When Are You Dead?

When Are You Dead

Do you go to Heaven when you die?  It depends on what you mean by “die.”

One common law medical definition of death is

… the cessation of all vital functions, traditionally demonstrated by “an absence of spontaneous respiratory and cardiac functions.”

Medically, you can die and be revived.  It happens all the time.  But do you go to Heaven and then get sucked back down to earth?  Probably not.

There is a medical definition of death that has to do with the physical world.  But there is also a spiritual world.  I contend that death is final only when your spirit is taken because when God created man, He gave him a spirit (unique to all other creation) and breathed life into him.  All of creation is covered by the word of God.  But only mankind has the breath of God, the life of God, the spirit of God in him.  That makes the spirit uniquely essential for life.  Consider:

When Jesus died, he gave up his spirit.

When Stephen died, he offered his spirit.

Proverbs 20:27 says: The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being. (Lamps in the Bible were oil and flame.  When the oil ran out, so did the light.  Therefore, when the spirit is gone, so is the life.)

That’s why I think books like “Heaven Is For Real” are a fraud.  I believe Heaven is real.  But I don’t think God would bring us to His side and send us back after a few minutes of CPR.  How unfair would that be?  How unloving?  The Christian life joins in the groaning of all creation for the time we get to see Jesus face-to-face; when He comes back as the conquering king to re-establish shalom on the earth and make everything as it always should have been.  It is our hope to look forward to being with Jesus.  It would be cruel on a cosmic level to give us a glimpse of the perfection and peace that awaits us in our final home before damning us back to our mortality.  It would be like making my daughter sit and watch me eat her birthday cake when she turns 5 this Fall.

Heaven is real.  Jesus is there.  And when we die we will know the full and final joy that comes when our spirit meets His Spirit.



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