Resurrection of the Dead.

Since Heaven lies outside of time, will we immediately “wake up” in our resurrected bodies if we die in the state of grace and are pure enough not to go to Purgatory?

Sometimes people give the impression that when we die, our spirit goes to Heaven, and then after a time, we will be reunited with our bodies at the end of time, but if Heaven lies outside of time, that logic doesn’t make sense.

St. Paul says that our brethren have “gone to sleep” that have died. I take this as meaning that our bodies lie dormant upon our deaths for millennia until the Second Coming, but for our soul and consciousness, our passing from death into newly resurrected bodies will be instantaneous.

Am I making sense or speaking heresy?

That would be how I understand it.

Time passage is measured by the thoughts in our minds and the processes in our bodies. Without even your breathing to measure time, how could you be aware of time?

Just as God does not make us look at the darkness while we lie asleep, He would not make us stare at the darkness of death wishing in vain for our bodies. He will reassemble us on the other side of time, ready to breathe with our LORD and be hugged by Him!


When we die our souls continue to live on as they are immortal. Our bodies are bound to this world, thus bound to time. We will not get resurrected bodies until the end of time. There are only 2 glorified and resurrected bodies right at this moment, that of Jesus and the Theotokos. Everyone else has to wait.

Those in heaven are “awake”, as you phrased it. They are fully conscious. God sustains the souls without a body. But eventually God will complete and perfect us with our resurrected bodies.

Although physical human bodies die, human souls never die. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches that every spiritual soul “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” (CCC 366).

So at the moment of death the soul separates the body, is judged immediately, and enters either heaven (immediately or through purgatory) or hell. “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” (CCC 1022). (For scriptural evidence of this see Lk 16:22 & 23:43; 2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:23.)

Every soul will unite with its resurrected body just prior to the Last Judgment (“judgment day”), when Christ returns:

“In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man’s relationship with God will be laid bare. The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life…

“The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God’s justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God’s love is stronger than death” (CCC 1039-1040).

It doesn’t exist outside of all kinds of time. If it were truly outside of all time, then it would not experience innovation of saints. The kind of time that exists in heaven is aeviternity, a means between time and eternity that has beginning, experiences innovation, but unchangeable in nature (no entropy) of itself and it’s occupants (saints and angels) and does not expire in duration.

could this be the reason for purgatory along with the need of purification,

if our bodies lie in physical rest in a casket, our eternal souls need a place to go, we are never fully pure to enter heaven so we go to purgatory ?

though i would imagine purgatory is not an aweful place to be, probably not the best either, hence the name i suppose as well.

or are some of us worthy to enter into heaven in spirit and have to wait for our body , or everyone is waiting to enter into purgatory upon their death, for judgement day…

more questions than answers , should be interesting to find out i suppose, if not utterly scary.

**Enoch **and Elijah :confused:

*(Genesis 5:24):
“Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”

(2 Kings 2:11):
“And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.”


Don’t confuse the individual man with man in general.

When a man dies his body is put into a grave and goes to corruption. But his soul - the indestructible part of him - is not buried with his body. His soul continues on in everlasting life. At the instant of release (from the body), he goes before the judgment seat of God, in the form of a disembodied spirit, for his particular judgment. When a man dies sinless and without any debt of punishment left unpaid, he hears the happy summons, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew, xxv 34-) and enters into community with God and the saints and angels already there.

If a man dies in a state of mortal sin, he will hear, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels,” (Matthew xxv 41.) and is at once banished to hell. But if a man dies in a third condition, “so that he is indeed in a state of grace, but still has to atone for venial sin and expiate forgiven sin, then his soul is dismissed into purgatory and there remains until its purification is accomplished and is ready to be admitted to the Vision of God.” (The Teaching of the Catholic Church, Vol II, 1949)

Earlier, I mentioned to not forget that while we are talking about an individual, we must not forget man, in general. At the end of the world, at that time, if you will, the souls of men will be reunited with their perfected bodies (despite corruption). That is the time of the “general judgment.”

But, thus far, we have not talked about the man’s “resurrection”

Sometimes people give the impression that when we die, our spirit goes to Heaven, and then after a time, we will be reunited with our bodies at the end of time, but if Heaven lies outside of time, that logic doesn’t make sense.

This is not unreasonable, despite that we may (hopefully) be “in Heaven” with God. While this soul is outside of physical “time,” this soul is within the duration measure for souls (and angels), and, besides, the physical world still exists in physical time, along with its inhabitants, and has not yet reached its end. At the instant it does, we will once again be brought before the judgment seat, and our fates reaffirmed.

St. Paul says that our brethren have “gone to sleep” that have died. I take this as meaning that our bodies lie dormant upon our deaths for millennia until the Second Coming, but for our soul and consciousness, our passing from death into newly resurrected bodies will be instantaneous.

There will be a duration, the limit of which is only known by God, wherein our souls will have to wait. Our bodies will undergo “corruption.” And, our “bodies” are not resurrected. “Resurrection” means that both our bodies and our souls will once again be reunited whereat we will be delivered to our determined fates.

Am I making sense or speaking heresy?

Not heresy. The only thing that is dogmatic is that of the doctrine. In other words, the “resurrection of the body” recounted in scripture and affirmed in the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds. How it will occur is open to reasonable speculation.

God bless and good fortune,

And, our “bodies” are not resurrected.

Actually, the bodies DO ressurect. “Resurrection” is, literally, a rising again.

Only a body can lie or fall down, so only a BODY can rise again.

And there is no sense of waiting, without a sense of time.


I expect that in the New Jerusalem where the saved will live body and soul, there will be time of a sort- possibly the time that Adam & Eve experienced in Eden.

No doubt; as breathing, movement, speech, even thought require something analogous to time.

But not the time that we know, powered by entropy and driven toward death.


“But not the time that we know, powered by entropy and driven toward death.”

Yes; not time that’s been messed-up by sin.

Is this scholastic speculation or doctrine? Either way, I’m interested on reading more about this concept of aeviternity.

And by entropy, do you mean the thermodynamic law or something else entirely?

Here in the Summa

Frank Sheed’s Theology and Sanity makes it easier to understand with modern language (best to read the entire sub-section but aeviternity is explained in the last two paragraphs of that sub-section, which is III)

It’s not doctrine, doesn’t need to be since their hasn’t been a need to correct any mass heresy that will say “heaven experiences time as we experience it,” but nothing is on this subject so this the primary observation of scholastics.

Also called ‘Aevum.’ From Sheed’s book from above, “the duration of that which in its essence or substance knows no change: though by its accidents it can know change, and to that extent is in time too, but a sort of discontinuous time, not the ever-flowing time of matter.”

"For the are, among Catholic Theologians, two rival views on this matter. There is the classical view, the view of the vast majority of the theologians, which maintains a real identity of bodily substance; and there is the view of a minority, which regards such material identity as unnecessary. Both parties agree, of course, that there is a complete identity of soul; and both parties agree that the soul is the “predominant partner” and is the chief factor in the determination of personal identity. But, while the minority would make it the sole factor and effective cause of personal identity, the majority require along with it a coefficient of identical material substance. Let us illustrate the matter from ordinary human life.

“A man preserves, throughout his life, his personal identity. That identity rests, in the first place, on identity of soul. The conscious life, knit together by memory, is continuous from beginning to end, and the man himself recognizing this continuous experience his identity with himself. But such spiritual identity is not the whole of the matter, just as man is not a pure spirit, but a being composed of body and soul. So that there is also a psycho-physical identity based on the life of the senses and on every vital process of the organism. Let us call this, to distinguish it from the other, vital identity. It is true, of course, that the soul vitalizes and controls the whole human energy, and yet it will be useful here to distinguish between purely spiritual activity and the mixed activities of the whole human complex. We recognize, then, a living man, not merely an identity of soul, but an identity of his complete self, an identity of not only in the functions mind, but in every function of the sensitive organism. Physiologists say that the substance of which the body is composed is continually changing, and St. Thomas Aquinas also recognizes a constant flux of matter. But it is a plain fact of experience that this process, however constant and however complete, does not interrupt the vital identity. Though atoms and molecules may change, yet the unitary life persists, and the organism goes on uninterruptedly to the dissolution of death, preserving a continuous vital identity, while apparently wholly indifferent to the material “stuff” which it now appropriates and now discards.” - The Teaching of the Catholic Church, vol. II, ch. XXXIV, pp 1233, 1949.

Now, it may seem like a minor point, and perhaps it is, but, the point that I was trying to make is that the body does nothing by itself, un-combined with its soul. Our bodies don’t rise like zombies, pure flesh and bone. Likewise, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was not a resurrection of his physical body first, then later his God-ness gets recomposed with it. Both Resurrected together, in full vital identity.

That was my point, otherwise some might think we’re saying that the body resurrects - without its identity, like a zombie; and, at some later point, it is re-inhabited by its former soul. That is not the case as the above illustrates - even though it is leaning to explain that it is not just the soul that rises. (Which wasn’t my point either.)

And there is no sense of waiting, without a sense of time.

There must be. Otherwise there is no reason to pray to God for the quick release of our soul, and the souls of other departed, from purgatory. If there’s “no waiting,” what would be the problem with being there indefinitely?

“In purgatory, the soul longs to suffer in order to be clean, to suffer in order to reach God.” - ibid. pp. 1151 So, though it is not “time” as we currently perceive it, it is a longing and a longing isn’t over in a split second. Furthermore, there may yet be un-atoned for sins, that must be atoned for, in order to reach the perfection which is our redeemed nature, even after our acquisition of the fullness of love that signals the end of the longing period… This may entail another time measure, a further period of painful deprivation from God. This is what I call a “waiting period.”

(See TS Aquinas’ post above.)

God bless,

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