conditional immortality

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The theory that immortality is not a necessary attribute of the soul as a separate entity from the body, but rather that it is bestowed on the whole being at the Last Day and is conditional on the believer's faith in Christ or, in modern times, on each individual's behaviour during life. The idea found renewed favour in the 19th cent. as a means of accounting for the fate of the impenitently wicked without accepting either the orthodox doctrine of eternal punishment or the theory that all free moral creatures will ultimately be saved (apocatastasis or universalism). It was recently revived by some Evangelicals, who hold that annihilation follows a period of torment in Hell.

Subjects: Christianity.

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