November 21, 2012
Afterlife from a Christian Point of View
Have you ever thought about what happens after you die; if there is something after this life? There are many different approaches to whether there is life after death or not, but in this paper we will be looking at the Christian perspective towards the afterlife. Christianity is the largest religion in the world today due to it being branched down into different groups, and it is a known fact that there is no other religion today that has a huge impact on our world to the extent that Christianity does. Christianity's beliefs on the afterlife can be broke down into two main broad groups, those of the Roman Catholic Church, and those of the Protestant Church. Most often, Christian knowledge comes from the Bible, and in this case we will also be looking at the general beliefs about the afterlife, while ignoring the many interpretations. Most Christians believe that there is a heaven and hell; where heaven is a place in which believers will enjoy freedom from sin and suffering, and hell is a place in which unbelievers and sinners will suffer. The afterlife consists of three main concepts which are heaven and hell, salvation, and purgatory. As the first concept is heaven and hell, Christians believe in the immortality of the soul. The general belief is that souls that are saved enter Heaven, where they live for all eternity in the presence of God, and the souls that are unsaved are thrown into Hell, where they are either tortured for all eternity, or cease to exist. Not all souls enter heaven; some souls go directly to Heaven or directly to Hell. This concept is completely lacking in Protestant Church beliefs (White, 2002, para. 8). description of what it is believed to be like. Heaven is described as a place of immense size and beauty, streets of gold and angels singing. The main focus of heaven is that those entering heaven will meet with their creator which is God Himself. There will be no pain or weeping in Heaven, no more suffering, only joy and constant worship to God. Where as hell is described as a place of suffering, weeping, and “gnashing of teeth” (Religionfacts, 2004). Most Protestant and Orthodox churches hold that such punishment is eternal, although a few non-orthodox or cult churches such as the Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the soul that goes to Hell is annihilated (White, 2002, para. 5). There may be various views and interpretations as to the description of heaven and hell due to the many different groups within Christianity as part of the afterlife from a Christian point of view. The second concept is salvation, Christians believe that they are saved by accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior, and this is an intensely spiritual and special decision in their lives. Some Christians believe that this salvation can be lost through a series of sin, for example, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that a Christian must perform good works in order to keep the faith. Even those individuals who don't believe in either of the previous doctrines believe that Christians will be judged for their actions in life, even if said actions are not the basis for their eternal destination (Graham, 2011, para 13). The importance of spiritual and outward actions has motivated the Christians throughout the centuries to pursue good deeds and to live accordingly to please God. Results of this motivation vary in intention with widespread effects. The most powerful example would have to be the charity and aid offered by Christians in every shape and form. While it cannot be said that every Christian is motivated by his outlook on the afterlife to perform good works, the Bible promises eternal rewards to those who selflessly serve others (White, 2002, para 4). Since we are all sinners by nature, we all risk separation from the loving God. We understand that without...
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