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Afterlife

Afterlife

Overview

The afterlife is the belief that a part of, or essence
Essence
In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the object or substance has contingently, without...

 of, or soul
Soul
A soul in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing or object. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that humans have souls, and others teach that all living things and even inanimate objects have souls. The...

 of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity, survives the death of the body
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

 of this world
World (theology)
-Christian views on the World:In Christianity, the concept connotes the fallen and corrupt world order of human society. The world is frequently cited alongside the flesh and the Devil as a source of temptation that Christians should flee...

 and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 means, in contrast to the belief in eternal oblivion
Oblivion (eternal)
An eternal state of oblivion, or lack of awareness, is believed by some to occur after death. This belief contradicts beliefs that there is an afterlife, such as a heaven or hell, after death. The belief in eternal oblivion stems from the idea that the brain creates the mind; therefore, when the...

 after death. In some popular views, this continued existence often takes place in a spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 realm, and in other popular views, the individual may be reborn
Reborn
Reborn may refer to:*Reborn, a Digital Creative Agency in Sydney, Australia*Reborn!, a manga series and a character in the manga*Reborn , a novel by F...

 into this world and begin the life cycle over again.
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Encyclopedia

The afterlife is the belief that a part of, or essence
Essence
In philosophy, essence is the attribute or set of attributes that make an object or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity. Essence is contrasted with accident: a property that the object or substance has contingently, without...

 of, or soul
Soul
A soul in certain spiritual, philosophical, and psychological traditions is the incorporeal essence of a person or living thing or object. Many philosophical and spiritual systems teach that humans have souls, and others teach that all living things and even inanimate objects have souls. The...

 of an individual, which carries with it and confers personal identity, survives the death of the body
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

 of this world
World (theology)
-Christian views on the World:In Christianity, the concept connotes the fallen and corrupt world order of human society. The world is frequently cited alongside the flesh and the Devil as a source of temptation that Christians should flee...

 and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 means, in contrast to the belief in eternal oblivion
Oblivion (eternal)
An eternal state of oblivion, or lack of awareness, is believed by some to occur after death. This belief contradicts beliefs that there is an afterlife, such as a heaven or hell, after death. The belief in eternal oblivion stems from the idea that the brain creates the mind; therefore, when the...

 after death. In some popular views, this continued existence often takes place in a spiritual
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

 realm, and in other popular views, the individual may be reborn
Reborn
Reborn may refer to:*Reborn, a Digital Creative Agency in Sydney, Australia*Reborn!, a manga series and a character in the manga*Reborn , a novel by F...

 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 spiritual realm. Major views on the afterlife derive from religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, esotericism
Esotericism
Esotericism or Esoterism signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs, that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group or those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest. The term derives from the Greek , a compound of : "within", thus "pertaining to the more inward",...

 and metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

.

The dead are usually believed to go to a specific plane of existence
Plane (esotericism)
In esoteric cosmology, a plane, other than the physical plane is conceived as a subtle state of consciousness that transcends the known physical universe....

 after death (other than eternal oblivion), typically believed to be determined by a god
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 or divine judge
Divine Judgment
Divine judgment means the judgment of God or other supreme beings within a religion. The concept is prominent in Abrahamic religions, most significantly in the Last judgment.-Objective and subjective judgment:...

, based on their actions or beliefs
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

 during physical life. In contrast, the term afterlife refers to another life in which only the "essence" of the being is preserved, and "reincarnation
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

" is another life on Earth or possibly within the same universe.

Types of views on the afterlife



There are three different types of views on the afterlife
  • The first type is 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
    Reincarnation research
    Reincarnation research is a branch of parapsychology. Psychiatrist Ian Stevenson, from the University of Virginia, investigated many reports of young children who claimed to remember a past life...

    , near death experience
    Near death experience
    A near-death experience refers to a broad range of personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body; feelings of levitation; extreme fear; total serenity, security, or warmth; the experience of absolute dissolution;...

    s, out-of-body experience
    Out-of-body experience
    An out-of-body experience is an experience that typically involves a sensation of floating outside of one's body and, in some cases, perceiving one's physical body from a place outside one's body ....

    s, astral projection
    Astral projection
    Astral projection is an interpretation of out-of-body experience that assumes the existence of an "astral body" separate from the physical body and capable of traveling outside it...

    , EVP, mediumship
    Mediumship
    Mediumship is described as a form of communication with spirits. It is a practice in religious beliefs such as Spiritualism, Spiritism, Espiritismo, Candomblé, Voodoo and Umbanda.- Concept :...

    , 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
    Parapsychology
    The term parapsychology was coined in or around 1889 by philosopher Max Dessoir, and originates from para meaning "alongside", and psychology. The term was adopted by J.B. Rhine in the 1930s as a replacement for the term psychical research...

     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 books such as the Bible
    Bible
    The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

    , the Qur'an
    Qur'an
    The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

    , the Talmud
    Talmud
    The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

    , the Vedas
    Vedas
    The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

     and the Tripitaka
    Tripiṭaka
    ' is a traditional term used by various Buddhist sects to describe their various canons of scriptures. As the name suggests, a traditionally contains three "baskets" of teachings: a , a and an .-The three categories:Tripitaka is the three main categories of texts that make up the...

    . This article is mainly about this second type.

  • The third type is based on the nature of human beings, arguing that because humans are not only of the body they may continue in some form after the loss of the body. For example Jung
    Jung
    Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist, an influential thinker and the founder of analytical psychology.Jung may also refer to:* Jung * JUNG, Java Universal Network/Graph Framework-See also:...

     said in an interview that the human psyche in part at least is not dependant upon space and time. Therefore it is possible that the psyche will continue after it leaves space and time (when the body dies). Another example is Marc Jackson writes that emotional experience is primary whereas experience from the senses is secondary. Therefore it is possible that with the end of sense experience (the body) some form of emotional life will continue.

The afterlife in different metaphysical models


In metaphysical s, theists generally believe some sort of afterlife awaits people when they die. Members of some generally non-theistic religions such as Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, tend to believe in an afterlife, but without reference to a God. The Sadducees
Sadducees
The Sadducees were a sect or group of Jews that were active in Ancient Israel during the Second Temple period, starting from the second century BC through the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. The sect was identified by Josephus with the upper social and economic echelon of Judean society...

 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 pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 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.

Most atheists
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

 tend not to believe in life after death, while secular humanists
Secular humanism
Secular Humanism, alternatively known as Humanism , is a secular philosophy that embraces human reason, ethics, justice, and the search for human fulfillment...

 explicitly reject the idea of a supernatural afterlife. Agnostics
Agnosticism
Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable....

 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.

Reincarnation



Reincarnation refers to an afterlife concept found among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Rosicrucian
Rosicrucian
Rosicrucianism is a philosophical secret society, said to have been founded in late medieval Germany by Christian Rosenkreuz. It holds a doctrine or theology "built on esoteric truths of the ancient past", which, "concealed from the average man, provide insight into nature, the physical universe...

s, Spiritists
Spiritism
Spiritism is a loose corpus of religious faiths having in common the general belief in the survival of a spirit after death. In a stricter sense, it is the religion, beliefs and practices of the people affiliated to the International Spiritist Union, based on the works of Allan Kardec and others...

, and Wiccans. Reincarnation is also a belief described in Kabbalistic
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 Judaism as gilgul neshamot (Reincarnation of Souls). In reincarnation, spiritual development continues after death as the deceased begins another earthly life in the physical world
Physical plane
The physical plane , physical world, or physical universe, in emanationist metaphysics such as are found in Neoplatonism, Hermeticism, Hinduism and Theosophy, refers to the visible reality of space and time, energy and matter: the physical universe in Occultism and esoteric cosmology is the lowest...

, acquiring a superior grade of consciousness and altruism
Altruism
Altruism is a concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of 'others' toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism is the opposite of...

 by means of successive reincarnations. This succession leads toward an eventual liberation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

.

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, in the same way of those who have had near-death experiences, speak of a life review
Life review
A life review is a phenomenon widely reported as occurring during near-death experiences, in which a person rapidly sees much or the totality of his or her life history in chronological sequence and in extreme detail. It is often referred to by people having experienced this phenomenon as having...

 period occurring immediately after death and before entering the afterlife's planes of existence
Plane (esotericism)
In esoteric cosmology, a plane, other than the physical plane is conceived as a subtle state of consciousness that transcends the known physical universe....

 (before the silver cord
Silver cord
In metaphysical literature, the silver cord, also known as the sutratma or life thread of the antahkarana, refers to a life-giving linkage from the Higher self down to the physical body...

 is broken), followed by a judgment, more akin to a Final Review or End Report over one's life.

Many Wicca
Wicca
Wicca , is a modern Pagan religious movement. Developing in England in the first half of the 20th century, Wicca was popularised in the 1950s and early 1960s by a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald Gardner, who at the time called it the "witch cult" and "witchcraft," and its adherents "the Wica."...

ns, though not all, profess a belief in an afterlife called the Summerland
The Summerland
The Summerland is the name given by Wiccans and other earth-based Neopagan religions and by Theosophists to their conceptualization of an afterlife.-General overview of Summerland in Neopaganism:...

, 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.

Heaven and Hell


In Abrahamic religions the view is generally held that one goes to hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

 or heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

 depending on one's deeds and/or faith
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

 while on Earth, or predestination
Predestination
Predestination, in theology is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others...

 and Unconditional election
Unconditional election
Unconditional election is the Calvinist teaching that before God created the world, he chose to save some people according to his own purposes and apart from any conditions related to those persons...

. In most denominations, Heaven is a place of everlasting reward for the pious to go after they die. Hell in comparison is a place of eternal (or in some religions, temporary) torment for the wicked. Similar places of torment and reward can be seen in Greek Mythology with Elysium
Elysium
Elysium is a conception of the afterlife that evolved over time and was maintained by certain Greek religious and philosophical sects, and cults. Initially separate from Hades, admission was initially reserved for mortals related to the gods and other heroes...

 versus Tartarus
Tartarus
In classic mythology, below Uranus , Gaia , and Pontus is Tartarus, or Tartaros . It is a deep, gloomy place, a pit, or an abyss used as a dungeon of torment and suffering that resides beneath the underworld. In the Gorgias, Plato In classic mythology, below Uranus (sky), Gaia (earth), and Pontus...

.

Limbo or purgatory


In the Roman Catholic Church, limbo
Limbo
In the theology of the Catholic Church, Limbo is a speculative idea about the afterlife condition of those who die in original sin without being assigned to the Hell of the damned. Limbo is not an official doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church or any other...

 is the abode of unbaptized but innocent or righteous souls, as those of infants or virtuous individuals who lived before Jesus Christ
Ministry of Jesus
In the Christian gospels, the Ministry of Jesus begins with his Baptism in the countryside of Judea, near the River Jordan and ends in Jerusalem, following the Last Supper with his disciples. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" at the start of his ministry...

 was first born on earth. In other Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 denominations it has been described as an intermediate place or state of confinement in oblivion and neglect.

The notion of purgatory
Purgatory
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

 is associated particularly with the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church (in the Eastern churches it is a doctrine, though often without using the name "Purgatory"); Anglicans of the Anglo-Catholic tradition generally also hold to the belief. John Wesley
John Wesley
John Wesley was a Church of England cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield...

, the founder of Methodism
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

, believed in an intermediate state
Intermediate state
In Christian eschatology, the intermediate state or interim state refers to a person's "intermediate" existence between one's death and one's resurrection from the dead...

 between death and the resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

 and in the possibility of "continuing to grow in holiness there", but Methodism does not officially affirm this belief and denies the possibility of helping by prayer
Prayer for the dead
Wherever there is a belief in the continued existence of man's personality through and after death, religion naturally concerns itself with the relations between the living and the dead...

 any who may be in that state.

Ancient Egypt


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 Fields of Aaru
Aaru
In ancient Egyptian mythology, the fields of Aaru or the Egyptian reed fields, are the heavenly paradise, where Osiris ruled after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition...

, Osiris
Osiris
Osiris is an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He is classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and...

 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
Book of the Dead
The Book of the Dead is the modern name of an ancient Egyptian funerary text, used from the beginning of the New Kingdom to around 50 BC. The original Egyptian name for the text, transliterated rw nw prt m hrw is translated as "Book of Coming Forth by Day". Another translation would be "Book of...

. 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. 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
Ammit
thumb|right|400px|This detail scene from the [[Papyrus]] of [[Hunefer]] shows [[Hunefer]]'s heart being weighed on the scale of [[Maat]] against the [[feather of truth]], by the [[jackal]]-headed [[Anubis]]. The [[Ibis]]-headed [[Thoth]], [[scribe]] of the [[gods]], records the result...

.

Egyptians also believed that being mummified and put in a sarcophagus (an ancient Egyptian "coffin" carved with complex symbols and designs, as well as pictures and hieroglyphs) was the only way to have an afterlife. Only if the corpse had been properly embalmed
Embalming
Embalming, in most modern cultures, is the art and science of temporarily preserving human remains to forestall decomposition and to make them suitable for public display at a funeral. The three goals of embalming are thus sanitization, presentation and preservation of a corpse to achieve this...

 and entombed in a mastaba
Mastaba
A mastaba, or "pr-djt" , is a type of ancient Egyptian tomb in the form of a flat-roofed, rectangular structure with outward sloping sides that marked the burial site of many eminent Egyptians of Egypt's ancient period...

, could the dead live again
Resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

 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, jewellery, 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, a powerful adviser to the 18th dynasty Queen Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut also Hatchepsut; meaning Foremost of Noble Ladies;1508–1458 BC) was the fifth pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty of Ancient Egypt...

 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
Hades
Hades , Hadēs, originally , Haidēs or , Aidēs , meaning "the unseen") was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. The genitive , Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative came to designate the abode of the dead.In Greek mythology, Hades...

 is known in Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 as the king of the underworld
Underworld
The Underworld is a region which is thought to be under the surface of the earth in some religions and in mythologies. It could be a place where the souls of the recently departed go, and in some traditions it is identified with Hell or the realm of death...

, a place where souls live after death. The Greek god Hermes
Hermes
Hermes is the great messenger of the gods in Greek mythology and a guide to the Underworld. Hermes was born on Mount Kyllini in Arcadia. An Olympian god, he is also the patron of boundaries and of the travelers who cross them, of shepherds and cowherds, of the cunning of thieves, of orators and...

, 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
Styx
In Greek mythology the Styx is the river that forms the boundary between the underworld and the world of the living, as well as a goddess and a nymph that represents the river.Styx may also refer to:-Popular culture:...

, the river between life and death. Charon
Charon (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Charon or Kharon is the ferryman of Hades who carries souls of the newly deceased across the rivers Styx and Acheron that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead. A coin to pay Charon for passage, usually an obolus or danake, was sometimes placed in or on...

, also known as the ferry-man, would take the soul across the river to Hades, if the soul had gold: Upon burial, the family of the dead soul would put coins under the deceased's tongue. Once crossed, the soul would be judged by Aeacus
Aeacus
Aeacus was a mythological king of the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf.He was son of Zeus and Aegina, a daughter of the river-god Asopus. He was born on the island of Oenone or Oenopia, to which Aegina had been carried by Zeus to secure her from the anger of her parents, and whence this...

, Rhadamanthus
Rhadamanthus
In Greek mythology, Rhadamanthus was a wise king, the son of Zeus and Europa. Later accounts even make him out to be one of the judges of the dead. His brothers were Sarpedon and Minos . Rhadamanthus was raised by Asterion. He had two sons, Gortys and Erythrus. Other sources In Greek mythology,...

 and King Minos
Minos
In Greek mythology, Minos was a king of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa. Every year he made King Aegeus pick seven men and seven women to go to Daedalus' creation, the labyrinth, to be eaten by The Minotaur. After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in Hades. The Minoan civilization of Crete...

. The soul would be sent to Elysium
Elysium
Elysium is a conception of the afterlife that evolved over time and was maintained by certain Greek religious and philosophical sects, and cults. Initially separate from Hades, admission was initially reserved for mortals related to the gods and other heroes...

, Tartarus
Tartarus
In classic mythology, below Uranus , Gaia , and Pontus is Tartarus, or Tartaros . It is a deep, gloomy place, a pit, or an abyss used as a dungeon of torment and suffering that resides beneath the underworld. In the Gorgias, Plato In classic mythology, below Uranus (sky), Gaia (earth), and Pontus...

, Asphodel Fields, or the Fields of Punishment. The Elysium Fields were for the ones that lived pure lives. It consisted of green fields, valleys and mountains, everyone there was peaceful and contented, and the Sun always shone there. Tartarus was for the people that blasphemed against the gods, or were simply rebellious and consciously evil. The Asphodel Fields were for a varied selection of human souls: Those whose sins equalled their goodness, were indecisive in their lives, 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 be punished by being burned in lava, or stretched on racks. 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 as Pluto
Pluto (mythology)
In ancient Greek religion and myth, Pluto was a name for the ruler of the underworld; the god was also known as Hades, a name for the underworld itself...

. In the ancient Greek myth about the Labours of Hercules, the hero Hercules
Hercules
Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles, son of Zeus , and the mortal Alcmene...

 had to travel to the underworld to capture Cerberus
Cerberus
Cerberus , or Kerberos, in Greek and Roman mythology, is a multi-headed hound which guards the gates of the Underworld, to prevent those who have crossed the river Styx from ever escaping...

, the three-headed guard dog, as one of his tasks.

In Dream of Scipio
Dream of Scipio
The Dream of Scipio , written by Cicero, is the sixth book of De re publica, and describes a fictional dream vision of the Roman general Scipio Aemilianus, set two years before he commanded at the destruction of Carthage in 146 BCE.Upon his arrival in Africa, Scipio Aemilianus is visited by his...

, Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 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 VI of Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

's Aeneid
Aeneid
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter...

, the hero, Aeneas
Aeneas
Aeneas , in Greco-Roman mythology, was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite. His father was the second cousin of King Priam of Troy, making Aeneas Priam's second cousin, once removed. The journey of Aeneas from Troy , which led to the founding a hamlet south of...

, 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
Pluto (mythology)
In ancient Greek religion and myth, Pluto was a name for the ruler of the underworld; the god was also known as Hades, a name for the underworld itself...

, and the fields of Elysium where the descendants of the divine and bravest heroes reside. He sees the river of forgetfulness, Lethe
River Lethe
River Lethe is located 18 km west of Mount Katmai, Alaska Peninsula, and is the middle branch of the Ukak River. It flows through the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and meets the Ukak at ....

, 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.

Norse religion


The Poetic
Poetic Edda
The Poetic Edda is a collection of Old Norse poems primarily preserved in the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript Codex Regius. Along with Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, the Poetic Edda is the most important extant source on Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends, and from the early 19th century...

 and Prose Edda
Prose Edda
The Prose Edda, also known as the Younger Edda, Snorri's Edda or simply Edda, is an Icelandic collection of four sections interspersed with excerpts from earlier skaldic and Eddic poetry containing tales from Nordic mythology...

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
    Valhalla
    In Norse mythology, Valhalla is a majestic, enormous hall located in Asgard, ruled over by the god Odin. Chosen by Odin, half of those that die in combat travel to Valhalla upon death, led by valkyries, while the other half go to the goddess Freyja's field Fólkvangr...

    : (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
    Hel (realm)
    In Norse mythology, Hel, the location, shares a name with Hel, a female figure associated with the location. In late Icelandic sources, varying descriptions of Hel are given and various figures are described as being buried with items that will facilitate their journey to Hel after their death...

    : (lit. "The Covered Hall") This abode is somewhat like Hades
    Hades
    Hades , Hadēs, originally , Haidēs or , Aidēs , meaning "the unseen") was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. The genitive , Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative came to designate the abode of the dead.In Greek mythology, Hades...

     from Ancient Greek religion: there, something not unlike the Asphodel Meadows
    Asphodel Meadows
    The Asphodel Meadows is a section of the Ancient Greek underworld where indifferent and ordinary souls were sent to live after death.-Geography:...

     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
    Niflhel
    Niflhel is the name of a location in Norse mythology which appears in the eddic poems Vafþrúðnismál and Baldrs draumar, and also in Snorri Sturluson's Gylfaginning...

    : (lit. "The Dark" or "Misty Hel") This realm is roughly analogous to Greek Tartarus
    Tartarus
    In classic mythology, below Uranus , Gaia , and Pontus is Tartarus, or Tartaros . It is a deep, gloomy place, a pit, or an abyss used as a dungeon of torment and suffering that resides beneath the underworld. In the Gorgias, Plato In classic mythology, below Uranus (sky), Gaia (earth), and Pontus...

    . It is the deeper level beneath Hel, and those who break oaths, abduct and rape women, and commit other vile things will be sent there to be among their kind to suffer harsh punishments.

Resurrection


Writing that would later be incorporated into the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 names Sheol
Sheol
Sheol |Hebrew]] Šʾôl) is the "grave", "pit", or "abyss" in Hebrew. She'ol is the earliest conception of the afterlife in the Jewish scriptures. It is a place of darkness to which all dead go, regardless of the moral choices made in life, and where they are "removed from the light of God"...

 as the place of the dead. The Christian writer's traditional re-interpretation is that the Hebrew word Sheol can mean many things, including "grave", "resort", "place of waiting" and "place of healing". It can also mean "deep", as it is used when the earth opens up and destroys the rebellious Korah, Dathan and Abiram and their 250 followers . 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
Solomon
Solomon , according to the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles, a King of Israel and according to the Talmud one of the 48 prophets, is identified as the son of David, also called Jedidiah in 2 Samuel 12:25, and is described as the third king of the United Monarchy, and the final king before...

 states in the book of Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes
The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...

:
"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?" (Ecc.
Ecclesiastes
The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...

 3:19-21 NKJV
New King James Version
The New King James Version is a modern translation of the Bible published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. The New Testament was published in 1979. The Psalms in 1980. The full Bible was published in 1982. It took a total of 7 years to complete...

)

"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 "Olam Haba" or 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. 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
Book of Enoch
The Book of Enoch is an ancient Jewish religious work, traditionally ascribed to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. It is not part of the biblical canon as used by Jews, apart from Beta Israel...

 describes Sheol as divided into four compartments for four types of the dead: the faithful saints who await resurrection in Paradise
Paradise
Paradise is a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless. It is conceptually a counter-image of the miseries of human civilization, and in paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and...

, 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. 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
2 Maccabees
2 Maccabees is a deuterocanonical book of the Bible, which focuses on the Jews' revolt against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and concludes with the defeat of the Syrian general Nicanor in 161 BC by Judas Maccabeus, the hero of the work....

 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
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

 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
Zohar
The Zohar is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah and scriptural interpretations as well as material on Mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology...

 describes Gehenna
Gehenna
Gehenna , Gehinnom and Yiddish Gehinnam, are terms derived from a place outside ancient Jerusalem known in the Hebrew Bible as the Valley of the Son of Hinnom ; one of the two principal valleys surrounding the Old City.In the Hebrew Bible, the site was initially where apostate Israelites and...

 not as a place of punishment for the wicked but as a place of spiritual purification for souls.

Abrahamic reincarnation


While ancient Greek philosophers like Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 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, 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, 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.

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)."

Reincarnation, called gilgul
Gilgul
Gilgul/Gilgul neshamot/Gilgulei Ha Neshamot describes a Kabbalistic concept of reincarnation. In Hebrew, the word gilgul means "cycle" and neshamot is the plural for "souls." Souls are seen to "cycle" through "lives" or "incarnations", being attached to different human bodies over time...

, became popular in folk belief, and is found in much Yiddish literature among Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

. 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
Martin Buber
Martin Buber was an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a form of religious existentialism centered on the distinction between the I-Thou relationship and the I-It relationship....

's early collection of stories of the Baal Shem Tov's life includes several that refer to people reincarnating in successive lives.

Among well known (generally non-kabbalist or anti-kabbalist) Rabbis who rejected the idea of reincarnation are Saadia Gaon, David Kimhi
David Kimhi
David Kimhi , also known by the Hebrew acronym as the RaDaK , was a medieval rabbi, biblical commentator, philosopher, and grammarian. Born in Narbonne, Provence, he was the son of Rabbi Joseph Kimhi and the brother of Rabbi Moses Kimhi, both biblical commentators and grammarians...

, Hasdai Crescas
Hasdai Crescas
Hasdai ben Judah Crescas was a Jewish philosopher and a renowned halakhist...

, Yedayah Bedershi (early 14th century), Joseph Albo
Joseph Albo
Joseph Albo was a Jewish philosopher and rabbi who lived in Spain during the fifteenth century, known chiefly as the author of Sefer ha-Ikkarim , the classic work on the fundamentals of Judaism.-Early life:Albo's birthplace is generally assumed to be Monreal, a town in Aragon...

, Abraham ibn Daud
Abraham ibn Daud
Abraham ibn Daud was a Spanish-Jewish astronomer, historian, and philosopher; born at Toledo, Spain about 1110; died, according to common report, a martyr about 1180. He is sometimes known by the abbreviation Rabad I or Ravad I. His mother belonged to a family famed for its learning...

, the Rosh
Asher ben Jehiel
Asher ben Jehiel- Ashkenazi was an eminent rabbi and Talmudist best known for his abstract of Talmudic law. He is often referred to as Rabbenu Asher, “our Rabbi Asher” or by the Hebrew acronym for this title, the ROSH...

 and Leon de Modena. Saadia Gaon
Saadia Gaon
Saʻadiah ben Yosef Gaon was a prominent rabbi, Jewish philosopher, and exegete of the Geonic period.The first important rabbinic figure to write extensively in Arabic, he is considered the founder of Judeo-Arabic literature...

, in Emunoth ve-Deoth
Emunoth ve-Deoth
Emunoth ve-Deoth or Emunoth w'D'oth written by Rabbi Saadia Gaon - originally Kitāb ul-ʾamānāt wal-iʿtiqādāt - was the first systematic presentation and philosophic foundation of the dogmas of Judaism. The work is prefaced by an introduction and has ten chapters; it was completed in 933...

 (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.

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, 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.

Christianity



Mainstream Christianity professes belief in the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

, and English versions of the Nicene Creed in current use
English versions of the Nicene Creed in current use
The Nicene Creed, composed in part and adopted at the First Council of Nicaea and revised with additions by the First Council of Constantinople , is a creed that summarises the orthodox faith of the Christian Church and is used in the liturgy of most Christian Churches...

 include the phrase: "We look for the resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

, and the life of the world to come
World to Come
The World to Come is an eschatological phrase reflecting the belief that the "current world" is flawed or cursed and will be replaced in the future by a better world or a paradise. The concept is similar to the concepts of Heaven and the afterlife, but Heaven is another place generally seen as...

". Christian eschatology is concerned with death
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

, an intermediate state
Intermediate state
In Christian eschatology, the intermediate state or interim state refers to a person's "intermediate" existence between one's death and one's resurrection from the dead...

, Heaven
Heaven (Christianity)
Traditionally, Christianity has taught Heaven as a place of eternal life and the dwelling place of Angels and the Throne of God, and a kingdom to which all the elect will be admitted...

, Hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

, the Second Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, a rapture
Rapture
The rapture is a reference to the "being caught up" referred to in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, when the "dead in Christ" and "we who are alive and remain" will be caught up in the clouds to meet "the Lord"....

, a tribulation
Tribulation
The Great Tribulation refers to tumultuous events that are described during the "signs of the times", first mentioned by Jesus in the Olivet discourse...

, the Millennium
Millennium
A millennium is a period of time equal to one thousand years —from the Latin phrase , thousand, and , year—often but not necessarily related numerically to a particular dating system....

, end of the world, the last judgment
Last Judgment
The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, or The Day of the Lord in Christian theology, is the final and eternal judgment by God of every nation. The concept is found in all the Canonical gospels, particularly the Gospel of Matthew. It will purportedly take place after the...

, a new heaven and a new earth
The New Earth
The New Earth is an expression used in the Book of Isaiah , 2 Peter , and Book of Revelation in the Bible to describe the final state of redeemed humanity...

, and the ultimate consummation of all of God's purposes. Eschatological
Eschatology
Eschatology is a part of theology, philosophy, and futurology concerned with what are believed to be the final events in history, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world or the World to Come...

 passages are found in many places, especially Isaiah
Book of Isaiah
The Book of Isaiah is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve...

, Daniel
Book of Daniel
The Book of Daniel is a book in the Hebrew Bible. The book tells of how Daniel, and his Judean companions, were inducted into Babylon during Jewish exile, and how their positions elevated in the court of Nebuchadnezzar. The court tales span events that occur during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar,...

, Matthew 24
Olivet discourse
The Olivet discourse or Olivet prophecy is a biblical passage found in the Synoptic Gospels of Mark 13, Matthew 24, Luke 21. It is known as the "Little Apocalypse" because it includes Jesus' descriptions of the end times, the use of apocalyptic language, and Jesus' warning to his followers that...

, Matthew 25
The Sheep and the Goats
The Sheep and the Goats or "The Judgment of the Nations" was a discourse of Jesus recorded in the New Testament. It is sometimes characterized as a parable, although unlike most parables it does not purport to relate a story of events happening to other characters.One explanation is that it tells...

, and the Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

.

In Scripture


When questioned by the Sadducees
Sadducees
The Sadducees were a sect or group of Jews that were active in Ancient Israel during the Second Temple period, starting from the second century BC through the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. The sect was identified by Josephus with the upper social and economic echelon of Judean society...

 about the resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

 (in a context relating to who ones spouse would be if one had been married several times in life), Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 said that marriage will be irrelevant after the resurrection as the resurrected will be (at least in this respect) like the angels in heaven.

Jesus also maintained that the time would come when the dead would hear the voice of the Son of God
Son of God
"Son of God" is a phrase which according to most Christian denominations, Trinitarian in belief, refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as "God the Son"...

, and all who were in the tombs would come out, the faithful to the resurrection of life, and the unfaithful to the resurrection of judgment
Divine Judgment
Divine judgment means the judgment of God or other supreme beings within a religion. The concept is prominent in Abrahamic religions, most significantly in the Last judgment.-Objective and subjective judgment:...

. According to the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

, at the death of Jesus tombs were opened, and at his resurrection
Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

 many saints who had died emerged from their tombs and went into "the holy city", presumably New Jerusalem
New Jerusalem
In the book of Ezekiel, the Prophecy of New Jerusalem is Ezekiel's prophetic vision of a city to be established to the south of the Temple Mount that will be inhabited by the twelve tribes of Israel in the...

. No other New Testament account includes this event.

The Last Day: Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven
Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven is a foundational concept in the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.The term "Kingdom of God" is found in all four canonical gospels and in the Pauline epistles...

, 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 the furnace of unquenchable fire
Hell in Christian beliefs
Christian views on Hell vary, but in general traditionally agree that hell is a place or a state in which the souls of the unsaved suffer the consequences of sin....

. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father
God the Father
God the Father is a gendered title given to God in many monotheistic religions, particularly patriarchal, Abrahamic ones. In Judaism, God is called Father because he is the creator, life-giver, law-giver, and protector...

.

The Early Church: 1st century



The author of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 recounts the story of Lazarus and the rich man
Lazarus and Dives
The Parable of the rich man and Lazarus is a well known parable of Jesus which appears in one of the Four Gospels of the New Testament....

, which shows people in Hades awaiting the resurrection either in comfort or torment. The author of the Book of Revelation
Book of Revelation
The Book of Revelation is the final book of the New Testament. The title came into usage from the first word of the book in Koine Greek: apokalupsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation"...

 writes about God and the angels versus Satan
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

 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
Transfiguration of Jesus
The Transfiguration of Jesus is an event reported in the New Testament in which Jesus is transfigured and becomes radiant upon a mountain. The Synoptic Gospels describe it, and 2 Peter 1:16-18 refers to it....

.

The Early Church: 2nd and 3rd centuries


The non-canonical Acts of Paul and Thecla
Acts of Paul and Thecla
The Acts of Paul and Thecla is an apocryphal story— Goodspeed called it a "religious romance"— of St Paul's influence on a young virgin named Thecla. It is one of the writings of the New Testament Apocrypha.- The text :...

 speak of the efficacy of prayer for the dead
Prayer for the dead
Wherever there is a belief in the continued existence of man's personality through and after death, religion naturally concerns itself with the relations between the living and the dead...

, so that they might be "translated to a state of happiness."

Hippolytus of Rome pictures Hades as a place where the righteous dead, awaiting in the bosom of Abraham
Bosom of Abraham
"Bosom of Abraham" refers to the place of comfort in sheol where the Jews said the righteous dead awaited Judgment Day.-Origin of the phrase:The word found in the Greek text for "bosom" is , meaning "lap" "bay"...

 their resurrection, rejoice at their future prospect, while the unrighteous are tormented at the sight of the "lake of unquenchable fire
Lake of Fire
A lake of fire appears, in both ancient Egyptian and Christian religion, as a place of after-death punishment of the wicked. The phrase is used in four verses of the Book of Revelation. The image was also used by the Early Christian Hippolytus of Rome in about the year 200 and has continued to be...

" into which they are destined to be cast.

The Early Church: 4th and 5th centuries


Gregory of Nyssa discusses the long-before believed possibility of purification of souls after death.

Saint Augustine
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 counters Pelagius
Pelagius
Pelagius was an ascetic who denied the need for divine aid in performing good works. For him, the only grace necessary was the declaration of the law; humans were not wounded by Adam's sin and were perfectly able to fulfill the law apart from any divine aid...

, arguing that original sin
Original sin
Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...

 means that the unbaptised go to hell, including infants, albeit with less suffering than is experienced by those guilty of actual sins.

Medieval Christianity


Pope Gregory I repeats the concept, articulated over a century earlier by Gregory of Nyssa
Gregory of Nyssa
St. Gregory of Nyssa was a Christian bishop and saint. He was a younger brother of Basil the Great and a good friend of Gregory of Nazianzus. His significance has long been recognized in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Roman Catholic branches of Christianity...

 that the saved suffer purification after death, in connection with which he wrote of "purgatorial flames".

The noun "purgatorium"
Purgatory
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

 (Latin: place of cleansing) 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, was already used by Christians such as Augustine of Hippo and Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I , better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death...

 to refer to an after-death cleansing.

Swedenborg and the Enlightenment


During the Age of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, theologians and philosophers presented various philosophies and beliefs. A notable example is Emanuel Swedenborg
Emanuel Swedenborg
was a Swedish scientist, philosopher, and theologian. He has been termed a Christian mystic by some sources, including the Encyclopædia Britannica online version, and the Encyclopedia of Religion , which starts its article with the description that he was a "Swedish scientist and mystic." Others...

 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
Heaven and Hell (Swedenborg)
Heaven and Hell is the common English title of a book written by mystic Emanuel Swedenborg in Latin, published in 1758.The full title is Heaven and its Wonders and Hell From Things Heard and Seen, or in Latin: De Caelo et Ejus Mirabilibus et de inferno, ex Auditis et Visis.This book is a detailed...

. His report of life there covers a wide range of topics, such as marriage
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 in heaven (where all angels are married), children in heaven (where they are raised by angel parents), time
Time
Time is a part of the measuring system used to sequence events, to compare the durations of events and the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change such as the motions of objects....

 and space
Space
Space is the boundless, three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction. Physical space is often conceived in three linear dimensions, although modern physicists usually consider it, with time, to be part of a boundless four-dimensional continuum...

 in heaven (there are none), the after-death awakening process in the World of Spirits (a place halfway between Heaven and Hell and where people first wake up after death), the allowance of a free will choice between Heaven or Hell (as opposed to being sent to either one by God), the eternity
Eternity
While in the popular mind, eternity often simply means existence for a limitless amount of time, many have used it to refer to a timeless existence altogether outside time. By contrast, infinite temporal existence is then called sempiternity. Something eternal exists outside time; by contrast,...

 of Hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

 (one could leave but would never want to), and that all angels or devils were once people on earth.

On the other hand, the enlightenment produced more rationalist philosophies such as deism
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

. Many deist freethinkers held that belief in an afterlife with reward and punishment was a necessity of reason and good moral

Seventh-day Adventists


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
Immortality
Immortality is the ability to live forever. It is unknown whether human physical immortality is an achievable condition. Biological forms have inherent limitations which may or may not be able to be overcome through medical interventions or engineering...

. 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; 2 Peter 3:13; Isa. 35; 65:17-25; Matt. 5:5; Rev. 21:1-7; 22:1-5; 11:15.)

Afterlife in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormonism)


Joseph F. Smith
Joseph F. Smith
Joseph Fielding Smith, Sr. was the sixth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...

 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
Harrowing of Hell
The Harrowing of Hell is a doctrine in Christian theology referenced in the Apostles' Creed and the Athanasian Creed that states that Jesus Christ "descended into Hell"...

 doctrine of some mainstream Christian faiths. 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 St. Paul
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

: 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 Augustinian
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

, Thomist, Lutheran
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, and Calvinist theological traditions all emphasize the necessity of God's undeserved grace for salvation, and reject so-called Pelagianism
Pelagianism
Pelagianism is a theological theory named after Pelagius , although he denied, at least at some point in his life, many of the doctrines associated with his name. It is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without...

, which would make man earn salvation through good works
Good works
Good works, or simply works, within Christian theology are a person's actions or deeds, contrasting with interior qualities such as grace or faith.The New Testament exhibits a tension between two aspects of grace:...

. Not all Christian sects accept this doctrine, leading many controversies on grace
Grace (Christianity)
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

 and free will
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

, and the idea of predestination
Predestination
Predestination, in theology is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God. John Calvin interpreted biblical predestination to mean that God willed eternal damnation for some people and salvation for others...

. 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
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 and Jonathan Edwards wrote that the saved in heaven will delight in the suffering of the damned. Hell, however, does not fit modern, humanitarian concepts of punishment because it cannot 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 Adventists
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

, 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
Eternal life (Christianity)
In Christianity the term eternal life traditionally refers to continued life after death, rather than immortality. While scholars such as John H. Leith assert that...

, so the people that do not accept him cannot burn in hell for eternity because Jesus has not given them eternal life, instead it says they will perish.

The dead as Angels in Heaven


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 with God
Beatific vision
The beatific vision - in Christian theology is the ultimate direct self communication of God to the individual person, when she or he reaches, as a member of redeemed humanity in the communion of saints, perfect salvation in its entirety, i.e. heaven...

.

Latter Day Saints believe that the soul existed before earth life and will exist in the hereafter. Angels are either spirits that have not yet come to earth to experience their mortality, or spirits or resurrected beings that have already passed through mortality and do the will of God. See Job 38:4-7, D&C 93:29. According to LDS Doctrine, Michael the Archangel became the first man on earth, Adam, to experience his mortality. The Angel of Moroni visited the boy, Joseph Smith, after living out his mortal life in ancient America. Later, he received Angelic administrations from the Apostles Peter, James, and John, John the Baptist, and others.

Universalists


Some sects, such as the Universalists, believe in universalism
Universalism
Universalism in its primary meaning refers to religious, theological, and philosophical concepts with universal application or applicability...

 that all souls will ultimately be saved and that there are no torments of hell.

Jehovah's Witnesses


Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

 occasionally use the terms "afterlife" and "hereafter" to refer to any hope for the dead, but they understand Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes
The Book of Ecclesiastes, called , is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The English name derives from the Greek translation of the Hebrew title.The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth , introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." The work consists of personal...

 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. Individuals judged by God to be wicked, such as in the Great Flood or at Armageddon
Armageddon
Armageddon is, according to the Bible, the site of a battle during the end times, variously interpreted as either a literal or symbolic location...

, are given no hope of an afterlife. After Armageddon there will be a resurrection in the flesh 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. 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. This is the teaching that, "after the soul leaves the body, it journeys to the abode of the dead (Hades
Hades in Christianity
According to various Christian faiths, Hades is "the place or state of departed spirits".-Hades in the Old Testament:In the Septuagint , the Greek term "ᾅδης" is used to translate the Hebrew term "שׁאול" in, for example,...

). There are exceptions, such as the Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

 (the virgin Mary
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

), who was borne by the angels directly into heaven. As for the rest, we must remain in this condition of waiting. Because some have a prevision of the glory to come and others foretaste their suffering, the state of waiting is called "Particular Judgment
Particular judgment
Particular judgment, according to Christian eschatology, is the judgment given by God that a departed person undergoes immediately after death, in contradistinction to the General judgment of all people at the end of the world....

". When Christ returns, the soul rejoins its risen body
Resurrection of the dead
Resurrection of the Dead is a belief found in a number of eschatologies, most commonly in Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Zoroastrian. In general, the phrase refers to a specific event in the future; multiple prophesies in the histories of these religions assert that the dead will be brought back to...

 to be judged by Him in the Last judgment
Last Judgment
The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, or The Day of the Lord in Christian theology, is the final and eternal judgment by God of every nation. The concept is found in all the Canonical gospels, particularly the Gospel of Matthew. It will purportedly take place after the...

. The 'good and faithful servant' will inherit eternal life, the unfaithful with the unbeliever will spend eternity in hell. Their sins and their unbelief will torture them as fire."

The Catholic Church


The Catholic conception of the afterlife teaches after the body dies, the soul is judged
Particular judgment
Particular judgment, according to Christian eschatology, is the judgment given by God that a departed person undergoes immediately after death, in contradistinction to the General judgment of all people at the end of the world....

, the righteous and free of sin enter Heaven. However, those who die in unrepented mortal sin
Mortal sin
Mortal sins are in the theology of some, but not all Christian denominations wrongful acts that condemn a person to Hell after death. These sins are considered "mortal" because they constitute a rupture in a person's link to God's saving grace: the person's soul becomes "dead", not merely weakened...

 go to hell. In the 1990s, the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

 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
Venial sin
According to Roman Catholicism, a venial sin is a lesser sin that does not result in a complete separation from God and eternal damnation in Hell...

 go to a place called Purgatory
Purgatory
Purgatory is the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment in which, it is believed, the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven...

 where they undergo purification to enter Heaven.

Islam



The Islamic belief in the afterlife as stated in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 is descriptive. The Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic word for Paradise is jannat and Hell is jahannam
Jahannam
Jahannam is the Arabic language equivalent to Hell. The term comes from the Greek Gehenna, itself derived from the Hebrew geographical name for the Valley of Hinnom.-Jahannam in the Qur'an:...

. Jannat and Jahannam
Jahannam
Jahannam is the Arabic language equivalent to Hell. The term comes from the Greek Gehenna, itself derived from the Hebrew geographical name for the Valley of Hinnom.-Jahannam in the Qur'an:...

 both have different levels. Jannat possesses 8 gates while Jahannam
Jahannam
Jahannam is the Arabic language equivalent to Hell. The term comes from the Greek Gehenna, itself derived from the Hebrew geographical name for the Valley of Hinnom.-Jahannam in the Qur'an:...

 possess 7 deep terrible layers. Individuals will arrive at both everlasting homes during Judgment Day, which commences after the Angel Israfel
Israfel
Israfel or Israfil , is the angel of the trumpet in Islam, though unnamed in the Qur'an. Along with Mikhail, Djibril and Izra'il, he is one of the four Islamic archangels.-In religious tradition:...

 blows the trumpet the second time. Their level of comfort while in the grave depends wholly on their level of Iman
Iman
Iman, also spelled imaan, may refer to:Islam* Iman , Islamic termGiven name:* Chanel Iman , American fashion model* Iman , Somali supermodel...

 or faith in the one God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, or Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

, equivalent in Arabic. In order for one to achieve proper, firm and healthy Iman
Iman
Iman, also spelled imaan, may refer to:Islam* Iman , Islamic termGiven name:* Chanel Iman , American fashion model* Iman , Somali supermodel...

 one must practice righteous deeds or else his level of Iman
Iman
Iman, also spelled imaan, may refer to:Islam* Iman , Islamic termGiven name:* Chanel Iman , American fashion model* Iman , Somali supermodel...

 chokes and shrinks and eventually can wither away if one does not practice Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 long enough, hence the depth of practicing Islam is good deeds. One may also acquire Tasbih
Tasbih
A misbaha , subha , Tasbih , or tespih is a string of prayer beads which is traditionally used by Muslims to keep track of counting in tasbih....

 and recite the names of Allah in such manner as "SubahannAllah" or Glory
Glory (religion)
Glory is used to denote the manifestation of God's presence in the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. God's glory is often associated with visible displays of light, e.g. thunderbolts, fire, brightness....

 be to Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

 in Arabic over and over again to acquire good deeds. The levels in Jannah
Jannah
Jannah , is the Islamic conception of paradise. The Arabic word Jannah is a shortened version meaning simply "Garden". According to Islamic eschatology, after death, one will reside in the grave until the appointed resurrection on . Muslims believe that the treatment of the individual in the life...

 are 100 and 7 (?) for Jahannam
Jahannam
Jahannam is the Arabic language equivalent to Hell. The term comes from the Greek Gehenna, itself derived from the Hebrew geographical name for the Valley of Hinnom.-Jahannam in the Qur'an:...

.

Islam teaches that the purpose of Man's entire creation is to worship the Creator of the Heavens and Earth - Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

 (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 Jannat 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.

Bahá'í Faith



The teachings of the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 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 Bahá'í writings
Bahá'í literature
Bahá'í literature, like much religious text, covers a variety of topics and forms, including scripture and inspiration, interpretation, history and biography, introduction and study materials, and apologia...

 state that the soul is immortal and after death it will continue to progress until it attains God's presence. In Bahá'í 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 spouses
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

.

The Bahá'í 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.

Hinduism


Upanishads describe reincarnation, or punarjanma (see also: samsara
Samsara
thumb|right|200px|Traditional Tibetan painting or [[Thanka]] showing the [[wheel of life]] and realms of saṃsāraSaṅsāra or Saṃsāra , , literally meaning "continuous flow", is the cycle of birth, life, death, rebirth or reincarnation within Hinduism, Buddhism, Bön, Jainism, Sikhism, and other...

). The Bhagavat Gita, an important book for Hinduism, talks extensively about the afterlife. Here, the Lord Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 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 "Mukti" (Sanskrit: मुक्ति) and merging finally with God is "Moksha
Moksha
Within Indian religions, moksha or mukti , literally "release" , is the liberation from samsara and the concomitant suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and reincarnation or rebirth.-Origins:It is highly probable that the concept of moksha was first developed in...

" (Sanskrit: मोक्ष) or salvation.

Garuda Purana
Garuda Purana
Garuda Purana is one of the Puranas which are part of the Hindu body of texts known as smriti. It is a Vaishnava Purana and its first part contains a dialog between Vishnu and Garuda, the King of Birds...

, 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
Atman (Hinduism)
Ātman is a Sanskrit word that means 'self'. In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism it refers to one's true self beyond identification with phenomena...

" 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, Water, Fire, Air, and Sky. 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
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 the basic concept of Karma is 'As you sow, you shall reap'. So, if a person has lived a good life, they will be rewarded in the afterlife. Similarly their sum of bad deeds will be mirrored in their 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."

Buddhism


Buddhists maintain that rebirth
Rebirth (Buddhism)
Rebirth in Buddhism is the doctrine that the evolving consciousness or stream of consciousness upon death , becomes one of the contributing causes for the arising of a new aggregation...

 takes place without an unchanging self
Atman (Buddhism)
The word Ātman or Atta refers to a self. Occasionally the terms "soul" or "ego" are also used. The words ātman and atta derive from the Indo-European root *ēt-men and are cognate with the Old English æthm and German Atem....

 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
Karma
Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

). 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
Ghost
In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to...

 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
Metta
Mettā or maitrī is loving-kindness, friendliness, benevolence, amity, friendship, good will, kindness, love, sympathy, close mental union , and active interest in others. It is one of the ten pāramīs of the Theravāda school of Buddhism, and the first of the four sublime states...

), compassion and wisdom, rebirth in a happy realm, i.e. human or one of the many heavenly realms, can be expected.

In Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and India . It is the state religion of Bhutan...

 the Tibetan Book of the Dead
Bardo Thodol
The Liberation Through Hearing During The Intermediate State , sometimes translated as Liberation Through Hearing or Bardo Thodol is a funerary text...

 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 Buddha
Buddhahood
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

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
Dharma (Buddhism)
Dhamma or Dharma in Buddhism can have the following meanings:* The state of Nature as it is * The Laws of Nature considered collectively....

 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."

Sikhism


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. It needs to be clarified whether the ideal is union or link with 'Waheguru' (God) or merger in God (Hindu belief). Before the creation of the world, God was all by Himself, in a Self-absorbed state. In that state, God's Will, Naam or Attributes were not expressed, since they have relevance only in the created world. At next stage, universe was created. Since then God's Naam and Will have become expressed and creative functioning in the universe goes on. The suggested merger in God (Hindu belief)in this state involves virtually a reversion to the first state of God being Self-absorbed. This reversal would evidently be counter to the expressed Creative Will of God. So Sikhs believe in union as opposed to merger. 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
Waheguru
Waheguru is a term most often used in Sikhism to refer to God, the Supreme Being or the creator of all. It means "The Good/Best Teacher" in the Punjabi language. Wahi means "good" and "Guru" is a term denoting "teacher"....

"
and the soul can choose to stay with him it wishes, or take another step and go to its people and serve them. Below these four classes are non-humans such as plants and viruses. Souls move up and down according to their deeds, a good life and death moves them up to a higher class and a bad life and death results in going down a class.

Zoroastrianism


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 feet of the corpse, wails and recites the Yasna
Yasna
Yasna is the name of the primary liturgical collection of texts of the Avesta as well as the name of the principal Zoroastrian act of worship at which those verses are recited. The Yasna, or Izeshne, is primarily the name of the ceremony in which the entire book is recited and appropriate...

. 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 (Vīzarəša), to Chinvat bridge, and is made to go to darkness (hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

).

Yima
Jamshid
Jamshid is a mythological figure of Greater Iranian culture and tradition.In tradition and folklore, Jamshid is described as having been the fourth and greatest king of the epigraphically unattested Pishdadian dynasty . This role is already alluded to in Zoroastrian scripture Jamshid (Middle-...

 is believed to have been the first king
King
- Centers of population :* King, Ontario, CanadaIn USA:* King, Indiana* King, North Carolina* King, Lincoln County, Wisconsin* King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin* King County, Washington- Moving-image works :Television:...

 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
Chinvat bridge
The Chinvat Bridge in Zoroastrianism is the bridge which separates the world of the living from the world of the dead. All souls must cross the bridge upon death....

 which is the Final Judgment of the soul. Rashnu and Sraosha
Sraosha
Sraosha is the Avestan language name of the Zoroastrian divinity of "Obedience" or "Observance", which is also the literal meaning of her name....

 are present at the final judgment. The list is expanded sometimes, and include Vahman
Bahman
Bahman may refer to:* Bahman, the Zoroastrian Amesha Spenta* Bahman, the 11th month of the year in Zoroastrian & Iranian calendars, named after the Zoroastrian concept* Kai Bahman, a mythological king of Iran...

 and Ormazd
Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazdā is the Avestan name for a divinity of the Old Iranian religion who was proclaimed the uncreated God by Zoroaster, the founder of Zoroastrianism...

. Rashnu
Rashnu
Rashnu is the Avestan language name of the Zoroastrian yazata of justice. Together with Mithra and Sraosha, Rashnu is one of the three judges who pass judgment on the souls of people after death...

 is the yazata
Yazata
Yazata is the Avestan language word for a Zoroastrian concept. The word has a wide range of meanings but generally signifies a divinity...

 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.

Parapsychology


A study conducted in 1901 by physician Duncan MacDougall sought to measure the weight lost by a human when the soul "departed the body" upon death. MacDougall weighed dying patients in an attempt to prove that the soul was material, tangible and thus measurable. 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. The title of the 2003 movie 21 Grams
21 Grams
21 Grams is a 2003 American drama film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and written by Guillermo Arriaga. It stars Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Danny Huston, and Benicio del Toro....

is a reference to MacDougall's findings.

The Society for Psychical Research
Society for Psychical Research
The Society for Psychical Research is a non-profit organisation in the United Kingdom. Its stated purpose is to understand "events and abilities commonly described as psychic or paranormal by promoting and supporting important research in this area" and to "examine allegedly paranormal phenomena...

 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 method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

s to the study of phenomena relating to an afterlife were conducted by this organization. Its earliest members included noted scientists like William Crookes
William Crookes
Sir William Crookes, OM, FRS was a British chemist and physicist who attended the Royal College of Chemistry, London, and worked on spectroscopy...

, and philosophers such as Henry Sidgwick
Henry Sidgwick
Henry Sidgwick was an English utilitarian philosopher and economist. He was one of the founders and first president of the Society for Psychical Research, a member of the Metaphysical Society, and promoted the higher education of women...

 and William James.

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
Raymond Moody
Raymond Moody is a psychologist and medical doctor. He is most famous as an author of books about life after death and near-death experiences , a term that he coined in 1975. His best-selling title is Life After Life.-Life:...

, Susan Blackmore
Susan Blackmore
Susan Jane Blackmore is an English freelance writer, lecturer, and broadcaster on psychology and the paranormal, perhaps best known for her book The Meme Machine.-Career:...

, Charles Tart
Charles Tart
Dr. Charles T. Tart is an American psychologist and parapsychologist known for his psychological work on the nature of consciousness , as one of the founders of the field of transpersonal psychology, and for his research in scientific parapsychology. He earned his Ph. D...

, William James
William James
William James was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a physician. He wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and on the philosophy of pragmatism...

, Ian Stevenson
Ian Stevenson
Ian Pretyman Stevenson, MD, was a Canadian biochemist and professor of psychiatry. Until his retirement in 2002, he was head of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia, which investigates the paranormal.Stevenson considered that the concept of reincarnation might...

, Michael Persinger
Michael Persinger
Michael A. Persinger is a cognitive neuroscience researcher and university professor with over 200 peer-reviewed publications. He has worked at Laurentian University, located in Sudbury, Ontario, since 1971.-Early life:...

 and Pim van Lommel among others.

After 25 years of parapsychological research, Susan Blackmore
Susan Blackmore
Susan Jane Blackmore is an English freelance writer, lecturer, and broadcaster on psychology and the paranormal, perhaps best known for her book The Meme Machine.-Career:...

 came to the conclusion that there is no empirical evidence for an afterlife.

Some, such as Francis Crick
Francis Crick
Francis Harry Compton Crick OM FRS was an English molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist, and most noted for being one of two co-discoverers of the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953, together with James D. Watson...

 in 1994, have attempted a ‘scientific search for the soul’. Frank Tipler has argued that physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

 can explain immortality, though such arguments are not falsifiable
Falsifiability
Falsifiability or refutability of an assertion, hypothesis or theory is the logical possibility that it can be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of a physical experiment...

 and thus do not qualify, in Karl Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

's views, as science.

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. Later investigations have both corroborated and failed to corroborate "out-of-body" experiences transcending the confines of the brain. 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. , no one who claimed near-death experience or out-of-body experience within that hospital had reported having seen the hidden message.

In 2008, Penny Sartori, an intensive care nurse from Swansea
Swansea
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

, 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.

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.

Modern philosophy


There is still the position, based on the philosophical question of personal identity, termed open individualism
Open individualism
Open individualism is the view in philosophy according to which there exists only one numerically identical subject who is everyone. It is a theoretical solution for the question of personal identity....

, and in some ways similar to the old belief of monopsychism
Monopsychism
Monopsychism is the belief that all humans share one and the same eternal consciousness, soul, mind or intellect. It is a recurring theme in many mystical traditions....

, that concludes that individual existence is illusory, and our consciousness continues existing after death in other conscious beings. Positions regarding existence after death were supported by some notable physicists such as Erwin Schrödinger
Erwin Schrödinger
Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist and theoretical biologist who was one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, and is famed for a number of important contributions to physics, especially the Schrödinger equation, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933...

 and Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson
Freeman John Dyson FRS is a British-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum field theory, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. Dyson is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists...

.

Certain problems arise with the idea of a particular person continuing after death. Peter van Inwagen
Peter van Inwagen
Peter van Inwagen is an American analytic philosopher and the John Cardinal O'Hara Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He previously taught at Syracuse University and earned his PhD from the University of Rochester under the direction of Richard Taylor and Keith Lehrer...

, in his argument regarding resurrection, notes that the materialist must have some sort of physical continuity. John Hick also raises some questions regarding personal identity in his book, "Death and Eternal Life," using an interesting example of a person ceasing to exist in one place while an exact replica appears in another. If the replica had all the same experiences, traits, and physical appearances of the first person, we would all attribute the same identity to the second, according to Hick.

See also


  • Akhirah
    Akhirah
    Ákhirah is an Islamic term referring to the after life. It is repeatedly referenced in chapters of the Qur'an concerning Yaum al Qiyamah, the Islamic Day of Judgment, an important part of Islamic eschatology. Life is temporary on the earth...

  • Allegory of the long spoons
  • Bardo
    Bardo
    The Tibetan word Bardo means literally "intermediate state" - also translated as "transitional state" or "in-between state" or "liminal state". In Sanskrit the concept has the name antarabhāva...

  • Brig of Dread
    Brig of Dread
    Brig of Dread or Bridge of Dread is a bridge to Purgatory that a dead soul had to cross. Evil souls fall from the bridge into hell. This is a common afterlife theme found in some form or other in many cultures....

     (Bridge of Dread)
  • Conscience
    Conscience
    Conscience is an aptitude, faculty, intuition or judgment of the intellect that distinguishes right from wrong. Moral judgement may derive from values or norms...

  • Cognitivism
    Cognitivism (psychology)
    In psychology, cognitivism is a theoretical framework for understanding the mind that came into usage in the 1950s. The movement was a response to behaviorism, which cognitivists said neglected to explain cognition...

  • Cryonics
    Cryonics
    Cryonics is the low-temperature preservation of humans and animals who can no longer be sustained by contemporary medicine, with the hope that healing and resuscitation may be possible in the future. Cryopreservation of people or large animals is not reversible with current technology...

  • Dimethyltryptamine
    Dimethyltryptamine
    N,N-Dimethyltryptamine is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound of the tryptamine family. DMT is found in several plants, and also in trace amounts in humans and other mammals, where it is originally derived from the essential amino acid tryptophan, and ultimately produced by the enzyme INMT...

  • Empiricism
    Empiricism
    Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

  • Epistemology
  • Essenes
    Essenes
    The Essenes were a Jewish sect that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE which some scholars claim seceded from the Zadokite priests...

  • Ethereal being
    Ethereal being
    Ethereal beings, according to some belief systems and occult theories, are mystic entities that usually are not made of ordinary matter. Despite the fact that they are believed to be essentially incorporeal, they do interact in physical shapes with the material universe and travel between the...

  • Exaltation (Mormonism)
    Exaltation (Mormonism)
    Exaltation or Eternal Life is a belief among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that mankind can return to live in God's presence and continue as families. Exaltation is believed to be what God desires for all humankind. The LDS Church teaches that through exaltation...

  • Fate of the unlearned
    Fate of the unlearned
    The fate of the unlearned is an eschatological question about the ultimate destiny of people who have not been exposed to a particular theology or doctrine and thus have no opportunity to embrace it...

  • Heresy in Orthodox Judaism
    Heresy in Orthodox Judaism
    Heresy in Orthodox Judaism is principally defined as departure from the traditional Jewish principles of faith. Mainstream Orthodox Judaism holds that rejection of the simple meaning of Maimonides' 13 principles of Jewish faith involves heresy, although the status of creed in Medieval Jewish...

  • Life form
  • Logical positivism
    Logical positivism
    Logical positivism is a philosophy that combines empiricism—the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge—with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions of epistemology.It may be considered as a type of analytic...

  • Mictlan
    Mictlan
    Mictlan was the underworld of Aztec mythology. Most people who died went to Mictlan, although other possibilities existed . Mictlan was located far to the north, and consisted of nine distinct levels....

  • Omega Point
    Omega point
    Omega Point is a term coined by the French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to describe a maximum level of complexity and consciousness towards which he believed the universe was evolving....

  • Parapsychology
    Parapsychology
    The term parapsychology was coined in or around 1889 by philosopher Max Dessoir, and originates from para meaning "alongside", and psychology. The term was adopted by J.B. Rhine in the 1930s as a replacement for the term psychical research...

  • Phowa
    Phowa
    Phowa is a Vajrayāna Buddhist meditation practice...

  • Pineal Gland
    Pineal gland
    The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland in the vertebrate brain. It produces the serotonin derivative melatonin, a hormone that affects the modulation of wake/sleep patterns and seasonal functions...

  • Pre-Birth communication
    Pre-birth communication
    Pre-birth communication is communication with a fetus before it is born.It has been described by author Elisabeth Hallett, - External links :*...

  • Soul retrieval
    Soul retrieval
    Soul Retrieval refers to forms of New Age and shamanic practice that aim to reintegrate various interpretations of the soul that might have become disconnected, trapped or lost through trauma...

  • Suspended animation
    Suspended animation
    Suspended animation is the slowing of life processes by external means without termination. Breathing, heartbeat, and other involuntary functions may still occur, but they can only be detected by artificial means. Extreme cold can be used to precipitate the slowing of an individual's functions; use...

  • Undead
    Undead
    Undead is a collective name for fictional, mythological, or legendary beings that are deceased and yet behave as if alive. Undead may be incorporeal, such as ghosts, or corporeal, such as vampires and zombies...



Further reading

  • Death and Afterlife: Perspectives of World Religions edited by Hiroshi Obayashi, Praeger, 1991
  • Beyond Death: Theological and Philosophical Reflections on Life after Death edited by Dan Cohn-Sherbok
    Dan Cohn-Sherbok
    Dan Cohn-Sherbok is a rabbi of Reform Judaism, a Jewish theologian and a prolific author on religion. He is Professor Emeritus of Judaism at the University of Wales, Honorary Professor at the University of Abersystwyth, Visiting Professor at St Mary's University College, London, York St John...

     and Christopher Lewis, Pelgrave-MacMillan, 1995
  • The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection by Jane Idelman Smith and Yazbeck Haddad, Oxford UP, 2002
  • Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western Religion by Alan F. Segal
    Alan F. Segal
    Alan F. Segal was a professor of religion and Ingeborg Rennert Professor of Jewish Studies at Barnard College.Segal was born in Worcester, Massachusetts...

    , Doubleday, 2004
  • Brain & Belief: An Exploration of the Human Soul by John J. McGraw, Aegis Press, 2004
  • Beyond the Threshold: Afterlife Beliefs and Experiences in World Religions by Christopher M. Moreman, Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.
  • Is there an afterlife: a comprehensive overview of the evidence by David Fontana, O Books 2005.
  • Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations: Universalism, Constructivism and Near-Death Experience by Gregory Shushan, New York & London, Continuum, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8264-4073-0

External links