The teachings and the beliefs of the afterlife in Christianity Essay
Christians believe the soul is as immortal, tangible, metaphysical body alive within each human. The soul is believed to be you’re after life body (for heaven) until the apocalypse (Christians call this judgment day). On Judgment day the Bible says: ‘Death and the world of the dead also gave up the dead they held’ (Revelations) upon the deceased’s ascension the physical body (from our life on Earth) will be given back to the dead. This is why most Christians used to believe in burial rather than cremation, so they may have a body for that day.
Now a new interpretation of the Bible is a more popular belief-that we will be given ‘new bodies’ for our life with God. It is popular due to scientific development. We now know that dead bodies simply rot. Other religions have different beliefs about the ‘disposal’ of the body. Hindu’s believe that burial is only for children who have not yet reached puberty. They believe in burning them body in front of everybody, they believe cremation gives freedom to the soul, so it can move onto another life. If they are cremated they are with their feet facing south representing their God of death-Yama.
Muslims however do not believe in cremation and are buried quickly, with their head facing Mecca. Islam originated from the Middle East, where it is humid, this is why the bodies are traditionally buried quickly. To prevent the smell, and rotting. They also believe in the three stages of afterlife-heaven, hell and purgatory. Christians believe that humans have been created in Gods image. Adam and Eve where once thought to have stronger parallels to God than humans of today do. In Genesis Adam and Eve where thought to be eternal (as in the image of God).
This was supposedly the case until they where cast out of the Garden of Eden for committing a sin. God cursed Adam, Eve and the Serpent; Adam’s punishment was condemning. ‘… until you return to the ground since from it you where taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return. ‘ (Genesis 3: 15). This is the Christian theory of human death. As all of mankind suffered for Adam and Eves sin, Christians believe that obeying the Ten Commandments (do not commit adultery) and two new commandments (Jesus-‘love the lord god with all your heart ‘and ‘love thy neighbor’) will save you from a ‘second death’ otherwise known as hell.
These commandments are seldom followed these days, as modern etiquette is radically different to ancient society values. Christians of today simply revaluate what these commandments mean and stick to them as much as possible in everyday life. Those who live their life believing in Christ and repenting of their sins will live again through death to spend an eternity with God as it should have been in the Garden of Eden. Jesus death is significant for numerous reasons. Jesus was human he lived as a perfect example of how every human should live.
Through his death, because he was Gods son, Jesus could resolve the problems of sin and human failure. He showed mortal suffering and death then the immortal ascension. The ascension was proof that there is a heaven and that God has power over life and death. ‘While he was blessing them he left and was taken up to heaven’ (24 Luke 31). Playing on the idea of mortality, though we may be disillusioned sometimes there is total equality throughout the human race. We all where born into this world and we will all feel the pains and smiles of life before succumbing to our inevitable fate.
How humble we may be on the social scale, or how wealthy we are does not decide our fate, determine our journey afterlife. It is in a common factor, our souls that are judged. This is evident in the parable that Jesus told of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31). Lazarus, a poor man brought a minimal bounty as an offering to the temple, but it was all he could manage, a totally selfless act. The rich man offered all the riches that he didn’t care to loose, he thought wealth would ensure his souls ascension to heaven.
Jesus told this parable to teach the concepts of equality and selflessness, churches still preach this parable to remind Christians of the message. That it is on the content of our character that we are judged not the content of our pocket. All Christians believe that when they die if they have repent all their sins they will spend eternity with God this state is called Heaven, this is otherwise known as an afterlife. This is often depicted as a place above Earth with cherubs, clouds and robust women (renaissance).
Early Christians believed baptism was ensured your eternity with God after life on Earth. For those judged by God and found undeserving of heaven entirely there is a second death, a state known as hell. Modern Christians interpret hell symbolically and do not believe in it. Quite a contrast to the middle ages where Christians vigorously attended church to escape the torment of hell. ‘It is a place of everlasting punishment and separation from God’ (Jude 1:7). For those who are spared a second death and undeserving of an afterlife there is purgatory, a belief of Roman Catholics.
Purgatory is a state of temporary suffering where the souls of sinners undergo punishment before entering heaven. It was believed that if you where not baptized you would stay there forever. This has subconsciously encouraged Christians to get their children baptized early in life. The common way of rectifying any sin and clearing your conscience in Catholicism is confession. Where once you admit to your sin you are given advice on how to rectify the situation and revoke the negative doing. Purgatory is quite uncharacteristic of such a decisive and strict denomination.
Other denominations do not believe in Purgatory as they believe heaven and hell are the be all end all and Jesus did not preach his people about Purgatory, even though it is mentioned in the Bible and great literature. This is similar to Dante’s levels of hell. That there is/are a place/s between heaven and hell. Dante uses levels of hell to explain that a murderer and a hungry person who stole food would not be in the same hell. All Christian regardless of denomination believes in a heaven and most believe in a hell.
Then there is controversy over sin, for example… soldiers, or people that are involved with euthanasia-are they murderers? Was it a passion driven from the soul? Different individuals believe in a variety of possible answers. Questions like this often sway people into making life decisions based on faith. There are Christian soldiers, but some Christians may decide against the profession in the view that eternal punishment could be the only outcome for killing another man. Such judgment, of course can only be made by God.
Unjustified crimes (e. . hungry person stealing food) are sometimes a result of ‘misinterpretation’ and discernment. For example, the Islamic terrorists of the Wahydeeb who where involved in ‘9/11’ believed they where doing it in the name of their God, and that in doing this they would be with their God. However almost every outsider of the Wahydeeb would agree that it was a repulsive, unholy act that would completely condemn them. It is not only a question of faith, but of ethics that aids us in our life decisions that ultimately lead to our fate.