CCC 1022; Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification or immediately, – or immediate and everlasting damnation.
My JW’s friends ask If our destiny is decided immediately on death (and let’s say we go to heaven) why then is there a Final judgement required and why do we need our bodies if we are already with God in Glory
It’s important to remember that they aren’t Christians.
They are trained to overcome or evade objections better than most sales professionals.
Unless you’re well versed in dealing with them, be wary. Years ago before entering Holy Mother Church, I briefly dated a woman who was a Witness. Even went to a few of their meetings to see what they were about. (I wasn’t interested in joining.) The amount of psychological conditioning in that group is astonishing. The most heartbreaking thing was seeing kids being brainwashed.
They can quote scripture, not to mention mangle it. So can the Devil.
The final judgment lets us know who else is will be with God and who will go to the lake of fire and importantly why - for the books will be opened. (Revelation 20:12) Because we know God is just, there will be no tears in for those that are not with God. (Revelation 21:4)
Thank You for your replies. I’m not sure how to say this without sounding ungrateful but when I ask some specific questions (I’ve done so previously) about JW Bible interpretations I tend to get a “keep away from them unless you know your bible” and not the scriptural or other church rebuttal which I hope to get.
I did send a question on this to “Ask an Apologist” but they don’t answer all questions put to them and mine was passed over. I will submit a new question to them.
I’ve been in discussion with my “JW friends” over 5 yrs and they only strengthen my desire to find a Catholic Answer. Excuse the pun.
I had this written before I read Benjohnson and I’m under pressure to go out so Ill come back later today.
This is a portion of the ‘Apologetical Explanation of the Moment Of Death’ from 'The Didache Bible’
What happens when we die?
Just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Heb 9:27-28)
At the moment of death, the immortal soul separates from the mortal body, and every person undergoes the Particular Judgment in which Christ immediately judges the person for the choices and actions he or she made in life and whether or not he or she has died in God’s grace and friendship. As St. John of the Cross wrote, “At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love” (Dichos, 64). Based on that judgment, the soul immediately enters the state of Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory. (Cf. CCC 990, 1005, 1016 1022, 1051)
The General Judgment at the time of the Second Coming of Christ will not change the result of the Particular Judgment. At that time, our mortal bodies will rise and be reunited with our souls. The bodies of those saved will be in glorified form. (Cf. CCC 1042, 1052)
This section of the CCC might help to explain why human beings are meant to exist as both body and soul for all eternity, which is why the resurrection of the body at the Final Judgement is absolutely necessary.362 The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that “then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God.
363 In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person. But “soul” also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man.
364 The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:[INDENT]Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.
365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body: i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.
366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not “produced” by the parents - and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.[/INDENT]
Now, I’ll try to answer why I believe there have to be two Judgements. But, that’s a little more complicated. I believe it might be due to the fact that the repercussions of all of our personal actions are only partially realized at our moment of death. At that point, I think we are judged according to all that we’ve done and what the effects of our actions have had on the world around us up to that point in time. Since we are all members of one body, everything we do in life also affects every other part of the body in some way.
Like ripples in a pond, those effects continue to radiate out from us, long after we’re gone. The effects of all our actions on everyone that we were in contact with, or that were touched in any way by those actions, will continue until the end of time. We can see how people’s lives can have a residual effect on others, even thousands of years after they are gone, by considering the effect that someone like Jesus has had on the entire world. So, the fullness of our reward or punishment isn’t fully realized, and won’t be complete, until the end of time. That’s when we will all realize what our full reward or punishment will be.
Actually the answer is simple. There are not two judgments being carried out, only one.
It is similar to what might happen in a human court. A judge may free a person or condemn them to death. In either case the judgment is rendered immediately but the sentence may take time to process. It can take a day or more to release a person from prison and a similar wait as corporal punishment gets carried out for a criminal. Two judgments are not being carried out in either case, only one. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the same with us.
From the standpoint of history Judgment Day does occur “after” a person dies, but not so from the standpoint of eternity. Eternity transcends time, and when we die to be “with” God, we go not so much to a place as an experience. The Church calls this the “Beatific Vision.” There is no past, present, or future, no waiting, delay, immediacy, etc. Time has no meaning before the God who is greater than time. Our uniting with our physical body too will occur in a way that transcends our current understanding as a result as we will now be experiencing life from a greater vantage point.
From the standpoint of those still alive on earth when the resurrection happens, Judgment Day will be a conclusion that follows the death of countless many. But from the viewpoint of those who are with God in heaven it is the crux where eternity puts an end to the space-time continuum upon which the current universe lies.
Basically, from the standpoint of someone alive on the historical time line Judgment Day occurs after a person’s death. This is not the same experience from eternity however. Even if it were, the reuniting with the corporeal body in resurrection is still not a new sentence, just the original one being carried out in the physical realm.
This is not a part of Jehovah’s Witness theology. They do not believe that God transcends time and space. Note the following:
**JW teaching: **God has a spiritual body Catholic teaching: God has *no *body of any kind
JW teaching: While not in the universe, per se, God lives in a place we call “heaven” Catholic teaching: Being eternal and having no body, God does not require a “place” to exist. When God’s creatures come into his presence it is this experience of the Beatific Vision that we call “heaven”
JW teaching: God experiences time like you and me Catholic teaching: God transcends time
This causes a peculiar gap in understanding when you discuss eschatology with Jehovah’s Witnesses. They do not see God or heaven or time itself in the same way we do. So while I am not one of those who will recommend avoiding a discussion with them, I am encouraging that you try to help them discern that there is more to this scenario in Catholic theology that they have no idea of. In order to get anywhere with them, you will need to be ready to explain these points and show them parts of the Catechism that deal with “the Last Things.”–Use 1042-1050 in the CCC.
A heads up from my experience however: Jehovah’s Witnesses are convinced only they know the “truth” about the re-creation and the “new heaven and new earth.” There has never been a time I was discussing this subject with Witnesses that severe cognitive dissonance did not occur when I brought the information in the CCC (1042-1050) to their attention. They all went silent and some even responded claiming they were being attacked by Satan because, as one of them put it, ‘it has to be some kind of trick what you are showing me as only our religion [the JW religion] has the ability to teach this truth.’