Spiritual death in Christianity
- For secular usage and overview of religions, see spiritual death
In Christian theology, spiritual death is separation from God. Humans are separated from God because of sin, which entered the world through the Fall of Man, and are reconciled to God through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Spiritual death is related to but distinct from physical death and the second (eternal) death. According to the doctrine of original sin, all people are born with a sinful nature and are thereby spiritually dead, being separated from God. Christians believe that because Christ defeated sin and death, those who have faith in him are made spiritually alive. Physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. For most Christians, physical death means the beginning of eternal life in the presence of God. According to Protestants, the unbeliever's physical death is followed by the second death (eternal death and suffering).
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make a distinction between two types of spiritual death, respectively termed a "temporal separation" and a "spiritual separation" from God. The first type is a physical separation from God the Father, which was caused by the Fall of Adam and Eve.Because of their choice, all their descendants are born into a fallen world that is physically separated from God's presence. This separation is necessary so that individuals can be tested to see whether they will continue to be obedient even when not in God's presence. This separation is overcome unconditionally when all people return to God's physical presence for the Judgment, according to Gerald N. Lund. The second type is a spiritual separation from God's spirit or influence, which is caused by individual sins; when we sin we alienate ourselves from the influence of the Holy Ghost, God's spiritual presence. This separation is absolutely unnecessary, and only impedes our growth and ability to develop Godly attributes. This separation begins its resolution through the covenant of baptism, after which a person receives the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is only overcome on the conditions of faith and repentance.
- Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Zondervan, 1994): 810.
- Guy P. Duffield and Nathaniel M. Van Cleave, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, 1983, (Los Angeles: Foursquare Media, 2008), p. 524.
- Alma 42:7
- "The Fall of Man and His Redemption", Ensign, January 1990, p. 22.
- True to the Faith, "Death, Spiritual."