Flashcards in Death and the Afterlife Deck (38):
Hell: spiritual state
Each sinner deals with anguish at being separated from God
Pass away when world was restored
Hell: own conscience
Gregory of Nyssa
Torture of Hell- result of guilty conscience when coming face-to-face with God
Permanent place of punishment
If wicked no punished- God is lessened and his goodness questionable
Physical punishment as envisaged by Augustine
Hell: Dante's Divine Comedy
Imagery of a range of punishments fitting sins committed
Hell: Paul Tillich
If God has reconciled all things to himself out of love- be immoral to exclude anyone
Hell = psychological sense of alienation
'Heaven and hell must be taken seriously as metaphors for the polar ultimates in the experience of the divine'
Eternal for mortal sinners
To die in state of mortal sin without repentance and accepting God's merciful love- separated from God for ever
Urge people to use freedom well
God doesn't want to use Hell- reserved for those who persistently reject goodness until final judgement
Hell: John Hick
Hell = 'a bad eschaton'
'The sufferings of the damned in Hell...can never lead to any constructive end'
'The doctrine of Hell as its implied premise either that God doesn't desire to save all His human creatures, in which case he is only limitedly good, or that His purpose has finally failed in the case of some...in which case he is limitedly sovereign'
To fit with Hick's soul-making theodicy- reject Hell
Hell = more like Purgatory- process of soul-making resumes
Foretaste of heaven and hell
Souls wait for judgement
Soul was given chance to develop and perfect itself
Purgatory: Gregory of Nyssa
Place of purification- people can enter heaven
Way of God completing his redemptive work
Purgatory: Catholic Church
Picks up on NT idea of 'cleansing by fire'- some sins can be forgiven after death
Another stage of soul's journey- why Catholics pray for the dead
Catechism refers to Judas Maccabeus who prayed for the dead
'All 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, to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven' (Catechism, 1030)
Purgatory: John Hick
Bridge between imperfection at death and perfection of heaven
Rejects idea of two judgements
Direct continuation of this life towards (universal) salvation
Heaven: state (eternity)
More of a state (eternity) than a place in NT
People- 'face to face' with God (1 Cor 13:12)
Place of pure knowledge- sin has been purged, soul experiences pure joy (John 15:11)
Heaven: spiritual place
Jesus- preached about heaven as spiritual place using terms of Kingdom of God
St. Paul- added in bodily resurrection (1 Cor 15); Parousia = delayed, early Christians were dying- new doctrine about what would happen to them needed to be developed
Second coming/returning of Jesus Christ
Understood as restoration, not of relationship between humans and God but of whole of creation
Vision in Revelation 20-21- new heaven and new earth- no more sadness, God's rule = complete
'The perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity- this communion of life and love with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed- is called heaven' (Catechism, 1024)
State of supreme and definitive happiness
God reveals himself, people can know him in a new glorious way- beatific vision
Heaven: radical theologians
Life after death = not physical/spiritual existence- individuals exist as biographies, stored in God's eternal memory
Heaven: D.Z. Phillips
'Eternal life' = not reference to life after death but quality of this life, lived morally in obedience to God
Heaven: Jesus taught about the kingdom of God
Kingdom of God is 'now'--> Jesus' teachings talk about things being in process NOW e.g. healing miracles, NOW is time to set up new world order
Kingdom of God is 'not yet'--> future state fulfilled in afterlife. Jesus' teachings- Kingdom that is a future state of righteousness. Book of Revelation- New Jerusalem where righteous may live. Kingdom of God = future time of perfection of relationship between God and humans; Kingdom of God = understood to be a reference to Heaven
Kingdom of God --> symbolic meaning- symbol for when moral life reaches perfection
Questions about Heaven, Hell and Purgatory?
Where will these places be?
Why are heaven/hell/purgatory necessary?
When will this happen?
When will the judgement take place?
Who will be saved? Election
Where will these places be? Paul (1 Corinthians 15)
Embodied existence in heaven
Paul- glorified body, like resurrected Jesus
Resurrected body = free from disability and restored to perfection
Where will these places be? Revelation
New Heaven and Earth created by God
World = restored to pre-Fall state- humans and God live together in harmony
Interpreted as physical or spiritual place
Where will these places be? Traditional Christian views
Embrace dualism- soul leaving body and re-united with glorified body at Beatific vision
Any view that envisages physical places encounters philosophical problems e.g.:
Where is this place of embodied existence?
Identity- in what sense am I 'me' without the same body?
Continuity- if I died and my body has changed (Paul), there has been a break in continuity; at what age will I be resurrected?
Why are Heaven/Hell/Purgatory necessary?
Key idea of NT: reward and punishment in afterlife- wicked often prospered in this life and righteous suffer
'Reversal'- Parable of Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16) to put right injustice
Parable of Sheep and Goats
Both OT and NT- need to help poor and exploited
When will this happen?
Parousia = delayed- believers were getting old and dying- new solution was needed
Jesus said no one knows when Son of man will return (Matt 24:36)
Some of Jesus' parables pointed to future
When will judgement take place? General and final judgement
End of time
All people stand before God and be judged, rewarded or punished
Interpretation of parable of Sheep and the Goats
When will judgement take place? Immediate (particular) judgement
Each individual at the time of death
Indicated by Luke's Gospel in the Parable of Rich Man and Lazarus
Jesus said to the thief on the cross: 'today you will b with me in paradise'
When will judgement take place? Catholic Church
Both particular and final judgement (Catechism 1039)
Each soul judged on how they lived their life in relation to Christ
Either go to blessed state (heaven), purification (purgatory) or eternal damnation (hell)
End of the world- final judgement of all people in presence of Christ, then a new Heaven and earth
When will judgement take place? Individuals condemn themselves
Individuals aren't judged but condemn themselves
John 3:16-18- personal and continuing judgement
When will judgement take place? Millenarianism
Christ will return for 1000 years with saints and there'll be a general judgement
Since Augustine, many see 1000 years referring to era of Church- Church's role = administer God's judgment on earth until the last day
Who will be saved? 1 Timothy 2:4
'God our saviour desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of truth'
Who will be saved? Limited election- Matthew 22:14
'Many are invited but few are chosen'
Who will be saved? Limited election- Augustine
Only a few will be saved
Original sin created hold on humanity; God's grace = required for salvation
Views changed over his life from thinking God knows who's going to Heaven and Hell to idea of God being in control
Who will be saved? Calvin
Followers created double predestination
Westminster Confession: 'some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death'
Calvin = more subtle- double predestination was most 'dreadful decree' arguing God's will is unknown
Christians need to preach Gospel to everyone- treat it like 'unlimited election' even if God already knows who will be saved. Both elect and non-elect have duty to act morally