Resurrection and Last Judgment

Summary of Catechism paragraphs 988-1004, 1038-60:

  • Because the separation of soul and body in death was not what God desired for us, He will ultimately reunite them by raising our bodies on the last day.
  • The general resurrection of the dead has been an important component of Christianity from the very beginning; despite incomprehension from some and even opposition, the Church has always upheld this article of faith.
  • God had revealed the resurrection of the dead gradually to the Jewish people; by restoring the unity of our original creation, as human beings composed of body and soul, He would thereby fulfill His covenant.
  • Jesus explicitly taught this doctrine before His Passion and Death, and proved His trustworthiness with His Resurrection on Easter morning.
  • Just as Christ rose to a new life, so too will He raise us up; we receive His risen and glorified Body in the Eucharist, which gives us a foretaste of our own bodily resurrection.
  • This truth underscores the dignity and sanctity of the human body; it is among the reasons why we must respect and care for our own, and others’ bodies, and why we want to avoid sins of the flesh, that disrespect God’s gift of the body.
  • When Christ comes again, all of the dead will be raised and gathered for the Last Judgment; publicly confirming the particular judgment on each soul, Christ will also expose the ramifications of the good we did, or failed to do, on earth.
  • Then Christ, as Lord of history, will reveal the meaning of all that has happened down the ages – the triumphs and tragedies of the entire human family – and we will understand the mysterious workings of divine providence.
  • The bodies of the faithful will go on to enjoy the blessings of heaven, while the bodies of those in hell will participate in their torment.
  • The entire cosmos will be renewed and transformed, in what Scripture calls “new heavens and a new earth,” in the fullness of the Kingdom of God.

Live Your Faith

Our culture promotes misleading views of the body. On the one hand, it pretends that we have the right to do whatever we want with our bodies, that the flesh is just a disposable container. Yet at the same time, it overemphasizes physical appearance, as if our self-worth depended on the body.

But our faith tells us the truth about ourselves: God loves us – both body and soul. He wants us to be happy with Him in this life and the next, and we will be, if we abide by His will for us in both body and soul.