ROMAN was a young boy when a close friend of his was killed in a car accident. “The loss of my friend shook me up terribly,” he says. “For years after the accident, I wondered what happens to us when we die.”
Why ask the question?

Human death seems unnatural. No matter what age we are, we usually do not want to die. Many fear what comes after death.
What do some say the answer is?

Many believe that at death some part of the person lives on. They believe that good people will be rewarded in heaven, while those who were bad will be punished eternally for their sins. Others think that at death a person ceases to exist and eventually is completely forgotten.
What do those answers imply?

The first answer assumes that at death a person does not really die. The second implies that life is pointless. Those who hold to this latter view may adopt the fatalistic attitude: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we are to die.”—1 Corinthians 15:32.
What does the Bible teach?

The Bible does not teach that at death some part of a person lives on. God inspired King Solomon to write: “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) Those who are “conscious of nothing” are totally unaware of their surroundings. They cannot feel or act. So the dead cannot help or harm the living.

Contrary to what many believe, God did not purpose for humans to die. He created the first human, Adam, with the prospect of living forever on earth. The only time that God mentioned death was when he told Adam of the punishment for disobedience. He restricted Adam from eating the fruit of a certain tree and then warned him that if he ate from it, he would “positively die.” (Genesis 2:17) If Adam and Eve had remained obedient, they and all their descendants who were loyal to God would have lived forever on earth.

Adam chose to ignore God’s warning. He sinned when he disobeyed God, so he died. (Romans 6:23) No part of Adam survived his death. Rather, at death Adam ceased to exist. God said to Adam: “In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19) Because all mankind descended from Adam, we inherited sin and death from him.—Romans 5:12.

Despite Adam’s poor choice, God will fulfill His purpose to populate the earth with Adam’s descendants. (Genesis 1:28; Isaiah 55:11) Soon, Jehovah will bring back to life the majority of those who have died. Speaking of that time, the apostle Paul said: “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.”—Acts 24:15.

Roman, quoted earlier, studied the Bible and learned what it teaches about death and about Jehovah God. What he discovered had a profound impact on him. Read his account in the article entitled “The Bible Changes Lives”.
What Did Jesus Say About Death?

Jesus did not agree with the religious leaders of his day who said that there would be no resurrection of the dead. (Luke 20:27) Neither did he teach that some part of a person survives death. Rather, Jesus taught the following.

Death is like sleep. When his friend Lazarus died, Jesus said: “Lazarus our friend has gone to rest, but I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep.” Jesus’ disciples did not understand what he meant. They replied: “Lord, if he has gone to rest, he will get well.” The Bible account explains: “Jesus had spoken, however, about his death. But they imagined he was speaking about taking rest in sleep. At that time, therefore, Jesus said to them outspokenly: ‘Lazarus has died.’”—John 11:11-14.

The dead will be resurrected. When Jesus arrived at Lazarus’ hometown, he consoled Martha, Lazarus’ sister, by saying: “Your brother will rise.” Jesus then made this profound promise: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life.” Jesus’ promise was not mere empty words. In front of many eyewitnesses, Jesus resurrected Lazarus, although he had been dead four days.—John 11:23, 25, 38-45.

In the revelation that he gave to the apostle John, Jesus again promised that the dead would be resurrected. He described a time in the future when death will release all who symbolically are held captive by it.—Revelation 20:13