Intermediate State

In Christian eschatology, the intermediate state or interim state refers to a person's "intermediate" existence between one's death and the universal resurrection. In addition, there are beliefs in a Particular judgment right after death and a General judgement or Last judgment after the resurrection.

As long as Christians looked for an imminent end of the world, they had little interest in an interim state between death and resurrection. Later, the Eastern Church came to admit of such an intermediate state, but refrained from defining it, so as not to blur the distinction between the alternative definitive fates of Heaven and Hell. In the West there was much more curiosity about the intermediate state, with evidence from as far back as the Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity (203) of the belief that sins can be purged by suffering in an afterlife, and that the purgation can be expedited by the intercession of the living. Eastern Christians too believed that the dead can be assisted by prayer.

East and West, those in the intermediate state have traditionally been the beneficiaries of prayers, such as requiem masses. In the East, the saved are said to rest in light while the wicked are confined in darkness. In the East, prayers are said to benefit even pagans. In the West, Augustine described prayer as useful for those in communion with the church, and implied that every soul's ultimate fate is determined at death. In the West, prayer came to be restricted to souls in purgatory. In the Middle Ages, the Western church offered indulgences for those in purgatory, which evolved out of the earlier practice of canonical remissions. Protestants largely ceased praying for the dead.

Protestants denied the Catholic purgatory. Luther taught mortality of the soul, comparing the sleep of a tired man after a day's work whose soul "sleeps not but is awake" ("non sic dormit, sed vigilat") and can "experience visions and the discourses of the angels and of God", with the sleep of the dead which experience nothing but still "live to God" ("coram Deo vivit"). Calvin depicted the righteous dead as resting in bliss.

Read more about Intermediate State:  Jewish Background, History

Other articles related to "states, intermediate state, state":

Christian Theologians - Cosmology: Things Created - Anthropology: Humanity - Death and Afterlife
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Christian Anthropology - Death and Afterlife - Intermediate State
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Afterdeath - Dharmic Religions - Buddhism
... Tibetan Buddhism the Tibetan Book of the Dead explains the intermediate state of humans between death and reincarnation ... Some had no briefing about the intermediate state in the former life ... In the intermediate state the awareness is very flexible, so it is important to be virtuous, adopt a positive attitude, and avoid negative ideas ...

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