Christians believe that death is not the end of our existence. That belief has shaped the Christian faith since Jesus Christ rose from the dead after his execution 2,000 years ago. This does not mean that Christians are somehow immune from or unaffected by the pain of grief and loss when a close friend or relative dies. But it means that they have a hope in something eternal that goes beyond life and death as we know it. And that hope sustains them in such difficult times.
Christians believe that everyone who lives will meet God. There will be a ‘Day of Judgement’ when all humanity will come into God’s presence. Every person will have to give an explanation for all they thought, said and did – the successes and the failures. Jesus Christ made it clear that everyone’s behaviour – particularly towards the poor and vulnerable – will be laid bare before God.
Christians believe that everyone who lives will meet God.
For some people this might be a worrying, even frightening prospect. But Christians anticipate this meeting, confident that it will be a good experience. This is not because of anything they have done to earn God’s favour – they know that would be impossible. Their certainty is based on their existing relationship with God. They know that because of Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection, they have been forgiven for all they have done wrong and have become like adopted children of God. It is a gift, not a reward for doing good. They have experienced God’s perfect and endless love during their life and know they will continue to enjoy it for eternity.
The Bible tells us about heaven – a place where God lives with his people. It is a place of endless love and perfect peace; where, according to the Bible book of Revelation, ‘He [God] will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…’.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…’.
Within the Christian church there are different explanations of what happens to people after their death, but there is agreement that Jesus’ promise is true. The Bible book of John tells us that before he died, he told his followers: ‘I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am’.