Where are the dead? – is an important question that almost everyone keeps asking because death is an inevitable fate for us all. It is a debt we must all pay. People are afraid of dying because they’re not sure of what’s next. No one knows really but there are some clues that’d provide possible answers to this question.
Other similar questions are: Do we really die? Does anyone really know what it means to be dead? What does it mean to be alive? These are the questions this articleseeks to provide answers to.
We’ve heard of several stories from people that experienced partial death or had ‘near-death experience’ but whatever they had experienced is not exactly what it is to be dead. One who is completely dead is faced with an experience that is totally different from all we have heard so far. Having a near-death experience is not the same as being dead. It’s one thing to be clinically dead and another, to be biologically dead.
According to Wikipedia, death is the permanent cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living organism. If we have cases of people who have been dead for a long time, coming back to tell us their experience of what happened when they were gone, we can examine such to be likely what happens when one dies. Unfortunately, there are no such cases.
During a near-death experience, it is possible that an undetected biological part of the NDEr is still alive. We’ve had a case where the NDEr was aware of everything that happened around him even while he was (clinically) confirmed dead by the doctors.
A near-death experience is quite similar to an ‘out of body experience’ (OBE) but they are different with respect to the causes. NDE is usually a result of an accident, surgical operations, or some sort of illness but OBE can be induced in some ways.
‘Near-death experience’ and ‘Out of body experience’ are more than just physical occurrences as they are mystical in nature. They are dreamlike but more heightened states of awareness. The knowledge of this experience is probably for us to know that we humans are more than just a physical body. We are more of consciousness within and without the body. We’re special beings in the universe and are a huge part of it. It is a shred of presumed evidence that life exists outside the body — but not the actual experience of being dead.
To understand this, we must first be clear on who we really are and what surrounds us — both that which is visible and invisible. We (humans) are living souls possessed with a spirit, clothed with a physical body. The soul is the seat of our consciousness.
We most times confuse the spirit for the soul; they are completely different. The spirit is what gives life to the soul; it is the component that makes the soul alive. The body is the visible framework or component built from the visible world (matter) to experience the physical world. The soul acts as an intermediary between the spirit and the body components.
Genesis 2:7 King James Version (KJV):
7 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.
The above quote from the Christian Bible indicates that man (humans) possess a soul that can be alive and that can equally be dead. It also verifies that the soul receives life from the breath (the spirit) of his creator.
Clearly, when we die, it means our soul has become lifeless. It means the spirit that gives it life is out (returns back to its creator). Then the body returns to the visible matter (dust) from which it was made as described in the quotes below:
Ecclesiastes 3:20 New King James Version (NKJV)
20 All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.
Ecclesiastes 12:7 World English Bible (WEB)
7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
This suggests in a real deep sense that your soul is the center of attention. I often describe the soul as the storage of our experience through the visible world. The soul is the seat of your consciousness; your mind, memory, intelligence, emotions, and every invisible element. It is what matters about your entire existence. The soul sums up the human experience.
So when we die, what happens? Your storage of experience (your soul) becomes lifeless or goes to rest. You become like a permanently damaged hard drive with files that are automatically wiped out (erased) with no hope of recovery.
Other beliefs on the subject
Some cultures, philosophies, and religions believe that when someone dies, a part of the person starts a new life in a different physical body or form. From Buddhism, we learn that the stream of consciousness reincarnates generally between 49 days and two years after death.
In some Christian traditions, they have the opinion that when one dies, (s)he (that is the soul) goes to heaven or ends in eternal punishment in a horrible place called hell. Some other groups believe the soul of the dead gets judged immediately.
Some believe that when someone dies, the spirit (or ghost) of the person lingers on or continues to move around for a while. They believe the ghost of a person hunts those who might be responsible for their death.
Some argue that the soul of a man is too valuable to end or get erased permanently after death — that what is the essence of human experience (the essence of living) if we would all end up that way?
What is your take on this subject?
Remember, this article ONLY provides an answer to the title, “What happens when we die?” not “What is the fate of those who are dead?”