Did Adam & Eve go to Heaven or Hell (or back to Dust)?


Anyone have any credible scriptural exegesis or Catholic speculation on what happened to Adam & Eve? Did they go to Heaven, Hell, “Paradise” or to Purgatory awaiting the 2nd judgement; or simply revert to the dust of the earth from which they came?



Heaven. All the way. :slight_smile:

Of course, they had to wait around in the Limbo of the Forefathers until Christ’s sacrifice, but yes. As I understand it, Catholic tradition has always placed Adam and Eve among the first that entered Heaven once it had been reopened. :thumbsup:


:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Just what I was going to say.


I’ve read (and since I cannot remember where, there is no reason to put any credence to the following statement:) that Adam and Eve will stay in Purgatory until the final soul is purified. They’ll be the last two out (or “out” depending on if you hold to Purgatory being a physical location or a process. :wink: )

If I can find where I read that, I’ll post it.


Catholic teaching is that Adam and Eve repented before their deaths and are therefore in Heaven.


Thanks Brother Rich.



I have never heard that as a point of “Catholic teaching,” though I know that is what we as Catholics generally believe.

Would you happen to have a reference for this? Thanks.


In Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Ott references several Fathers, most of whom are in agreement that our First Parents “did atonement and ‘through the Blood of the Lord’ were saved from eternal destruction.” He references Tertullian, Sts. Irenaeus, Hippolytus and Augustine of Hippo (Tatian dissents). He also mentions the seeming support of Wisdom 10:2: “She [Wisdom] brought him out of his sin. . .”

The belief is also supported within the Liturgy for Holy Saturday in a reading from an ancient homily for that day in the Office of Readings; it’s exquisite:

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of Him Adam, the first man he had crated, struck his breast and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.
For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.


You know that part in the Apostle’s Creed about “descended into hell”? Hell as in Sheol? That part’s about Jesus going to the Limbo of the Patriarchs to preach to our forefathers (and.foremothers!) and to bring them out.

Some people associate this with the Jewish “saints” who were resurrected at this time; so it’s even possible that Adam and Eve traipsed alive around Jerusalem. The more usual view is that this only happened to more recently dead people as a foretaste of the bodily resurrection after the Last Judgment; most of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs et al, simply had their souls released to heaven. I don’t think anybody’s said anything definitive either way.

(But Adam, Eve, and many other Biblical figures are indeed counted as saints by the Catholic Church, and had feasts assigned in the older universal calendars. The feast day of St. Adam and St. Eve is on Dec. 24th; and yes, that’s in honor of Christmas, the celebration of God’s Incarnation as a man and thus the New Adam.)

The Harrowing of Hell, as Jesus’ descent into hell was called more commonly, used to be a very big deal in art and poetry and drama. You’ll see Jesus breaking down the gates of limbo and standing on top of some demon schmuck, while ushering out his ancestors and the rest of the blessed dead… it’s fun stuff.

Anyway, as I said, it’s in the Apostles’ Creed, which most Christian denominations accept. Unfortunately, it’s an ancient teaching that’s a bit too dramatic for those of our brothers and sisters who prefer their theology boring, irrelevant, unmiraculous, and undemanding. So most Christians don’t hear about it much.

So encourage your priest or preacher to look into it! Good stuff!


I think Br. Rich nailed it. Tradition says that Adam and Eve repented before their deaths and are in heaven.

(Don’t people use Adam or Eve as names for a new baby? That wouldn’t happen if those two were in hell!)

closed #11

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.