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§ 63. (1.) Of Death.

“Death (in the strict sense) is the deprivation of natural life, occurring through the separation of soul and body.” BR. (354). [4] It is a consequence of the fall of our first parents, and therefore all men are subjected to it (Rom. 5:12.) [5] In death the natural life of man ceases, it is true, as this was conditioned by the peculiar connection between body and soul [6] but the soul does not cease as does the body, but lives on with all the attributes and powers that belong to its essential nature. [7] For the immortality of the soul, reason has from time immemorial set up an array of proofs, but we become incontrovertibly certain of it through the positive declarations of the Holy Scriptures. [8] From them we learn also this much concerning the condition of the soul after death, that its lot, immediately thereafter, is a happy or unhappy one, just 625as its possessor in this life embraced salvation through Christ or not. [9] The doctrine of an intermediate condition of the soul, in which it is neither happy nor unhappy, as though asleep, is therefore erroneous; [10] as is also the Roman Catholic view, according to which not two, but five different places are to be assumed, where we are to suppose the souls of the departed to be, viz., hell, purgatory, the abode of infants, the abode of the fathers, and heaven. [11]

[1] BR. (353): “Inasmuch as the highest or ultimate blessedness is not in this life, but in the life to come, and, in like manner, the lowest misery to which it is opposed occurs only after this life; we must now consider those things which, according to divine revelation, pertain to the end of this life, and to entrance into the life or state to come.”

QUEN. (IV, 534): “We have thus far considered the means of salvation, properly so-called, both those for bestowing (δοτικα), on the part of God, namely, the Word and Sacraments, and that for reception (ληπτικον) on our part, namely, faith. The means, called so in a less accurate sense, now follow, viz., the four Last Things: death, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, and the end of the world, which are not so properly means to obtain salvation, as the way through which we reach the goal or limit. For the passing over of the godly from the Church Militant to the Church Triumphant occurs through death, for which reason Gregory of Nyssa compares it to a midwife bringing us to life truly so-called. Following death is the judgment, whose forerunner is the general resurrection of all men, and whose following attendant is the end of the world.”

[2] BR. (353): “They are otherwise called the Last Things (novissima), in Greek τα εσχατα; because some both are, and are called, last, with respect to men as individuals; and others, with respect to men collectively and to the whole world. To the former class belong death and the state of the soul after death. To the latter, the resurrection of the dead and the corresponding change of the living, the final judgment, and the conflagration of the world.”

[3] The later Dogmaticians treat, under this head, only of death, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, and the end of the world, because they had previously (immediately after the doctrine of Providence) discussed eternal life, as the formal end of theology, and had appended to that the topic of eternal condemnation, as the opposite of eternal life. We here follow the arrangement of the 626earlier Dogmaticians. In regard to the division of the novissima, GRH. (XVII, 8): “The last things are those either of the macrocosm or of the microcosm.3131[“Macrocosm, the universe, or the visible system of worlds; opposed to microcosm, or the little world, constituted by man.” — WEBSTER.] The last things of the microcosm are of a twofold class. For they are either a way leading to the last limit or the goal terminating the way. The former passes through a twofold valley, namely, of death, Ps. 23:4, and of Jehoshaphat or of judgment, Joel 3:12, which judgment the general resurrection precedes. There is a goal, attained either by the soul of man when released from the body, or by the entire man after the resurrection. And this goal is of two parts, directly opposite each other, viz., for the wicked, hell, for the godly, life eternal. From all these enumerations, taken together, it becomes clear that there are six Last Things pertaining in general to man and the world: (1) The temporal death of man, to which belongs the separation of the soul from the body, and the reduction of the body to ashes in the sepulchre. (2) The general resurrection of all men. (3) The administration of the final judgment. (4) The conflagration of the world. (5) The eternal damnation of the wicked. (6) The eternal glorification of the godly. Since it is customary to state only four Last Things, we can, therefore, proceed in this manner: The Last Things, taken generically, are twofold, with respect to a twofold object: (a) of the macrocosm; (b) of the microcosm. The last thing of the macrocosm is the end of the world. The last things of the microcosm are four: (a) death; (b) resurrection; (c) judgment; (d) eternal state, viz., of the godly in heaven, and the damned in hell.”

[4] QUEN. (IV, 535): “Death, properly speaking, signifies the separation of the soul from the body, and its deprivation of animal life; to this ordinarily all are subject, the good as well as the wicked, and this is the signification in this article.” Id. (ib.): “The names of death are sweet; it is called a gathering to their own people, Gen. 25:8, 17; 35:29; 49:33; Numb. 20:24, 26; Deut. 32:50: a departure in peace, Luke 2:29; a turning away from the evil to come, Is. 57:1; resting on a couch; v. 2, a sleep, Dan. 12:2; Matt. 9:24; 1 Thess. 4:13.” GRH. (XXVII, 15): “The term death is taken, in Holy Scripture and by the Church writers, either literally or figuratively. Literally, for natural death, which is the separation of soul from body . . . . In this signification it is received in this article, when death is enumerated among the Last Things of man. Figuratively, it is used by way either of metaphor, or of metonymy. Metaphorically, for temporal or eternal death. 627Temporal death, metaphorically so termed, is likewise twofold, either bodily or spiritual. Bodily death, metaphorically so termed, embraces calamities of every class endured by man in this life because of sin, which are the heralds and messengers of death, Ex. 10:17 . . . . Spiritual death, is twofold, that of believers and of unbelievers; the former is glorious and profitable, the latter detestable and destructive. The spiritual death of believers is that by which, to their welfare, they are said to die (1) to sin, Rom. 6:22; . . . (2) to the Law, Rom. 7:4; . . . (3) to the ceremonies of the Law, Rom. 7:4, 6; Gal. 2:19; (4) to the world, Gal. 6:14 . . . . The spiritual death of unbelievers is that by which they are said to have died and to have been separated from the true life of the soul, which is in God, Matt. 8:22; Luke 9:60 . . . . The eternal death of the damned is the final and entire loss of divine fellowship, and the horrible torture of soul and body resulting therefrom, the never-ending misery dreaded by the damned in hell, which is called by John the second death, Rev. 2:11; 20:14, in referring to both the natural and the spiritual death peculiar to unbelievers.”

[5] GRH. (XVII, 30): “From the divine Word it is evident that there are three principal and primary causes, on account of which man is subject to death. The first is the malice of the devil leading him astray. The second is the guilt of man in sinning. The third is the wrath of God, as an avenger. These causes follow each other in a certain order.”

HFRFFR. (650): “If man had remained in the nobility of the integrity in which he was first created, when the period of his earthly life had been completed he would have been transferred to the eternal and heavenly happiness without death, whose precursors are evils and calamities of every kind. But because he transgressed God’s command, through sin death entered into the world, to which all men stained by sin remain subject. And although, through Christ, our Restorer, we have been regained for life eternal, yet this is the way of all flesh; and while we who believe pass, it is true, through death to life, the wicked are cast, by bodily death, into death and damnation eternal.”

The Dogmaticians further distinguish the physical or proximate causes from the principal (in other words, remote or moral). HOLL. (1225): “Of the physical causes of death, some are natural, others preternatural, and others violent. The natural cause is the consumption of radical moisture and the extinction of native warmth. Preternatural causes are the severer diseases. Violent causes are outward objects bringing such violence to the body that the bond of natural union, by which body and soul are joined, is broken.”


[6] HOLL. (1225): “The death of the body formally consists in the deprivation of natural life.” GRH. (XVII, 51): “Scripture describes the form of death: Ecc. 12:7; 2 Cor. 5:1, 4, 8; Phil. 1:23; 2 Tim. 4:6; 2 Pet. 1:14. For, since man consists of soul and body, united to each other by an essential bond, the death of man is nothing else than the αναλυσις, or release, of the soul from the body. Since, as long as man lives, the soul sojourns in the body, just as in an earthly dwelling-place, man’s death is nothing else than the καταλυσις (dissolution, 2 Cor. 5:1) and αποθεσις (putting off, 2 Pet. 1:14) of this earthly dwelling-place and tabernacle, and the επαναχωρησις (return) of the soul to God from its long pilgrimage. Since the body is, as it were, the covering and garment of the soul, man’s death is nothing else than the εκδυσις, or the taking off, of this garment. Since life is an act of the soul in the body, το ζην εστι συνθεσις και συνδεσμος ψυχης σωματι,” “life is the composition and bond of the soul with the body.” Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Book VIII).

[7] BR. (363): “When the dissolution of the soul and body has occurred, and death therefore happens, the soul nevertheless survives and performs its operations separately, outside of the body; for example, in those things which pertain formally to the intellect and will, as essential powers of the human or rational soul, which themselves also survive and are not inactive. The intellect retains the intelligible forms which it had in the body, and therefore can also call forth acts of knowledge; to which, then, it is correctly believed that some acts of the will, with respect to objects presented by the intellect, correspond. And to this is generally referred the statement of Rev. 6:10, that the knowledge of a former condition and a certain longing are ascribed to the souls of the martyrs. But we do not say that the souls of the deceased know distinctly and definitely the actions and affairs of each of the living, which have occurred since the departure of the former from the body, and especially the various prayers and rites of worship directed to them.”

GRH. (XVII, 149): “In life, they (body and soul) are connected to each other by the closest bond, whence the affections and sufferings of the body flow over into the soul, and in turn the affections and sufferings of the soul flow over into the body; the soul does nothing whatever outside of the body, nor does the body do anything independently of the soul. But in death the soul is separated from the body, and returns to God, to whose judgment it is committed, from which it is either borne by holy angels into heaven, or is delivered to evil spirits to be cast into hell; the body 629is turned back again into the dust of the earth, from which its first and earliest origin proceeded, and by the putrefaction and incineration is reduced to its primitive elements. After this dissolution and separation, the affections and sufferings of the soul no longer flow over to the body; and, in turn, the affections and sufferings of the body no longer flow over into the soul. The soul no longer acts through the body as an instrument, but lives and subsists apart from it; neither is it dissolved nor does it fall apart as the body that is resolved into its own elements, but, subsisting outside of the body, it spends an immortal life, and, removed from all intercourse with the body, is preserved somewhere (pou) until, on the appointed day of the general resurrection, the body raised up by divine power will be joined again to the same, and man will afterwards experience the righteous sentence of the judge.”

[8] QUEN. (IV, 537): “That human souls are immortal, and that they do not perish with the bodies, can be clearly and firmly established alone from the Holy Scriptures.” GRH. (XVII, 150) produces the scriptural proof: “(1) From the distinct assertion of our Saviour, Matt. 10:28. (2) From the opposition of soul and body. That in which soul and body are opposed to each other antithetically cannot in like manner be predicated of both. But in mortality, soul and body are opposed to each other in such a manner that mortality is affirmed of the body, but denied concerning the soul. Therefore mortality cannot be predicated of both in like manner, cf. Ecc. 12:7. (3) From the original creation of the soul. The souls of brutes were produced from the same material as their bodies, whence, when their bodies perish, the souls themselves likewise perish, Gen. 1:20. But into man He breathed a soul, Gen. 2:7; whence we thus infer: “A soul whose origin is different from that of the souls of brutes, does not have the same end with the souls of brutes. But now the primeval origin of the human soul is different from that of the souls of brutes, because it was made not of an elementary material, as the souls of brutes, but divinely breathed into the body formed from the earth. Therefore, to the body there is ascribed πλασις (the being moulded) from the dust of the earth, but to the soul the immediate εμπνευσις (inspiration) of God. (4) From the name itself . . . . The human soul is called spirit, Ecc. 3:21; Acts 7:59; Heb. 12:23. (5) From the continuation of life after man’s death, Matt. 22:32; Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37; Hab. 1:12. (6) From the description of death, Gen. 25:8; 35:29; 49:33; Dan. 12:13; Acts 26:18; Col. 1:12, etc.”

But concerning the immortality of the soul, GRH. still adds 630(XVII, 150): “Add the fact that the soul is not immortal in the same manner as God, viz., essentially (ουσιωδως) and independently (for in that sense God alone is said to have immortality, 1 Tim. 6:16), but through the grace of creation, because it was so fashioned by God as not to have in itself an inner principle of corruption, but to be incorporeal, invisible, and immortal. Yet God could, if He wished, reduce the soul to nothing, and altogether extinguish it; but because He wished it to be immortal, it continues through and because of the will of the immortal Creator. That is immortal which either can be destroyed by absolutely no power, not even by divine power (and in this manner God alone is immortal), or which has been so framed by God as not to perish, although by God’s absolute power it could be destroyed; in the latter manner the souls of men and the angels are immortal.” Concerning the force of the evidence in “the arguments sought from the light of nature,” GRH. (XVII, 159): “We make a distinction between antecedent and subsequent modes of reasoning. Thomas: ‘A mode of reasoning is employed with regard to any subject in a twofold manner: in the first place, to give sufficient proof to a statement; in the second place, when the statement has already been established, to show that the effects that follow correspond.’ In this latter manner, the immortality of the soul can be proved from the light of nature, after it has been shown from Holy Scripture that the same consequence has been fully established. Again, we make a distinction between conclusive and probable modes of reasoning. The arguments produced from the light of nature can induce a persuasion of probability concerning the immortality of the soul, but can in no way present a firm, immovable, and irrefragable foundation of faith.” GRH. (XVII, 147) produces as such proofs: “(1) A rational soul is a substance subsisting of itself and spiritual, as is manifest from its operation, because there are in us some spiritual acts of knowledge, i.e., neither consisting of matter, nor depending upon matter or a subject, but inorganic in the cognizing of immaterial, universal, and eternal things; therefore it is also immortal. (2) The human soul is in essence simple, invisible, immaterial, most like unto God, and independent of matter. (3) It is an essence primarily self-moving. (4) By a natural longing it desires eternal things, and it is not probable that this desire would be born within it for no purpose. (5) It contemplates eternal essences, while, nevertheless, nothing can rise to the contemplation of that from which it entirely differs in essence. (6) In abstraction from objects of sense it is more and more perfected, and therefore, when it shall 631be separated from the body, will become most perfect. (7) It has not originated from elements, because it has knowledge naturally implanted, which no elementary material can acquire. (8) It has the distinction between the Honorable and the Base implanted, from which it derives this rule of justice, viz., that it ought to be well with the good, and ill with the wicked. But now, in this life, more frequently neither the good receive their rewards, nor the wicked their merited punishments; therefore another life remains to which the immortal soul aspires: otherwise this distinction would have been implanted in the mind in vain. (9) To men self-conscious of evil because of crimes, it occasions fear; therefore it is naturally anxious concerning the condition that will follow death, and is certainly self-conscious of its immortality: for if the soul would not survive after death, men self-conscious of evil would have no reason to dread future punishments. (10) The state of ecstasy, i.e., when, without any employment of the senses, it naturally undergoes an intense application of its rational portion to sublime affairs, and therefore can also naturally subsist of itself, because anything which is not of itself dependent upon another in working, is not so in existing. (11) Finally, they urge the agreement of the sounder philosophers, who prove that the immortality of the soul belongs to the number of those things which are προληψεις (presuppositions), or certain preconceived notions admitted by all.”

[A modern classification of the various arguments that have been used, is as follows:


1. Metaphysical Proof. Since the soul is immaterial and simple, it is also indissoluble (Plato, Cicero, Mos, Mendelssohn, the Herbartians and the new school of Leibnitz).

2. Teleological Proof. The rich capacities of the human spirit cannot be satisfactorily developed in this earthly life; its destiny, therefore, must extend to a future life (Cicero, Leibnitz, Riemarius, Lotze).

3. Proof from Cosmical Plurality. As the heavenly bodies stand in communion with one another, so also their inhabitants must have a moral communion. But this can be realized only in a future world. (Wilkins, Fontenelle, Huyghens, Derham, Kant, Bonnet, Herder, Jean Paul, J. P. Lange, Chalmers, etc.)

4. Analogical Proof. From the succession of germ, plant and fruit in vegetable life (Cf. John 12:24; 1 Cor. 15:36 sqq.); from the metamorphosis of the Phoenix (Clement of Rome, Theophilus, Irenaeus, Tertullian), of the butterfly (Basil the Great, Swammerdam, 632Bossuet, Paley); or from the law of the conservation of force, (Teichmüller, Lilienfeld, Schlesinger, etc.).

5. Moral Proof:

a. Arg. Ethonomicum. Man strives after virtue, as well as after happiness. But this life affords no satisfaction (Kant, Sintenis, Schaarschmidt).

b. Arg. Juridicum. It is only the promise of a life beyond death that can inspire one with love for his country (J. G. Fichte).


1. Empirical attempts at proof. The exhibitions and arts of the older necromantic superstition; the visions of Swedenborg; the experiments of Spiritism.

2. Traditional Proofs:

a. Arg. e consensu gentium (already in Homer, Virgil, Cicero).

b. The proof from New Testament history, from the testimony of Jesus to His resurrection (especially John 14:2 sqq.; 11:25), and the miracles of Himself and His apostles in raising the dead.

Proper demonstrative force pertains to these arguments only so far as they are sustained by religious faith; and even where this presumption occurs, the various speculative attempts at proof have only uncertain value. Complete firmness of conviction concerning personal progress in a blessed hereafter is afforded only by surrender to the Redeemer in loving obedience of faith, viz., the last of the above mentioned arguments appropriated in the life. (Zöckler’s Handbook, Dogmatik).]

[9] HUTT. (Loc. Th., 297): “The souls of the godly, or of believers in Christ, are in the hand of God, awaiting there the glorious resurrection of the body, and the full enjoyment of eternal blessedness, Wis. 3:1; Luke 16:22, 23.” BR. (364) “Yea, we believe that the souls of the godly attain essential blessedness immediately after they have been separated from the body (Phil. 1:23; Luke 23:43; John 5:24; Rev. 7:4, 15); but that the souls of the wicked undergo their damnation (1 Pet. 3:19).” GRH. (XVII, 178): “Of receptacles and habitations. Scripture, by a general appellation, speaks of a place, John 14:2; Luke 16:28; Acts 1:25. Not that it is a corporeal and physical place, properly so called, but because it is “a where” (που), into which souls separated from the body are brought together. Scripture enumerates only two such receptacles, habitations, guardhouses, and promptuaries of souls, one of which, prepared for the souls of the godly, is called by the most ordinary appellation heaven, and the other, intended for the souls of the wicked, is called hell.”


[10] QUEN. (IV, 538): “The souls of men, separated from the body, do not sleep, neither are they insensible.”

[The chief arguments of the Psychopannichists are stated and refuted by GRH., XVIII, 26 sqq.:

“1. ‘The dead are said to sleep, Matt. 9:24; John 11:11; Acts 7:60; 1 Cor. 15:18; 1 Thess. 4:13.’ Answer: As sleep hold only the members and outward sense, while the soul exercises its inner operations, as is inferred from dreams; so in death, the body alone perishes, while the soul of the godly is transferred to Abraham’s bosom, Luke 16:22, and enjoys consolation, v. 25 (XVII, 20).

2. ‘In the Psalms, it is often said: The dead shall not praise Thee, etc., Ps. 6:5; 115:17.’ Answer: These passages refer to the proclamation and propagation of true doctrine, and the celebration of divine blessings through which, in this life, others may be invited to true conversion and the glorification of the divine name.

3. ‘The Lord of the vineyard gives his laborers hire at evening time, Matt. 20:8. But by evening, is meant the time of resurrection and judgment.’ Answer: Parables do not apply in every part, but only the principal scope must be regarded; by evening here is indicated not only the time of universal judgment, but that of the particular judgment which occurs at death.

4. ‘Heb. 4:3: We which have believed, do enter into rest.’ Answer: The rest of souls must be understood with respect to the terminus a quo, i.e., they rest from labors and troubles, to which the godly are subjected in this life, as is explained in Rev. 14:13, but not with respect to the terminus ad quem, as though the souls of the godly rest after death in the stupor of sleep; for, in this respect, it is said of the angels and the blessed in Heaven, that they rest not day nor night, but incessantly praise God, Rev. 4:8. God is said, Gen. 2:2, to rest, and yet: ‘He that keepeth Israel, shall neither slumber nor sleep,’ Ps. 121:4. The souls of the martyrs are commanded to rest, Rev. 6:11, and yet they cry with a loud voice, v.10. Their rest, therefore, is a patient expectation of final liberation and union with the bodies which are to be raised, Is. 26:20; Dan. 12:12.’”

On the knowledge of the dead: “It is a pious and good thought to hold that they have a general knowledge of what is occurring to the Church Militant here on earth, and therefore they beseech Christ, with whom they are present in heavenly glory, for some good for the Church, especially since they are members of the same mystical body, of which Christ is the Head. Meanwhile it must 634not be inferred from this, that they have in full view the individual circumstances and calamities of the godly.”]

QUEN. (IV, 538): “Neither, after death, do the souls of the godly live in a cool and tranquil place, and possess only a foretaste of heavenly happiness, but they enjoy full and essential happiness. Neither, after death, do the souls of the wicked feel only the beginning of tortures, but perfect and complete damnation.”

[Nevertheless this must be qualified by his statement (I, 564): “The beginning of infernal torments, with respect to the soul separated from the body, is the first moment of its departure from the body. The torture of the entire composite being will follow, when sentence of final judgment is given.” (560): “The beginning of the plenary perception of ineffable blessings and joys, is, with respect to the soul, the end of this life. But the fullest perception will occur after the reunion of body and soul.”

GRH. (XVIII, 21): “The pains of hell, which the condemned experience immediately after death, are graphically described, in >Luke 16:23 sq.: 1 They are in hell, εν τω αδη. This expresses every kind of torture, since in hell there is the presence of all evil, and the absence of all good. 2. They are εν βασανοις, i.e., they feel such pains as criminals experience, who are subject to most exquisite tortures. 3. οδυνωνται, they feel the anguish belonging to those who endure the pains of child-birth, under which figure Scripture expresses the most severe tortures. For they are burned εν τη φλογι, not lightly and superficially, but in the midst of flames penetrating ad medullas. 5. They can obtain not even a drop of water to cool their body, much less the least consolation for their soul. 6. They see the elect in glory, and hence, from envy, are seized with horror and indignation. 7. Their sorrow is increased by the remembrance of former good. 8. They know that their punishment will be eternal, that there is a gulf fixed between them and the godly, viz., God’s immutable decision that none of the godly can relapse to the state of the damned, and, on the other hand, that none of the damned can be drawn to the state of the blessed. 9. They will be tortured by the pains of their kindred; for when the rich man wants his brethren to be warned, he does this, not from love and desire for their salvation, but from fear and terror, lest his pains may be increased by the sight of those prepared for them. 10. They resist and contend against God. ‘Nay, father Abraham,’ says the rich man. Here is the ‘gnashing of teeth,’ Matt. 13:50, whereby, from impatience, indignation and constant despair, they contend against God. Although the souls of the godless do not immediately after their egress from the body 635receive these punishments in full measure, yet they will be subjected to them in every part, when, on the day of judgment, they shall be reunited to their bodies; nevertheless, it is clearly seen, from the text, that the beginning of these tortures is experienced immediately after death.”]

(Ib., 540) Metempsychosis is entirely rejected. GRH. (XVII, 171): “Before all things, the absurd and senseless opinion must be removed, which states that ‘souls migrate from bodies worn out by disease and death, and insinuate themselves into those that are new and recently born; and that the same souls are always being re-born, sometimes in a man, sometimes in a domestic animal, sometimes in a wild beast, sometimes in a bird, and in this manner are immortal, because they are frequently exchanging habitations of various and dissimilar bodies, in which words Lactantius describes the transmigration and transanimation of souls, called by the Greeks μετεμψυχωρις και μετενσωματωσις.”

[11] GRH. (XVII, 183): “The Papists fabricate five receptacles of souls: (1) Hell, to which they consign the souls of extremely wicked men, who depart from this life in unbelief, hardness of heart, and the more serious offences against conscience, or mortal sins. (2) Purgatory, next to hell, to which they consign the souls of those who have not yet been fully purged of venial sins, and have not given full satisfaction for the temporal punishments of sins, but who, nevertheless, have departed from this life in the faith of Christ; these, they state, must labor in purgatory until, with their stains purged away, they soar pure and cleansed into heaven. (3) The limbus puerorum, to which they consign the souls of unbaptized infants; who, because of original sin, in which they have departed without the remedy of Baptism, suffer in this subterranean prison the punishment of loss, although not with respect of sense, having been excluded from the joys of heaven, and yet not subjected to the pains of hell. It is called a limbus, because it is, as it were, the border and extremity of hell, just as the edge (limbus) of a garment. (4) The limbus patrum, into which they introduce the souls of the patriarchs, and of all the saints of the Old Testament who died before the descent of Christ ad inferos, which, they assert, bore, in this apartment, the temporal punishment of loss, until, by the payment of the debt of original sin through the death of Christ, they were delivered from this and introduced to the fruition of heavenly blessedness, when Christ descended ad inferos. (5) Heaven, into which they admit the souls of the saints together purged of all sins. The order of these stories, according to the Papists, is such as this: Hell is placed in 636the very centre of the earth; next this, purgatory, which is, as it were, a second story; bordering upon this is the limbus infantum, to which the limbus patrum immediately succeeds, which at the present time is altogether empty, because of Christ’s translation of the fathers to heaven.” The doctrine of purgatory was rejected especially by the Lutheran Church as conflicting with that of reconciliation by faith alone. HFRRFR. (667): “Everything that is ascribed to the satisfactions either of purgatory or of the intercession of the saints, is detracted from the merit of Christ, which alone cleanses us from sins.”

[GRH., XVII, 189 sqq., rejects the limbus puerorum: “1. It is based upon the false hypothesis of the absolute necessity of Baptism. 2. Infants departing without Baptism, either believe or do not believe. If the former, they are in the grace of God, and obtain the remission of their sins; if the latter, they remain children of wrath, under condemnation, exiles from the heavenly Jerusalem, and are cast into the lake of fire. There is no tertium aliquod between faith and unbelief, the state of grace and of wrath, the kingdom of God and of the devil: so also there is none between life eternal and the eternal fire. Matt. 26:46; Mark 16:16; John 3:18, 36; Rev. 20:15; 21:27. 3. If the infants of Christians departing without Baptism were to be cast into a peculiar limbus bordering upon the infernal fire, how would this be consistent with the promise of Gen. 17:7? 4. Not even in the Old Testament were infants of Israel, departing before circumcision, absolutely excluded from the kingdom of God. 5. If infants departed without the forgiveness of original sin, they would be subject not only to the punishment of loss, but also to the punishment of sense, not only excluded from the kingdom of God, but also tortured by the infernal fire of eternal damnation. For the wages of sin is death and eternal damnation; not only the punishment of loss, but also of sense. 6. If infants neither rejoice nor grieve, nor know or feel aught, they undoubtedly cannot be said to sustain the punishment of loss, since, being ignorant, insensible and sleeping, they cannot be said to be punished.”

Against the limbus patrum, he urges: “1. Scripture mentions no such limbus, separated from Heaven, in which the souls of the patriarchs were enclosed until the death of our first parent was paid for by Christ’s death. 2. On the other hand, Scripture enumerates only two receptacles after this life, as well in the Old as in the New Testament, viz., Heaven and Hell. 3. Of the souls of the godly in the Old Testament, it is said, 1 Sam. 25:25, and of the soul of Lazarus before Christ’s passion and death, that they 637were carried by the angels, who always see God’s face, Matt. 18:11, into Abraham’s bosom, Luke 16:22. Of the soul of the converted robber, it is said that it was taken into Paradise. Unless then we wish to confuse Paradise with hell, we cannot affirm of the Old Testament saints, that they descended into any infernal limbus. 4. Although the Epistle to the Hebrews testifies that the patriarchs of the Old Testament had not yet received the completion of the promises concerning the possession of the land of Canaan (Ex. 11:13, 39), yet their souls were not for this reason excluded from the kingdom of Heaven, v. 10, 16. 5. The examples of godly patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament. Enoch, Gen. 5:24; Heb. 11:5; Abraham, John 8:56; 3:36; Rom. 4:11; Luke 16:22; Elias, 2 Kings 2:11; Moses and Elias, Matt. 17:6; Luke 9:31 . . . . 7. It is based on the false opinion, that, before Christ’s death, the gate of Paradise was not open to the godly . . . . 9. It detracts from the merits of Christ, as though their efficacy did not abound to the fathers of the Old Testament, while yet He is said to be the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world, Rev. 13:8, not only with respect to decree, promise and types in sacrifices, but also with respect to fruit and efficacy, Jesus Christ being ‘the same yesterday, to-day, and forever,’ Heb. 13:8.” Against purgatory: “1. It is without scriptural foundation. 2. It directly contradicts Scripture: (a) Scripture divides all men into only two classes, believers and unbelievers, good and evil, sheep and goats; heaven being assigned to the one class, hell to the other. (b) It teaches that only in this life is the time to labor, to run, to strive, i.e., to repent, believe, attain the grace of God, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life, but that after death there is no time for repentance and faith, Ecc. 9:4, 5, 10; 11:3; 12:5; Matt. 25:10; John 9:10; 1 Cor. 7:29; 9:24; Eph. 5:16; Gal. 6:8, 10; 2 Tim. 4:7; Heb. 12:1; Rev. 2:6; Is. 55:6. (c) It teaches only two purgations of sins: one external and Levitical the cleansing of the heart. The former is assigned to Levitical ceremonies, Lev. 12:8; 13:6; 14:9; the latter to Christ as the efficient cause, Is. 43:25; John 13:8; Heb. 1:3; to the blood of Christ, as the meritorious cause, Heb. 9:13, 14; 1 John 1:7; Rev. 1:5, 7, 14; to the Word of the Gospel and Baptism, as the instrumental cause on God’s part, Mal. 3:3; John 15:3; Eph. 5:26; Tit. 3:5; and finally, to faith, as the instrumental cause on our part, Rev. 15:9; 1 Cor. 6:11. But there is no mention of any purgation to be expected after this life. (d) The precepts, promises and 638examples of the blessed death presented in Scripture not only give no dread of future torments to believers in Christ, but also offer matter for hope, confidence, and exaltation, Job 19:25: Ps. 31:5; 27:13; 116:7, 9; Luke 2:29; Acts 7:59; 2 Cor. 5:1, 2, 8; Phil. 1:23; 1 Thess. 4:13; 2 Tim. 1:12; 4:6, 7; 1 Pet. 4:19; Rev. 2:10. Especially, the example of the converted robber, Luke 23:43. For if any one needed purgation after death before entrance into Paradise, the robber seemed especially to need it; and yet Christ introduces him immediately into Paradise. (e) All believers in Christ immediately after death are happy and blessed, their souls without any interval or delay being transferred to Paradise, Gen. 5:21; Heb. 11:5; 2 King 2:11; Luke 16:22; Ps. 31:6; Acts 1:58, etc.; John 5:24; Rev. 14:13. (f) Scripture knows but two receptacles, and is ignorant of a third, 1 Sam. 25:29; Matt. 3:12; 7:13; 25:46; Mark 16:16; Luke 16:22; John 3:36. (g) Scripture restricts the attaining of forgiveness of sins, the grace of God and salvation, to this life, Ps. 39:13; 95:7; Matt. 9:6; 16:19; 18:18; 2 Cor. 6:2. Pertinent to this topic, are the passages which testify that the good done in this life is brought into judgment, but not those things which either we ourselves, or others for us, have suffered in purgatory, Matt. 25:35; 1 Cor. 3:8; 2 Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:5; Rev. 14:13. The Scripture circumscribes temporal punishments only by the limit of this life, and those which are required after death it teaches will be eternal, 2 Cor. 4:18; Rev. 10:7; from which we infer that, if there were a purgatory after this life, it would be temporal, not eternal. (h) It denies that after this life, the dead can be aided by the voice of the living, Ps. 49:8, 9, 10; Eccl. 9:5, 6.

3. It is contrary to the analogy of faith: (a) The article concerning the mercy of God. For this is described in Scripture as earnest, sincere and perfect. That, however, for which a satisfaction is still demanded, or punishment still inflicted, is not perfectly forgiven. (b) The article concerning the justice of God. For this does not allow guilt already forgiven to be punished. (c) The article concerning the merits of Christ. If we still had to make satisfaction for our sins, the satisfaction of Christ would be insufficient. If we could make satisfaction for the penalties of our sins, a part of Christ’s redemption would be transferred to us. (d) The article concerning the Gospel, which is a joyful message concerning the gratuitous and full forgiveness of sins because of Christ. It is the peculiar doctrine of the Gospel to offer to believers the forgiveness of sins, and not a commutation of eternal into temporary punishment. (e) The article concerning the saving fruit of repentance, 639its fruit being the forgiveness of sins, Ps. 32:5; Jer. 36:3; Mark 1:4; Luke 24:47; Acts 3:19; 5:31, and where there is forgiveness of sins, there is no longer need of punishment for sins. The Holy Spirit not only before the reception of Baptism and in Baptism, but after Baptism, leads those who have fallen into sin to the only satisfaction of Christ offered for us on the altar of the cross, but never presents such a difference as to slay that in Baptism the remission of sins is purely gratuitous and perfect, but that, for the sins which have been committed since Baptism, it requires satisfaction from the sinners themselves, or commutes their eternal into temporal punishments. Let a single passage of Scripture be quoted, in which such difference is stated. (f) The article concerning justification. For sins are forgiven so as to be no longer remembered, Ps. 25:7; Jer. 3:34; Ez. 18:22, etc. (g) The article concerning the state of the justified, Rom. 5:1, 2; 1 Cor. 1:30; Rom. 8:1, 24, 33, 34, 38; John 3:36; Rom. 12:12; Heb. 4:16; Luke 1:74; 2:29; 2 Cor. 5:8. (h) The article concerning the final judgment. If at the final judgment there will be no longer a purgatorial fire, there can be none now; for the grounds of justification and salvation, viz., the mercy of God, the merit of Christ, the Word of the Gospel and true faith in Christ, are of the same and equal virtue before as in the judgment itself. It it do not conflict with divine justice, that they by whom the last day finds alive be transferred into Paradise, without the intervention of purgatorial fire, undoubtedly it will not conflict with the same that they who die in the Lord before the judgment, go into Heaven free from the flames of purgatory.

4. It contradicts even the hypotheses of the Papists.

5. It is without support from the Church nearest the Apostles.

6. It is based upon many false assumptions: (a) That some sins are by their own nature venial. (b) That for venial sins, man himself must make satisfaction; if not in this life, after this life. (c) That, even when the guilt is remitted, the debt of punishment remains to be discharged. (d) That the application of Christ’s merit for removing temporal punishment occurs through works of satisfaction. (e) That sins are remitted in a different way in Baptism, from that in which they are remitted in true repentance. (f) That man is his own redeemer and saviour. (g) That submission to the penalty inflicted by God, when it proceeds from love, is a virtual repentance, and avails for the remission of sins. (h) That souls in purgatory are neither on the way, nor at the goal.”]

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