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otherusesredirect|HereafterRefimprove|date=August 2010The afterlife (also referred to as life after death , the Hereafter , the Next World or the Other Side ) is the belief that a part of, or essence of, an individual which carries with it and confers personal identity survives death|the death of the body of this world and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural means. In some popular views, this continued existence often takes place in a Spirituality|spiritual realm , and in other popular views, the individual is may be reborn into this world and begin the life cycle over again. In this latter view, such rebirths and deaths may take place over and over again continuously until the individual gains entry to a Spirituality|spiritual realm . Major views on the afterlife derive from religion , esotericism and metaphysics .
Dead people are usually believed to go to a specific Plane (esotericism)|plane of existence after death (other than eternal oblivion ), typically believed to be determined by a god, based on their actions during physical life. In contrast, the term afterlife refers to another life in which only the "essence" of the being is preserved, and "reincarnation" is another life on Earth or possibly within the same universe.
Types of views on the afterlife
There are two different types of views on the afterlifeCitation needed|date=November 2010
The first type is loosely based on observations and conjecture made by humans or instruments (for example a radio or a voice recorder, which are used in electronic voice phenomena, or EVP). These observations come from reincarnation research , near death experience s, out-of-body experience s, astral projection , electronic voice phenomena|EVP , mediumship , various forms of photography and so forth. Academic inquiry into such phenomena can be broken down roughly into two categories: psychical research generally focuses on case studies, interviews, and field reports, while parapsychology relates to strictly laboratory research.
The second type is based on a form of faith, usually faith in the stories that are told by ancestors or faith in religious texts|religious books like the Bible , the Qur'an , the Talmud , the Vedas , the Tripitaka etc. This article is mainly about this second type.
The afterlife in different metaphysical models
: See the list of philosophical questions for information.
In metaphysical models, theists generally believe some sort of afterlife awaits people when they die. Members of some generally non-theistic religions such as Buddhism , tend to believe in an afterlife, but without reference to a God. The Sadducees were an ancient Jewish sect that generally believed that there was a God but no afterlife.
Many religions, whether they believe in the soul's existence in another world like Christianity, Islam and many Paganism|pagan belief systems, or in reincarnation like many forms of Hinduism and Buddhism, believe that one's status in the afterlife is a reward or punishment for their conduct during life.
Agnosticism|Agnostics generally hold the position that, like the existence of a God, the existence of other metaphysical phenomena such as the existence of souls or life after death is not verifiable and therefore remains unknown or unknowable.
Atheism|Atheists and Humanism|Secular Humanists generally believe that there is no afterlife.
main|ReincarnationReincarnation refers to an afterlife concept found among Hindus, Buddhists, Rosicrucian s, Spiritism|Spiritists , and Wiccans. Reincarnation is also a belief described in Kabbalah|Kabbalistic Judaism as gilgul neshamot (Reincarnation of Souls). http://www.projectmind.org/exoteric/souls.html In reincarnation, spiritual development continues after death as the deceased begins another earthly life in the Physical plane|physical world , acquiring a superior grade of consciousness and altruism by means of successive reincarnations. This succession leads toward an eventual salvation|liberation .
One consequence of the Hindu and Spiritist beliefs is that our current lives are also an afterlife. According to those beliefs events in our current life are consequences of actions taken in previous lives, or Karma.
Rosicrucians,Max Heindel , The Rosicrucian Christianity Lectures ( http://www.rosicrucian.com/rcl/rcleng01.htm#lecture1 The Riddle of Life and Death), 1908, ISBN 0-911274-84-7 in the same way of those who have had near-death experiences , speak of a life review period occurring immediately after death and before entering the afterlife's Plane (esotericism)|planes of existence (before the silver cord is broken), followed by a Last Judgment#Esoteric Christian tradition|judgment , more akin to a Final Review or End Report over one's life.Max Heindel, http://www.rosicrucian.com/zineen/death5.htm Death and Life in Purgatory - http://www.rosicrucian.com/zineen/death6.htm Life and Activity in Heaven
Many Wicca ns, though not all, profess a belief in an afterlife called the Summerland , a peaceful and sunny place where the souls of the newly dead are sent. Here, souls rest, recuperate from life, and reflect on the experiences they had during their lives. After a period of rest, the souls are reincarnated, and the memory of their previous lives is erased. Shi'a Muslim s believe to Raj'a that can be understood as a limited reincarnation.
The afterlife played an important role in Ancient Egyptian religion , and its belief system is one of the earliest known. When the body died, parts of its soul known as ka (body double) and the ba (personality) would go to the Kingdom of the Dead. While the soul dwelt in the Aaru|Fields of Aaru , Osiris demanded work as restitution for the protection he provided. Statues were placed in the tombs to serve as substitutes for the deceased.
Arriving at one's reward in afterlife was a demanding ordeal, requiring a sin-free heart and the ability to recite the spells, passwords, and formulae of the Book of the Dead . In the Hall of Two Truths, the deceased's heart was weighed against the Shu feather of truth and justice taken from the headdress of the goddess Ma'at .cite book | last = Bard| first = Katheryn | title = Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt | publisher = Routledge | year = 1999| isbn = If the heart was lighter than the feather, they could pass on, but if it were heavier they would be devoured by the demon Ammit .
Egyptians also believed that being mummified was the only way to have an afterlife. Only if the corpse had been properly Embalming|embalmed and entombed in a mastaba , could the dead live again in the Fields of Yalu and accompany the Sun on its daily ride. Due to the dangers the afterlife posed, the Book of the Dead was placed in the tomb with the body as well as food, jewelry, and 'curses'. They also used the "opening of the mouth".
Ancient Egyptian civilization was based on religion; their belief in the rebirth after death became their driving force behind their funeral practices. Death was simply a temporary interruption, rather than complete cessation, of life, and that eternal life could be ensured by means like piety to the gods, preservation of the physical form through Mummification, and the provision of statuary and other funerary equipment. Each human consisted of the physical body, the 'ka', the 'ba', and the 'akh'. The Name and Shadow were also living entities. To enjoy the afterlife, all these elements had to be sustained and protected from harm.
On March 30, 2010, a spokesman for the Egyptian Culture Ministry claimed it had unearthed a large red granite door in Luxor with inscriptions by User,cite web|url= http://www.meeja.com.au/articles/door-to-afterlife-found-in-egyptian-tomb|title=Door to Afterlife found in Egyptian tomb |publisher=www.meeja.com.au |date=2010-03-30 |accessdate=2008-09-30 a powerful adviser to the 18th dynasty Queen Hatshepsut who ruled between 1479 BC and 1458 BC, the longest of any woman. It believes the false door is a 'door to the Afterlife'. According to the archaeologists, the door was reused in a structure in Roman Egypt .
Ancient Greek and Roman
The Greek god Hades is known in Greek mythology as the king of the underworld , a place where souls live after death. The Greek god Hermes , the messenger of the gods, would take the dead soul of a person to the underworld (sometimes called Hades or the House of Hades). Hermes would leave the soul on the banks of the River Styx , the river between life and death. Charon (mythology)|Charon , also known as the ferry-man, would take the soul across the river to Hades, if the soul had gold (The family of the dead soul would put coins under the dead body's tongue). Once crossed, the soul would be judged by Aeacus , Rhadamanthus , and King Minos . The soul would be sent to Elysium , Tartarus , Asphodel Fields , or the Fields of Punishment . The Elysium Fields were for the ones that were good and sinned minimally. It was green (plants), happy, and the sun always shined. Tartarus was for the people that defied the gods, did nothing but sin, or were monster s. The Asphodel Fields simply existed. Those whose sins equalled their goodness, lived and did nothing in life, or were not judged. The Fields of Punishment were for people that had sinned often, but not so much as to be deserving of Tartarus. In Tartarus, the soul would get punished (dipped in lava , burned at stake, the rack, etc.). Some heroes of Greek legend are allowed to visit the underworld. The Romans had a similar belief system about the afterlife, with Hades becoming known asPluto . In the ancient Greek myth about Hercules , he needs to travel to the underworld to capture Cerberus as Labours of Hercules|one of his tasks .
Dream of Scipio , written by Cicero , describes what seems to be an out of body experience, of the soul traveling high above the Earth, looking down at the small planet, from far away.
In book 6 of Virgil 's Aeneid , the hero, Aeneas , travels to the underworld to see his father. By the river Styx, he sees the souls of those not given a proper burial, forced to wait by the river until someone buries them. While down there, along with the dead, he is shown the place where the wrongly convicted reside, the fields of sorrow where those who committed suicide and now regret it reside, including Aeneas' former lover, the warriors and shades, tartarus (where the titans and powerful non-mortal enemies of the Olympians reside) where he can hear the groans of the imprisoned, the palace of Pluto (mythology)|Pluto , and the fields of Elysium where the descendants of the divine and bravest heroes reside. He sees the river of forgetfulness, Lethe, which the dead must drink to forget their life and begin anew. Lastly, his father shows him all of the future heroes of Rome who will live if Aeneas fulfills his destiny in founding the city.
The Poetic Edda|Poetic and Prose Edda s, the oldest sources for information on the Norse concept of the afterlife, vary in their description of the several realms that are described as falling under this topic. The most well-known are:
Valhalla : (lit. "Hall of the Slain" i.e. "the Chosen Ones") This heavenly abode, somewhat analogous to the Greek Elysium, is reserved for those brave warriors who die heroically in battle.
Hel (realm)|Hel : (lit. "The Covered Hall") This abode is somewhat like Hades from Ancient Greek religion: there, something not unlike the Asphodel Meadows can be found, and people who have neither excelled in that which is good nor excelled in that which is bad can expect to go there after they die and be reunited with their loved ones.
Niflhel : (lit. "The Dark" or "Misty Hel") This realm is roughly analogous to Greek Tartarus . It is the deeper level beneath Hel, and those who break oaths, abduct and rape women, and other vile things will be sent there to be among their kind to suffer harsh punishments.
Writing that would later be incorporated into the Hebrew Bible names Sheol as the place of the unrighteous dead (a place for the soul to heal) and the Garden of Eden (Heaven) for those who do righteous no matter what their religion, according to the Tanach.
The Christian writer's traditional re-interpretation is as follows:
the Hebrew word Sheol can mean many things,i.e. Grave, resort, place of waiting, place of healing etc. It can also mean deep ) when the earth opens up and destroys the rebellious Korah, Dathan and Abiram and their 250 followers (niv|Numbers|16:31-33|Numbers 16:31-33). One might take this as implying that Sheol is literally underground, although it is as easily read literally, as signifying an earthquake or split in the earth.
Solomon states in the book of Ecclesiastes : "For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth? " ( Ecclesiastes|Ecc. 3:19-21 New King James Version|NKJV )
"But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun." (Ecc. 9:4-6 NKJV)
Similarly Psalms 146:2-4 (NKJV) states: "Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish."
In the book of Job it is stated: "But man dies and is laid away; indeed he breathes his last and where is he? ... So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep... If a man dies, shall he live again? " (Job 14:10,12,14a NKJV)
The Talmud offers a number of thoughts relating to the afterlife. After death, the soul is brought for judgment. Those who have led pristine lives enter immediately into the "World to Come." Most do not enter the World to Come immediately, but now experience a period of review of their earthly actions and they are made aware of what they have done wrong. Some view this period as being a "re-schooling", with the soul gaining wisdom as one's errors are reviewed. Others view this period to include punishment for past wrongs. At the end of this period, approximately one year, the soul then takes its place in the World to Come. Although punishments are made part of certain Jewish conceptions of the afterlife, the concept of "eternal damnation", so prevalent in other religions, is not a central tenet of the Jewish afterlife. According to the Talmud, eternal punishment is reserved for a much smaller group of malicious and evil leaders, either whose deeds go way beyond norms, or who lead large groups of people to evil. http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/tsa/tsa37.htm http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0011_0_10049.html In the Talmud, completed by A.D. 500, non-Jews who are purely evil cease to exist in any realm when they die. However, authorities agree that virtuous gentiles are given a share in the world-to-come. The Book of Enoch describes Sheol as divided into four compartments for four types of the dead: the faithful saints who await resurrection in Paradise , the merely virtuous who await their reward, the wicked who await punishment, and the wicked who have already been punished and will not be resurrected on Judgment Day. Harry Emerson Fosdick|Fosdick, Harry Emerson . A guide to understanding the Bible. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1956. page 276. It should be noted that the Book of Enoch is considered apocryphal by most denominations of Christianity and all denominations of Judaism.
The book of 2 Maccabees gives a clear account of the dead awaiting a future resurrection and judgment, plus prayers and offerings for the dead to remove the burden of sin.
Maimonides describes the Olam Haba ("World to Come") in spiritual terms, relegating the prophesied physical resurrection to the status of a future miracle, unrelated to the afterlife or the Messianic era. According to Maimonides, an afterlife continues for the soul of every human being, a soul now separated from the body in which it was "housed" during its earthly existence.
The Zohar describes Gehenna not as a place of punishment for the wicked but as a place of spiritual purification for souls. http://www.faqs.org/faqs/judaism/FAQ/06-Jewish-Thought/section-9.html
Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism Rejection of Resurrection
Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism reject Resurrection. Accordingly, they have Amidah#Modern changes by liberal denominations|modified the text to read ''m'chayei hakol ("who gives life to all"). In the new prayer book released by the Reform Judaism movement, they have returned the traditional prayer for the resurrection of the dead. http://www.jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/breaking/103652.html Reform set to introduce new siddur
While ancient Greek philosophers like Plato attempted to prove the existence of reincarnation through philosophical proofs, Jewish mystics who believed in reincarnation simply accepted it as a divine reality.
Although there is no reference to reincarnation in the Talmud or any prior writings,Saadia Gaon in Emunoth ve-Deoth Section vi according to rabbis such as Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman, reincarnation is recognized as being part and parcel of Jewish tradition. Rabbi Trugman explains that it is through oral tradition that the meanings of the Torah, its commandments and stories, are known and understood. The classic work of Jewish mysticism whose origins date back 2000 years, http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=mM8dn68vgD8 the Zohar, is quoted liberally in all Jewish learning; in the Zohar the idea of reincarnation is mentioned repeatedly. Rabbi Trugman states that in the last five centuries the concept of reincarnation, which until then had been a much hidden tradition within Judaism, was given open exposure.
Rabbi Shraga Simmons commented that within the Bible itself, the idea of reincarnation is intimated in Deut. 25:5-10, Deut. 33:6 and Isaiah 22:14, 65:6. http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_o/bl_simmons_reincarnation.htm
Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman wrote that reincarnation is an "ancient, mainstream belief in Judaism." The Zohar, written by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai close to two thousand years ago, makes frequent and lengthy references to reincarnation. Onkelos, a righteous convert and authoritative commentator of the same period, explained the verse, "Let Reuben live and not die�" (Deuteronomy 33:6) to mean that Reuben should merit the World to Come directly, and not have to die again as result of being reincarnated. The great Torah scholar, commentator and kabbalist, Nachmanides (Ramban 1195-1270), attributed Job's suffering to reincarnation, as hinted in Job's saying "God does all these things twice or three times with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit to�the light of the living' (Job 33:29,30)." http://ohr.edu/yhiy/article.php/1077
Reincarnation, called gilgul , became popular in folk belief, and is found in much Yiddish literature among Ashkenazi Jews. Among a few kabbalists, it was posited that some human souls could end up being reincarnated into non-human bodies. These ideas were found in a number of Kabbalistic works from the 13th century, and also among many mystics in the late 16th century. Martin Buber 's early collection of stories of the Baal Shem Tov 's life includes several that refer to people reincarnating in successive lives.Martin Buber, "Legende des Baalschem" in Die Chassidischen B�cher , Hellerau 1928, especially Die niedergestiegene Seele
Among well known (generally non-kabbalist or anti-kabbalist) Rabbis who rejected the idea of reincarnation are Saadia Gaon, David Kimhi , Hasdai Crescas , Yedayah Bedershi (early 14th century), Joseph Albo , Abraham ibn Daud , the Asher ben Jehiel|Rosh and Leon de Modena . Saadia Gaon , in Emunoth ve-Deoth (Hebrew: "beliefs and opinions") concludes Section VI with a refutation of the doctrine of metempsychosis (reincarnation). While refuting reincarnation, the Saadia Gaon further states that Jews who hold to reincarnation have adopted non-Jewish beliefs. By no means do all Jews today believe in reincarnation, but belief in reincarnation is not uncommon among many Jews, including Orthodox. Most Orthodox siddurim (prayerbooks) have a prayer asking for forgiveness for one's sins that one may have committed in this gilgul or a previous one.New World Encyclopedia: Reincarnation http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Reincarnation
Other well-known rabbis who are reincarnationists include Rabbi Yonassan Gershom, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Talmud scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Rabbi DovBer Pinson, Rabbi David M. Wexelman, Rabbi Zalman Schachter, http://www.sytekcom.com/rooster/bta-faq1.html and many others. Reincarnation is cited by authoritative biblical commentators, including Ramban (Nachmanides), Menachem Recanti and Rabbenu Bachya.
Among the many volumes of the holy Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (known as the "Ari"), most of which come downfrom the pen of his primary disciple, Rabbi Chaim Vital, are profound insights explaining issues related to reincarnation. His Shaar HaGilgulim, "The Gates of Reincarnation", is a book devoted exclusively to the subject of reincarnation in Judaism.
When questioned by the Sadducees about the resurrection (in a context relating to who ones spouse would be if one had been married several times in life), Jesus said that marriage will be irrelevant after the resurrection as the resurrected will be (at least in this respect) like the angels in heaven. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/? search=matthew%2022:23-33;& version=47; Matthew 22:23-33
Jesus also maintained that the time would come when the dead would hear the voice of the Son of God , and all who were in the tombs would come out, the faithful to the resurrection of life, and the unfaithful to the resurrection of divine Judgment|judgment . According to the Gospel of Matthew , at the death of Jesus tombs were opened, and at his resurrection many saints who had died emerged from their tombs and went into "the holy city", presumably Jerusalem. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/? search=matthew%2027:50-54;& version=47; Matthew 27:50-54 No other New Testament account includes this event.
The Last Day : Jesus compared the Kingdom of God|kingdom of heaven , over which He rules, to a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into vessels but threw away the bad. So it will be at the close of the age also known as the Last Day. The angels will separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into Hell in Christian beliefs|the furnace of unquenchable fire . Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
The Early Church: 1st century
The author of Gospel of Luke|Luke recounts the story of Lazarus and Dives|Lazarus and the rich man , which shows people in Hades awaiting the resurrection either in comfort or torment. The author of the Book of Revelation writes about God and the angels versus Satan and demons in an epic battle at the end of times when all souls are judged. There is mention of ghostly bodies of past prophets, and the transfiguration of Jesus|transfiguration .
The Early Church: 2nd and 3rd century
The non-canonical Acts of Paul and Thecla speak of the efficacy of prayer for the dead, so that they might be "translated to a state of happiness." http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/thecla.html Acts of Paul and Thecla 8:5
Hippolytus of Rome pictures Hadesas a place where the righteous dead, awaiting in the bosom of Abraham their resurrection, rejoice at their future prospect, while the unrighteous are tormented at the sight of the " Lake of fire|lake of unquenchable fire " into which they are destined to be cast.
The Early Church: 4th and 5th century
Gregory of Nyssa discusses the long-before believed possibility of purification of souls after death.He wrote that a person "may afterward in a quite different manner be very much interested in what is better, when, after his departure out of the body , he gains knowledge of the difference between virtue and vice and finds that he is not able to partake of divinity until he has been purged of the filthy contagion in his soul by the purifying fire " (emphases added) - Sermon on the Dead, AD 382, quoted in http://www.catholic.com/library/Roots_of_Purgatory.asp The Roots of Purgatory
Augustine of Hippo|Saint Augustine counters Pelagius , arguing that original sin means that the unbaptized go to hell, including infants, albeit with less suffering than is experienced by those guilty of actual sins.
Pope Gregory I repeats the concept, articulated over a century earlier by Gregory of Nyssa that the saved suffer purification after death, in connection with which he wrote of "purgatorial flames". The noun "purgatorium" (Latin: place of cleansing http://www.answers.com/topic/purgatory|"purgatory." The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Columbia University Press., 2003. Answers.com 06 Jun. 2007.) is used for the first time to describe a state of painful purification of the saved after life. The same word in adjectival form ( purgatorius -a -um , cleansing), which appears also in non-religious writing, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext? doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0059%3Aentry%3D%2339625 Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary was already used by Christians such as Augustine of Hippo and Pope Gregory I to refer to an after-death cleansing.
Swedenborg and the Enlightenment
During the Age of Enlightenment , theologians and philosophers presented various philosophies and beliefs. A notable example is Emanuel Swedenborg who wrote some 18 theological works which describe in detail the nature of the afterlife according to his claimed spiritual experiences, the most famous of which is Heaven and Hell (Swedenborg)| Heaven and Hell .
On the other hand, the enlightenment produced more rationalist philosophies such as deism . Many deist freethinkers held that belief in an afterlife with reward and punishment was a necessity of reason and good moral
The Seventh-day Adventist Church, teaches that the first death, or death brought about by living on a planet with sinful conditions (sickness, old age, accident, etc.) is a sleep of the soul. Adventists believe that the body + the breath of God = a living soul. Like Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists use key phrases from the Bible, such as "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten" (Eccl. 9:5 KJV). Adventists also point to the fact that the wage of sin is death and God alone is immortal. Adventists believe God will grant eternal life to the redeemed who are resurrected at Jesus' second coming. Until then, all those who have died are "asleep." When Jesus the Christ, who is the Word and the Bread of Life, comes a second time, the righteous will be raised incorruptible and will be taken in the clouds to meet their Lord. The righteous will live in heaven for a thousand years (the millennium) where they will sit with God in judgment over the unredeemed and the fallen angels. During the time the redeemed are in heaven, the Earth will be devoid of human and animal inhabitation. Only the fallen angels will be left alive. The second resurrection is of the unrighteous, when Jesus brings the New Jerusalem down from heaven to relocate to Earth. Jesus will call to life all those who are unrighteous. Satan and his angels will convince the unrighteous to surround the city, but hell fire and brimstone will fall from heaven and consume them, thus cleansing Earth of all sin. The universe will be then free from sin forever. This is called the second death. On the new earth God will provide an eternal home for all the redeemed and a perfect environment for everlasting life, where Eden will be restored. The great controversy will be ended and sin will be no more. God will reign in perfect harmony forever.(Rom. 6:23; 1 Tim. 6:15, 16; Eccl. 9:5, 6; Ps. 146:3, 4; John 11:11-14; Col. 3:4; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:1-10; Rev. 20; 1 Cor. 6:2, 3; Jer. 4:23-26; Rev. 21:1-5; Mal. 4:1; Eze. 28:18, 19; 2Peter 3:13; Isa. 35; 65:17-25; Matt. 5:5; Rev. 21:1-7; 22:1-5; 11:15.)White, E.G. (1858). The great controversy . Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.html
Afterlife in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormonism)
Joseph F. Smith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presents an elaborate vision of the Afterlife. It is revealed as the scene of an extensive missionary effort by righteous spirits to redeem those still in darkness - a spirit prison or "hell" where the spirits of the dead remain until judgment. It is divided into two parts: Spirit Prison and Paradise. Together these are also known as the Spirit World (also Abraham's Bosom; see Luke 16:19-25). They believe that Christ visited spirit prison (1 Peter 3:18-20) and opened the gate for those who repent to cross over to Paradise. "--- what Jesus� immortal spirit did after His death and before His Resurrection is a mystery to all but the Latter-day Saints ---" (Elder Spencer J. Condie, Liahona, -Church magazine � July, 2003) "- - - unto the wicked he did not go, and among the ungodly and the unrepentant - - his voice was not raised. - - But behold, from among the righteous, He organized His forces and appointed messengers �" (D& C 138:20, 30�32). "Christ opened the doors of hell to missionary work among the dead �" (H. Donl Peterson, �I Have a Question,� Ensign, Apr. 1986, 36�38). This is similar to the Harrowing of Hell doctrine of some mainstream Christian faiths. (citation needed) Both Spirit Prison and Paradise are temporary according to Latter-day Saint beliefs. After the resurrection, spirits are assigned "permanently" to three degrees of heavenly glory��Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial��(1 Cor 15:44-42; Doctrine and Covenants, Section 76) or are cast with Satan into Outer Darkness. (See Doctrine and Covenants, Section 76.)
Salvation, faith and merit from ancient to modern Christianity
Most Christians deny that entry into Heaven can be properly earned, rather it is a gift that is solely God's to give through his unmerited grace. This belief follows the theology of Paul of Tarsus|St. Paul : For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith�and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. The Augustine of Hippo|Augustinian , Thomist , Martin Luther|Lutheran , and Calvinist theological traditions all emphasize the necessity of God's undeserved grace for salvation, and reject so-called Pelagianism , which would make man earn salvation through good works. Not all Christian sects accept this doctrine, leading many controversies on grace and free will , and the idea of predestination . In particular, the belief that heaven is a reward for good behavior is a common folk belief in Christian societies, even among members of churches which reject that belief.
Christian theologians Thomas Aquinas and Jonathan Edwards (theologian)|Jonathan Edwards wrote that the saved in heaven will delight in the suffering of the damned. Hell, however, doesn't fit modern, humanitarian concepts of punishment because it can't deter the unbeliever nor rehabilitate the damned, this however, does not affect the Christian belief which places Biblical teaching above the ideas of society. Some Christian believers have come to downplay the punishment of hell. Universalists teach that salvation is for all. Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventist Church|Seventh-day Adventists , though they have among the strictest rules on how to conduct their lives, teach that sinners are destroyed rather than tortured forever. John 3:16 says that only those that accept Jesus will be given eternal life, so the people that don't accept him can't burn in hell for eternity because Jesus hasn't given them eternal life, instead it says they will perish.
In American pop culture depictions of Heaven, particularly in vintage cartoons such as those by Looney Toons in the mid-20th century, the souls of virtuous people ascend to Heaven and are converted into angels . However, this is not in accordance with the orthodox Christian theology. Christianity depicts a sharp distinction between angels , divine beings created by God before the creation of humanity and are used as messengers, and saints , the souls of humans who have received immortality from the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who dwell in Heaven Beatific Vision|with God .
Some sects, such as the Universalists, believe in universalism which holds that all people will eventually be rewarded according to their good or bad deeds, but they themselves will be saved regardless. http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm? b=1Cr& c=3& v=15& t=KJV#comm/13
Jehovah's Witnesses occasionally use the terms "afterlife" and "hereafter""The Hereafter�Where Will It Be? ", The Watchtower, January 1, 2000, page 3, http://www.watchtower.org/e/20001001/article_01.htm Read online to refer to any hope for the dead, but they understand Ecclesiastes http://watchtower.org/e/bible/ec/chapter_009.htm#bk5 9:5 to preclude common views of afterlife:
For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they any more have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten.
Jehovah's Witnesses believe that death is the price for sinning.Reasoning From the Scriptures pp 168-175 http://www.watchtower.org/library/w/2002/7/15/article_02.htm Jehovah's Witnesses website on Hell Individuals judged by God to be wicked, such as in the Great Flood or at Armageddon , are given no hope of an afterlife. After Armageddon there will be a resurrection in the flesh http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/? search=acts%2024:15;& version=9; Acts 24:15 KJV of "both righteous and unrighteous" dead (but not the "wicked"), based on Acts 24:15. Survivors of Armageddon and those who are resurrected are then to gradually restore earth to a paradise.Insight on the Scriptures vol. 2 pp 574-6 After Armageddon, unrepentant sinners are punished with eternal death (non-existence).
Modern Orthodox Christianity
The beliefs typical to modern Orthodox Christian Churches have not diverted from the old Orthodox Christian Churches.
The Catholic Church
The Catholic conception of the afterlife teaches after the soul dies it is judged, The righteous and free of sin enter Heaven. However, those who die in unrepented mortal sin go to hell. In the 1990s, the Catechism of the Catholic Church defined hell not as punishment imposed on the sinner but rather as the sinner's self-exclusion from God. Unlike other Christian groups, the Catholic Church teaches that those who die in a state of grace, but still carry venial sin go to a place called Purgatory where they undergo purification to enter Heaven.
Unreferenced section|date=January 2009Mary Baker Eddy the founder of Christian Science in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures says:
The way through which immortality and life are learned is not ecclesiastical but Christian, not human but divine, not physical but metaphysical, not material but scien- tifically spiritual. Human philosophy, ethics, and super- stition afford no demonstrable divine Principle by which mortals can escape from sin; yet to escape from sin, is what the Bible demands. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," says the apostle, and he straightway adds: "for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians ii. 12, 13). Truth has furnished the key to the kingdom, and with this key Christian Sci- ence has opened the door of the human understanding. None may pick the lock nor enter by some other door. The ordinary teachings are material and not spiritual. Christian Science teaches only that which is spiritual and divine, and not human. Christian Science is unerring and Divine; the human sense of things errs because it is human. Those individuals, who adopt theosophy, spiritualism, or hypnotism, may possess natures above some others who eschew their false beliefs. Therefore my contest is not with the individual, but with the false system. I love mankind, and shall continue to labor and to endure. The calm, strong currents of true spirituality, the manifestations of which are health, purity, and self- immolation, must deepen human experience, until the beliefs of material existence are seen to be a bald imposi- tion, and sin, disease, and death give everlasting place to the scientific demonstration of divine Spirit and to God's spiritual, perfect man.Science and Health page 98:31
Main|Barzakh|AkhirahThe Islamic belief in the afterlife as stated in the Qur'an is descriptive. The Islam ic word for Paradise is jannah and Hell is jahannam . Jannah and Jahannam both have different levels. Jannah possesses 8 gates while Jahannam possess 7deep terrible layers. Individuals will arrive at both everlasting homes during Judgment Day , which commences after the Angel Israfel blows the trumpet the second time. Their level of comfort while in the grave depends wholly on their level of Iman or faith in the one God , or Allah , equivalent in Arabic. In order for one to achieve proper, firm and healthy Iman one must practice righteous deeds or else his level of Iman chokes and shrinks and eventually can wither away if one doesn't practice Islam long enough, hence the depth of practicing Islam is good deeds. One may also acquire Tasbih and recite the names of Allah in such manner as "Subahannallah" or Glory be to Allah in Arabic over and over again to acquire good deeds. The levels in Jannah are 100 Saheeh Al-Bukhari and 7 (? ) for Jahannam .
Islam teaches that the purpose of Man's entire creation is to worship the Creator of the Heavens and Earth - Allah (God in arabic) alone that includes being kind to other human beings and life including bugs, Trees by not oppressing them. Islam teaches that the life we live on Earth is nothing but a test for us and to determine each individual's ultimate abode be it punishment or Jannah in the afterlife, which is eternal and everlasting.
In the 20th century, discussions about the afterlife address the interconnection between human action and divine judgment, the need for moral rectitude, and the eternal consequences of human action in this life and world. http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t125/e61? _hi=2& _pos=1
Main|Bah�'� teachings The teachings of the Bah�'� Faith state that the nature of the afterlife is beyond the nature of those living, just as an unborn fetus cannot understand the nature of the world outside of the womb . The Bah�'� literature|Bah�'� writings state that the soul is immortal and after death it will continue to progress until it attains God in the Bah�'� Faith|God's presence . In Bah�'� belief, souls in the afterlife will continue to retain their individuality and consciousness and will be able to recognize and communicate spiritually with other souls who they have made deep profound friendships with, such as their Marriage|spouses .cite book | last = Smith | first = Peter | year = 2008 | title = An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith | publisher = Cambridge University Press | place = Cambridge | isbn=0521862515 | ref = harv
The Bah�'� writings also state there are distinctions between souls in the afterlife, and that souls will recognize the worth of their own deeds and understand the consequences of their actions. It is explained that those souls that have turned toward God will experience gladness, while those who have lived in error will become aware of the opportunities they have lost. Also, in the Baha'i view, souls will be able to recognize the accomplishments of the souls that have reached the same level as themselves, but not those that have achieved a rank higher than them.
Upanishads describe reincarnation, or punarjanma (see also: samsara ). The Bhagavat Gita , an important book for Hinduism, talks extensively about the afterlife. Here, the Lord Krishna says that just as a man discards his old clothes and wears new ones; similarly the soul discards the old body and takes on a new one. In Hinduism, the belief is that the body is but a shell, the soul inside is immutable and indestructible and takes on different lives in a cycle of birth and death. The end of this cycle is called "Mukthi" (Sanskrit: ??????) and merging finally with God is " Moksha " (Sanskrit: ?????) or salvation.
Garuda Purana , a book solely deals with what happens to a person after death. The God of Death Yama sends his representatives to collect the soul from a person's body whenever he is due for death and they take the soul to Yama. A record of each person's timings & deeds performed by him is kept in a ledger by Yama's assistant "Chitragupta".
According to the Garuda Purana, a soul after leaving the body, travels through a very long & dark tunnel towards South. This is why an oil lamp is lit and kept beside the head of the corpse, to light the dark tunnel and allow the soul to travel comfortably.
The soul, called " Atman (Hinduism)|Atman " leaves the body and reincarnates itself according to the deeds or Karma performed by one in last birth. Re-birth would be in form of animals or other lower creatures if one performed bad Karmas and in human form in a good family with joyous lifetime if the person was good in last birth. In between the two births a human is also required to either face punishments for bad Karmas in "naraka" or hell or enjoy for the good karmas in "svarga" or heaven for good deeds. Whenever his or her punishments or rewards are over he or she is sent back to earth, also known as "Mrityulok" or World of Death. A person is merged with the God or ultimate power when he discharges only & only good Karmas in last birth and the same is called as "Moksha" or "Nirvana", which is the ultimate goal of a true Hindu.Atma (Soul) merges into "Parmatma" or the greatest soul.According to Bhagwadgita an "Atma" or soul never dies, what dies is the body only made of five elements - Earth, Sky, Water, Fire& Vacuum. Soul is believed to be indestructible.None of the five elements can harm or influence it.Hinduism through Garuda Purana also describes in detail various types of "Narkas" or Hells where a person after death is punished for his bad Karmas and dealt with accordingly.
Hindus also believe in 'Karma'. 'Karma' is the accumulated sums of one's good or bad deeds. According to Hinduism the basic concept of Karma is 'As you sow, you shall reap'. So, if you have lived a good life you will be rewarded in the afterlife. Similarly your sum of bad deeds will be mirrored in your next life.Good 'Karma' brings good rewards and bad 'karmas' lead to bad results. There is no judgment here. People accumulate karma through their actions and even thoughts. In Bhagavad Gita when Arjuna hesitates to kill his kith and kin the lord reprimands him saying thus "Do you believe that you are the doer of the action.No.You are merely an instrument in MY hands.Do you believe that the people in front of you are living? Dear Arjuna they are already dead. As a kshatriya (warrior class) it is your duty to protect your people and land. If you fail to do your duty then you are not adhering to dharmic principles."
Buddhists maintain that rebirth (Buddhism)|rebirth takes place without an unchanging Atman (Buddhism)|self or soul passing from one form to another. The type of rebirth will be conditioned by the moral tone of the person's actions (kamma or karma ). For example, where a person has committed harmful actions of body, speech and mind based on greed, hatred and delusion, rebirth in a lower realm, i.e. an animal, a ghost or a hell realm, is to be expected. On the other hand, where a person has performed skillful actions based on generosity, loving-kindness ( metta ), compassion and wisdom, rebirth in a happy realm, i.e. human or one of the many heavenly realms, can be expected.
In Tibetan Buddhism the Bardo Thodol|Tibetan Book of the Dead explains the intermediate state of humans between death and reincarnation. The deceased will find the bright light of wisdom, which shows a straightforward path to move upward and leave the cycle of reincarnation. There are various reasons why the deceased do not follow that light. Some had no briefing about the intermediate state in the former life. Others only used to follow their basic instincts like animals. And some have fear, which results from foul deeds in the former life or from insistent haughtiness. In the intermediate state the awareness is very flexible, so it is important to be virtuous, adopt a positive attitude, and avoid negative ideas. Ideas which are rising from subconsciousness can cause extreme tempers and cowing visions. In this situation they have to understand, that these manifestations are just reflections of the inner thoughts. No one can really hurt them, because they have no more material body. The deceased get help from different Buddhahood|Buddha s who show them the path to the bright light. The ones who do not follow the path after all will get hints for a better reincarnation. They have to release the things and beings on which or whom they still hang from the life before. It is recommended to choose a family where the parents trust in the Dharma (Buddhism)|Dharma and to reincarnate with the will to care for the welfare of all beings.
"Life is cosmic energy of the universe and after death it merges in universe again and as the time comes to find the suitable place for the entity died in the life condition it gets born. There are 10 life states of any life: Hell, hunger, anger, animality, rapture, humanity, learning, realization, bodhisatva and buddhahood. The life dies in which life condition it reborn in the same life condition."
Sikhs also believe in reincarnation. They believe that the soul belongs to the spiritual universe which has its origins in God. It is like a see-saw, the amount of good done in life will store up blessings, thus uniting with God. A soul may need to live many lives before it is one with God. But there is more to it than this; there are four classes that are included in this belief. Above these four classes is God " Waheguru " and you can stay with him if you like or take another step and go to your people and serve them. Below these four classes are non humans such as plants and viruses. You move up and down according to your deeds, a good life and death moves you up to a higher class and a bad life and death results in going down a class.
Zoroastrianism states that the urvan , the disembodied spirit, lingers on earth for three days before departing downward to the kingdom of the dead that is ruled by Yima. For the three days that it rests on Earth, righteous souls sit at the head of their body, chanting the Ustavaiti Gathas with joy, while a wicked person sits at the head of the corpse, wails and recites the Yasna . Zoroastrianism states that for the righteous souls, a beautiful maiden, which is the personification of the soul's good thoughts, words and deeds, appears. For a wicked person, a very old, ugly, naked hag appears. After three nights, the soul of the wicked is taken by the demon Vizaresa (Vizar?�a), to Chinvat bridge, and is made to go to darkness ( hell ).
Jamshid|Yima is believed to have been the first king on earth to rule, as well as the first man to die. Inside of Yima's realm, the spirits live a shadowy existence, and are dependent on their own descendants which are still living on Earth. Their descendants are to satisfy their hunger and clothe them, through rituals done on earth.
Rituals which are done on the first three days are vital and important, as they protect the soul from evil powers and give it strength to reach the underworld. After three days, the soul crosses Chinvat bridge which is the Final Judgment of the soul. Rashnu and Sraosha are present at the final judgment. The list is expanded sometimes, and include Bahman|Vahman and Ahura Mazda|Ormazd . Rashnu is the yazata who holds the scales of justice. If the good deeds of the person outweigh the bad, the soul is worthy of paradise. If the bad deeds outweigh the good, the bridge narrows down to the width of a blade-edge, and a horrid hag pulls the soul in her arms, and takes it down to hell with her.
Misvan Gatu is the 'place of the mixed ones' where the souls lead a gray existence, lacking both joy and sorrow. A soul goes here if his/her good deeds and bad deeds are equal, and Rashnu's scale is equal.
Main|ParapsychologySee also|Near-death studies|Near death experienceA study conducted in 1901 by physician Duncan MacDougall (doctor)|Duncan MacDougall sought to measure the weight lost by a human when the soul "departed the body" upon death.cite book | last = Roach | first = Mary | title = Spook � Science Tackles the Afterlife | publisher = W. W. Norton & Co. | year = 2005 | isbn = 0-393-05962-6 MacDougall weighed dying patients in an attempt to prove that the soul was material, tangible and thus measurable. These experiments are widely considered to have had little if any scientific merit, and although MacDougall's results varied considerably from "21 grams", for some people this figure has become synonymous with the measure of a soul's mass. http://www.snopes.com/religion/soulweight.asp Urban Legends - ReferencePage (Soul man). The title of the 2003 movie 21 Grams is a reference to MacDougall's findings.
The Society for Psychical Research was founded in 1882 with the express intention of investigating phenomena relating to Spiritualism and the afterlife. Its members continue to conduct scientific research on the paranormal to this day. Some of the earliest attempts to apply scientific methods to the study of phenomena relating to an afterlife were conducted by this organization. Its earliest members included noted scientists like William Crookes , and philosophers such as Henry Sidgwick and William James.
Joseph B. Rhine|J. B. Rhine , who was critical in the early foundations of parapsychology as a laboratory science, was committed to finding scientific evidence for the spiritual existence of humans. Scientists who have worked in this area include Raymond Moody , Susan Blackmore , Charles Tart , William James , Ian Stevenson , Michael Persinger and Pim van Lommel among others. http://profezie3m.altervista.org/archivio/TheLancet_NDE.htm Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands
After 25 years of parapsychological research, Susan Blackmore came to the conclusion that there is no empirical evidence for an afterlife. http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/Chapters/Kurtz.htm Skeptical Odysseys: Personal Accounts by the World�s Leading Paranormal Inquirers pp 85-94cite book | last = Kurtz | first = Paul | title = Skeptical Odysseys: Personal Accounts by the World's Leading Paranormal Inquirers | publisher = Prometheus Books | year = 2001 | isbn = 1573928844
Some, such as Francis Crick in 1994, have attempted a �scientific search for the soul�.cite book | last = Crick | first = Francis | title = The Astonishing Hypothesis � the Scientific Search for the Soul | publisher = Touchstone Books | year = 1995 | isbn = 0-684-80158-2Frank Tipler has argued that physics can explain immortality, though such arguments are not falsifiable and thus do not qualify, in Karl Popper 's views, as science.cite book | last = Tipler | first = Franl, J. | title = The Physics of Immortality � Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead | publisher = Anchor | year = 1997 | isbn = 0385467990
Tart conducted research into out-of-body experiences , or OBEs, that indicated the possibility that a person might be able to perceive targets at a distance removed from the physical body. http://www.near-death.com/tart.html Charles Tart - out-of-body experiences and consciousness research Later investigations have both corroborated and failed to corroborate "out-of-body" experiences transcending the confines of the brain."Further evidence for veridical perception during near-death experiences", Ring and Lawrence, Journal of Near-Death Studies Vol 11, Issue 4, p223-9. In one instance, a hospital placed an LED marquee above its patients� beds which displayed a hidden message that could only be read if one were looking down from above. As of|2001, no one who claimed near-death experience or out-of-body experience within that hospital had reported having seen the hidden message.cite book | last = Alper | first = Matthew | title = The "God" Part of the Brain - a Scientific Interpretation of Human Spirituality and God | publisher = Rogue Press | year = 2001 | isbn = 0-9660367-0-0
In 2008, Penny Sartori, an intensive care nurse from Swansea , published a book about near death experiences following 10 years of research. Sartori says that people who went through out-of-body experiences felt as if they floated above themselves and were able to accurately recount what had happened in the room even though their bodily eyes were closed.cite news | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7463606.stm | accessdate = 6 August 2008 | work=BBC News | title=Nurse writes book on near-death | date=2008-06-19
Investigation of the afterlife also includes the study of (among others) cases of haunting, apparitions of the deceased (including, in some cases, information conveyed by those same apparitions), instrumental trans-communication (recording of paranormal voices on tape), and mediumship.David Fontana (2005): Is there an afterlife. A comprehensive overview of the evidence.
There is still the position, based on the philosophical question of Personal identity (philosophy)|personal identity , termed open individualism , and in some ways similar to the old belief of monopsychism , that concludes that individual existence is illusory, and our consciousness continues existing after death in other conscious beings. Positions regarding existence after death was supported by some notable physicists such as Erwin Schr�dinger and Freeman Dyson .cite book | last = Kolak | first = Daniel | title = I Am You: The Metaphysical Foundations for Global Ethics | publisher = Springer | year = 2005 | isbn = 1402029993
The main character in What DreamsMay Come (1998), dies and goes to the afterlife, where he has created a world like a painting. In a similar premise the film The Lovely Bones (2009) is about a young girl who is murdered and goes to an afterlife where things from her life on earth are present.
http://www.yourafterlife.nu/ A View on Life after Death
http://www.near-deathexperiences.org/ Afterlife insights from Near Death Experiences
http://www.endphysics.com THE PHYSICS OF THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
Template group|list= philosophy of religionHeavenHellDeathTheologyPhilosophy topics Category:Death Category:Afterlife| Category:Paranormal Category:Religious belief and doctrine Category:Philosophy of religion Category:Christian terms
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