Life after Death | Orthodox Christianity
Life after Death | Orthodox Christianity
by Aleksey Osipov
The booklet is devoted to the problems of a man’s existence beyond the death boundaries.
How should we understand the Eternity?
What is that – after-death sufferings?
Can God give a life to him, who, as He knows, will go to the eternal torments?
Do our passions remain in action after the death?
Are there any real means to help the departed?
What is the influence of the pray on the after-death state of a soul?
Nobody can remain indifferent to theses deep questions, this mystery of the human life in its two measurements – time and Eternity.
The booklet written by Aleksey Osipov, merited professor of the Moscow Spiritual Academy, is composed on the basis of his public lectures and answers to the questions of the listeners;
it will help the readers to reconsider in the major part what was known by them before, to approach that world through the prism of the patristic teaching.
1. How should we understand eternity? | INTRO
2. About those who live in another life
3. Eat, drink, be marry, my soul?
4. Understanding of death by ancient people
5. And what is common for all?
6. “I am in hell!”
7. God-given man’s flesh
8. Consequences of progenitors’ sin
9. Where a soul resides after death of the body
10. Messages from there
11. “Take earthy things here as most weak reflection of celestial
12. Posthumous test of good
13. And test of evil
14. With god’s spirit or with demons-tortures?
15. Likeness unites with likeness. Power of repentance
16. “Passions are a thousand times stronger than on earth…
17. We are free to make good and evil
19. The right way to pray for the departed
20. Be a Christian at least for forty days
22. What is in store for us at the last judgment?
23. Christ is saviour of all men
24. Why did Christ descend into the hell?
25. About a mortal sin and who is righteous
Posthumous life of a soul – is always a certain mystery, which allures to itself:
“What is there and how is there” – is a question that is passed over from generation to generation, giving birth to a lot of answers.
Many of them are borrowed from doubtful sources from outside Church;
from teachings of non-Christian religions, occult inventions, stories of “visitors” to another world, “revelations” in dreams, fantasies of psychically sick persons and etc.
That is why there is every need to open this theme at least in part, giving way to the teaching of Saint Fathers and authoritative hermits of the orthodox Church to the maximum possible extent.
However, Christianity does not have an aim to make this mystery such a reality that would answer all the questions of our infinitely curious souls.
For a person, living here – this is impossible to do and in the most part it is not useful.
Impossible because - that world is absolutely different, and it is impossible to express it by our language.
It is very illustrative in this sense the experience of the apostle Paul, who after being there, shared with his brethren the only recollection , - he told them that “he heard inexpressive things, things that man is not permitted to tell” (2 Corinthians, 12, 4) *.
Is not useful (or not permitted) as the knowledge of the future may completely paralyze a man’s freedom in the most important part of his life – spiritual and moral.
It is easy to imagine how our behavior would change if we learned, quite surely that we would die definitely in a certain number of days at a given hour.
Knowledge of the future will impose iron chains upon a man’s behavior, who has not got rid of passions and weaknesses.
Due to the same reason that world and the time of death were not opened even to all the saints.
And on the contrary, not having direct knowledge about that world, a man turns to be quite free in his spiritual and moral life here, free in his choice of one of the two basic views on the problem of utmost importance:
a belief in God and eternal life of a personality or a belief in its eternal death.
It is not accidentally that Christ told the apostle Thomas:
“You have seen me, you have believed;
blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John, 20, 29).
In fact – belief is that very true indication of the spiritual demands of a man, their orientation and purity.
I.V. Kirievsky expressed this idea precisely and clearly: “A man is what his belief is”.
Beyond the grave the status of a man – is a direct fruit of his ambitions and actions in this world.
But the fruit is not according to a law of retribution, but as per a law of conscience.
This is beautifully maintained by St. Anthony the Great in his admonitions:
Being a Christian we may only discourse, enjoying our theological deliberations, actually not believing Him and excluding Him from the whole of our life.
As it was noted: “They philosophize about life, but they do not live through a life”.
Spiritual formation and perfection of a personality take place in front of temptations, influence of passions, heavy doubts more often than not.
These thorns are required for a man in his earthy life, for they open to him himself, humiliate him, make him capable of cognizing the Christ Saviour, and by way of this acquisition of a king’s dignity of a son of God.
It is not accidentally that the Fathers used to speak, if there had been no demons, there would have not been any saints.
“The kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it”.
(Matthew, 11, 12).
Do not have a propensity for earth.
Everything is short-lived –
and happiness in the next world only is
eternal, unchangeable, true.
And this happiness depends on the way
how we live through our this very life.
St. Theophan the Recluse.