a) Examine the key concepts for the afterlife associated with Resurrection and Reincarnation (18)
Different cultures and traditions all have many different concepts and ideas about life after death, many are similar and a lot are very dissimilar. For examples, the Egyptian view on the after life is that it’s a ‘perfect; version of Egypt, however a series of tests have to be completed before the dead person can reach eternal bliss. The Vedic concept of life after death is that you have to escape the negative cycle of samsara by being a good Brahman, to reach enlightenment however the jiva atman is the eternal self, the part of the person that never dies.
Different people have a variety of different reasons to why they may believe in life after death such as, it gives them a reason to be moral, it may be their religious belief, gives them a sense of justice or a purpose in life could also be for hope and comfort, so they have something to look forward to and cling onto giving them courage.
Resurrection is the recreation of the physiological person; it is assumed that reincarnation of the person is reliant only on a deity. Christianity, Islam and Judaism all believe in the idea of resurrection.
In the Old Testament the background of Resurrection are developed at different stages, also developing into the New Testament. The term ‘sheol’ is mentioned in the early parts of the Old Testament and is the Hebrew term for the ‘abode of the dead’ It is the idea of a murky underworld where everyone went after death. Hades was the Greek underworld, it was graphic and physical where there were different levels of judgment, one being Elysian which was paradise and the other Tartus which was for the sinners. However, in the early parts of the Old Testament there was not a clear conception of the afterlife. It was said that if a person were a good God fearing person they would be rewarded in this life with such things as, prosperity, family, old age and a good and peaceful death.
In the book of Daniel it claims about the afterlife appearing. It says ‘many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake. Some to ever lasting life and some to shame and everything contemp.’ This implies that after some people ‘sleep’ (dies) will ‘awake’ (will have an life after death/be resurrected) and others will live their life after death in shame. Some after lives are contemp and others are an everlasting death.
Judgment Day from the point of view from the book of Daniel resurrection is developed and it was thought that at death the person goes back to earth for a period of time which there is nothingness where God decided to end the world. The living will be judged and the dead will be resurrected and judged resulting in the eternal life with or without God. In the New Testament the idea of resurrection changes. Jesus is resurrected in a single historical event. This contradicts the Old Testament idea that people will be resurrected together on judgment day. The resurrection becomes eschatological in that it gives hope and is seen as proof of an after life. This gives future hope for Kingdom of God where the righteousness will be established, also linking to the Jewish and Christian idea of heaven.
Early Christians believed judgment day would happen in their lifetime, they believed in imminent eschatology, this is where judgment day can happen any when, here and now.
In the writings of Paul 1 Corinthians 15, there are a variety of key beliefs about resurrection to early Christians. Firstly because we are being saved our sins will not be forgiven as it makes us different to Jesus, ‘Christ died for our sins’. Secondly we should also not sin, work hard and stay sober because judgment day can happen any day, ‘let us eat drink for tomorrow we die… bad company ruins good morals… wake up from your drunken tupor, as it right, and do not go on sinning, for some have no knowledge of God’
Resurrection was considered