Five seconds after a man has died, where is he? Today, Derek Thomas explains what Scripture teaches about the state of people after death.
NATHAN W. BINGHAM: This week we're joined by Dr. Derek Thomas a Ligonier teaching fellow. He's also calling in from the First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, South Carolina, where he serves as senior minister there. Dr. Thomas, is it correct to say that a person still exists after they die?
DR. DEREK THOMAS: Yeah, what an interesting question. Absolutely. Jesus spoke to the dying thief on the cross, "Today you will be with me in paradise." Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8). Now, what is it that's present with the Lord? Clearly not our bodies. Our bodies remain here. Our bodies are buried in the ground more often than not, but we still exist. My consciousness, my self-awareness"of myself and of my surroundings"continues after death. Five seconds after I die"and I choose that just at random"but five seconds after I die, I am conscious of being in the presence of the Lord Jesus. I close my eyes here, but I spiritually open them in heaven.
And heaven I consider as part of this creation that's like a parallel universe to where we are now. It's like passing through a veil in space. And the transfiguration, I think, gives us a little picture of that when Moses and Elijah come through and then they go back again. And so, I think it's absolutely correct to say that a person still exists after they die.
The question is, where do they exist? If they believe in Jesus, if they've trusted in the gospel, they are with Jesus. But if they didn't believe the gospel and they didn't trust in the Lord Jesus, then they are in hell. And Jesus gives a parable of rich man and Lazarus, clearly indicating in that parable that one was in a good place and one was most certainly not in a good place (Luke 16:19-31). So, the question, is it correct to say a person still exists after they die? Absolutely, they do.
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