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Old Testament

Do people that commit suicide go to hell?

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October 03, 2011 7:38PM

Psalm 146:4 says: "His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish." When a person dies, his impersonal spirit does not go on existing in another realm as a spirit creature. It "returns to the true God who gave it." (Ecclesiastes 12:7) This means that any hope of future life for that person now rests entirely with God.

The ancient Greek philosophers Socrates and Plato held that a soul inside a person survives death and never dies. What does the Bible teach about the soul? Adam "came to be a living soul," says Genesis 2:7. He did not receive a soul; he was a soul-a whole person. The Scriptures speak of a soul's doing work, craving food, being kidnapped, experiencing sleeplessness, and so forth. (Leviticus 23:30;Deuteronomy 12:20; 24:7; Psalm 119:28) Yes, man himself is a soul. When a person dies, that soul dies.-Ezekiel 18:4.

What, then, is the condition of the dead? When pronouncing sentence upon Adam, Jehovah stated: "Dust you are and to dust you will return." (Genesis 3:19) Where was Adam before God formed him from the dust of the ground and gave him life? Why, he simply did not exist! When he died, Adam returned to that state of complete absence of life. The condition of the dead is made clear at Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10, where we read: "The dead know nothing . . . In the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." (New International Version) Scripturally, death is a state of nonexistence. The dead have no awareness, no feelings, no thoughts.

Since the dead have no conscious existence, hell cannot be a fiery place of torment where the wicked suffer after death. What, then, is hell? Examining what happened to Jesus after he died helps to answer that question. The Bible writer Luke recounts: "Neither was [Jesus] forsaken in Hades [hell, King James Version] nor did his flesh see corruption."(Acts 2:31) Where was the hell to which even Jesus went? The apostle Paul wrote: "I handed on toyou . . . that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, yes, that he has been raised up the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) So Jesus was in hell, the grave, but he was not abandoned there, for he was raised up, or resurrected.