Death And the Afterlife

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What is the Soul?

  • The spiritual part of a human being
  • Every human has one
  • Spread from the brain and body
  • Not physical - you can't see or touch it
  • Immortal
  • The 'innermost aspect' of a human being
  • Makes you the person that you are
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Where does the soul come from?

  • God
  • The Bible says that God created humans 'in the image of God'
  • Many Christians think this means that God put into each person something of his own divine and everlasting nature; that is, the soul
  • The Bible also says that God made Adam by 'breathing into his nostrils the breathe of life,' and this may also be referring to the soul.
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Why is the soul important?

  • It is a link with God
  • It makes humans different from animals
  • It allows us to have a special relationship with God.
  • It makes each of us unique, and gives us our unique value
  • Because of their souls, humans do not simply die but have the chance of eternal life with God in heaven.
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How does the soul relate to the body?

  • The Bible says that the body and the soul are often in conflict
  • The soul wants to be with God and to do what is right, but the body sometimes prevents this because it is only interested in pleasure.
  • Some Christians therefore believe that the soul is important than the body. They might try hard not to give the body what it wants (e.g. By fasting) so that they can be more spiritual people.
  • Some Christians believe that we need both a soul and a body to be a proper person. These Christians believe that in the afterlife our souls will receive a new body.
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Arguments for and against 'we all have a soul'


  • If we believe something happens to us after we die then we just believe we have a soul.
  • Human beings have something which makes them different from animals.
  • Our soul gives us our morals and our conscience.


  • Something which you cannot see, touch, feel, Etc. so it probably doesn't exist.
  • If you don't believe in religion or spirituality then there is no more to human beings then the body.
  • Our morals come from our upbringing.
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A place filled with peace, Angels and people playing with harps, light and white everywhere.

A new, perfect earth - we will live like we have done on earth, but without any sin or suffering.

Some Christians believe that when Jesus returns to judge us our bodies will come back to life and that we will have these physical bodies in heaven. Other Christians believe that we will have new, perfect bodies. Many believe that we will be spirits without a body.

Most people accept that heaven will be completely different to any experience we could have on earth and that we will not know what it is like until we get there.

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A fiery place with demons torturing wicked people

This is symbolic not literal. Hell, is a poetic way of describing eternity away from God.

Some Christians believe that hell is not real at all and focus on the idea of God as loving and forgiving.

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  • Roman Catholics believe that most Christians are not ready to go straight to heaven when they die. First they must go to purgatory to work off their sins. Protestants don't believe in purgatory.
  • Catholics will often pray for the soul of a dead person so that they will not have to spend too long in purgatory.
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Arguments for and against 'heaven and hell are rea


  • Some people have had near death experiences where they saw heaven.
  • If God is real the he would want to reward good people and punish bad people.
  • Almost all religions agree that heaven and hell are real.


  • Near death experiences could just be hallucinations or wishful thinking
  • If you don't believe in a soul, then there is no part of us that can go to heaven or hell.
  • Heaven and hell are myths that were made up to make us feel better.
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Belief in Jesus and the Afterlife

Christians believe that without Jesus we could not got to heaven, because we have all sinned. Jesus took the punishment for our sins, which means that we can know go to heaven, if we follow him.

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Salvation, Redemption and Resurrection

  • Adam and Eve were the first to disobey God - sin
  • This sin is called original sin and I passed on to every human being. It's part of our nature.
  • Jesus had no sin. When he died, he took the punishment for our sin. He went to hell for us. This is why we can be forgiven and go to heaven. Christians call this redemption.
  • It is Jesus' resurrection which makes it possible for us to be resurrected to new life in heaven.
  • We must accept what Jesus has done for us by being baptised. This washes away original sin.
  • We can still commit other sins, and we have to repent and ask for forgiveness for these to.
  • If we have obeyed God by doing all this then we will receive salvation and can spend eternity withGod in heaven. Otherwise we go to hell - eternity away from God.
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The suffering of Christ

Christians believe that Jesus' suffering is important as well as his death:

  • It provides hope for Christians who are also suffering
  • The Bible says 'we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory' which means that if Christians struggle and make sacrifices for their religion then they will be rewarded by God.
  • It also says 'he took our pain and bore our suffering .... By his wounds be healed' which some Christians believe means that Jesus' suffering means we can be healed, either in this life or in heaven.
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God as a judge

  • Chrisitans believe that God knows us better than we know ourselves.
  • He will judge Us According to our actions, for example, how we have looked after the poor and needy.
  • The Bible says that those who have done good things will got heaven, and those who have done bad things will go to hell.
  • However, the Bible also says that God is loving and forgiving.
  • If a Chrisitan repents then God will forgive them.
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The Nature of God

Holy - pure, perfect does no wrong
Omnipresent - present everywhere
Omniscient - knows everything
Eternal - has always existed and will always exist
Benevolent - kind and loving
Omnipotent - all powerful
Forgiving - will forgive people's sins
Judge - will decide who goes to heaven or hell

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The nature of God - this means that

Because God is holy he will make good judgements.
Because he is omnipresent, omniscient and eternal he knows everything anyone has ever done or thought and so can judge us well.
Because he is benevolent he will judge us with kindness.
Because he is omnipotent he is able to punish and reward us how he wants.

if Hod is supposed to be all loving and forgiving, why does he judge us at all? Why not send us all straight to heaven?

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The nature of God - possible answers

  • God is so perfect that it would be impossible for anything evil to exist with him in heaven.
  • Judgement is the only way that good people can be rewarded.
  • If we were not judged then there would be no reason to behave well.
  • Christians believe that God is perfect, and so we can trust his judgement to be perfect and not unfair in any way.
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The Sheep and the Goats

Jesus said that when he comes again (at the end of the world) he will seperate everyone like a sheperd seperates the sheep from the goats. He will put his sheep on his right and the goats on his left. He will send those on his left to hell "into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons" he says that this is because they did not help people in need: they did not feed the hungry, look after strangers, help those who had nothing or who ere in prison. Whenever they did not help those people, they were not helping Jesus. Those on his right had helped others and so they were sent to heaven.

Chrisitans believe that we will be judged on our actions as apweel as our beliefs.
What we do in this life will affect what happens to us after we die.
It is important for Chrisitans to help other people.

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Arguments for and against 'a good God would not ju


  • God is supposed to be forgiving
  • No one deserves eternal punishment - everyone has some good in them.
  • Everyone deserves a second chance


  • If God did not judge people then some people would get away with bad things.
  • Good people deserve to be rewarded, and rewards aren't fair if bad people get them too.
  • It gives people an incentive to behave well.
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The main purposes of a funeral service

1. To help people grieve for the person who has died
2. To say goodbye to the person who has died
3. To celebrate the life of the dead person
4. To thank God that they are going on to a better place

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The funeral rites

1. The congregation are welcomed.
2. Singing of hymns: the Lord is my shepherd.
3. Readings from the bible about the resurrection of Jesus.
4. The address: a talk about the dead person
5. Prayers for the dead person
6. The committal: where the coffin is lowered into the ground

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How does the service reflect Christains beliefs?

1. The funeral service is based on belief I a next belief.
2. Prayers and hymns will refer to trust in God.
3. The address will stress the person is now in God.
4. Bible teachings will be about the resurrection of Jesus.
5. Flowers remind Chrisitans about new life and the beauty of heaven.
6. Candles may be lit to remember the person who has died and to reflect the fact that Jesus is the light of the world.
7. 'Earth to Earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust' is often said to remind people that we are all human and belong to God.
8. At the committal the minister will refer to the person going on to eternal life.

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How does the funeral service help people who are g

1. Reminds them that the person who has died has gone to a better place.
2. Gives hope that they will see the person again, in heaven.
3. The address reminds them of the good things the person has done.
4. The commits, gives them a formal. Official way to say goodbye
5. It is a chance to meet with other people who knew the dead person and who can help and support each other.
6. Hymns and prayers remind them that God will help and comfort them.

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Arguments for and against 'funerals are important'


  • They are a chance to say goodbye in a formal way.
  • They allow the bereaved to meet other people who knew the dead person, and comfort each other.
  • They help people remember the persons life.


  • We should focus on the living not the dead
  • They only make people more depressed
  • If you don't believe in life after death then funerals have less meaning.
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