Afterlife

Does Eternal Punishment Even Make Sense? – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

This will be my last post on the understandings of hell in early Christianity.  There is a lot more to be said, of course, but for our purposes this is enough.  I’ve been trying to show that there was a minority view held by some prominent thinkers – and possibly a lot of other Christian folk; there’s no way to tell – that said in the end everyone would be saved.   The dominant view, though, was that for non-believers and…

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Eternal Torment Even for Christians? – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

I have been discussing the “universalistic” strand in parts of Christianity in the early centuries, which said that ultimately, everyone will be saved.  This was very much a minority opinion.  Most Christians continued to think that non-believers would be damned, forever, to some very nasty torments that would never end. In fact, in many circles, more and more people came to be subject to the fires of eternity in the Christian imagination.  In the fourth and fifth centuries, with a…

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The Happy News! No One Stays In Hell! – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

I don’t want to leave the impression that Origen was the only early Christian thinker who held to the idea of universal salvation, that in the end, everyone gets saved.  Very few (hardly any) would have agreed that the Devil too would get redeemed.  But that all humans will eventually “make it” was an attractive view to others – even “orthodox” Christian thinkers. Among scholars from the later church, the most famous theologian to countenance universal salvation was a self-confessed…

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Did Early Christians Believe in Reincarnation? – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

In my previous post I talked about how Origen’s view that souls existed before being born as humans related to his view that in the end, all things — including the most wicked beings in the universe — will convert and return to God: salvation for all!   Also connected to this idea was Origen’s notion that after death people would be reborn to, in a sense, “give it another go.”  Origen is our most famous Christian proponent of the idea…

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Did We Exist Before We Were Born? – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

Yesterday I started explaining how the influential early Christian theologian Origen believed that at the end of time, all souls — including the most wicked to have ever lived, even the demons and the devil — will be saved.  To make better sense of why this happens at the end, it’s important to understand what Origen thought happened at the beginning — where souls came from in the first place In the first book of his theological work On First Principles,…

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Does Everyone Get Saved in the End? – The Bart Ehrman Blog – Christian Article

I return now, at last, to the question of why the Apocalypse of Peter, an account of Peter’s tour of the glories of heaven and the torments of hell, did not make it into the New Testament.  It was a fairly widely known book in the first couple of Christian centuries, was accepted by some church leaders as part of the Scriptures, seemed to support acceptable Christian views, and was said to have been written by Jesus’ apostle himself.  So…

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