19 Popular Theories About the Afterlife That Stray from the Message of the Bible

SharePinEmailWhat happens when we leave this mortal coil has been the subject of much intrigue, mystery, debate, and speculation since the dawn of humanity. Christian beliefs about life after death are centered on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which was part of God’s divine plan for humankind. Reunited With God For the Christian faith, on…

What happens when we leave this mortal coil has been the subject of much intrigue, mystery, debate, and speculation since the dawn of humanity. Christian beliefs about life after death are centered on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which was part of God’s divine plan for humankind.

Reunited With God

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For the Christian faith, on death, Christians go to Heaven for their soul to be reunited with God and united with Jesus Christ. But many have their version of the afterlife, which can be a world apart from the message of the Bible.

Here are some of the most common theories that offer an alternative to the teachings of the Bible that while physical death still happens, Christians who live good lives will be given eternal life in Heaven.

Satan Rules Hell

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Hell is ruled by Satan and lost souls will be tormented there for eternity, is something many films, comic books, songs, and other sources of popular culture like to have us believe. But not according to the Bible, which presents Satan as merely another prisoner of Hell, not the watchman.

There are Relationships in the Afterlife

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We might like to hope that we continue having loving and caring relationships with others when we die, but this is not confirmed in the Bible.

We Are Reincarnated as Our Favorite Animal

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Reincarnation as our favorite animal or bird after mortal death may sound appealing, but it is not something that is talked about in the Bible. The Holy Scriptures teach about the Resurrection of Jesus. At the heart of the Christian message is that the deceased will be raised, as Jesus was, into a new but immortal form.

We Find All the Answers When We Die

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Nowhere in the Bible indicates that on death we find all the answers to life’s biggest mysteries, contrary to popular belief.

Our Eternal Existence is Set in Stone at Birth

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Another popular misconception about the afterlife is that our eternal fate is predestined the moment we are born. This could not be further from the teachings of the Christian faith which state that individuals, on death, will be taken into the presence of God and judged on their morality and actions during their lifetime.  

Some People Get a Free Pass to Heaven

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Another common afterlife misconception is that some people, namely children, get a free pass into heaven because it is not fair to deem those who have not been accountable for the actions to Hell. But the Bible however does not make any reference to the fate of children in the afterlife and whether indeed anyone gets a free pass into Heaven.

Heaven is Customized

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Heaven is customized to an individual’s unique life, offering an external paradise for all who reach it, is another thing that people often like to imagine about the afterlife. It is not however something that is supported by the Bible. The truth taught by Jesus is that Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people, rather than something that is tailored to individual lives and wishes.

You Only Go to Heaven or Hell in the Afterlife

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For many, the final destination for our souls is either Heaven or Hell. But the Holy Scriptures present our eternal abodes as more complex than just the two options. The Bible talks about the different places where souls of the dead rest, including Hades and Sheol. Frequently mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, Sheol is described as a shadowy underworld. It is understood as a place where all souls go for a place of rest and separation from living, despite their moral standing. Hades originated in Greek mythology and was later adopted by Christian theologians. In early Christian thinking, Hades was a temporary place for souls to rest before the final judgment.

We All Become Angels When We Die

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The Bible tells us that those who believe will be heirs with Christ, and we do not become angels when we die, despite popular belief.

Afterlife is an Actual Place

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We might imagine the afterlife to be a physical place, with features and settings that we are familiar with from Earth. The Bible presents the afterlife as more spiritual and supernatural than we can imagine.

You Can Earn a Place in Heaven If You Do Good Deeds

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The Bible is clear when it says that redemption and a place in Heaven is a gift from God and not something we can earn by our own making. This goes against the popular belief that if we are good, we are guaranteed a place in Heaven.

Ghosts are Stuck Between the Now and the Other Side

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Ghosts are stuck between now and the other side is a common misconception surrounding the afterlife. While it makes several references to demons, the Bible does not say much about ghosts, and even warns against seeking communication with the dead.

Animals Go to Heaven Too

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Whether animals have an afterlife and go to Heaven is a matter of theological speculation rather than an explicit doctrine of the Bible.

Eternal Torment or Bliss Awaits Us in the Afterlife

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If Heaven is eternal bliss, then Hell is eternal torment, right? Not according to the Bible Revelation 21:1 talks of a new earth and a new heaven. It suggests that rather than merely a spiritual realm, there is reviewed creation in the afterlife.

We Maintain Our Same Physical Appearance in the Afterlife

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What you look like today is what you will look like when you cross into the afterlife, is another common misconception about life after death. But the Bible suggests our eternal appearance will be somewhat different. In 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, Paul depicts the resurrected body as glorious, powerful, and imperishable, being spiritual in its bodily form rather than natural.

We Still Perceive Time After Death

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How time moves Is another widely debated aspect of the Afterlife. Popular opinion may think it moves at a similar pace and pattern as on Earth, but according to 2 Peter 3:8, a thousand years are like a day, and a day is like a thousand years.

The Afterlife is Experienced Through Near Death Encounters

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Researchers who study near-death experiences claim there is consciousness that stretches beyond our physical presence. Near-death experiences have been described as an eerie place, while some claim it is heavenly. But Biblical text does not validate the existence of the afterlife through near-death encounters.

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