The Christian Hell and the Greek Underworld

Topics: Hell, Christianity, Heaven Pages: 6 (2272 words) Published: January 13, 2007
Since ancient civilizations people have been trying to explain what goes on after death. Throughout history, many cultures have had different theories about what happens. Two distinguished ideas of where people go after death are the underworld and Hell. The idea of the underworld came from the Greeks and Romans. A few famous works by the Greeks and Romans that talk about the underworld are The Iliad, The Aeneid, and, The Odyssey. A famous work that discusses Hell is Dante's Inferno. Hell is an accepted part of the Christianity religion and taught all over the world. The two beliefs are very similar but some distinct differences can be seen.

The idea of the Christian Hell has evolved from older beliefs. Originally Jews believed all dead people went to a gloomy place called Sheol. During the time of Christ, Jews then believed the wicked were separated from the good and put into a foul burning valley called Gehenna. The idea of Gehenna was created for reasons of justice. People realized that the wicked people are not always punished rightfully during their life on earth. The Christian Hell has the same principles today. Hell is a place where people go because of the sins they have committed in their life. The wicked go to be physically, mentally, and eternally punished. They are completely removed from goodness and will never have a chance of salvation or the supernatural bliss of seeing God. God will decide whether people go to Heaven or Hell by their behavior on Earth. (Infotrac)

Unlike the Christian Hell, the underworld was not looked at negatively. The ancient Greeks believed after death everyone went to the underworld whether they were good or bad. The underworld consisted of many levels with good parts and terrible parts. People could either be happy, indifferent, or tormented for the rest of eternity. Just as the Christians were judged, people would also be judged in the underworld. How they were judged would decide what level they would go to in the underworld and how happy they would be for the rest of eternity.

God judges each individual after death based on how they lived their lives during their time on Earth. God does this on the Day of Judgment. There are many beliefs about what will happen on the Day of Judgment. One accepted belief is that on this unpredictable day, the world will end. Christ will rise and will be seen in the sky by everyone. Accompanying him will be angels playing a trumpet that will resurrect people from the dead. He will sit on a cloud and the angels around him will bring up people for Him to judge. The judgment will be based on everything a person has done. This includes good things, bad things, even forgiven sins, and secret thoughts. Following the judgment, people will then know their moral condition and ascend to Heaven or descend to Hell.

The Holy Bible provides evidence that Jesus will come and people will be judged. In the New Testament, Matthew compares weeds to sinners who will not enter Heaven. He said in Matthew 13:40-43 "Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil." The Bible also foretells of events that will lead up to Judgment Day. One event that will occur before the Day of Judgment is the Great Apostasy. During the Great Apostasy, there will be a big riot. Many nations will begin to abandon the Christian religion and there will be a huge reduction in the amount of people who will continue to follow the Christian faith. Another event leading up to the Day of Judgment will be the revelation of an Antichrist. The idea of an Antichrist that will rise to power as an opposing force to Christ is mentioned in texts other than the Bible. The Antichrist will have the power to seduce nations and discriminate against the church. Leading up the Day of Judgment there will be various natural phenomenons....
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