Comparative Thoughts for Easter: Resurrection and Life After Death

Contributing Writer

RESURRECTION: Jesus portrayed in Glory is the symbol the Catholic Church uses for the resurrection.

Easter is more than the Easter Bunny, egg hunting and other fun things. Easter is a time to think about the great sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us. The following ministers representing four different Christian faiths shared their thoughts. Worship and Senior Adults Pastor, Gerald Jones of Memorial Baptist Church; Fr. Bernard C. Jewitt, Pastor of St. Bernard of Clairvaux Catholic Church; Fr. Ambrose Arrington of Holy Apostles Orthodox Christian Church; and Randell Lynn, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

What does the resurrection of Christ mean?
Arrington: “By His resurrection, He makes a way for those who are baptized into His body, to pass through death in order to ultimately arrive at a better resurrection.”

Jones: “Because Christ rose from the grave, those who are by faith children of God, will also raise to spend eternity with him.”

Will we resurrect and when will it happen?
Jones: “The Bible says, no men know the day, nor the hour of our resurrection, only God. All life is eternal. Those who are children of God, will live with Him. Those, who reject Him, will spend eternity in outer darkness, in other words, in Hell.”

Jewitt: “The Catholic Church teaches that ultimately all who have lived will be reunited with their mortal bodies ‘in the resurrection on the last day.’ It is an essential element of Christian faith from the beginning. See 1Corinthians 15:12–14. All will rise, ‘those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment, John 5:29.’ We will be raised just as Christ was raised in his own glorified body.”

Where does the soul go after the death of the mortal body?
Arrington: “The soul experiences a foretaste of that ‘place’ that it will eventually go, that is, heaven or hell. This is only a foretaste, because the Judgment has not yet occurred, in which we will all be judged as whole persons—body and soul. It is only after the general resurrection and the Judgment that the righteous will partake in the fullness of Heaven, and the wicked of fullness of Hell.”

Lynn: “The soul or spirit goes to the Spirit World, where the gospel of Jesus Christ will be preached by his designees to those who do not have the gospel, or who do not have the complete gospel. Within the Spirit World, there are two divisions: the good people go to ‘Paradise,’ those who have not heard the gospel or committed evil works go to the other division, sometimes called ‘prison’: 1 Peter 3:19. Christ told the thief on the cross that he would soon be in Paradise. He was referring to the Spirit World, not Heaven, and evidently the thief repented on the cross or his sins were not aggregious enough to warrant keeping him out of the higher division of the Spirit World. By this mechanism, everybody receives the opportunity to hear the gospel, either on Earth or in the Spirit World, and either accept or reject it. After the Spirit World; after the Millennium, when Christ will reign for a thousand years, will come the Judgement Day, and Christ will be the judge.”

How does your church describe heaven and hell? What are their conditions?
Jones: “Heaven is a place of eternal joy and Hell is a place of eternal suffering. How can we describe Heaven and Hell, if none of us have been there? The Bible gives us several descriptions of Heaven and Hell, but they are symbolic descriptions.”

Arrington: “Heaven and Hell are ultimate destinies, which we will partake of after Our Lord returns. It is then that He will separate the sheep from the goats, the righteous from the unrighteous. The righteous will enter into heaven, in order to praise God. This was the cause for which mankind was first created. The unrighteous will be cast out, not in the physical sense, where could they go to escape the presence of God, but in a spiritual sense.”

Lynn: “We believe in three degrees of glory, not just Heaven or Hell. Within those degrees, we believe there are further subdivisions. Christ was referring to this when he said that in His Father’s house, there were many mansions. Just as men’s personal worthiness covers the whole spectrum from very good to very evil, so will there be a continuum of degrees of glory. Paul knew this and explained it in 1 Corinthians 15:41–42 as the three degrees, and likened them to the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. The highest degree of glory, the Celestial, which Paul likened to the glory of the sun, is “Heaven” and people who receive that glory will have access to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The second degree, the Terrestrial, which Paul likened to the moon, will contain the majority of people and they will have access to the Son and the Holy Ghost. The lowest degree, the Celestial, which Paul likened to the stars, will contain the evildoers. They will have access to the Holy Ghost, after repentance.”

What do we need to do in order to be happy in this life, on the Earth?
Jones: “There are a lot of things which make us happy. Some of them destructive, and others are constructive. But real happiness comes from positive, constructive things if we live by Christian standards to help other people and people who come after us, and to help people to know God.”

Updated 02-25-2005

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