What is death?

Death is the end of life. As with many opposing concepts, death teaches the preciousness of life. Every living thing dies at some point even though some may exist for thousands of years like a bristlecone pine. The death of some living things allows other living things to prolong their life. Living things die and return to the earth which supplies vital nutrients to grow new life. This is what contributes to the balance and diversity of life and allows life to continue. Without death, the world being the way it is, eventually nothing could live.

Does the fact that death occurs mean that Creation is imperfect? No, because the fact of death actually makes life possible. Right from the very beginning, the food chain began with the “green herb” as it still does today. But in order for vegetation to grow and flourish, it requires the recycling of nutrients through death and decay

This is what the Bible says:

When God created humans, he made them from the dust of the earth and the animating breath of life.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7)

When God removes the breath of life, humans return to dust.

If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust. (Job 34:14-15)

In death, there is no consciousness:

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. (Psalm 146:3-4)

Death is silence:

The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence. (Psalm 115:17)

Death is compared to unconscious sleep:

For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption. (Acts 13:36)

The Bible sets out the way of life and death and encourages us to use our gift of life for good:

Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. (Psalms 34:11-16)

Death is a consequence of sin:

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:14-15)

But death could not hold a sinless man:

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. (Acts 2:22-24)

Death can be reversed by “resurrection”:

"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14)

God offers this resurrection to eternal life to those who acknowledge that there is no justice in allowing humanity to live forever in the state it is now in. The only way eternal life can work is if it is lived God’s way:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

Eventually death will be “swallowed up in victory”:

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:50-57)

JS

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