What Does “Death” Mean For Our Spirit, Soul And Body?


What does “death”mean for our sp r t, sou and body?

We usually think of death as physical death, the death of our body. But the Bible speaks of death in several other ways as well.

  • Spiritual death—First of all, there is the spiritual death that resulted from the fall into sin. Paul wrote that without Christ we are dead in transgressions and sins even though we are physically still alive (Ephesians 2:5; Colossians 2:13). Our spirit is functionally dead, no longer controlling our lives, and we cannot and will not come to God on our own (John 6:44; 1 Corinthians 2:14). But through Christ our spirit is alive again, even though our body remains mortal, subject to physical death, until His second coming (Romans 8:10).
  • Physical death—Second, there is physical death, which most Christians believe takes place when the soul separates from the body (see 2 Corinthians 5:1–9; General Article: What Happens After Death?). It is not clear whether Adam and Eve were created with a mortal body or an immortal one. But sin resulted in their losing access to the tree of life, and their punishment included physical death (Genesis Chapter 3). We all have bodies that are dying (Romans 5:12–14), but at the resurrection those of us who trust in Jesus will receive a new physical body that will never die (1 Corinthians 15:42).
  • Soul death—Jesus warned us to beware of God who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). And John warned us of the second death in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:6,14). Most Christians believe that the soul’s conscious, endless suffering in the lake of fire, or hell, can be considered a kind of psychological or “soul death” (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10,15). Others believe that the “second death” is the final annihilation of the entire spirit, soul and body, so that conscious suffering will cease (Matthew 10:28). But Christians do not have to experience either kind of soul death. Jesus promised rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29; 16:25–26), and Peter wrote that already you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:9).