Consequently, it must be maintained that after death man enters into an unchangeable state as to all that concerns the soul: and therefore there is no need for postponing judgment as to the reward of the soul. But since there are some other things pertaining to a man which go on through the whole course of time, and which are not foreign to the Divine judgment, all these things must be brought to judgment at the end of time. For although in regard to such things a man neither merits nor demerits, still in a measure they accompany his reward or punishment. Consequently all these things must be weighed in the final judgment.
Reply to Objection 2. “God shall not judge twice the same thing,” i.e. in the same respect; but it is not unseemly for God to judge twice according to different respects.
Reply to Objection 3. Although the reward or punishment of the body depends upon the reward or punishment of the soul, nevertheless, since the soul is changeable only accidentally, on account of the body, once it is separated from the body it enters into an unchangeable condition, and receives its judgment. But the body remains subject to change down to the close of time: and therefore it must receive its reward or punishment then, in the last Judgment.
Each individual soul is judged by God as it leaves this world. So Scripture tells us, “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Some will say, “If each sould has its particular judgment as it goes from this world, then why the general judgment of all collectively at the end?” There are many reasons for that.
The first and particular judgment is for us; the second and general judgment is for God, whose justice will then be manifested to all creatures.
Again, at the particular judgment the soul only, in a state of separation from the body, is judged; at the last judgment the souls of men will be reunited to their bodies, and they will experience a reiteration of their judgment in their complete personalities, and the bodies in which men have served God or sinned will share in the happiness or misery which is the lot of the soul.
Furthermore, man is not only individual; he is essentially a social being. We live in society, a common life in which mutual influences, good and evil, are constantly in evidence. Now a common life should have a common ending.
Our Lord tells us that there is nothing hidden which shall not be revealed. For wise reason time keeps its secrets; but time, at the end, will reveal all to all under the eyes of the great Judge. And all that God has done or permitted will be justified before the whole universe. Those who have died in the grace and friendship of God will find this general judgment to their glory and happiness. But those who have died at enmity with God will find it to their disgrace and misery. So God will triumph either in His mercy or in His justice.