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Heaven and Hell -

Heaven and Hell
The doctrines of heaven and hell are doctrines concerning the afterlife. When the world ends at the Final Judgment, there will be only two possibilities: heaven and hell. The common belief is that if Heaven doesn't exist, hell doesn't exist. The view found in some texts is that heaven or hell is derived from one's state of mind, does not make it any less real. And wherever there is more pleasure and happiness, in life or after life, it is a heaven to those who enjoy it. Heaven and Hell is often described using terms that seem metaphorical: a city built of gold in heaven, a lake of fire for hell.

The doctrines of heaven and hell play an important social function as well. The future as described in the Bible includes the resurrection of all people, a judgement, and eternal life in either heaven or hell. This is contrasted to the "great white throne" judgement, which determines whether someone will spend eternity in heaven or hell. The Bible says that there are two different outcomes or possibilities in the afterlife.

Revelation also proclaims the existence of heaven. The traditional Christian belief is that after the general Resurrection of the dead, bodies and souls will be reunited in heaven. That belief has changed over the centuries, but angels still have an important connection with heaven. Entry into heaven is only dependent on ones actions in the previous life and is not restricted by faith or religion.

Roman Catholics believe that entering Purgatory after death cleanses one of one's sins and makes one acceptable to enter Heaven. Since believers are loved in a special way by the Father, they are raised with Christ and made citizens of heaven. This does not mean that non-Christians do not go to heaven, but that Christ is in fact the only way there. The entrance ticket to heaven is not the natural immortality of our soul but the death and resurrection of Christ.And, in particular, after the last judgment the new heaven and the new earth will afford them manifold enjoyment.

The ancient Hebrews spoke of heaven as a great ocean in the sky. The Universalist view, is that Heaven is a gift of God that is completely unmerited. It is believed that souls do not proceed to heaven just by living a full life on earth, though this is a popular opinion today. Humans are connected to the saints in heaven, the saints-in-waiting in purgatory and other believers here on earth.

The higher realms of the spirit world is truly heaven; a world of enjoyment and recreation. The beauty of the environment in heaven is beyond words and they reflect the spiritual nature of those who dwell there. The existence of heaven could just as well be a happy state of mind in the next life.