The Afterlife — страница 2

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inasmuch as it cannot abandon its own nature.? (Plato, 1987:112). In other words, Plato is expressing the belief that the soul must be immortal, as it is a ?motion that can set itself moving?, and hence cannot cease to be what it is. The idea that the soul is reincarnated, and ?transmigrates? across bodies, is expressed by the ancient Greek philosopher Empedocles when he stated ?I have already been a boy, a girl, and a bush, and a silent fish in the sea.? (Barnham, 1982:34) Pythagoras, another influential figure in Greek philosophy, also believed in ?reincarnation?. It is written that he cried at seeing a shield from the Trojan War and claimed that it was his shield when he was a soldier in a past life. (Barham, 1982:35) Modern Christian beliefs, although reincarnation has been

widely rejected, still focus mainly on the immortality of the soul when explaining concepts regarding the afterlife. Christianity is similar to the mythological beliefs in Ancient Greek religion when it describes the soul. The Bible describes the soul as a ?shadow?, and also describes its immortality. The Bible does not offer a definition of the soul. Rather, it assumes that the soul and the person are one, that is, the concept of dualism is less predominant then in Ancient Greek religion. That is why the soul is rarely mentioned specifically in the Bible, however personal pronouns that refer to the reader or specific people are used with the assumption made that the soul and the person are considered to be one and the same. The concept of eternal life is a major focus, though

not the most prevalent concept in Christianity. ? We know that we have left death and come over into life; we know it because we love others. Those who do not love are still under the power of death. Those who hate others are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life in them.? (John 3.14,15.) This passage makes reference to eternal life, and also to the passing over of the soul, though the word ?we? is used in reference to the writer?s and the reader?s souls. The soul is alluded to in the words ?murderers do not have eternal life in them?. This is defining the soul as eternal life and therefore stating that the soul is eternal. It also states that murderers do not have eternal life in them. This implies that the soul will cease to exist after death, or

eventually ceases to exist after death. Therefore the soul is not necessarily always immortal in Christian religion, however, the soul has the potential to be immortal. The different views portrayed in ancient Greek and modern Christian religions are similar as far as the concept that the soul is the essence of the human being, and the soul is immortal. The Ancient Greeks however, tended to believe that the soul was indestructible. In modern Christian religion, the soul can be destroyed by God. The judgment of the soul, or the person, is a major aspect of both ancient Greek and modern Christian religions, despite the fact that later Greek philosophy tended not to focus on this. In Christian religion, the soul is judged by the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is believed to have been

crucified to save the souls of man from their sins. This belief is demonstrated in the Bible verse: ? For just as the father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.? (John 5.26,27). The Christian faith revolves around the idea of the judgment of the soul. The concept of judgment is clearly explained in the Bible passage: ? For all of us must appear before Christ, to be judged by him. We will each receive what we deserve, according to everything we have done, good or bad, in our bodily life.? (Bible, page unknown). This passage states that Christ will judge each person on what they have done while they were alive. Whether an action is deemed ?good? or ?bad? depends

also upon the teaching of the Bible. From the Ten Commandments of Moses to the Psalms and Proverbs, the Bible instructs its Christian followers how to obey God and do what is good. The Bible is vague as to the process of judgment, and the best indication of what it involves may be found in the Book of Revolation. This foretells the final judgment, and is the source of much horrible imagery. Ancient Greek religion also focuses on judgment. The Greeks believed that the soul leaves the body at death, journeys to the Underworld, and is judged by three judges, Rhadamanthus, Minos and Aeacus. The soul, as in Christian religions, is judged to be either ?good? or ?evil?, and the fate of the soul depends upon the judgment it receives. The God Er, Messenger from the Afterlife, in Greek