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Life After Death   o  ·   1  

Life After Death   o  ·   1  

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Published by Dew Nada

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Published by: Dew Nada on Oct 13, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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© Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos
Interpretive analysis of the parable
[ BACK ]
It has beenwidely observed that great interest is being shown today inthe life afterdeath. People are intensely occupied with the mystery of death. Naturally this is connected with the so-called existential questionsarising in everyone, especially in the young. They are such questions as:
What am I, what is the meaning of life, where am I going after I die, isthere life after the soul leaves the body, and so forth.Of course, not only our contemporaries but, in general, people of alltimes and races have been concerned with these questions. Philosophersare characteristically concerned with the origin of life, the existence of the soul, the entrance of evil into the world, and death. Thus while thesetopics appear to be contemporary, they have always occupied man'sspirit.If we observe an increasing interest today, it is due more to theinsecurity which people are feeling now. For when all the certainties arebeing demolished and people feel discouraged by various events, it isnatural that their interest in existential questions is intensified.The Church has always confronted such questions, especially the mostfundamental problem and the greatest mystery, the mystery of death.Indeed the aim of the incarnation of Christ was to conquer the power of death and the devil. Christ's victory over death gave man the possibilitythat he too could conquer death within his personal life. This is achievedin the Church.When the Church speaks of death, it is not in order to frighten the peopleand create panic, but to help them to overcome it. Obviously theproblem of death is not easy to face in any case, nor is death a simpleevent. We are born corruptible and mortal. At his birth the particularperson is born who is going to die. All human life is a succession of deaths. The illnesses and general corruptibility of the body indicate thatwe are bearing the burden of death. And our various negative reactionsgo back to the experience of death. So when the Church speaks of thesematters it is an effective help. In place of fear and panic it spreads hopeand consolation. In this way it gives joy to life.
In this book we shall confront some of the questions which concernpeople today, such as what is death, what is the soul, what happens whenthe soul leaves the body, where the soul goes after its separation fromthe body, whether a man's being dissolves at death, what is the purifyingfire, what are Paradise and Hell, what will happen at the Second Comingof Christ, and so on.I would like to make some general observations in this introduction.First of all, what is said in this book is inspired by the teaching of divineRevelation as it has been manifested to the saints of each epoch andrecorded both in Holy Scripture and in the lives and teachings of theholy Fathers, who themselves are bearers of the divine Revelation.Then, in developing the separate chapters it was not possible to avoidsome repetitions. For example, in dealing with the subject of thepurifying fire according to St. Mark Eugenicus, it was necessary to speakof the Kingdom of God, Paradise and Hell. In the chapter "diachroniceschatology”there had to be some repetition from the previous chapters.Moreover we know that theological topics, just as this life itself, cannotbe set apart absolutely and interpreted independently, in isolation.The reader should be told that some parts of the book are more difficultto understand because they give the theological interpretation andanalysis of these topics. They cannot all be simplified. When subjects aregreatly simplified, they tend to be distorted and degraded. If the readerencounters a few difficulties, let him not be discouraged, but go on towhere the reading becomes easier, and he will have a goodunderstanding of the Church's position on the subject of life and death,what happens after the soul leaves the body.In this book we examine topics which move from the soul's departure tothe life after the Second Coming of Christ. This is a difficult"area”because it moves within a mystery. There are many things which

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