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DEATH JUDGEMENT HEAVEN HELL ESCHATOLOGY. The Old Testament is more interested in how death first came about. Genesis 2-3 Death is punishment for disobeying God. Death as punishment for sin is not a physical death rather it is the inability to praise God Praising God is a sign of life

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The Old Testament is

more interested in how death first came about.

Genesis 2-3

Death is punishment for disobeying God

Death as punishment for sin is not a physical death rather it is the inability to praise God

Praising God is a sign of life

Inability to do so is death, even in life

Death is not simply a physical act but also a punishment for sin

Belief in Resurrection

Metaphors of Resurrection

Hos 6:1-2

God will revive us after three days; on the third day he will raise us up, to live in his presence

Ez 37

Scattered bones brought back to life by the breath of God, symbolizing the Israelite nation

Is 24-27

Your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise/ awake and sing you who lie in the dust (26:19)

Development of thought about life beyond death

Daniel 12:1-3

The problem of the suffering of the persecuted and righteous during the persecution of

Antiochus IV Epiphanes

(175-164 BCE)

Resurrection of the members of the chosen people and of them alone,

the just to eternal life,

the others to everlasting shame

Belief in Resurrection

The Second book of Maccabees

The resurrection of the just on the last day

Bodily resurrection by God is the response to bodily destruction by the wicked

(7:9, 11, 14, 23; 14:46)

Affirms the intercession of the saints in heaven for the living on earth

Power of the living to offer prayer and sacrifice for the dead


The Book of Wisdom

First century BCE

The concept of psyche

(soul 1:11; 3:1)

The immortal spiritual principle in the human person as opposed to the perishable material body

Immortality (3:4; 4:1; 8:13, 17; 15:3)

and Incorruptibility (2:23; 6:18)

are God’s gifts to the righteous and the fruits of union to wisdom (6:18; 8:13, 17; 15:3)

It was the devils envy that brought sin into the world(2:24)

Reinterprets Genesis 3

What the New Testament Says

Death is seen in the same way as traditional Jewish perspective but reinterpreted in the light of Jesus’ death and resurrection

  • Death for humans is universal Heb 9:27

    • except for Enoch (Gn 5:24; Heb 11:5) and Elijah (2Kgs 2:11)

  • God alone is immortal (1 Tm 6:16)

  • Death as pain and destruction of self is the penalty of sin not God’s creation (Rm 5:12)

  • Through one person death entered the world through sin (Rom 5:12

  • Through the death and resurrection of one man acquittal, grace, and eternal life come to all in greater measure (Rom 5:12-21)

  • Christ’s death destroyed the power of death (2Tm1:10, 1 Cor 15:26, Acts 2:24))

  • Christ is Lord of both living and dead (Rom 14:9, Rv 1:18)

Christ brings death a positive meaning

Without loosing its terror it can now result in gain

(Phil 1:21, Phil 1:23)

“I long to depart this life and be with Christ.”

(Catechism 1009)

So What Happens to Us?

Separation of the soul from the body

(Catechism 1005, 1016)

To rise with Christ, we must die with Christ:

we must

"be away from the body and at home with the Lord."

In that "departure" which is death the soul is separated from the body.

It will be reunited with the body on the day of resurrection of the dead.

Catholicism sees the human person as intrinsically one reality

Death is the dissolution of the very human person not just the body

It is “I” who die

“Since the person is not the soul alone, but the body and soul essentially united,

death affects the person”

(International Theological Commission)

In and through our choices we shape our identity and destiny in a definitive and decisive way

Dying is the act by which a person freely gathers up or consummates his or her history of freedom in a final and definitive way

Though this gathering up occurs throughout life death is the persons last act in which their destiny is finally, definitively, irrevocably determined

Death is the privileged moment of human freedom in which the person has the power to make a decision that is of eternal validity

How Can We Prepare for Death?

It is a lifelong task, since one truly dies in every moment of one’s life

Begun in Baptism

The Christian dies, is buried,

and rises sacramentally with Christ

A participation in Christ’s death it is a death to sin

Since physical death is punishment for sin, dying to sin is preparation for overcoming physical death

Can we eliminate the fear of death?

Faith and hope may lessen our fear of death, but they in no way remove it.

Even fortified by Sacraments and the prayers of the community of faith, our last act is still most often done in fear and trembling

Jesus faced his death in anguish to the point of sweating blood asking his father to remove the cup if he so willed.

Every action of yours, every thought,

should be those of one who expects to die before the day is out.

Death would have no great terrors for you if you had a quiet conscience.

Then why not keep clear of sin instead of running away from death?

If you aren't fit to face death today,

it's very unlikely you will be tomorrow

(Catechism 1014)


Our attitude about our neighbor

will disclose

acceptance or refusal

of grace and divine love.

On the last day Jesus will say:

"Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."

Christ is Lord of eternal life.

Full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world.

He "acquired" this right by his cross.

The Father has given

"all judgment to the Son."

Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save

and to give the life he has in himself.

By rejecting grace in this life,

One already judges oneself,

Receives according to one's works,

And can even condemn oneself for all eternity

By rejecting the Spirit of love.

The Final Purification, or Purgatory

All who die in God's grace and friendship, but are 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.

The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect,

which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned

  • This teaching is based on the practice of prayer for the dead,

  • mentioned in Sacred Scripture:

    • "Therefore [Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.”

    • (2 Maccabees 12:38-46)

How long does purgatory last?

There is no “time” after death there is only eternity

Purgatory is a

“process of purification”

rather than a place

This process of purification is

more one of

maturation and spiritual growth than of

juridical expiation or punishment for sins

Particular Judgement

Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.

The New Testament implicitly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death

(after purification if necessary)

in accordance with his works and faith.

The parable of the poor man Lazarus

The words of Christ on the cross to the good thief

Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that

refers his life to Christ:

  • either entrance into the blessedness of heaven – if necessary through a purification

  • or immediate and everlasting damnation.

  • Providence allows us time for the free exercise of the will

    At the evening of life,

    we shall be judged on our love.

    The look He casts upon us will be our judge.

    T. S. Elliot


The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of

the final encounter with Christ

in his second coming

at the General Resurrection

A final destiny of the soul

- a destiny which can be different for some than for others.

The resurrection of all the dead,

"of both the just and the unjust,"

will precede the Last Judgment.

This will be "the hour when

All who are in the tombs

will hear [the Son of man's] voice and come forth,

Those who have done good,

to the resurrection of life,

and those who have done evil,

to the resurrection of judgment.”

The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory.

Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming.

Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history.

We shall know the ultimate meaning of:

the whole work of creation

the entire economy of salvation

and understand

the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end.

The Last Judgment will reveal that God's justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God's love is stronger than death.

HEAVENWhat Does Scripture Say?

Dwelling place of God

1 Kgs 8:30; Ps 2:4; Mk 11:25; Mt 5:16; Lk 11:13; Rv 21:2

Dwelling place of the angels

Gn 21:17; Lk 2:15; Heb 12:22; Rv 1:4

Dwelling place of Christ

Mk 16:19; Acts 1:9-11; Eph 4:10; Heb 4:14

Dwelling place of the blessed

Mk 10:21; Phil 3:20; Heb 12:22-24

HEAVENWhat Does Scripture Say?

“The clean of heart will see God”

Matthew 5:8

“We shall see Him as He is.”

1 John 3:2

“At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face.

At present I know partially;

then I shall know fully as I am fully known.”

1 Cor 13:12


“Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, what God has ready for those who love him”

1 Cor 2:9 & Is 64:3

Heaven can not properly be defined

Lack of experience or data

Heaven is unique with nothing to compare


Beatific Vision

Scripture and theology tell us that the blessed see God face to face.

And because this vision is immediate and direct,

it is also exceedingly clear and distinct.

The blessed see God,

not merely according to the measure of His likeness imperfectly reflected in creation,

but they see Him as He is, after the manner of His own Being.

That the blessed see God is a dogma of faith, expressly defined by Benedict XII (1336):

Huckelberry Finn

“I was a-trembling because I’d got to decide forever betwixt two things, and I knowed it.

I studied for a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself,

‘All right, then,

I’ll go to Hell.’”

Defining the Doctrine of Hell

Hell is the absence of heaven

“The Outer Darkness”

Darkness is defined only negatively

as the absence of light

Evil is privation of good

If you believe Good and Evil are relative to each other,

then you cannot believe in the God of the Bible

God is perfectly good

We were designed for heaven

because of the designer

What the Old Testament Says

The wicked are punished

Is 50:11; 66:24; Jdt 16:17; Wis 4:19

Rise to condemnation and shame

Dn 12:2; 2 Mc 7:14

Their punishment is by fire (destruction)

Is 50:11; 66:24

and worms


Is 66:24

First Enoch

What did Jesus say?

Jesus did not teach explicitly about hell

He focused on the Kingdom of God

He did however threaten divine judgement and Gehenna

Place of fiery punishment

Mt 5:22, 30; 10:28;

Mt 11:23, 28; 18:9; 23:15, 33;

Mk 9:43, 45, 47;

Lk 12:5


Hell is punishment

Punishment as for “natural law”

A law that is objective and absolute

The punishment is inherent to the action

Hell’s punishment is intrinsic to the mortal sin committed

If we eat the forbidden fruit of disobedience to God’s will,

divorcing our will and spirit from God’s,

the the inevitable result will be disaster and death,

for God is the source of all joy and life

Hell is pain

God is the sole source of all the joy inreality

If God is joy, hell must be pain

Pain can be thought of as external or internal

Internal pain is far worse than external pain

“Hell is the suffering of being unable to love.”

Loving is greater joy than being loved


Love is the greatest joy therefore there can be no greater pain than to not love

Hell is privation

Deprivation of God

We shut God out by our own choice

The desire to be happy without God is doomed to failure, pain and inevitable punishment


God is the only choice

Privation of God is the absence of all joy

It is not necessary explicitly to choose hell

We can rather choose Mortal Sin

We are separated from God not only when we refuse to love God but also when we refuse to love God’s children

1 Jn 3:14-15

Whoever does not love remains in death

Catechism 1033

We will be separated from him if we fail to meet the needs of the poor

“In all discussions of hell we should keep steadily before our eyes the possible damnation, not of our enemies, nor our friends, families, loved ones but of ourselves”

(C.S. Lewis)

Honesty and Love are the reasons

we teach and believe in hell

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