Resurrection at the Second Coming of Christ


I have been listening to some lectures and talks of N.T. Wright who is the Anglican Bishop of Durham, specifically his commentary on eschatology. The meat of one particular discussions was of Bishop Wright talking about the error that a lot of Christians make when thinking about heaven and Christ’s Return.

Bishop Wright points out how a lot of Christians in the Evangelical circles are literally waiting for God to destroy the earth, bring about the end of time and usher in a heaven in which Christians will reside forever as disembodied immortal spirits. I am summing up hours worth of discussions into one sentence so I apologize if I am misrepresenting mainline evangelical views on Christian eschatology, but N.T. Wright clearly points out some of the mistakes that a lot of Christians are making when anticipating the Second Coming of Christ and in some instances totally forgetting the Resurrection of the body.

My question follows, what is the Catholic position or should I say expectation of the second coming of Christ, specifically the resurrection of the body and what that means in Catholic terms. From what I know so far the Catholic Church teaches that when we die we have our private judgment before God and at the end of time we will be resurrected and we will have a second judgment which is public, before God and everyone else. Are Christians alone to be resurrected and their judgment confirmed or are all to be resurrected and judged again? Or will those who are judged to hell or purgatory will remain disembodied as spirits or souls and then later be resurrected after their term in Purgatory?

If anyone could answers those questions in particular as well as comment on the Catholic view of the end times as well as that of the Evangelicals of the “Left Behind” line and that of N.T. Wright himself.

I would greatly appreciate it!


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 for a while (everyone in Purgatory will eventually go to heaven). Whatever our fate, our souls will stay there (heaven or hell) until the end of time, at which time the Second Coming will occur.

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 souls of 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, so that both the justice and mercy of God will be manifest to all.

[God] will repay **everyone **according to his works: eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness. Yes, affliction and distress will come upon **every human being **who does evil, Jew first and then Greek. But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, Jew first and then Greek. (Romans 2:6-10)

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:


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