Death and the Afterlife in Biblical Thought
Sin first entered to the world through the action of Adam and Eve. They disobeyed God’s command not to eat the forbidden fruit and the man gained knowledge of both good and evil, although he already had some sense of that idea before he ate it. Therefore, Adam (and Eve) were banished from Garden of Eden and they were both punished with the consequences of death; begun the process of death for all human. Because all human have sinned and are separated from a perfect fellowship with God, death has come to all men (Romans 5:12)
In Genesis 3:19, it reads, “for dust you are and to dust you will return.” God first formed humans from dust, into existence. Therefore, when humans die, the human body should return to the ground. This can be interpreted literally through the physical act of burial, where a hole will be dug up in the ground and the body will be placed. However, the body’s “return to the ground” could also connote the physiological process of degradation, where the organs and everything else of the body rot away into nothing, into “dust”. These bodies cannot stay on earth eternally; we will all perish at one point of our lives, as 1 Corinthians 15:42 says, “The body that is sown is perishable… it is sown a natural body”.
Although death represents the end of body’s physical presence on earth, a person’s “life” does not end here, they continue living. However the spirit (soul) enters into a state of sleep. Then, the biblical texts suggest that, after death, a selection process will take place in which Christ makes a final separation between the good and the evil, when the spirit (soul) wakes up. Matthew 13:41 talks about an angel, sent by the Son of Man that will “weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.” Furthermore, In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a parable about his final judgment by using sheep and goats to illustrate the division between the believers and the nonbelievers. This...
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