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Afterlife question

Sabrina's hell question reminded me of something that I was just thinking about last night. When did Christian doctrine change to allow for the notion that souls go directly to heaven or not after death? I believe that early church teachings leave everyone waiting in their graves for the second coming of Christ. The timeline & the theologians responsible for the switch have eluded me in my studies. I know that in the Middle Ages (15th & 16th century I think) the wealthy were paying for church buildings in exchange for prayers to get them from purgatory to heaven faster, but I also know of 18th century grave inscriptions & writings that refer to waiting in the grave for Jesus. So the message seems to be confused & not obviously differentiated between Catholic/Orthodox & Protestant belief. Does anyone have this information or sources for me to read?

Answer Question

Asked by nysa00 at 12:20 PM on Aug. 29, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 4 (36 Credits)
Answers (14)
  • O.O This is very interesting. I know some people still believe that the dead are waiting for Jesus to return or something. ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!

    Answer by caitxrawks at 1:38 PM on Aug. 29, 2009

  • I don't know, but I've wondered the same kind of thing since I have heard both explanations (immediately to heaven/hell vs dead until judgement day) of the afterlife espoused by different people of different Christian beliefs.
    Caitxrawks, I'm reading a 'zombie apocalypse' book right now... I love zombies!

    Answer by Freela at 3:25 PM on Aug. 29, 2009

  • I was taught that our bodies are in the grave waiting for the second coming to become immortal bodies but that our soul goes to heaven immediately after death. I personally believe that the soul and the spirit are two different things and that like Christ our spirits stay to help our loved ones. There have been too many serious accidents in my life  for me not to believe my dad is still here with a catchers mitt to save me


    Answer by mamak57 at 3:46 PM on Aug. 29, 2009

  • Answered at 3:46 PM on Aug. 29, 2009 by: mamak57
    I was taught that our bodies are in the grave waiting for the second coming to become immortal bodies but that our soul goes to heaven immediately after death.

    That is interesting, may I ask which denomination taught this? I am not sure I see the point of the body being resurected. What about people who have been buried for so long that their bodies have completely deteriorated (or were creamated, etc.)? Do they just not get in on the second coming "event"? Is that in any way detrimental to their soul? If your spirit is different from the soul, what is it? Could it be that souls in heaven can "leave" for a short time to return to Earth to help loved ones, in your opinion? Since you answered with some personal beliefs I just thought I would ask because you raise some interesting points.

    Answer by nysa00 at 4:09 PM on Aug. 29, 2009

  • In the book of Luke, one of the criminals being crucified next to Jesus asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. Jesus says, I tell you the truth, this day you will be with me in paradise. Upon the death of Jesus, the sky goes dark, there are earthquakes, dead holy men are seen walking around. Also Apostle Paul mentions, absent from the body, present with the Lord. The life he gave changed everything. He conquered the grave and I believe he gave us that gift also.

    Answer by NikkiMomof2grls at 5:59 PM on Aug. 29, 2009

  • Paul teaches explicitly in 2 Corinthians "We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."

    Before Jesus died for our sins, people went to a place called Abrahams Bosom. They did not hang out in the dirt!!! That would be so gross, eww. LOL. It was a place that had two sections. One for those who died in faith (the righteous) and it was a place of comfort, and another place of suffering for those who died without faith (the wicked). This was because according to the OT sacrificial system they would sacrifice animals for their sins. This was not enough, it was only a covering. In order for us to have complete forgiveness of sins we needed the blood of Christ. Only His blood can bridge the gap between us and God. So these people had to wait for Jesus to die, before they could enter the pressence of God. But if I died right now -- Boom -- I am in the pressence of God.

    Answer by Cinnamon-mom at 6:29 PM on Aug. 29, 2009

  • Now my body would go into the ground, but my spirit/soul would be in heaven, fully conscious, with God and everyone else.

    Our bodies will be ressurected at the rapture. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thes. 4:16-17

    Answer by Cinnamon-mom at 6:32 PM on Aug. 29, 2009

  • You can read about Abraham's Bosom in Luke 16; it is the story of the rich man and Lazarus.

    Now the moment people left Abraham's Bosom and went into the presence of the Lord was after Jesus died on the cross. He told the man next to him on the cross "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." Luke 23:43. So Jesus was going to take everyone into paridise to be with HIM now. No longer would the righteous go into "Abraham's Bosom" -- they could now, because Jesus completely did away with their sins, go directly to the presence of God and paradise : )


    Answer by Cinnamon-mom at 6:43 PM on Aug. 29, 2009

  • To understand this even more you might read the book of Hebrews. "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4) but we have been redeemed by 'the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." 1 Peter 1:19

    And once we all get to heaven, and we are in His pressence we will rejoice at the ONE THING that could get us there!!! His Blood that He willingly shed for us!!! In Revelation we see the saints in heaven praising Him, ""You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation," Rev. 5:9

    Anyways, I really like talking about this so if you have any questions pm me!!! : )


    Answer by Cinnamon-mom at 6:47 PM on Aug. 29, 2009

  • Oh, I just saw that you asked if souls who have passed on are allowed to return and help loved ones. If you click on the link I gave your for Luke 16 you will see that the rich man asked if he could return and help his family. That request was denied. Check it out. ; )

    Answer by Cinnamon-mom at 6:50 PM on Aug. 29, 2009

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