Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

We are all of us concerned about the future. What will it hold for me and for the people I care about? Will we thrive or will we suffer? Is there anything that I can do to achieve future prosperity and happiness for us? Is there anything that I can do to avoid future disease, accident, poverty, dishonor, or suffering for us?...

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1. Survival of Death Theories

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pp. 11-30

Do people live after death? This is surely one of the most important questions that human beings ever ask. Naturally there are only two possible answers to it. Either human persons will live after death, or else they will not. Let us call all theories that deny life after death “death ends all” views. There are three main...

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2. Karma versus Grace

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pp. 31-48

Precisely how are human beings saved, redeemed, or enlightened? How does God achieve his purpose of reconciling sinful human beings to himself, as well as to other human beings? The quotations just cited are meant to exemplify two great and contrasting methods of redemption. I will call them “Karma” and...

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3. Resurrection

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pp. 49-72

Resurrection is the notion that after death our bodies will disintegrate, but at some future point God will miraculously raise them from the ground and reconstitute us as persons.
The Christian view of resurrection is based on four assumptions:...

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4. Ascension and Second Coming

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pp. 73-88

By Christian tradition, the ascension of Jesus was the event in which the risen Jesus left the earth and the company of his disciples. The second coming of Jesus is the future event in which Jesus—so Christians hold—will return to the earth. Accordingly, separate as these events are, they can be viewed together. We will do so in this chapter....

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5. Hell

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pp. 89-104

The traditional Christian picture of hell is problematical. It is said to be a place of punishment where sinners are sent, against their wills and as a punishment for their sins, into eternal fiery torment. Many Christians have rejected the notion, and even those who accept it, or parts of it, seem only rarely to want to talk about...

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6. Purgatory

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pp. 105-116

Catholics, Protestants, and the Orthodox have long disagreed about purgatory. Protestants typically deny it entirely; the Orthodox accept the reality of purgatory but reject the idea of penalties and penances there; and Roman Catholics (uniquely among all Christian bodies) affirm purgatory and count it as...

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7. Heaven

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pp. 117-134

Obviously, we know very little about heaven. Unlike worrisome upcoming events like your first day in high school or your first deployment to Afghanistan, there are no veterans to talk to; so far as I know, no one has died, experienced heaven, and returned to tell us about it. Accordingly, so far as we are concerned, heaven is largely unknown and even inscrutable...

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Conclusion

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pp. 135-140

Some people may find it odd that in a book about what happens “after we die,” I have not said anything about the different eschatological theories that are present in Christian thought. I have not spoken of premillennialism, postmillennialism, or amillennialism, or of items like the Rapture, the Tribulation, or the Millennium....

Notes

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pp. 141-154

Bibliography

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pp. 155-162

Scripture Index

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pp. 163-166

General Index

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pp. 167-168