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As we’ve been debunking Hell, the natural question that come’s up is, “Well, if it’s not Heaven vs. Hell, what does the afterlife look like?”
We’ll be writing an article soon discussing some different possibilities, but I’d really love to hear your thoughts.
You answers are typical of those who battle to wring every element of truth out of the pages of a book that does not say much about this subject. I will comment briefly on your three points:
1. When we die (both those in Christ and those not in Christ.) we are absence from the body and I believe in a soul sleep state. An argument could be made that we are conscience but I do not believe Scriptures gives us much info on this.
There is a soul sleep condition, but its not typically what happens, and I would not wish it on you. Its reserved for what I would call very tough cases of mis-belief. For 99% of us, we awake, either instantly, or after a short convalescence.
2. At the resurrection of the dead (at the return of Jesus) there is a great judgment. Those who are found to not be in Christ (touchy topic there) are annihilated and those in Christ live on a renewed earth where Heaven and earth are one.
Well you are right there is what may be called a “final judgement”. This is very clearly spelt out in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, but we have been told its at least 1000 years away. And it will not have the result you predict for those left out. Father loves us too much. It is possible to be annihilated, but first you have to be deemed sane, and beyond changing from the path of evil you have chosen. Its almost unheard of for us, (from Earth) because we are generally not considered sane.
I believe in annihilation because if God is victorious over all sin, death and evil then it must not exist in any part of God’s creation. God cannot be fully victorious over evil if evil still fills a portion of God’s creation.
You are right that all sin must disappear, and it will. But God leaves that to each of us, and allows us to come to our senses. That cannot happen on this earth, and if you think about it you will agree. It only happens in a realm where the spiritual rules are totally different, causing an automatic separation of good from evil, but not a binary solution as Bible folks believe, but a highly graduated distinction.
Of all the sources that I value most on these subjects, I think those that came from the very distraught Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson make the easiest and most compelling tale. It took him about twenty minutes after death to realise his entire lifetime here on Earth had been in pursuit of falsehood. He wrote a number of books through his friend Antony Borgia, and these include some with a religious bent. My only criticism is that while these tell you what happens after death very clearly, they don’t tell you why. You can find a list of these books here: