The afterlife

Many religions hold beliefs about an afterlife and have specific ideas about what happens to the body and soul after death.

Eschatological beliefs – Christian beliefs about the afterlife

Eschatology refers to beliefs about death, judgement and the final destiny of individual souls and humankind. Christians believe that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection secured the possibility of eternal life for all human beings.

I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.John 11:25–26

The Bible says that when Jesus was speaking to his apostles just before he was arrested and killed, he assured them that there would be life after death. He talked about going to his father’s house, which he described as having many rooms. He told the apostles that he had prepared a place for them in his father’s house and would return and take them with him. Jesus said to them: You know the way to the place where I am going (John 14:3).

Christians believe that Jesus was talking about Heaven - eternal life in the presence of God. He explained to the apostles how to get there.

When the apostle Thomas replied, saying that he did not know where Jesus was going and therefore did not know the way, Jesus replied: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him (John 14:6–7).

Many Christians interpret this to mean that it is only by having faith in Jesus and following his teachings that salvation and eternal life in Heaven can be achieved. By claiming that if a person knows Jesus, they also know the Father, Jesus meant that he was God and part of the Holy Trinity.