What happens to a Person’s Spirit When they Die?

spirit deathQuestion:

“What happens a minute after a person dies? According to your literature, if his spirit goes back to God, does God have a warehouse where those spirits are kept? Or does God breathe in the spirit as he breathed to Adam and he became a living soul?”



The Bible says, “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (Psalms 146:3, 4) When a person dies, their thoughts perish. Solomon wrote, “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5)

From these verses it is clear that at the point of death man goes to an unconscious state. The Bible says, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7) We also read, “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” (Ecclesiastes 3:21) Here we are given a distinction between where the spirit of man and the spirit of a beast goes at death. The spirit of the beast goes down to the earth because a beast will never experience a resurrection, and therefore there is no need for their spirit to be retained. However, regarding man, the Bible says, “there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15) In order for man to be resurrected and still retain their peculiar character traits, God preserves their spirit in an unconscious state until the resurrection, when they shall live again. Isaiah wrote, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.” (Isaiah 26:19)

God has informed us that our spirit returns to Him at death, that we will be resurrected, and that in the interim we will be unconscious. I have heard people use the analogy of a cassette tape and a tape recorder as a means to illustrate this point. While a cassette tape is in a tape recorder you can record information on it and play back what is written. A faithful copy of what has been recorded is retained on that cassette. Yet, when the cassette is removed from the recorder it is unusable. Information cannot be played nor recorded. You can take the cassette and put it in another tape recorder and again utilize the information stored on the cassette. This is a crude illustration, but I believe it helps to understand how God can retain a man’s spirit in an unconscious state until the resurrection where he will be given a new body, but retain the same spirit.

Exactly how God retains man’s spirit in an unconscious state is not given for us to know. There is no mention in the Bible of a warehouse, nor a need for such a warehouse. I am content to leave this portion of the question with God. “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)

I hope this helps to answer your question.