Death: Definition

Death: Definition

Segment One, Part One

In this post, we will look at the definition of death from two sources: 1) man’s definition, and 2) the scriptural definition. Merriam-Webster gives us the following definitions for “death.” Note the difference between man’s definition and scripture.

Merriam-Webster gives us eight definitions, but only two apply for our use: 1 a. a permanent cessation of all vital functions: the end of life and 4. the state of no longer being alive. Both of these meanings apply, but are essentially incomplete.

The biblical meaning of death is separation. By using separation, it leaves open the possibility of continuation: i.e. a spiritual parameter. The M-W dictionary does not give any opening for a spiritual application. This is typical of man’s idea of “if I can’t see it, it does not exist.” However, “man” does not know the totality of knowledge that exists and this leaves open the possibility of unknown information. Since spiritual things are not physical, man prefers to ignore the spiritual. This is a open pit of ignorance that has and will haunt human beings. It opens the door for all kinds of human imaginings about what happens at death. We will see what scripture has to say.

There are three different ways the Bible uses death in reference to human beings:

  1. Spiritual death—separation from God because of sin. (See Eph. 2:1; Jn. 5:24; Col. 2:13).
  2. Physical death—separation of the spirit from the body. (See Mt. 2:15; Gen. 35:18; James. 2:26).
  3. Eternal or Second death—the final, eternal separation of the unsaved from God and life. (See Revelation 20:14 & 21:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).

In future posts, we will expand on these three different ways that scripture views death.

Death: Introduction