3. Place in the Bible
The term “resurrection” itself does not appear a lot of times in the Bible. Although the word only occurs about 40 times, the concept is something that occurs much more often. The writer Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
1 Cor 15: 18. Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. NKJV
This shows that there are at least two “lives” for us to consider. It is reasonable to associate “this life” with our present mortal life. It is true that we can have a hope in Christ in this life, and this would be considered to be a good thing. However, Paul states that if it is only in this life, the person is to be pitied. It claims that there is a much greater hope, and one that makes the present hope pitiful in comparison.
With this level of importance placed on it, the concept of a resurrection becomes fundamental to the teachings of the Bible. It could be argued that resurrection does not affect our present life and so is not worth worrying about, but this is not the position of the Bible.
The State of the Dead
From a scientific point of view, it may seem obvious what happens to people when they die, but the Bible also helps fill in this picture. In the book of Psalms, the threat of death is seen a number of times. In Chapter 6, we see that there is a loss of thought at death:
Psalm 6:4.: Return, O LORD, deliver me! Oh, save me for Your mercies' sake! 5. For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks? NKJV
This is brought out in Ecclesiastes:
Ecclesiastes 9:5.: For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. 6. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun. NKJV
Speaking in terms of a life without God, the writer continues on to say that you have to live your life now, because it's all we have:
Ecclesiastes: 10. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. NKJV
In Psalm 49, it is worse, as we are there likened to animals. Yet here there is an element of hope.
Psalm 49:16.: Do not be afraid when one becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased; 17. For when he dies he shall carry nothing away; His glory shall not descend after him. 18. Though while he lives he blesses himself ... 19. He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They shall never see light. 20. A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, Is like the beasts that perish. NKJV
So even though someone is rich and respected, their death leaves them in the same state as a dead animal. However, in this passage there is a condition. This is a condition of understanding. It shows that if there is an understanding of God, there is still a hope. The writer himself had this hope, as seen in verse 15.
Psalm 49:15.: But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me. NKJV
This shows he knew that death was the end of life, but he still had another hope, based on his understanding of God.