Whether or not a person believes in God, one thing we can agree on is that all people die. Of course, there are various thoughts on what death is and what happens to the person when they die.
The Bible is very clear on the subject of death and the state of a person. It is also very clear on the hope that God promises to those who desire to obey and please Him in this life. Their reward is given and the hope realized at a future point after their death when they are raised from the dead: when they are resurrected.
When we begin reading the Bible from the beginning in the book of Genesis, we are introduced to the concepts of sin and death. God told Adam and Eve if they disobeyed Him, the result would be death upon them and all their posterity. The Bible describes how Adam and Eve came into existence, through the “breath of life” from God. Death is merely the withdrawing of the “breath of life” from a living thing. Death is the cessation of life.
“For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, ESV)
The LORD God told Adam that death was the consequence of sin.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” (Genesis 2:16-17, ESV)
God tested the faith of Adam and his wife, Eve by using one of the creatures of creation, a serpent, which He gave the power of speech. The serpent approached Eve and stated that she (and Adam) would not die if they were disobedient to God. Consequently, Eve and Adam disobeyed God, upon which, God imposed death upon the pair and all their posterity. These events are recorded in Genesis chapter 3. We read that Adam (and Eve) did in fact die (Genesis 5:5).
This tells us how God views sin: sin is worthy of death. Since death is the cessation of life, sin is a very serious matter!
We are told, very plainly, that sin is disobedience to God or transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4).
This may all sound very dire for the human race and may lead one to ask, why God allowed sin to enter into the world and why He imposed death upon humanity because of sin? God told Adam and Eve what was right and pleasing to Him: He wanted them to be obedient to His word. God gave Adam and Eve the choice to obey or disobey: He gave them free will. God tested the “faith” of the pair by using the serpent. One must develop “faith” (the persuasion and conviction that God exists and will do as He says) in order to please Him.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6, ESV)
God did not leave Adam and Eve and the rest of humanity without hope. In order to provide hope for sinful people, the LORD God provided His son, the Lord Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus was termed, “the Word of God” (Revelation 19:13) and “the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1) because he taught and lived according to his Father’s word. Jesus did not disobey his Father and this made him the perfect sacrifice for sin.
Throughout the Bible, God tells us about sin, death and salvation. He provided for us the hope of eternal life through His son, Jesus. It is essential, however, for us to understand what sin and what death are in order to please God and comprehend the salvation and eternal life He offers to us.
“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:18-21. ESV)