Fate of the soul after death prior to the last judgement?
- What is the Oriental Orthodox position on the fate of the soul after death prior to the last judgement? Roman Catholics believe - and it has been defined in one the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church - that the soul goes immediately to a particular judgement. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification or immediately, -- or immediate and everlasting damnation". At the last judgement, the Catechism states, after the resurrection of the dead, the Father "through his Son Jesus Christ will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end and the body will be restored to the soul."
In HIS Love
Chev. Thomas Daniel (Reji)
- Dear members
In reference to my query, the following reply posted by an Eastern Orthodox priest in one of their forum. I am publishing it for the befit of our members
In His Love
Chev. Thomas Daniel (Reji)
The Orthodox belief in the state of the soul after death is vague and less developed than the Catholic teaching.
Listen to the balanced teaching of the Church, with these three quotes from widely differing centuries (5th, 17th and 20th) which show the same unanimous teaching on life after death... The simplicity is breathtaking.
It speaks not only of affliction and suffering for the wicked, but it also speaks of rest, blessedness, bliss, and joy.
The teaching of Saint Augustine of Hippo:
"During the time, moreover, which intervenes between a man's death
and the final resurrection, the soul dwells in a hidden retreat, where it enjoys rest or suffers affliction just in proportion to the merit it has earned by the life which it led on earth."
Augustine, Enchiridion, 1099 (A.D. 421).
The 1980 Resolution of the ROCA Synod of bishops on the toll house belief...
"Taking all of the foregoing into consideration, the Synod of Bishops resolve:
In the deliberations on life after death one must in general keep in mind that it has not pleased the Lord to reveal to us very much aside from the fact that the degree of a soul's blessedness depends on how much a man's life on the earth has been truly Christian, and the degree of a man's posthumous suffering depends upon the degree of sinfulness. To add conjectures to the little that the Lord has been pleased to reveal to us is not beneficial to our salvation..."
Interestingly enough, this is almost a word for word repetition of what Saint Augustine said 1500 years earlier!
The Synod of Constantinople of 1672:
"We believe that the souls of the departed are in either repose or torment as each one has wrought, for immediately after the separation from the body they are pronounced either in bliss or in suffering and sorrows, yet we confess that neither their joy nor their condemnation are yet complete. After the general resurrection, when the soul is reunited with the body, each one will receive the full measure of joy or condemnation due to him for the way in which he conducted himself, whether well or ill."
--- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Chev. Thomas Daniel (Reji) wrote:
> What is the Oriental Orthodox position on the fate of the soul after death prior to the last judgement? Roman Catholics believe - and it has been defined in one the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church - that the soul goes immediately to a particular judgement. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification or immediately, -- or immediate and everlasting damnation". At the last judgement, the Catechism states, after the resurrection of the dead, the Father "through his Son Jesus Christ will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end and the body will be restored to the soul."
> In HIS Love
> Chev. Thomas Daniel (Reji)
- Dear all,
The mail by Chev. Thomas Daniel is a good one.
Its high time we should publish such things in our forum..
In the current world, we take things for granted even in belief matters also...
Its sad to note that many of our tradition and theology are not followed by laity and clergy of our esteemed Mother Church. I doubt how many of our people know about matters similar to these.
Also , it is to be noted that clergy and laity of our Church are heavily inclined either to Protestant or to Catholic teachings. Many renowned theologians and other self proclaimed theologians quote and refer Protestant/Catholic teachings and present as Orthodoxy. The fact that they are unable to discern the difference is truly disheartening.
We must have a conscious, sincere and earnest effort to emphasis our true tradition and Orthodox theology.
Last Pesaha service, when I took a glance outside the altar when the
sermon was being preached at the end of the service before the Holy
Communion was given, I saw people drinking water. I have noted this at
many places that people coming to recieve Holy Qurbono are not even
fasting... This is a pathetic state of affairs. This is happening
because we are taking everything for granted. Adding to these, our
Church has granted relaxation and alteration in service times and
lent. Partly its people's ignorance and partly they are forced to
drink water after the whole days labour when Pesaha Mass is conducted
in the evening...
The Sacraments of our Church has to be dealt with seriously...
Same is the case with our tradition and Orthodox belief. We must
seriously study it. Its not a simple thing, sincere effort from clergy
and laity is necessary.
Its truly necessary, should this tradition and Orthodoxy is to be
carried to next generation.
I invite comments from all.
- Dear Rev.Dn.Paul,
I totally agree to your quote; many of our laity & priests are borrowing theological doctrines and presenting it as Orthodoxy, which is eventually leading our flock to places like Muringoor/Potta/Revival,etc...I don't see anything wrong in attending such prayer meetings, but eventually, they move away from our own parish, as these days, people are facing lot of obstacles in their daily lives, hence, seeking peace and they feel that they've found it ultimately by attending such prayer meetings.
Similarly, our people are given ample freedom and relaxation by our Church; while receiving Holy Communion every Sunday without fail, I wonder, how many of them would confess more than once or twice a year. Its sad to see the long queue to receive the Holy Communion, majority of them without fasting, no preparation and above all, they remain the same state even after receiving Holy Communion.
I stress on the true fact that our clergy are not finding enough time to lead their flock through the true spiritual path, due to various reasons. Unless and until our people are educated well time-to-time, there can't be an end to it.
Why don't we take atleast a pinch of sacrifice to that of our Lord?
The Holy Sacraments are meant to be HOLY, and not that anyone, anytime can go through it, without any preparation.
I wish, there is a direct connect to our spiritual leaders, whereby, such points could be discussed, and ensure that focus is majorly on spiritual front, be it educating or following the same.
In Peace & Prayers,
- Dear Deacon Dr.Paul,
I agree 100% percent. Due to the intensity of the factional fight, we are forgetting the Orthodox faith. When we talk about 'faith protection', we are almost always emphasizing only one aspect of the church, which is its communion with the Patriarch of Antioch. So what happens is that people don't know or understand the key aspects of our true "Orthodox" faith and start subsituting that with concepts that they have heard and picked up from Evangelical Protestants and from modern errors that have crept into the Roman Catholic Church.
This is why its so important to end the factional fight with in the "Orthodox Church" in India, so that the church can focus on teaching the faith to its children and witness Christ to the wider society at large. 100% unity is not practical in the current circumstance, in the interim we should strive to be two parallel Orthodox jurisdictions in India, in full communion with each other. Then the energy of the Church can be chanelled to teach the faith rather than organize huger strikes, protest rallys etc.
To the following comments in your posting; I say "AMEN". If there anything I can do to be helpful, I am more than ready.
1) We must have a conscious, sincere and earnest effort to emphasis our true tradition and Orthodox theology.
2)Partly its people's ignorance and partly they are forced to drink water after the whole days labour when Pesaha Mass is conducted in the evening...
3) Same is the case with our tradition and Orthodox belief. We must seriously study it. Its not a simple thing, sincere effort from clergy and laity is necessary.
Mathew G M
- Dear members,Fate of the soul after death prior to the last judgement?
My opinion is that, this is one of such areas in the liturgy that are better left alone without seeking material meanings.
The reason for saying so is because a lay man like me may not be able to logically conclude and understand fully the essence of it from the way we learn these from the words of the Holy Bible and the Prayer books made of the liturgy.
According to scriptures, all who are dead remain in an-in-between state of existence, in an-in-between space, till the 'Judgment day' This it is believed to be relevant to all who are born and died, right from the beginning till now, with the exception of Jesus Christ.
Accordingly, we all faithfully pray for the early 'Second Coming' for our resurrection, judgment, salvation and entry to the Kingdom of Heaven. And according to scriptures again, this material world is supposed to end with it.
Now, is it fair, leave alone whether logical, for we Christians as one group of people, to pray for the end of this world and entire humanity with it, knowing fully well that as far as we know, our wonderful Good Earth is the only planet in the world that support life.
There are many such areas where my thinking and understanding of God, Religion, Life and Death may be seen blasphemy to elite believers. .
So I would rather seek apology and pardon in advance if I had crossed the border and hurt the sacred belief of others.
- Dear Brother Abraham
I would like to add up some verses on the subject matter.. with steps to enter in to Kingdom of God
While preparing the way for Jesus Christ, John the Baptist said to the crowd for repentance ; Ref Luke 3 ( 7-9)
John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, �You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, �We have Abraham as our father.� For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.�
2. Re born.
While answering to Nicadomus, Jesus Christ explain how we can enter Kingdom of God.. Ref John 3 � 5-7 (Ref below) . It is only by re born in water and spirit.
Jesus answered, �Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, �You[c] must be born again.� 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit
3. Spirit of God�s presence in us
Please refer the verses from Romans Chapter 8 - 9-11. It is mentioned that , if any one does not have spirit of Christ, does not belong to Christ.
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of[e] his Spirit who lives in you
Let us evaluate and ask to ourselves.
1. Are we ready for real repentance or still prolong on the wide road of the world.
2. Are we ready for re born in water and spirit ?
3. Whether Gods spirit is in us ?
If we cannot answer the above within ourselves, then it is time to re assertain ourselves and there is no need to wait for some thing other than what mentioned in Holy Bible.
As per scriptures Holy spirit is in the earth and he is ready to help us in our need. See verses Romans 8: 26 � 28
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God�s people in accordance with the will of God.