Chapter

The Christian Beginnings

John Casey

in After Lives

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780195092950
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199869732 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195092950.003.0006
The Christian Beginnings

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Jesus’ words about salvation and damnation reveal an extraordinarily heightened sense of the absolute claims the spiritual makes upon us, independently of belief in a future state. Jesus enforces with prodigious power the sense that failure to live with total confidence in God's fatherhood forfeits everything. St. Paul transforms the message by adding a timeless, mythical character to the mission of Jesus, sublating the tragedy of his execution into the history of a savior god. The chapter explores early accounts of hell in the apocrypha, Fathers of the Church, and Origen who denied hell's eternity, preaching a restoration of all (apocatastasis) at the end of time. It ends with a brief account of some Muslim traditions of hell, of Izrail, Angel of Death, of interrogation by the angels Munkar and Nakir, the Sirat or narrow bridge over hell which all must pass over.

Keywords: Jesus; salvation; damnation; savior god; Origen; apocatastasis; Muslim traditions; Izra'il, Sirat

Chapter.  21904 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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