Particular judgment

Particular judgment

Overview
Particular judgment, according to 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...

 eschatology
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...

, is the judgment given by 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....

 that a departed person undergoes immediately after death, in contradistinction to the General judgment
General judgment
General judgment is the Christian theological concept of a judgment of the dead by nation and as a whole. It is related closely to Judgment day and often is just another phrase for the Last judgment, but is not necessarily part of any eschatology...

 (or 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...

) of all people at the end of the world.

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...

 11:9; 12:1 sq., are quoted in proof of the particular judgment.

The first-century Jewish writing known as the Testament of Abraham
Testament of Abraham
The Testament of Abraham a pseudepigraphic text of the Old Testament. Probably composed in the 1st or 2nd century CE, it is of Jewish origin and is usually considered to be part of the apocalyptic literature. It is not regarded as scripture by Jews or any Christian group...

 includes a clear account of particular judgment, in which souls go either through the wide gate of destruction or the narrow gate of salvation.
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Encyclopedia
Particular judgment, according to 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...

 eschatology
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...

, is the judgment given by 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....

 that a departed person undergoes immediately after death, in contradistinction to the General judgment
General judgment
General judgment is the Christian theological concept of a judgment of the dead by nation and as a whole. It is related closely to Judgment day and often is just another phrase for the Last judgment, but is not necessarily part of any eschatology...

 (or 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...

) of all people at the end of the world.

Old Testament and Apocrypha


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...

 11:9; 12:1 sq., are quoted in proof of the particular judgment.

The first-century Jewish writing known as the Testament of Abraham
Testament of Abraham
The Testament of Abraham a pseudepigraphic text of the Old Testament. Probably composed in the 1st or 2nd century CE, it is of Jewish origin and is usually considered to be part of the apocalyptic literature. It is not regarded as scripture by Jews or any Christian group...

 includes a clear account of particular judgment, in which souls go either through the wide gate of destruction or the narrow gate of salvation. By this account, only one in seven thousand earn salvation.

New Testament


Many Christians believe the dead are judged immediately after death and await judgment day in peace or torment because of the way they interpret several key New Testament passages. In Luke 16:19-31, it appears that Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 represents Lazarus and Dives
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....

 as receiving their respective rewards immediately after death. To support this, these figures must be regarded as types of the just man and the sinner. To the penitent thief (cf. Dismas) it was promised that his soul instantly on leaving the body would be in the state of the blessed: "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me 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...

." (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...

 23:43) (Those opposed to this doctrine point out that punctuation was absent in the original languages, so today could just as easily refer to the time when Christ said this to the thief rather than the time that they enter paradise.) Saint 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...

 generally depicts death as sleep, and (in II Corinthians
Second Epistle to the Corinthians
The second epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as Second Corinthians , is the eighth book of the New Testament of the Bible...

 5) longs to be absent from the body that he may be present to the Lord, evidently understanding death to be the entrance into his reward (cf. Philippians
Epistle to the Philippians
The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, usually referred to simply as Philippians, is the eleventh book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was written by St. Paul to the church of Philippi, an early center of Christianity in Greece around 62 A.D. Other scholars argue for an...

 1:21 sq.).

There are some Christians who think that death is a period of dormancy, or sleep in the body, or 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...

, on Earth, in which there is no consciousness and no Heavenly activity has yet begun...no judgment, no trip to heaven nor hell based on their interpretation of the following scriptures: "The dead know not anything ... Their love, their hatred, and their envy is now perished" (Eccl. 9:5); "In death there is no remembrance of thee; in the grave, who shall give thee thanks?" (Psa. 6:5); "The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence" (Psalm 115:17); "The grave cannot praise thee: death cannot celebrate thee" (Isaiah
Isaiah
Isaiah ; Greek: ', Ēsaïās ; "Yahu is salvation") was a prophet in the 8th-century BC Kingdom of Judah.Jews and Christians consider the Book of Isaiah a part of their Biblical canon; he is the first listed of the neviim akharonim, the later prophets. Many of the New Testament teachings of Jesus...

 38:18). They find no support for a trip to heaven because of how they interpret Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 3:13 which states that "No man hath ascended up to heaven" and even "David is not ascended into the heavens" and Book of Acts 2:34 states that "The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's, but the earth hath he given to the children of men" (Psalm 115:16). While they do believe these Christians are dead, they believe they will rise 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...

, having "died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them" (Epistle to the Hebrews
Epistle to the Hebrews
The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the books in the New Testament. Its author is not known.The primary purpose of the Letter to the Hebrews is to exhort Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and his...

 11:13). In this view, Judgment occurs, "when the seventh angel sounds, "Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets" (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"...

 11:15-18). See also 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...

.

Early Christian writing


Some early Church Fathers, apparently including Justin
Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr, also known as just Saint Justin , was an early Christian apologist. Most of his works are lost, but two apologies and a dialogue survive. He is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church....

, Irenaeus
Irenaeus
Saint Irenaeus , was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire . He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology...

, Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

 and Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria
Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

, believed that, in general, the saved did not enter heaven until Judgment Day, and during the interval between death and the resurrection
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...

 they dwell happily in a delightful abode, awaiting their final glorification. Exceptions were admitted for the martyrs and some other classes of saints, who were admitted at once to the supreme joys of heaven.

After this "particular judgment", according to Orthodox dogmatic theology, the soul experiences a foretaste of the blessedness or the eternal torment that awaits it after the resurrection.

Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

 (c. 200) wrote that, even before final judgment, a soul "undergoes punishment and consolation in Hades in the interval, while it awaits its alternative of judgment, in a certain anticipation either of gloom or of glory"

Hippolytus of Rome pictured a particular judgment of souls in 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...

, by which the righteous are assigned to "a locality full of light" and the unrighteous are "forc(ed) down into the lower parts".

Augustine of Hippo
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...

 (d. 430), one of the four Church fathers of the Catholic Church, wrote that the human part of the city of God (as opposed to the part composed of the angels) "is either sojourning on earth, or, in the persons of those who have passed through death, is resting in the secret receptacles and abodes of disembodied spirits". He said that the dead are judged at death and divided into four groups: the place of the truly virtuous, such as saints and martyrs, is Paradise; the unmistakably evil are damned to eternal punishment in hell; the two intermediate groups, the not completely wicked, and the not completely good, could be helped by the prayers of the living, though it seems that for the former repentance and the prayers of the living created a "more tolerable" hell, while the latter would pass through a penitential fire before being admitted to heaven at the time of the Last Judgment. This idea would be influential in Western Christianity until the twelfth century and beyond.

In Western Christianity
Western Christianity
Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

, the dead begin their eternal fates after death, either immediately or after being purified in purgatory. On judgment day, the dead are reunited with their bodies and their eternal fates continue.

In Eastern Christianity
Eastern Christianity
Eastern Christianity comprises the Christian traditions and churches that developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa, India and parts of the Far East over several centuries of religious antiquity. The term is generally used in Western Christianity to...

, the dead are judged from the 3rd to the 40th day after death by passing through the aerial toll-houses. They then await their eternal fate on judgment day, anticipating judgment either in dread or in peace.

Medieval concepts


The Venerable Bede (c. 700), records an account of a man who had died, seen the afterlife, and returned to life to tell about it. According to this vision of particular judgment, there are four states into which the dead are placed: the eternally damned in hell, those who will enter heaven on judgment day but meanwhile are punished, those who will enter heaven on judgment day but meanwhile are at peace, and those already pure enough to enter heaven.

In the supplement to the Summa Theologiae
Summa Theologica
The Summa Theologiæ is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas , and although unfinished, "one of the classics of the history of philosophy and one of the most influential works of Western literature." It is intended as a manual for beginners in theology and a compendium of all of the main...

, a disciple of 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...

 argued that the soul departs for heaven or hell immediately on death, "unless it be held back by some debt, for which its flight must needs be delayed until the soul is first of all cleansed."

In 1336, Pope Benedict XII
Pope Benedict XII
Pope Benedict XII , born Jacques Fournier, the third of the Avignon Popes, was Pope from 1334 to 1342.-Early life:...

 (1334–1342) issued the Bull Benedictus Deus confirming the teaching that souls receive immediately after death their reward or punishment, ending a controversy caused by his predecessor, Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII , born Jacques Duèze , was pope from 1316 to 1334. He was the second Pope of the Avignon Papacy , elected by a conclave in Lyon assembled by Philip V of France...

 (1316–1334), who had personally held for a while that even pure souls would be delayed in enjoying the beatific vision
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...

.

From about 1300, the term Limbo of Infants appeared, developed in parallel to the Limbo of the Father (the temporal abode of the Fathers in 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,...

awaiting the advent of Christ) but was thought to be eternal. In contrast to the Hell of the Damned, the Limbo was thought as a place where souls enjoyed natural happiness and suffered no punishments except for the lack of the beatific vision. Note, that the Limbo was widely held in theology but never was defined as part of Catholic doctrine.

Reformation concepts


John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

 argued that the dead are conscious while awaiting Judgment Day, either in bliss or torment depending on their fate.

Particular judgment in non-christian religions


With the rise of the cult of 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...

 during the Middle Kingdom
Middle Kingdom of Egypt
The Middle Kingdom of Egypt is the period in the history of ancient Egypt stretching from the establishment of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty, between 2055 BC and 1650 BC, although some writers include the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties in the Second Intermediate...

 (c. 2040–1640 BCE) in Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 the “democratization of religion” offered to even his humblest followers the prospect of eternal life, with moral fitness becoming the dominant factor in determining a person's suitability. At death a person faced judgment by a tribunal of forty-two divine judges. If they led a life in conformance with the precepts of the Goddess Maat
Maat
Maat is a naval rank of the German navy equivalent to the army rank of Unteroffizier. A Maat is considered the equivalent of a junior Petty Officer in the navies of many other nations....

, who represented truth and right living, the person was welcomed into the kingdom of Osiris. If found guilty the person was thrown to a “devourer” and didn't share in eternal life. The person who is taken by the devourer is subject first to terrifying punishment and then annihilated. These depictions of punishment may have influenced medieval perceptions of the inferno in hell via early 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...

 and Coptic
Coptic language
Coptic or Coptic Egyptian is the current stage of the Egyptian language, a northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century. Egyptian began to be written using the Greek alphabet in the 1st century...

 texts. Purification for those who are considered justified may be found in the descriptions of “Flame Island”, where they experience the triumph over evil and rebirth. For the damned complete destruction into a state of non being awaits but there is no suggestion of eternal torture. Divine pardon at judgement was always a central concern for the Ancient Egyptians.

In his Myth of Er
Myth of Er
The Myth of Er is an eschatological legend that concludes Plato's The Republic . The story includes an account of the cosmos and the afterlife that for many centuries greatly influenced religious, philosophical and scientific thought....

, 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...

 (c. 400 BC) wrote that each soul is judged after death and either sent to heaven for a reward or to the underworld for punishment. After its reward or punishment, the soul is reincarnated
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...

. He also described the judgment of souls immediately after death in the dialogue Gorgias
Gorgias
Gorgias ,Greek sophist, pre-socratic philosopher and rhetorician, was a native of Leontini in Sicily. Along with Protagoras, he forms the first generation of Sophists. Several doxographers report that he was a pupil of Empedocles, although he would only have been a few years younger...

.

According to the 9th century Zoroastrian text Dadestan-i Denig ("Religious Decisions"), a soul is judged three days after death. Depending on the soul's balance of good and bad deeds, it goes to 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...

, 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 hamistagan
Hamistagan
As described in the 9th century Zoroastrian text Dadestan-i Denig , hamistagan is a neutral place or state for the departed souls of those whose good deeds and bad deeds were equal in life. Here these souls await Judgment Day. Meanwhile, those who did mostly good experience bliss and those who did...

, a neutral place. In its appropriate place, the soul awaits Judgment Day.

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

, the angels Nakir and Munkar
Nakir and Munkar
Munkar and Nakir, in Islamic eschatology, are angels who test the faith of the dead in their graves....

interrogate a recently deceased soul, which then remains in its grave in a state of bliss or torment until Judgment Day.

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