3.4. The life after death and the life after the end

3.4. THE LIFE AFTER DEATH AND THE LIFE AFTER THE END

In the current Christian doctrine the Kingdom of God designates two distinct things: the place where people go after death (Heaven or Paradise), and the Church, or the community of believers that accedes at Christ’s teachings.

To start with, the Church is not represented by the institution with its ecclesiastical hierarchy and the material constructions (namely the church), but by the universality of believers who adopted the Christian principles and ideas. Secondly, the Church experiences an evolution and stages of development, in accordance with the progressive revelation of God. Therefore, the Kingdom of God is one and the same thing with the Church, and does not refer only to the ideal state established with Parousia. In fact, the Kingdom of God, or the revealing of Christ’s teachings, started with the First Coming. Jesus Christ speaks in his parables both about close and distant times; likewise, he refers to the Kingdom of God (the Church) in different stages and contexts. If the existence of a future Millennium is accepted, then the Kingdom of God has three stages:

(1) The temporal stage, delimited by the First and the Second Coming.

(2) The intermediary stage, during the Millennium.

(3) The eternal stage, which starts after the Last Judgment, the revealment of the new earth and the new heaven and it will last forever.

From the Ascension until Parousia Christians live inside the temporal stage of the Kingdom of God, that is the Church. In the eternal stage, when the current world will be replaced with the new heaven and the new earth, the Church and the Kingdom of God will be one and the same with Paradise (Eden, Heaven). Upon the revealing of the new earth and the new heaven the second resurrection will operate (the first one takes place at Parousia), through which the human individuals will pass to a superior state of existence. In the new order human beings will act according to totally different criteria of individualization: “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:30). Angels are known for being spiritual entities, with the ability to materialize themselves. So, it can be said that in the eternal stage human beings will have an asexual non-corporeal existence.



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