Critical Issues

What Happens When We Die?

By Reeves

As a young child I really didn’t really mind much about the “here after” or life after death question. I wasn’t concerned about this subject. Now that I become a Christian this motivate me to think about this matter all the time. My fiancé asked this question long time ago, “What happens when people dies?” Do we become unconcious while dead?” and “What happens of the souls of those who have denied Christ as their Lord and Savior?”

These questions are important and we should not neglect to ponder these questions. As an ambassadors of Christ, we ought to address questions and be able to answer (such as indicated above) to those who are seeking for the right answer.

Since I’m a Christian (protestant) I’ll only answer this question in a Christian perspective and since the only real answer to this questions can only be found in Jesus Christ’s our only redeemer.

So, “What happens when we finally die?” Once a believer in Christ dies, though his flesh or physical body remains buried, at the moment of death his spirit (or soul) undoubtedly goes right away to heaven in the presence of his Creator God.

For information, death is a temporary cessation of bodily life and a separation of the soul/spirit from the body. This means that once we ceased to live our spirits separates apart from our bodies.

Paul says, “We would rather be away from the body, and at home with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:8) Jesus told the thief who was crucified and dying next to Him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

This statement contradicts the teaching of Roman Catholicism on purgatory. Jesus said, “Today” (present tense). The dogmatic doctrine on purgatory is lethal, and dangerous. Purgatory is also unbiblical. In short, to be away from the body is to be at home with our Lord.

The Bible does not allow the teachings of reincarnation (see. Is reincarnation Biblical? ). What about the doctrine of “soul sleep?” This doctrine goes, “That when a person die they immediately go into a state of unconscious existence. But this is utterly false. It is clear that the spirit of the believers go immediately into God’s presence and enjoys fellowship with Him there (read vv. 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; Luke 23:43; Heb. 12:23).

In addition to our present discussion let’s say (for the sake of arguments) that the doctrine of “soul sleep” is true. Jesus would have said, “Today you will no longer have consciousness none whatsoever!”

But “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) There really ain’t no need to place some abstract interpretation here. Jesus was very clear and precise and no nonsense (purgatory, reincarnation, soul sleep) should be added. “What happens to the souls of unbelievers?”

Contrary to the teachings of reincarnations and purgatory that people who rejected in this life Christ’s atoning death on the cross will never have a second chance to reconfess their sins. The writer of Hebrews emphasized this, “Just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgement.” (Heb. 9:27)

Yet still the Bible nowhere says that the final judgement will depend on our deeds while we were still alive, but certainly on what has occurred in this present life. Someone might protest by stating that “Eternal punishment comes only to those who consciously rejects Christ nad that anyone deserves a second change to accept Christ.”

This idea is not supported by the Scripture; we are all sinners by nature and by birth. We actually do not deserve any of God’sgrace nor do we deserve to even hear the good news of Christ.

We are already condemned not only because of a willful rejection of Christ. (John 3:18) Unbelievers bodies will not be raised until the day of The Great White Throne Judgement.

Nevertheless, they will pass into the state of eternal punishment immediately upon death. The bodies of those who rejected Jesus as their Lord and Savior will be raised and reunited with their spirits, as they stand before the great judge of mankind that is God. (see. Matt. 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15 and Rev. 20:5,12).


There are different ways God speaks to us as His childrens. Perhaps, God’s way to wake us up from our intellectual slumbers is to use atheists to override religion in general and Christianity in particular with their aggression and militanism as a wake up call. God has been speaking to us all along only to turn to Him with deaf ears. Isn’t the rise of atheistic literature with their best selling books, insulting and undermining God and His followers in a disrespectful manner; a warning to Christians who has been all too busy in worldly things?

Haven’t we Christians grown more to be as God’s brats who doesn’t want to work harder for the Kingdom of God by witnessing to others and by communicating to non believers outside our churches? Have we become spoiled little kids in thinking that God is going to save us from these mess without lifting one finger? Surely, this is worse idolatry in thinking that God will save us from our current slothful, irrational, and sloppy thinking. God forbid! God needs someone who can go against the tides of skeptics, groundless polemics and someone who can counter argue effectively against their venomous attacks towards Christianity and its adherents.

We can no longer afford ignoring these tide of hate, anti religion, anti Christian atmosphere that has permeated in our public schools, universities, and even inside our homes. Yes, even our private lives is under threat by a secular government who wants to defuse and take away parents rights from teaching their kids that Jesus loves them. Soon they’ll take away our kids and put them in foster homes. And soon they’ll take away our Bibles and take away our rights to worship our God. And, if this is not enough they will try to put us all into a mental institution.

Sound similar huh? Of course, the above is already happening specifically in the Communists countries (soon enough in a very liberal country as Sweden). But this is bound to happen in our so-called democratic state too where atheism is sacred and if one does not bow the god of atheism one will face severe persecutions. You don’t have to take my word for it, just read the books written by prominent new atheists. I’m probably just exaggerating. What do you think? An exaggeration or not there is still enough hope to “neutralise” these rampant rise of atheism. First, we must turn our back to God and ask for forgiveness and start to study His word seriously as we have never ever done before everyday.

Second, we must indulge ourselves in studies; for example, apologetics, philosophy, theology, science, and rhetoric. Third, we must not ignore the art of witnessing to our friends, families, associates, classmates, parents and grand parents. Fourth, we should start having dialogues with our none believing neighbours in a very respectful manner. We cannot afford to be apathetic and afraid in our public discourse against, abortion, homosexuality, paedophilia, pornography, bigotry, so on and so forth. C’mon Christians, we have lots to do with so little time.