• Q and A

    Questions and Answers from the Risale-i Nur Collection
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How About the Eschatology of the New Testament or Christianity?


A particular judgment of each soul takes place at death is implied in many New Testament passages (Luke 16:22 sqq., 23:43; Acts 1:25; etc.), and in the teaching of the Council of Florence regarding the speedy entry of each soul into heaven, purgatory, or hell.

Heaven: Heaven is the abode of the blessed, where (after the resurrection with glorified bodies) they will enjoy, in the company of Christ and the angels, the immediate vision of God face to face, being supernaturally elevated by the light of glory to experience such a vision. There are infinite degrees of glory corresponding to degrees of merit, but all are unspeakably happy in the eternal possession of God.

Purgatory: Purgatory is the intermediate state of unknown duration in which those who die imperfect, but not unrepentant of mortal sin, undergo purification to qualify for admission into heaven. They share in the communion of saints and are benefited by our prayers and good works.

Hell: In Catholic teaching, Hell designates the place or state of human beings (and angels) who, because of sin, are excluded forever from the Beatific Vision. Beyond affirming the existence of such a state, with varying degrees of punishment corresponding to degrees of guilt and its eternal duration, Catholic doctrine does not go. It is a terrible and mysterious truth, but it is clearly and emphatically taught by Christ and the Apostles. Rationalists may deny its eternity, despite the authority of Christ, and those professing Christians unwilling to admit it may try to explain away Christ’s words. However, according to Catholic teaching, it remains the Divinely revealed solution to the problem of moral evil. The restitutionist view, which in its Origenist form was condemned at the Council of Constantinople in 543 and later at the Fifth General Council, is the cardinal dogma of modern Universalism and is favored more or less by liberal Protestants and Anglicans. Annihilationists, on the other hand, believe that the finally impenitent will be annihilated or cease to exist.

The Resurrection of the body: Catholic teaching states that all the dead who are to be judged will rise with the bodies they had in this life. But nothing is defined as to what is required to constitute this identity of the risen and transformed with the present body. Though not formally defined, it is sufficiently certain that there is to be only one general resurrection, simultaneous for the good and the bad.

The consummation of all things: There is mention also of the physical universe sharing in the general consummation (II Peter 3:13; Romans 8:19 sqq). The present Heaven and Earth will be destroyed, and a new Heaven and Earth take their place. But what precisely this process will involve, or what purpose the renovated world will serve, are not revealed.