Life After Death

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Hippolytus of Rome pictures the underworld Hades as a place where the righteous dead, awaiting in the bosom of Abraham their resurrection, rejoice at their future prospect, while the unrighteous are tormented at the sight of the " lake of unquenchable fire " into which they are destined to be cast. Gregory of Nyssa discusses the long-before believed possibility of purification of souls after death. Pope Gregory I repeats the concept, articulated over a century earlier by Gregory of Nyssa that the saved suffer purification after death, in connection with which he wrote of "purgatorial flames".

The noun "purgatorium" Latin: place of cleansing [34] is used for the first time to describe a state of painful purification of the saved after life. The same word in adjectival form purgatorius -a -um , cleansing , which appears also in non-religious writing, [35] was already used by Christians such as Augustine of Hippo and Pope Gregory I to refer to an after-death cleansing. During the Age of Enlightenment , theologians and philosophers presented various philosophies and beliefs.

A notable example is Emanuel Swedenborg who wrote some 18 theological works which describe in detail the nature of the afterlife according to his claimed spiritual experiences, the most famous of which is Heaven and Hell. The "Spiritual Combat", a written work by Lorenzo Scupoli , states that four assaults are attempted by the "evil one" at the hour of death.

However, those who die in unrepented mortal sin go to hell.

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In the s, the Catechism of the Catholic Church defined hell not as punishment imposed on the sinner but rather as the sinner's self-exclusion from God. Unlike other Christian groups, the Catholic Church teaches that those who die in a state of grace, but still carry venial sin go to a place called Purgatory where they undergo purification to enter Heaven.

Despite popular opinion, Limbo, which was elaborated upon by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, was never recognized as a dogma of the Catholic Church , yet, at times, it has been a very popular theological theory within the Church. Limbo is a theory that unbaptized but innocent souls, such as those of infants, virtuous individuals who lived before Jesus Christ was born on earth , or those that die before baptism exist in neither Heaven or Hell proper.

Therefore, these souls neither merit the beatific vision , nor are subjected to any punishment, because they are not guilty of any personal sin although they have not received baptism, so still bear original sin. So they are generally seen as existing in a state of natural, but not supernatural, happiness, until the end of time. In other Christian denominations it has been described as an intermediate place or state of confinement in oblivion and neglect.


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The notion of purgatory is associated particularly with the Catholic Church. In the Catholic Church, all those who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven or the final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.

The tradition of the church, by reference to certain texts of scripture, speaks of a "cleansing fire" although it is not always called purgatory. Anglicans of the Anglo-Catholic tradition generally also hold to the belief. John Wesley , the founder of Methodism , believed in an intermediate state between death and the resurrection of the dead and in the possibility of "continuing to grow in holiness there", but Methodism does not officially affirm this belief and denies the possibility of helping by prayer any who may be in that state.

The Orthodox Church is intentionally reticent on the afterlife, as it acknowledges the mystery especially of things that have not yet occurred. Beyond the second coming of Jesus, bodily resurrection, and final judgment, all of which is affirmed in the Nicene Creed CE , Orthodoxy does not teach much else in any definitive manner. Unlike Western forms of Christianity, however, Orthodoxy is traditionally non-dualist and does not teach that there are two separate literal locations of heaven and hell, but instead acknowledges that "the 'location' of one's final destiny—heaven or hell—as being figurative.

Isaac the Syrian observes that "those who are punished in Gehenna, are scourged by the scourge of love. The power of love works in two ways: it torments sinners But love inebriates the souls of the sons of Heaven by its delectability.

Orthodoxy therefore uses the description of Jesus' judgment in John —21 as their model: "19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. Thomas Hopko writes, "[I]t is precisely the presence of God's mercy and love which cause the torment of the wicked. God does not punish; he forgives In a word, God has mercy on all, whether all like it or not.

If we like it, it is paradise; if we do not, it is hell. Every knee will bend before the Lord. Everything will be subject to Him.

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God in Christ will indeed be "all and in all," with boundless mercy and unconditional pardon. But not all will rejoice in God's gift of forgiveness, and that choice will be judgment, the self-inflicted source of their sorrow and pain. Moreover, Orthodoxy includes a prevalent tradition of apokatastasis , or the restoration of all things in the end. This has been taught most notably by Origen , but also many other Church fathers and Saints, including Gregory of Nyssa. The Second Council of Constantinople CE affirmed the orthodoxy of Gregory of Nyssa while simultaneously condemning Origen's brand of universalism because it taught the restoration back to our pre-existent state, which Orthodoxy doesn't teach.

As Met. Kallistos Ware explains, "It is heretical to say that all must be saved, for this is to deny free will; but, it is legitimate to hope that all may be saved," [44] as insisting on torment without end also denies free will. Joseph F. It is revealed as the scene of an extensive missionary effort by righteous spirits in paradise to redeem those still in darkness—a spirit prison or "hell" where the spirits of the dead remain until judgment.

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It is divided into two parts: Spirit Prison and Paradise. They believe that Christ visited spirit prison 1 Peter —20 and opened the gate for those who repent to cross over to Paradise.


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This is similar to the Harrowing of Hell doctrine of some mainstream Christian faiths. After the resurrection, spirits are assigned "permanently" to three degrees of heavenly glory, determined by how they lived — Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial. The Celestial Kingdom is believed to be a place where the righteous can live eternally with their families. Progression does not end once one has entered the Celestial Kingdom, but it extends eternally.

To inherit this gift, we must receive the ordinances of salvation, keep the commandments, and repent of our sins. Jehovah's Witnesses occasionally use terms such as "afterlife" [47] to refer to any hope for the dead, but they understand Ecclesiastes to preclude belief in an immortal soul. However, they believe that after Armageddon there will be a bodily resurrection of "both righteous and unrighteous" dead but not the "wicked".

Survivors of Armageddon and those who are resurrected are then to gradually restore earth to a paradise. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, teaches that the first death, or death brought about by living on a planet with sinful conditions sickness, old age, accident, etc. Like Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists use key phrases from the Bible, such as "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Adventists also point to the fact that the wage of sin is death and God alone is immortal.

Adventists believe God will grant eternal life to the redeemed who are resurrected at Jesus' second coming. Until then, all those who have died are "asleep". When Jesus the Christ, who is the Word and the Bread of Life, comes a second time, the righteous will be raised incorruptible and will be taken in the clouds to meet their Lord.

The righteous will live in heaven for a thousand years the millennium where they will sit with God in judgment over the unredeemed and the fallen angels. During the time the redeemed are in heaven, the Earth will be devoid of human and animal inhabitation.


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Only the fallen angels will be left alive. The second resurrection is of the unrighteous, when Jesus brings the New Jerusalem down from heaven to relocate to Earth. Jesus will call to life all those who are unrighteous. Satan and his angels will convince the unrighteous to surround the city, but hell fire and brimstone will fall from heaven and consume them, thus cleansing Earth of all sin.

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The universe will be then free from sin forever. This is called the second death. On the new earth God will provide an eternal home for all the redeemed and a perfect environment for everlasting life, where Eden will be restored. The great controversy will be ended and sin will be no more. God will reign in perfect harmony forever.

The Islamic belief in the afterlife as stated in the Quran is descriptive. Their level of comfort while in the grave according to some commentators depends wholly on their level of iman or faith in the one almighty creator or supreme being God or Allah.

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In order for one to achieve proper, firm and healthy iman one must practice righteous deeds or else his level of iman chokes and shrinks and eventually can wither away if one does not practice Islam long enough, hence the depth of practicing Islam is good deeds. One may also acquire tasbih and recite the names of Allah in such manner as Subahann Allah or " Glory be to Allah" over and over again to acquire good deeds, all for the cause to reach absolute beliefe to elevate the spiritual entity that will find its creator source. This ultimate goal is recited in one of the most prominent verses in Quraan, the first Sura in the Quraan, named Alfateha in the 5th verse "Ehdina al serata al mostaqeem" meaning "guide us to the straight path", and the following verses follows describing this path as "The way of those on whom you have bestowed your grace, not the way of those who earned your anger, nor of those who went astray".

In the Quran, God gives warning about grievous punishment to those who do not believe in the afterlife Akhirah , [52] and admonishes mankind that Hell is prepared for those who deny the meeting with Him. Islam teaches that the purpose of Man's entire creation is to worship God alone, which includes being kind to other human beings and life, including animals, and to trees, by not oppressing them.

Islam teaches that the life we live on Earth is nothing but a test for us and to determine each individual's ultimate abode, be it Hell or Paradise in the afterlife, which is eternal and everlasting. Jannah and Jahannam both have different levels. Jannah has eight gates and seven levels. The higher the level the better it is and the happier you are.