Definition: Two kinds of death are spoken of in the scriptures. One is the death of the body, which is caused by the separation of the body from the spirit; “The body without the spirit is dead” (James 2:26). The other is spiritual death, which is to die as pertaining to, or to be separated from, righteousness—to be alienated from the things of God (Alma 12:16, 32; 40:26). Both of these deaths were introduced into the world by the Fall of Adam. But death is also the consequence of our own sins. We make our own spiritual death by our works, our thoughts, and our actions. As Paul said, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), and some are “dead” while they live (1 Tim. 5:6).
In explaining these things, Jacob called the physical death the grave and spiritual death he called hell. The Atonement of Jesus Christ will bring all persons back into the presence of God to be judged, the body coming forth from the grave and uniting with the spirit released from paradise or from hell (as the case may be). This will restore all mankind to the presence of God. This is the same as Paul spoke: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:21–23). Then those who have willfully rebelled against the light and truth of the gospel will suffer again a spiritual death, which is called the second death (Rev. 20:14; Alma 12:16–18; Hel. 14:16–19; D&C 76:36–37). Each person suffers only one physical death, since when once resurrected, the body can die no more (Alma 11:42–45).
Latter-day revelation teaches that there was no death on this earth before the Fall of Adam. Indeed, death entered the world as a direct result of the Fall (2 Ne. 2:22; Moses 6:48).
I have a song for you today.
What Is This Thing That Men Call Death?
(Text by Gordon B. Hinckley; Music by Janice Kapp Perry)
1. What is this thing that men call death
This quiet passing in the night?
’Tis not the end but genesis
Of better worlds and greater light.
2. O God, touch Thou my aching heart
And calm my troubled, haunting fears.
Let hope and faith, transcendent, pure,
Give strength and peace beyond my tears.
3. There is no death, but only change,
With recompense for vict’ry won.
The gift of Him who loved all men,
The Son of God, the Holy One.