Death is the end of a living thing's life. What death is and what occurs after death is a matter of some debate, particularly where religion is involved, since most religions have mutually exclusive views on death.
One assumption is that nothing happens after one dies and the body simply rots away (this would imply people do not have spirits or souls). Religions deal with this issue in different ways. The concept of the afterlife is reassuring, and many have reported heavenly experiences in near death experiences.
Death is something people fear to varying degrees (and is a matter of taboo in some cultures). Some argue that it is the end of all, and the opposite of life.
As the body of the deceased remains observably dead and eventually decomposes, afterlife belief requires the concept of a soul - a version of the deceased which continues to exist in some form after death.
Certain peoples often use a personification of death. This personification is sometimes known as the Grim Reaper or simply Death, and usually appears wearing a black hooded robe and carrying a scythe. Many religions use a god or deity who stood for death and/or the afterlife:
- Ankou (Breton)
- Hades (Greek)
- Hel (Norse)
- Hun-Came (Mayan)
- Izanami (Shinto)
- Kamatayan (Philippines)
- Loki (Norse)
- Mictlantecuhtli (Aztec)
- The Morrigan (Irish)
- Mors (Roman)
- Mot (Canaanite)
- Odin (Norse)
- Osiris (Egyptian)
- Shemal (Semitic)
- Shinigami (Japanese)
- Sielulintu, Kalma, Surma (Finnish)
- Thanatos (Greek)
- Tuoni (Finnish)
- Yama (Hindu)
- Yanluo (Chinese)
In medicine, when a person has lost their pulse, that is considered clinical death. After clinical death, assuming the heart is not restarted, the cells will enter apostasy, or cellular death, which is irreversible. Finally, there is chemical death, where the body returns to the basic components via decomposition
Many religious people, including Christians, believe only their bodies die, not their souls. They believe they have everlasting life in either Heaven or Hell once their corporeal life has ended. Other Christians believe that the noncorporeal soul may remain with the body until the day of Christ's return.
Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life.
- John 5:46-48 King James Version
Did God Truly Die? http://www.conservapedia.com/Essay:_Did_God_Truly_Die%3F