptures teach about Life after Death
A. Luke 16:19-26 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ’Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ’Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. ’And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.”
B. There is Eternal Consciousness after Death
1. Verse 23 - "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”
2. Some day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal- a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever. – D.L. Moody