St Justin Martyr a heretic?

Chapter 5. The soul is not in its own nature immortalOld Man: But I do not say, indeed, that all souls die; for that were truly a piece of good fortune to the evil. What then? The souls of the pious remain in a better place, while those of the unjust and wicked are in a worse, waiting for the time of judgment. Thus some which have appeared worthy of God never die; but others are punished so long as God wills them to exist and to be punished.

Chapter 5. The soul is not in its own nature immortal

When he speaks of immortality, he means immortality in and of itself–which belongs only to God. The soul is immortal only in as much as God sustains it (He could always cause it to cease to exist). He is opposing the Gnostic idea that a small, special group of souls had a kind of divinity based on their perfection. He is clear on the de facto immortality of the human soul, without granting it divine stability.

Keep reading from where you left off above as well as chapter 6.

In case anyone is wondering, this is from his Dialogue with Trypho, during the part where he relates his own past conversation with an old man that led to his conversion.


What does he mean by the pios in a better place and so on?

I would imagine that if he’s “Saint” Justin Martyr, it’s not likely that he’s unorthodox.


We do have cases where saints denied doctrines that were later infallibly defined. However if I understand correctly, they were not heretics because they were not in opposition to the Church at the time.

That doesn’t sound like the case here, though.

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What he says is in line with the second death concept in the book of Revelation, which the wicked souls experience.

The title of the thread is impossible. Which means the only answer for the question is “no, he is not a heretic”

Amen, I am trying to explain this on another thread. Immortality of God vs the eternal gift of the human soul and body , and its being reunited, that God has given us.


  • Saints aren’t heretics

  • Martyrs aren’t heretics

  • One who is a witness (Greek) to the Gospel, laying down his life for Christ our True God, builds up the Mystical Body of Christ (the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church).

IF you are accusing a Church Father of heresy, you may want to consider whether you know best or Holy Mother Church knows best.

Pray for us, holy Justin Martyr,
Deacon Christopher


Can you explain it to me?

‘Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it; from his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; and if any one’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.’ Rev 20:11-15

In the symbolism of Revelation, the condemned souls ‘die’ a second time, as it were, into the lake of fire.

This is why we evaluate all church figures in light of scripture. They don’t always get everything right with their theology. In Justin Martyr’s case, he was less adept as a theologian than he was a convincing apologist. This doesn’t make him wicked or any less a saint, just that there were areas he had blindspots in.

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