When people die what exactly happens to them?


This answer is also available in: हिन्दी Español

Death – unconscious state

The Bible tells us that when a person dies, he sleeps (John 11:11; Daniel 12:2; Psalm 13:3) in the grave until the great day of the Lord at the end of the world. In death, a person is totally unconscious with no activity or knowledge of any kind.

Millions believe the soul possesses a natural immortality but not even one time in the Bible is the soul referred to as being immortal or undying. According to God’s Word, man is mortal (Job 4:17). Only God is immortal (1 Timothy 6:15, 16).

After death a person: returns to dust (Psalms 104:29), knows nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5), possesses no mental powers (Psalms 146:4), has nothing to do with anything on earth (Ecclesiastes 9:6), does not live (2 Kings 20:1), waits in the grave (Job 17:13), and continues not (Job 14:1, 2) till the Resurrection (Revelation 22:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53) when he will be given his reward or punishment (Revelation 22:12).

The formula for life and death

Solomon the wise described what happens at death, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

body (dust) – breath (or spirit) = death (no soul)

And since death is the opposite of life. Let’s look at what happens at creation, “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).

body (dust) + breath (or spirit) = life (soul)

Difference between soul and spirit

The soul is simply the conscious life which resulted when God added the breath or spirit to the body. Notice that the words “breath” and “spirit” are used interchangeably: “As long as my breath is in me, and the breath of God in my nostrils”  (Job 27:3 also Psalm 104:29, 30; James 2:26).

Therefore, when Solomon described the spirit returning to God, he was referring to the breath, because that was what God gave in the beginning, and therefore, it was the only thing that could now “return” to the One who gave it.

The spirit that returns to God at death is the breath of life. Nowhere in the Scriptures does the “spirit” have any life, wisdom, or feeling after a person dies. It is the “breath of life” and nothing more.

For more on the topic of death, check the following link: The Intermediate State

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

This answer is also available in: हिन्दी Español

Subscribe to our Weekly Updates:

Get our latest answers straight to your inbox when you subscribe here.

You May Also Like

Will a person go to be with God as soon as he dies?

Table of Contents Death a state of unconsciousnessThe resurrection of the deadSo, what goes to God?Man is mortal This answer is also available in: हिन्दी EspañolDeath a state of unconsciousness…