Three Primary Views
Let’s begin by keeping things simple. First of all, there are three primary viewpoints about death under which most other theories fall.
You’re Dead and That’s It – The first is quite popular – though utterly dismal – and is being promoted by those who believe that all reality can ultimately be reduced to what science alone can explain. Based on their “what you see is what you get” dogma, they assume death is the end. Period. We die, rot in the ground, become food for worms, and that’s it. You’re a goner forever.
The Immortal Soul – This second view, which is the most common, teaches that when we die, only the body decomposes, while the Higher Self, or “soul,” journeys on, much like a snake shedding its skin. Of course different religions often disagree with each other about where souls go after death, but the basic idea of “soul survival” is shared by most.
Mortal Souls and the Resurrection – The final view argues that the word “soul” refers to the entire person, and not to some distinct immortal aspect that survives after the physical body perishes. When God created Adam, He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7, KJV, emphasis added). Thus man doesn’t have a soul, per se, but rather he is a soul. After man sinned, his entire person, or soul, became mortal, or subject to death. When sinners die, they return to the dust, and “the breath of life” returns to God. This “breath” isn’t a conscious ghost that can visit Chicago after it’s host is buried in Detroit, but is rather a spark of life that exists in everything alive. According to this viewpoint, at death a person is completely dead, that is, they are unconscious, silent, asleep in the grave, waiting for Resurrection Day.
Which view is right? For starters, we reject atheistic nihilism because we believe that God exists and that His Word is true. There is a heaven, and a hell too. What about the other two views, with their opposing ideas on the nature of the soul? What does God’s Book really teach?