Not long ago someone asked the question, “Why does the soul need to leave the body at death?” This is actually a fascinating question. The answer tells us a lot about eternity and a lot about God.
Eternity starts immediately
Eternity starts immediately upon death for all people. For those who do not know Jesus Christ personally their eternal punishment in Hell begins immediately. For those who have been made new by Jesus, eternity in Heaven begins immediately after death. Luke 23:43 There is “no waiting”. There is no second chance to go from Hell to Heaven or Heaven to Hell after death. Luke 16:26
Initially your eternal destination is a spiritual place. However, it will one day become a physical place. A physical place when the body catches up with the soul. Heaven and Hell are physical places that will last forever. Job 19:26
God is perfect, Heaven is perfect, your body is not
But this still doesn’t answer the question, why does the soul leave the body, why don’t you go body and soul to Heaven or to Hell? Understanding who God is, what Heaven is, and what your body is helps us answer this question.
Let’s start with the nature of God. God is perfect. God is pure. Therefore, God can only tolerate perfection-he can only tolerate purity. The presence of anything impure or imperfect in his midst is an offense to his glory. Matthew 5:48
Because God is perfect, it follows that; God’s home is perfect. That means God will not tolerate sin in Heaven. That means Heaven is perfect and all those who dwell in Heaven must be perfect. Revelation 21:27
Our bodies are far from perfect! I’m not just talking about the way that you look. You’re probably thinking you want a body like Heidi Klum or Ryan Gosling. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the sin nature that you inherited from your first parents, Adam and Eve. That sin has impacted every fiber of your body. It is present at your DNA level. There is nothing you can do to clean that sin up. There is nothing you can do to wash it away. It takes a blood sacrifice to cleanse your sin. Hebrews 9:22
When Jesus moves in and takes up residence in a man’s soul he cleanses all sin. Jesus’ blood sacrifice is the only thing that can make the soul pure. In fact, the work of Jesus in a man’s soul causes us to inherit Jesus’ righteousness. This means, God not only views us as pure, he also views our soul as perfect- like Jesus is perfect. John 17:23
The body will catch up with the spirit
If God is perfect, and Heaven is perfect, and we will be with God in Heaven- both body and soul one day- this only leaves the question, “How will the body become perfect?”
This is why the body goes to the ground after death. The body dies like a seed when it goes into the ground. Your body becomes a new creature when God raises it up on the last day. 1 Corinthians 15:35-41 When the believer in Jesus’ body comes up out of the ground, it comes up perfect. Our new bodies will be pure. Our new bodies will be holy and acceptable in God’s presence. Only then will the Christian dwell both body and soul with Jesus forever. Revelation 21:3