Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What Happens Immediately After People Die – A Series of Studies

     The last time, I looked at when people are judged. Most of these thoughts are sparked by my textbook, The Judgment Seat of Christ[1] by Samuel Hoyt. However, Hoyt doesn’t have much to say about what happens between death and a person’s judgment. While he had a small section on purgatory, the main emphasis there was showing that that the concept isn’t justified by Scripture.[2] Since he brought up the subject, and it appears from my previous post that there is a time between a person’s judgment and their death, I’ll post my thoughts on these various beliefs.
There are several options that have had various followings.
·         Annihilation – there is nothing after death. This has two flavors.
o   Everyone is gone after death and we cease to exist.[3]
o   Only unbelievers are extinguished from existence.[4]
·         Catholic Options Immediately After Death[5]
o   Hell – eternal punishment for those who are in a state of wickedness.
o   Purgatory – this is the place where believers go who are not spiritually perfect to become perfected.
o   Heaven – eternal reward for those who are completely purified when they die (or become purified in purgatory).
·         Soul Sleep – this is the belief that when someone dies, he sleeps or is unconscious until his resurrection and then faces judgment. This applies to both believers and unbelievers.[6]
·         Instantaneous Resurrection – this is the belief that upon death a believer receives a transformed heavenly body.[7]
·         Disembodied Existence – this is the soul departing the body to go to paradise (believers) or Hades (unbelievers).[8]
     It is possible to write a book on each of these topics so I’ll try to briefly express what each one is in a post and scriptural basis for it. My conclusions will come in the last post. I'll start with annihilation in my next post.

[1] Samuel L. Hoyt, The Judgment Seat of Christ: a Biblical and Theological Study (Milwaukee, WI: Grace Gospel Press, 2015), Chapter 4.
[2] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3 ed. (Grand Rapids, USA.: Baker Academic, 2013), 81-84, Kindle.
[3] Ibid., 487.
[4] Ibid., 1136.
[5] Ibid., 1080.
[6] Ibid., 1079.
[7] Ibid., 1083,.
[8] Ibid., 1085.

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