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The Afterlife


Biblical passages about the afterlife

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What is our eventual destination when we die? Over the past two thousand years, conservative and liberal Christian faith groups and theologians have studied the Bible and disagreed about its teachings on life after death. Various serious, intelligent, devout, have prayerfully concluded that Heaven, Hell, purgatory, reincarnation, some sort of shadowy existence, and/or even annihilation (no existence at all) awaits:


bullet Conservative Christians generally view the authors of the Bible as having been inspired by God. Thus, their biblical writings are inerrant. They believe that all of the authors present a coherent picture of the afterlife: reward for very few believers in Heaven and eternal punishment for the vast majority in Hell.

bullet Liberal Christians view the authors of the  Bible as each promoting their own specific -- and very different -- beliefs of the afterlife. Liberals see these beliefs as having evolving during the ten centuries or so over which the Bible was written.

Each group believes that their conclusions are correct and solidly based on the Bible. At least one is wrong.

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Topics covered in this section:

bullet Liberal interpretations of Biblical passages about the afterlife:
bullet Covering the interval from 623 BCE to 1 CE.
bullet During the 1st century CE: Various forms of Judaism, the Gospels, the writings of Paul, etc.
bullet Conservative interpretations of Biblical passages about the afterlife.
bulletOther topics: How Bible translators handle the afterlife.  What Americans believe.

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Related essays on this web site:

bulletSalvation: This is a topic closely tied to Hell, because many Christians believe that most of humanity will end up in Hell; only those few who are saved will attain Heaven.
bullet Beliefs of modern and ancient Christians
bullet Can non-Christians be saved?

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Copyright 1997 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2016-MAY-17
Author: B.A. Robinson

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