Years before, I engaged myself in self-reflection and pondered on what happens after we die. What happens to the souls of the departed? Where does it (do they) go? And what is the right term to use, anyway — soul or spirit?
Let me answer that last question from my own point of view. The term, “soul” refers to a person’s essence, specifically, to human beings. It describes and essence that is found on Earth. The term, “spirit”, on the other hand, may be used synonymously with “soul”. However, a spirit describes a non-human essence, like in the spirit of animals. It also describes an essence that is not found on Earth, i.e, in heaven.
With that established, I’ll be using the term, “soul” to refer to the essences of the faithful departed for the remainder of this post.
What happens indeed, after we die? Why, our bodies decay, of course! But of course, the more engaging point of the question is, “What happens to a person’s essence when he/she dies?” This is an unfortunate question that won’t be answered forever, unless a way to determine the fate of a soul is found. But until then, we are left with our own logic, philosophies, and beliefs for answers.
Personally, I have come to accept that when a person dies, his/her soul also dies. Everyone who is deceased are gone / dead until the day of judgement. They don’t immediately go to heaven nor to hell. I haven’t ever accepted the idea of purgatory for those who die in a state of grace. I know it contrasts with my beliefs, but let me put in my two cents’ worth.
If everyone who dies in a state of grace now would go to purgatory, they would undergo punishment or cleansing for the sins they committed while living. They would then go to heaven. This goes on and on. Now when judgement day comes, what will happen to people who are still on Earth? Will they be judged then undergo purgatory before going to heaven? Or would they be eligible to go straight to heaven since they were already judged by God. And how about those in heaven who underwent purgatory earlier? Will they undergo God’s judgement or not anymore since they are in heaven already?
Now, if we eliminate purgatory and replace it with the idea that everyone who has died also has a dead soul, everyone including those still living on Earth at the time of Judgement will all have an equal trial chance before God.
I always believe in an equal-opportunity God.
Now, there are portions of the Bible that disprove this idea and notable of which is the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Remember him? He was the beggar that the Dives (“rich man”) didn’t help. When Lazarus, he went to heaven. When the rich man died, he went to hell. I’m not sure if Lazarus passed through purgatory, but this parable clearly does not coincide with my idea. Lazarus the Beggar went to heaven right after death.
But that’s just my idea. It can change over time.
Where Souls Go
By now, my stand on this issue is pretty much clear: they don’t go anywhere — they become non-existent as well.
But as discussed earlier, there is the concept of purgatory for those who died in a state of grace. After that, there is heaven. And of course, there is hell. One other thing that I am certain of, they don’t remain here on Earth.
- Daniel “Danny Boy” Balanban Dempayos (18 March 1947 – 10 January 2010)
- Dempayos Vicente Kinomis
Father of My Father
- Juanita Tero Balanban Kinomis
Mother of My Father
Mom and I are doing fine. 🙂