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Question 34

Father, after the last judgement what form will our bodies take? Also at the transfiguration of Christ, when Moses and Elijah appeared, they were recognizable as such. In addition in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man clearly recognised Lazarus. Does this mean we will recognise and be recognised by our loved ones after the final judgement? Christ said in response to a trick question by His enemies that after this life the resurrected are not married nor are given unto marriage but are like the angels of heaven and that God is the God of the living not of the dead. Besides, our marriage partners, what does this mean for our family relations here on earth? Will they cease in the after life? 



Answer to Question 34


 For your first question on what form our bodies will take at the last judgement, I will ask you to read a talk I gave on the Resurrected Body of Christ. Although it is a lot to read the answer is somewhere there.


A question people ask concerning death is “When we die will we be with our loved ones?” We do not know enough about life after death to give definite answers. Death is a mystery and what we know of the afterlife is only what Christ has told us in Holy Scripture and certain accounts given us by the saints who had visions or after death experiences. Certainly we want to believe that we will continue our afterlife with the people we love and in some ways this is possible, but depends again on our spiritual eyesight. We have the example of Christ himself and his most holy Mother. Christ did not forget his earthly mother when he ascended to heaven, but when she died he raised her up to be by his side. He honoured his mother above all men and angels and even in our prayers we call upon the Mother of God to be our mediator before Christ because we believe that he listens to the voice of his mother and honours her every wish. But the Mother of God does not sit as the queen of heaven only because she gave birth to Christ, but also because she herself was sinless and could partake of Christ to the level she was raised.


We will certainly be able to see our loved ones but for us to be with them it means that our spiritual eyes see the divine light at the same level as them. To understand this better we need to see the example of the eyesight theory with the parable of “Lazarus and the rich man”. When both died the beggar Lazarus was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom and the rich man went to a place of torment. In other words Lazarus’s spiritual eyes were healthy and this allowed him to participate in the divine light. The rich man on the other hand lived a wicked life and his spiritual eyes were so darkened that he couldn’t participate in that light. He could see Abraham and Lazarus and recognized him as the beggar who was at his door every day, but that was all. He couldn’t go over to where Lazarus was and Lazarus also couldn’t cross over to where the rich man was. The parable therefore tells us that when we die we will recognize and see others we knew in this life, but the spiritual state of each of us determines where we will be.


But let us for arguments sake assume that our loved ones and ourselves are all saved and see the divine light, can we also assume that we will be together. We will be together as far as we will all be in God, but Christ told us something about heaven which we must take into account; he said that “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.” (John 14:2) This we can interpret as meaning many levels of salvation. We can therefore imagine heaven as a pyramid with God at the very top followed by the saints and all those who found deification and as we come down the pyramid there are different levels with people. Each person is assigned to a level according to his spiritual ability to see God. The better eyesight one has the closer to God he is. Thus my parents might be near the top of the pyramid and I might be near the bottom. We all participate in God, but our spiritual health determines how close to God we stand.


This then brings us to another question; “Will we still remember our loved ones on earth?” The answer is again found in the parable of “Lazarus and the rich man”. After Abraham had told the rich man that nothing could be done to help him in his torment, he showed great concern for his five brothers who where still alive and wanted them to be warned to change their way of life lest when they die they also should find themselves in the same place of torment as himself. Here therefore we see that even though the soul has gone to another place there is still knowledge of this world and we continue to have a social concern and love for the living.


The Parable does not reveal every aspect of life in the after world, but if we read it carefully we can discover many truths. One of these truths is that wherever we are placed it is not a reward or punishment by God, but the outcome of how we lived our lives here on earth. The rich man found himself in a place of torment, but he didn’t blame God for placing him there, he doesn’t ask for forgiveness and neither did he ask Abraham to deliver him from that place. This tells us that he fully accepted his place in Hades because it was the result of his free choice to live without God in his life. By his own free will he chose to live a particular way of life without love and without God and this was carried over to the other life. This then is a warning to all of us still living. If we want to be with God when we die then we must want to be with God in this life and if we want to participate in God more fully in the other life then we must cleanse ourselves from the impurities of sins that darken our spiritual sight in this life.