Heaven and Hell

Although first century Judaism did not comment extensively on life beyond the grave (Pharisees believed in it, but Sadducees did not), New Testament teaching on this point is explicit. Indeed, Paul argues that if there is no resurrection, then Christian faith is worthless (1 Corinth. 15).

Medieval images of heaven and hell were quite graphic and literal, although contemporary Christians are as likely to see the Kingdom of Heaven in terms of a present lived reality rather than something to be aspired to at a future date. Indeed, Liberation Theology argues quite explicitly that Christians should strive for social and political change to bring about the Kingdom of God in the here and now. Likewise, many Christians might consider hell a psychological or social state rather than necessarily a literal place in the hereafter. However, many Christians today do still believe in a literal and future heaven and hell, and feel an urgent desire to ensure that their own destiny, and that of others, is appropriately secured while there is still time.

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