New Earth and New Heaven and the Final Judgement


Double question here. First one is, on the first hand, when we go to heaven of hell, that is for eternity, so I’m under the impression that, that is forever. However, I read the catechism’s statement on the Final Judgement and I got the impression that everyone living and in heaven/hell shall be re-judged at the final coming of Christ. Does this mean those in hell are to be re-judged and some have the possibility of Heaven?

My second question is, I have briefly read about heaven and this earth being destroyed, and God makes a new Heaven and a new Earth. I doubt this will be like our current world, no? Will it just be like heaven in a physical form? Will just those who are in heaven get to enjoy this new earth? thanks for the input!


First question: Remember, heaven is not under “time” the way that we understand it. We get a tiny example of this in the way that Jesus, in the Last Supper, offered His Body and Blood for us THEN, BEFORE the sacrifice on Calvary, and that, every day, in every Catholic Church where a Mass is held, that VERY SAME sacrifice is offered. WE stand at the very Last Supper with Jesus; WE stand at the foot of the cross, every time.

Now–the thing with the particular judgment when we die–yes, that is it, we “go” to heaven, to purgatory then heaven, or to hell. God sees us ALONE, makes the judgment of us ALONE.

But at the LAST judgment, EVERY SINGLE PERSON has his or her judgment REAFFIRMED in FRONT OF every OTHER person. So that we all know WHY everything happened in everybody’s life, and how God took it and somehow made it good. It is to me entirely possible that part of my purgatory may perhaps lie in having the entire world know all my faults and failings (and hopefully there will be virtues and good deeds as well), and that perhaps I will be granted the opportunity, having already been judged and being purified, of going to those whom I did not have the chance to do so on earth and begging their forgiveness.

If we are saved, even the worst of our faults will not be occasions for humiliation and hurt, but of joy in the mercy and goodness of God who has forgiven us.

If we are not saved, we will still know the mercy and goodness of God, but it won’t be a question of us being sorry “too late”, and wishing that we could be forgiven, but of our deliberately turning our back on God and CHOOSING eternal torment, either from pride and our REFUSAL to ACCEPT forgiveness, or from our wanting to be “god” and simply not being willing to accept Him at all. And I can see not just atheists refusing to accept Him–but plenty of Christians as well, because they are not really following Christianity, but making “things” in Christianity (like social justice, or Latin masses, to name two opposite extremes) into God. (Not that either one of the above is WRONG, just that they are not the ONLY things to consider). And I can see some atheists actually accepting God, not because some might do “good things” (we don’t buy our way into heaven), but because while they may have THOUGHT that they did not believe in God, the “god” they thought they did not believe in was not really God, and the reality of God they really DID believe in, but never knew consciously that THIS was God, not the false “god” that they rejected.

God is good.

As for the New Heaven and Earth, we know that THIS earth is finite. We also know that when our bodies and souls will be reunited some day. Bodies need physical space. The earth that was once “the garden of eden” and the physical “new jerusalem” may indeed be the “new earth” and it may exist in or apart from the new heaven–we don’t know. We DO know, however, that it will be good, that it will be as God intended from the first, and that it will be eternal. That is good, because there will be so MUCH for us to contemplate, especially the idea of being with God forever–what a wonderful joy


When each of us dies, our souls are immediately taken to the presence of God and judged. This is called the Particular Judgment. At this point we begin our eternal destiny. If we are going to hell, our souls go directly there. If we are deemed worthy of heaven, our souls will go directly to heaven, or if we are going to heaven but are in need of purification, we may go to Purgatory first (everyone in Purgatory will eventually go to heaven). Whatever our fate, our souls will stay there until the end of time.

At the Second Coming at the end of time, those Christians still alive will be taken to heaven (what some Protestants think of as of the rapture). Then will occur the General Judgment. At that time the living and the dead will be reunited with their bodies and brought together in God’s presence and judged before all. Those who have already been judged in the Particular Judgment will be brought from wherever their souls were -heaven, hell or Purgatory-- and have their judgment confirmed before all.

After this, time and Purgatory will be no more and all will enter with their souls and bodies into their eternal destiny, either hell or heaven.

This is an extremely bare-bones sketch, so if you want to get the details, see the five articles I linked below:


Fr Groeschel answered this question on SNL re-run tonite. the particular judgement when we die is not “appealed” at the Final Judgement and there is not possibility it will be overturned or changed. At the General Judgement at the end of the world, everyone will be judged before the whole world, and justice will be seen to be done. So we will know what judgement has been meted out to Hitler, Stalin, Attila, Dahmer but also everyone will know all our sins and failings. The final judgement is necessary not so that our particular judgement may be reviewed, but so that God’s perfect justice may be seen by all.


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