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Developments in Christian thought OCR A level > Death and the afterlife > Flashcards

Flashcards in Death and the afterlife Deck (17)
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Death and the afterlife - introduction

>Christianity teaches that people have souls that can survive the death of the physical body
>There are divergent beliefs about life after death within Christianity as different interpretations have been given about different teachings and ideas


Death and the afterlife - Resurrection

>After death people will have a new life in a new kind of existence
>Reject the idea that a human soul leaves one body and joins another in this same world and also reject Platonic ideas that the soul leaves the body and continues in a disembodied way
>The soul is given a new glorified body in which to continue life after death
>It is the same person but now incorruptible
>Based on Biblical accounts of Jesus' resurrection


Death and the afterlife - Paul and Resurrection

Writes about life after death in his to letters to Corinthians
>Corinthians 1: metaphor of a seed transforming into the new plant it will become - the physical body will be transformed into its full potential
>Corinthians 2: a tent being replaced with a solid house - the world is temporary and will be replaced by something long-lasting
>Corinthians 2: naked in this world and clothed in the afterlife - no longer a need to be ashamed


Death and the afterlife - Heaven

>Different symbols for Heaven - returning to a family home, no more suffering, idea of plenty, surrounded by angels, meeting God who will be on a throne
>These and other descriptions aren't meant to be taken literally (heaven isn't a place but a spiritual state)
>An eternity of endless days in which to praise God
>Timeless often in terms of the beatific vision described by Aquinas
>Transformation and perfection of the whole of creation


Death and the afterlife - Beatific vision

Ultimate direct self-communication of God to the individual person. A person possessing the beatific vision reaches, as a member of redeemed humanity in the communion of saints, perfect salvation in its entirety. A timeless vision where past, present and future come together.


Death and the afterlife - Heaven evaluation

>Raises more questions than it answers especially if people have physical resurrected bodies
>Difficult to see how we can be the same person in heaven if we have a different body and are eternal. This makes heaven nonsensical. (Heaven is a mystery we cannot expect to know in this life)
>Bernard Williams: Heaven would get boring after a while because people would run out of things to do and there would be no excitement of challenge (Life in the presence of God could never get boring, God would make sure we never felt boredom)


Death and the afterlife - Beatific vision evaluation

>Timeless vision prevents the idea of it getting boring or of us taking up room.
>Karl Rahner - supported a timeless afterlife, the idea of endless days has too many problems.
>Philosophical issues - how could we be resurrected into physical bodies when physical bodies exist in time
>How would people continue to be the same person


Death and the afterlife - Hell

>Place of eternal punishment separated from God's presence
>In the Bible sometimes described in terms of fire and torture, darkness, and a rubbish dump. In a downward direction from this world


Death and the afterlife - Hell evaluation

>Raises difficult issues - is hell compatible with an omnipotent, loving, and perfectly merciful God?
>Hume - is there anything a person could do that would justify eternal punishment? (wronging God deserves eternal punishment)
>Would hell get boring after a while?
>Hick - a loving God would not allow his creatures to suffer for eternity, there would eventually be salvation for everybody and the afterlife was an opportunity for spiritual journey (universalist)
>Eternal punishment would achieve nothing (except perhaps a deterrent from sin). Notions of hell were made for social control


Death and the afterlife - Purgatory

>Doesn't appear explicitly in the Bible but was developed as a concept by early Christian thinkers such as Origen and Augustine
>Pope Gregory (6th century) understood Matthew's gospel to mean that there was forgiveness after death
>A place of pain and cleansing often symbolised by fire. Where the soul recognises its sin and is punished but not forever.


Death and the afterlife - Purgatory (Matthew's gospel 12:32)

Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.


Death and the afterlife - Purgatory beliefs

>Catholic teaching states that prayers of the living can help the souls of the dead to endure the experience
>Rahner explored the idea and stated that it should be seen as a metaphor for the soul's greater awareness for the consequences of sin and the holiness of God
>Protestants usually don't believe in purgatory because it is not explicitly stated in the Bible and the doctrine means that Jesus' sacrifice did not bring about complete salvation.


Death and the afterlife - Election

>Belief that God chooses the eternal destiny of each human soul. God knows, before people are born, whether or not they will go to Heaven
>Associated with John Calvin (16th century)
>Because God is omniscient he must know what will happen they are born. Because he is omnipotent it is in his control to choose what happens to people.
>Aquinas and others taught of limited election
>Calvin - God chose some people for eternal life in Heaven and some for eternal punishment


Death and the afterlife - Limited election

God will save some people through grace but only a limited number. Aquinas - no one deserves salvation because of the original sin. Election was a sign of God's grace and evidence of his love


Death and the afterlife - Election evaluation

>Contravercial and not accepted by all Christians. Barth taught a doctrine of unlimited election, saying that Jesus brought salvation for the whole world and anyone who accepted the Christian message could be saved
>Hick went further and stated that everyone will be saved eventually, whether Christian or not. An all loving God will ensure that everyone is saved
>Pope Benedict XVi criticised Hick and said that if everyone is saved regardless of faith then Jesus' death seems pointless


Death and the afterlife - Judgement

>After death there will be some sort of judgement from God
>When people are judged (at the point of death or on a certain judgement day) doesn’t have a clear answer in the Christianity
>Idea one: certain people have a fast track to heaven but the rest of us have to wait until judgement day
>Idea two: everyone has to wait for judgement day
>Idea three: each person goes to heaven or hell as soon as they die


Death and the afterlife - Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46)

>Told by Jesus
>Describes what will happen when ‘the son of man comes in his glory’. Christians interpret this as a reference to Jesus
>Describes a judgement day where people are separated how sheep are separated from goat. Some sent to Heaven, some to Hell.
>Those who go to heaven do so because of the way they have treated others when in need
>God has ‘prepared’ a place for those who go to Heaven