Death of a Human

Still Life With A Skull

Life, Death and Time in a painting. Two out of three isn't bad.
Life, Death and Time in a painting. Two out of three isn't bad. | Source

Definition of Death

According to Wikipedia, death is defined as:

"Death is the permanent cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living organism."

Notice the word permanent. We will come back to that later regarding the Christian belief that Jesus was resurrected from death.

Also notice the word living. The same definition applies to non-living entities - as in "dead battery".

A recent forum post from Beth37, described how she explained death to her children.

"I will explain it like I did to my kids when they were little. Our bodies are like cars. Our souls are like the drivers. Our cars take us from place to place, but when we die, our cars break down and our drivers get out and leave them behind."

This is a heart-warming anecdote to most of those that believe in life after death. But is is erroneous to think that "cars have souls" as it is just as erroneous to think that human biological entities have 'souls'.

Major Religious Views of Death

Abrahamic
Dharmic
Atheistic
Resurrection, then reward or punishment.
Reincarnation or different planes of life.
A state of non-living.

Are Cars Comparable to People?

Cars are cars.They are considered to be robots in certain situations. They have evolved to the point of having a 'brain'. New cars have physical sensors that tell its brain that there isn't enough air in the tires. A sensor on the car can sense an object around it and move itself to avoid the object. Sensors can tell it where it is regarding Global Positioning Satellite navigation (akin to self-awareness). There are cars that can drive all by themselves now. Are they alive with souls? Are we Gods for having created 'sentient' cars?


In Beth's analogy, the driver is the car's brain. But this may not be the case. The car's brain is actually its operating system which may be mechanical or biochemical (someday). When it is started up (when the right chemicals and electrical energy come together), the car operates as a whole, not needing a driver. When it is shut down (when the gas runs out or the electrical misfires or for any number of other reasons), the car is effectively dead.


So, when our particular biological body parts come together through evolution and reproduction (or even cloning), and our brain fires up, we are "alive". When our bodies senesce (get old), we die. Of course, other external factors may cause death, but this is the general path.


When some scientists figure out how to keep the body alive (or even just the brain alive), we will be immortal. Our bodies will not die, and our biological organism will sustain our electrical impulses (patterns). This is also true for cars, or non-biological organisms.

Turritopsis Nutricula

This little guy will live forever it seems.
This little guy will live forever it seems. | Source

Immortality

There is already evidence for immortality. A jellyfish called Turritopsis nutricula is thought to be immortal. The only way to kill Turritopsis nutricula is to destroy it by unnatural, external means. This jellyfish has the ability to transdifferentiate its cells. It can revert to being a polyp, even after it has reached maturity. Then it goes through the life cycle again. It may do this forever without dying.

The truth is that we are biological machines that are started up when the right conditions exist and again, under a different set of circumstances, we simply stop functioning.

At the very least, medicine has figured out ways to extend our lifetimes. Yes, even re-animate a corpse that at one time would have been considered very dead.

Resurrection

Was Jesus truly dead when he was placed in his cave? Was he actually just on the borderline of death when he regained his senses? Was he perhaps saved by a very early method of cardiac stimulation? Was he permanently dead? Maybe not.

None of us will ever know. Jesus had no autopsy. He had no modern medical examiner to determine the parameters of permanent death. He may very well have survived the cruxifiction.

His contemporaries would have experienced a "miracle" upon seeing Jesus walk around again. As for him ascending to heaven, this may be either a mis-translation of the story, or some sort of fanatic hallucination. It may have been a sort of Chinese secret round that was told and re-told until the actual facts were obscured. Again, we will never know. We cannot prove that Jesus ever really lived.

His reward was to enter the kingdom of heaven, which is a place no one has ever been able to find or prove. If he had been judged a different way, his punishment would have been hell. Again, another place which does not appear to have an actual physical location.

Other Abrahamic faiths either believe or don't believe in heaven and/or hell, but stick to the postulate that there is life after death. There are some sects that do not believe in life after death even while having faith in the Christian God. Religions do not agree on what happens after we die.

Reincarnation and Ascension to Various Astral Planes

Some religions teach that death is a step on a pathway to a different reality. These realities are known as planes of existence. Some call them Astral Planes. Others call them dimensions. Some call them alternate universes. Some invoke Karma which is a system of reward and punishment similar to Abrahamic religions.

The spiritual plane is also invisible to us. It occupies no locatable physical place. It seems that when a biological death occurs, the 'spirit' or 'soul' simply flies about or passes on to another dimension.

Since no one can locate these planes (or even the spirits/souls), there is sincere doubt that they even exist. Some people claim to be able to see them, but no solid evidence exists. Just as heaven and hell are invisible, Dharmic religions claim that their 'afterlife' is just as believable as the Christian one.

Oblivion

Do you remember where you were before you were born? Was your spirit, soul, essence somewhere? Did it coalesce into an embryo? Or did an embryo develop that sucked in your spirit from somewhere?

Was your body created through evolution and reproduction? Did it just all of a sudden animate itself with your spirit?

Atheists believe that biological entities were evolved from the chemical building blocks of matter that have always been present in the universe. They did not 'come from' somewhere, they were always here.

When the chemicals and gravity and cosmic 'glue' arranged our atoms into an embryo, the electrical energy in the brain evolved to the point of having patterns of personality. We coalesced to become a unique human form. Our biological forms evolved and changed over time and will continue to do so in the future.

As our forms senesce (get old and wear out), our bodies eventually cease to support the electrical patterns that make us unique and we die. Our bio-electrical patterns that make us unique will dissipate. They will become part and parcel of the universe as they always were. This happens right before our eyes. We witness this exchange on a daily basis.

This is true of everything in the universe. Matter and energy (many kinds of energy)* coalesce for a while, then the forms/patterns change and new forms appear. This has been going on for infinity and will continue to do so. The universe does this on huge, incredible scales. It also does it on unimaginably small scales. As the saying goes, "matter cannot be created or destroyed". Our atoms are infinite in their existence.

*Energy in this hub is defined as a measurable substance such as gravity, electricity, kinetic, centrifugal, magnetic or other definable, purposeful action by the universe. Energy is not necessarily 'seen', but its effect can be measured and proven. This is not the same thing as an undefinable thing such as a spirit, soul, astral plane, angel dust, or other imaginary thing.

The Infinite Universe

Every atom is connected and part of every other atom.
Every atom is connected and part of every other atom. | Source

How do you see death?

Which of the three opinions here do you most agree with?

  • Resurrection and Judgement of the physical mind and/or body.
  • Spirits or souls or Astral Planes that are undetectable that humans pass through.
  • Infinite existence as a real and tangible object that has patterns of personality changing throughout the universe.
See results without voting

© 2013 Austinstar

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Comments 11 comments

Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 3 years ago from Louisiana

You make some good points and this is a very interesting article. I often wonder what will happen after death, will my spirit/soul/thoughts/energy still carry on, will i revert back to a baby and given another life, or to a piece of grass or a flower, or will I spend an eternity in Heaven and hopefully not Hell. or will i become an angel of sorts or a ghost able to come in and out of this world unseen.Theres many different theories on it and you are right know one knows for sure. Those who say they have seen the light and come back well its hard to believe someone who has been through such a trauma as coming back from death. but it has happened people have died and come back and if Jesus was truly dead and came back or almost dead and started to revive while in the cave either way what he went through is the same, if you believe in Jesus, I believe in God, but not neccesarily the biblical God. I have my own ideas on him and what i was taught but who knows if what I was taught has any truth, i just use it as the basis of my own beliefs. it is a mystery but I hope for Heaven and peace and seeing loved ones again, I never feared death itself, only how it will happen, what happens after, and growing old, and sickly and weak, and being alone, its the unknown that people fear. not knowing when your time will come, or losing those you love when it is their time. its all a part of life and i don't want to go through all of that again, i don't want to be reincarnated or ressurected(depending on the circumstances), when i die i just want to finally be free.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Nikki, sounds like you need to 'get free' now! Don't wait for death. Enjoy your life. Do what needs to be done to make your life a good one.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Lela,

I have enjoyed reading books like "Life after Life" and "Embraced by the Light." I have written a hub titled Stories - My Personal Proof of an Afterlife. Everyone has their own beliefs and we will find out who is right (or perhaps not) after we die. On a cellular level, everything is constantly being renewed. Death of one thing brings life to another. Interesting hub!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Maybe you missed my point. I don't believe in life after death. I do believe that we are all part and parcel of the universe as it exists now, has always existed and always will. Nothing is dead in my opinion. Death has no meaning to me at all.


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

After reading all the details in this enormously interesting hub, Lela, I am wondering - do you think one day humans may become as 'immortal' as the Turritopsis Nutricula? Just wonderin'.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

I'm quite sure of it, drbj. One day Turritopsis will give up its secret method of transdifferentiation of cells and some rich bastard is going to corner the market. Maybe he (or she) will dole it out to smart people, I hope.


sydneyspence profile image

sydneyspence 3 years ago from Austin Texas

I loved this! So great and loved learning things I didn't know. Like the jellyfish, that is just so amazing! Thanks for the hub!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Well you tackled a biggie here my friend. I'm amazed there aren't more comments...truly amazed.

As for life after death, I'll tell you what I have said for quite some time now....I don't have enough RAM in my brain to think about it and I certainly don't worry about it. I'm going to squeeze every ounce of living that I can in this lifetime. I'm going to treat others with respect and love and I'll take my chances after death. :) Good job of tackling a thorny issue.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

I published this during the comment black out. Should have waited. I think it threw everyone off.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

You ask some interesting, heavy questions that are definitely worth pondering. I have a faint feeling of where I came from previously before this life. My grandmother is in the process of dying now, we think. As her body shuts down she is seeing and talking to long dead relatives. It is interesting to wonder whether these might actually be spirit guides rather than hallucinations. Don't know.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

In my view, memories are part of the universe too. They may be made of cosmic stuff that we don't understand. My opinion is that everything exists now, it has always existed and always will. Everything means everything, be it atoms or energy or something we can't even conceive of.

It's all here.

Spirit guides are part of the universe. They are just as real as anything else here.

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