"In death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?” (Psalm 6:5) Thus is shown that they have no memory while dead. “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.” (Psalm 115:17) Hence they could not speak while dead.
The dead cannot breathe, think, or feel. “Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.” (Psalm 104:29) “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (Psalm 146:4) A person when unconscious does not feel. This is illustrated by the fact that when a person is taken to a hospital for an operation the surgeon puts the patient under an anesthetic, puts him to sleep so that he cannot feel during the operation.
Again the Scriptures read: “The living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6) Being unconscious, they know not anything when dead. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”—Ecclesiastes 9:10.
Again speaking of man, God says of him: “Nevertheless man being in honor abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish”. (Psalm 49:12) Anything that perishes cannot be conscious, cannot be in existence and of course cannot be immortal.
It was Jesus who said: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”. (John 3:16) Here the proof is conclusive that death means the perishing of all unless redemption is received through Jesus Christ. This would absolutely disprove consciousness of the dead and would disprove also the immortality of the soul.
Death is spoken of in the Bible as a sleep, for the reason that God intends in his due time to awaken all of the dead and give them an opportunity of life. The Bible abounds in the expressions referring to the dead as asleep. A few of these expressions are: “David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David”. (1 Kings 2:10) “The fathers fell asleep.” (2 Peter 3:4) ’"The greater part remain until this day, but some are fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:6) “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep; ... them also which sleep will God bring [forth] by Jesus [in the resurrection].” —1 Thessalonians 4:13,14.
We must conclude from these Scriptures that the dead are wholly unconscious from the moment of death until such future time as the Lord may be pleased to awaken them out of death and give them an opportunity of life, which he purposes to do, as set forth in his great plan. (John 5:28,29) Man was made of the dust. He was sentenced to return to the dust; that is, the condition of the dead. And the Lord said: ’They that sleep in the dust of the earth shall arise’.—Daniel 12:2.