Answer: He ceases to exist. Solomon writes in Eccel. 9:5,6,10 (NASB): “For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. (6) Indeed their love, their hate and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun. … (10) Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol [grave] where you are going.”
What happens to man is the same thing that happens to animals. Solomon writes in Eccel. 3:19-21 (NASB): “For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. (20) All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. (21) Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?” Like the animals, when a man dies he ceases to exist. His body goes back to the dust and the breath of life returns to God.
Since man is “a living soul” or being, when he dies, the soul dies. That is what the prophet Ezekiel writes in Ezek. 18:4 (NASB): “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.”
However, the promise of a future life for mankind is based on God’s promise to resurrect the dead. The apostle Paul writes that Jesus by his death as a ransom for father Adam has secured the hope of a resurrection from the dead for all mankind. “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:21,22 NASB)
Paul mentions that the resurrection of man man’s only hope for life after death. “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; (17) and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. (18) Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. (19) If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. (20) But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” (1 Cor. 15:16-20 NASB)
Jesus was raised from the dead by the mighty power of God. “These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might (20) which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, (Eph. 1:19,20 NASB) This promise of the resurrection is why king David and others in the Old Testament are described as sleeping with the fathers when they died. It is also why Job asked God to alleviate his suffering by hiding him in the tomb or the grave until God’s wrath was past.
In Christ’s earthly kingdom, the promise is that all mankind will be brought forth from the grave to learn righteousness and have an opportunity for gaining everlasting life on a restored perfect earth. “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, (29) and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. (John 5:28, 29 NASB)
For additional information please see our related booklets and videos below.
When a Man Dies
The Truth About Hell
The Power of Hell
Life After Death
Hope Beyond the Grave
The Hope and Resurrection of the Dead
|BookletComing Back From Hell Soon||BookletReincarnation vs. Resurrection||VideoThe Soul That Sinneth|