Rarely is the study of religious philosophy black and white, with our various spiritual differences essentially categorized as many different shades of grey. Religion addresses a plethora of subjects, from the nature of God to subjective morality; many believe their brand of scripture to be the absolute authority on spiritual truth. The one thing we can be absolutely sure of is the inescapable reality of biological death; whether by accident, illness or the progress of time, your physical body will die.
One common misconception is that vis-à-vis death, all religions agree on the nature of the soul, which for the purposes of this discussion I define here as the individual consciousness containing a unique pattern of thoughts and the complete record of life experience that is the essence of our being. The reality is that every religion has a unique approach to this subject as well.
My own understanding of death and the subsequent disposition of the spirit is relatively simple in comparison to other more complex traditions. The mortal body and the immortal spirit are separate and distinct from each other. While they are indelibly linked during life, your body being the sacred house where your soul resides, your spirit is not subject to the corruption of entropy like the physical body and it exists beyond the point of biological death.
Most although admittedly not all belief systems provide for some version of continued spiritual existence. The Summerland, Heaven, Hell, Limbo, Purgatory, the Underworld – these are all attempts to describe the location or realm where the spirit resides after the body dies. Unfortunately, while such concepts provide continuity with dogmatic belief, philosophically speaking their description in scripture does not by itself bring clarity. The implication that a physical location of some sort is required for the incorporeal soul to establish a new home is confusing to most people; such theoretical descriptions are completely unnecessary anyway.
Let’s take a moment and go back to basics. The body is a product of biology, a creation of human interaction, and it remains nominally subject to all physical laws as we understand them. The spirit is a product of Divine will, created by God and remains inviolable. At the moment of death the body begins its natural process of returning to the earth and the soul follows its own natural journey, returning from whence it came to its spiritual home with God. When contemplating death, this is the only truth that one needs to understand.
To those who consider my words heretical I direct your attention to the words of the Hebrew prophet Yeshua, called Jesus, who taught that you need not fear death for everlasting life is assured to the children of God. Death is not the end of human existence, it is but the beginning of a journey that all of us must make in due time. Although the first Council of Nicaea chose to disregard many of Yeshua’s teachings when they met in the fourth century, I leave you with the following original statement from the prophet to his disciples as his words are far more eloquent than mine:
The disciples said to Yeshua, “Tell us how our end will be.”
And Yeshua said, “Have you discovered, then, the beginning, that you look for the end? For where the beginning is, there will the end be. Blessed is he who will take his place in the beginning; he will know the end and will not experience death.”