Is there life after death?
Before the Intermediate State and just after Death
The Intermediate State
I. PHYSICAL DEATH
Physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. We distinguish it from spiritual death, or the separation of the soul from God; and from the second death, or the banishment from God and final misery of the reünited soul and body of the wicked.
Although physical death falls upon the unbeliever as the original penalty of sin, to all who are united in Christ it loses its aspect of penalty, and becomes a means of discipline and of entrance into eternal life.
Aristotle, Nic. Ethics, 3:9, calls death “the most to be feared of all things.… for it appears to be the end of everything; and for the deceased there appears to be no longer either any good or any evil.” Æschylus: “Of one once dead there is no resurrection.” Catullus: “When once our brief day has set, we must sleep one everlasting night.” Tacitus: “If there is a place for the spirits of the pious; if, as the wise suppose, great souls do not become extinct with their bodies.” “In that if,” says Uhlhorn, “lies the whole torturing uncertainty of heathenism.” Seneca, Ep. liv.—“Mors est non esse”—“Death is not to be”; Troades, V, 393—“Post mortem nihil est, ipsaque mors nihil”—“There is nothing after death, and death itself is nothing.” Marcus Aurelius: “What springs from earth dissolves to earth again
and the company are not too trying.”
The book of Job shows how impossible it is for man to work out the problem of personal immortality from the point of view of merely natural religion. Shakespeare, in Measure for Measure, represents Claudio as saying to his sister Isabella: “Aye, but to die, and go we know not where
II. THE INTERMEDIATE STATE
The Scriptures affirm the conscious existence of both the righteous and the wicked, after death, and prior to the resurrection