Where is purgatory in the bible?


It’s implied.

So a few questions. Would you agree that, on earth, humans are in a sinful, fallen state? Yeah. But in Heaven, we’re all sinless and perfect? Yeah. Well what happened? How do we go from this sinful, fallen state to the perfected, sinless state of Heaven?

Most, if not all Protestants would agree that we undergo some sort of cleansing. Whether it somehow be on earth when you repent, or be it right after you die, just before entering Heaven. There’s some sort of cleansing, or, if you will, a purgation. At its heart, the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory is just giving that process a name.


The Doctrine of Purgatory Proved from Scripture

2 Maccabees 12:42-46
Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out. The noble Judas warned the soldiers to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. He then took up a collection among all his soldiers, amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, which he sent to Jerusalem to provide for an expiatory sacrifice. In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; or if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

Even those Christians who deny that Maccabees 1 & 2 belong are inspired and belong in the canon of the Old Testament must admit that this passage reveals that the Jews believed that that the living may pray for the dead and make sacrifices for them in order that they might be freed from the sins they had committed. It was with this cultural understanding as a backdrop that the following New Testament verses come into focus.

Matthew 12:32
And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.

Does this not imply that some sins can be forgiven in the age to come? Obviously, there is no sin to forgive in heaven, and sin is not forgiven in hell because it’s too late and judgment is permanent. Therefore, the “world to come” where sin can still be forgiven must be a third, distinct place.

Luke 12:42-48
The Lord answered, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. "That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Notice that there are not two but three categories of servants in this parable: 1) the “wise and faithful manager” who is rewarded (heaven); 2) the unfaithful servant who knows his master’s will but does not do it and who is “cut to pieces and assigned a place with the unbelievers (hell)l; and 3) the one “who does not know and does things deserving punishment.” This final servant is beaten with “few blows” (purgatory).

1 Corinthians 3:10-15
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

1 Peter 1:7
These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Some things in the bible are plain and obvious while others are not. It makes no difference whatsoever, however, because the bible was never intended to be a catechism or theological textbook. Is it important for some reason that purgatory be in the bible?

Who says that everything that is important is in the bible?

Certainly Jesus did not.

I remember a reading during SUnday mass once in which Jesus said that those who knowingly do wrong will be beaten severely, while those who didn’t know will be beaten less severely. Why isn’t this verse used by apologists for purgatory? By the way, sense pain is obviously implied

I hope somebody knows that chapter and verse. It contradicts the falible Catechism of the Catholic CHurch “These two punishments (eternal and temporal) must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin.” (CCC 1472)

Maybe you should read/reread Randy Carson’s post. He already posted that scripture from St. Luke’s Gospel, 12:46 - 48.

I agree that sensory pain is also included, along with the mental anguish of loss.

How does that verse contradict what the Catechism says, there? God most certainly does not inflict any kind of vengeance on sinners. Their pain and punishment are the direct result of their own sins, and that’s exactly what the CCC is saying. The CCC is based on whatever the Church teaches. Do you seriously think it teaches error?

I don’t understand what Protestants have a problem with purgatory for. Don’t they believe the soul can be punished DURING death. Then why not after? Who can define when the next life starts?

Jesus seems to contradicts the notion that physical punishment of criminals is against human dignity (again the CCC). Doesn’t Revelation say sinner are stung by wasps?

Cardinal Ratzinger said that it was fallible and wasn’t intended to stop freedom of speculation. And the CCC didn’t say wrongful vengeance. It seems to deny that God can beat sinners. I am sure beating a serious criminal would be against the CCC’s teachings on torture. Romans 13 says that they are God’s agents. I think a flogging might be a more appropriate punishment then half a life in prison wasted.

It’s true that the CCC leaves some room for personal choice in believing certain teachings that are not well defined through past revelations. Subjects like the punishments of Purgatory and Hell are not completely understood at this point, so there is no way the Church can make any absolute statements about those types of things. But, we should always try to keep in mind that God is always merciful to all of us, since we’re all sinners. He also takes into account some other things that also satisfy His Justice, like the sufferings that we all endure while we are still here, on earth. We have no way of knowing what their true value is, in His view. He’s the only one that really knows which things He measures on the scales of His Justice, or what is still necessary from us, to balance them. I trust His Judgement.

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