• Mark Alan Williams

4 Afterlife Theories Debunked

Updated: Mar 31, 2019

A few years ago I was rerouted by a policeman while driving on Route 76 in Oceanside, California. An accident had occurred about a mile from our home.

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CC Image courtesy of Christos Tsoumplekas on Flickr


I read the story in the newspaper the next day. A mother was turning around to check on her baby in the car seat behind her and hit another car head on. She died at the scene, but the baby survived.


Death often comes suddenly. Then what happens?


People have created various theories to explain what happens after death, but there is only one true and correct answer. God has the final say and He tells us what to expect in the Bible. (For help understanding why you can believe the Bible see my articles HERE and HERE.)


Here are 4 afterlife theories debunked by reason and Scripture:


1. Do we Become Compost?

Some believe that we just decompose after death. We extinguish like a candle that loses its flame.

However, 92% believe that there is a God, including 1 in 5 who call themselves atheists. People know instinctually that there is life after life. Scripture says God “Has put a sense of eternity in people’s minds” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 GW).


The Bible says, “We are confident; I say and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).


When Christians are absent from their bodies they are present with the Lord.


2. Does God Recycle?

Many believe in the unbiblical concept of reincarnation.


The general idea is that after death a person’s soul passes into another body before its birth.

Two reasons for this belief are:

  • Déjà vu experiences – Feeling that we have been somewhere or done something previously; debunked by understanding “disrhythmic functioning” which is a common mental delusion.

  • Hypnotic Regression – While under hypnosis a person gives descriptions of circumstances in supposed “previous lives”; debunked by studies showing they are just a composite of past memories or made up stories.

The Bible states just the opposite in Hebrews 9:27, “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.”


3. Are we Put on Hold?

Purgatory is a concept developed by the Roman Catholic Church that people must be “purged” of their sins after death.

How are sins purged? Catholicism teaches that the family has power to reduce the suffering of deceased loved ones via:

  • Good works

  • Participation in Catholic Mass

  • Financial Payment; purchasing Mass Cards

  • Purchasing indulgences

This is contrary to what the Bible says about the free gift of salvation (see Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5, etc.). This deception and resulting corruption is part of what prompted the Reformation.


Jesus paid for our salvation and His death alone is sufficient.


4. Do All People go to Heaven?

The answer is no because even though God has made a way for all to go to heaven, not all will accept, believe or agree with His plan on His terms. People want to choose their own terms—which do not work.

See HERE and HERE for my articles giving a full explanation of the fact that all roads do not lead to heaven.


Truth that Requires a Decision

God has given us the opportunity to decide if we will accept or reject His gift of eternal life on His terms. His terms are that we receive Jesus Christ who came to die in our place for the punishment of our sins and rose to life again.


If we accept Jesus:

At death, believer’s spirits leave their bodies to be with the Lord and are conscious in His presence. Remember the thief on the cross from Luke 23:42-43, “And he said, ‘Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ And He [Jesus] said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’”


If we reject Jesus:

“They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of His power” (2Thessalonians 1:9).


Can I know I am Saved?

Yes! The Bible promises; “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you many know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:12-13).


We can know that we are saved and going to heaven if we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, trusting in Him alone for salvation.


A prayer to trust Christ for your eternity: Lord Jesus, I thank you for dying for my sins and rising from the dead. Forgive my sins. I receive your gift of salvation and eternal life. Come into my life and help me to live for you. In Jesus name, Amen.



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