What happens to us when we die?

I really need your help. I have been reading the bible with my gf, she is a seventh day Adventist. We are about to start the book of Isaiah, we started since genesis and every time an important verse is read we write it down.

Well, her church belief is that when we die the body and soul sleeps. Granted were still in the OT, but theirs a lot of verses that say when one dies they sleep. Having said that I also know that in the NT, Jesus does say that he came to resurrect the bodies.

Is this were our belief comes in that when we die we go to get judged? Any insightful information would be greatly appreciated.

I’d suggest reading through the *Catechism of the Catholic Church. *Specifically Chapter 3 Article 11 “I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body” and Ch. 3, Art 12 “I Believe in Life Everlasting”. These two sections will likely help in explaining death, judgement, and the resurrection. It will also give you several scriptural references as well as non- scriptural ones. Lastly, this may also be helpful: catholic.com/search/content/soul%20sleep

From the Baltimore Catechism:

408. Q. When will Christ judge us?
A. Christ will judge us immediately after our death, and on the last day.

“Immediately.” In the very room and on the very spot where we die, we shall be judged in an instant, and even before those around us are sure that we are really dead…

  1. Q. What is the judgment called which we have to undergo immediately after death?
    A. The judgment we have to undergo immediately after death is called the Particular Judgment.

“Particular,” because one particular person is judged.

  1. Q. What is the judgment called which all men have to undergo on the last day?
    A. The judgment which all men have to undergo on the last day is called the General Judgment.

“General.” because every creature gifted with intelligence will be judged on that day–the angels of Heaven, the devils of Hell, and all men, women, and children that have ever lived upon the earth. The Holy Scripture gives us a terrible account of that awful day…

  1. Q. Why does Christ judge men immediately after death?
    A. Christ judges men immediately after death to reward or punish them according to their deeds.

More available at: cin.org/users/james/ebooks/master/baltimore/bcreed07.htm

Well because the Redeemer had not yet arrived all the souls of the departed were taken to a holding place, the people of Israel called this “Sheol”.

Sheol was divided according to their understanding so that the souls of the people that had died in “friendship” to God would not mix with the ones that did not.

If you see in the NT it states that Jesus after His death descended to “hell” however this is an incorrect translation insofar that He did NOT descend into the Hell of the damned. There would be no point, once in the Hell of the damned there is no possibility of change.
The proper translation would be “hades” which is the greek word or Sheol.

Hell was called by Jesus Gehenna this is the hell of the damned.
Hope this helps

Peace :thumbsup:

Hi chero23,

Your soul will separate from your body and it will with all its being want to return to its maker. Our Lord will judge you and decide your fate i.e. heaven, hell or purgatory depending on the state of your soul, whether its in a state of sanctifying grace, or not. It would be nice to have Our Lady’s prayer & intervention at the hour of your death. It would go a long way with our Redeemer.


In the New Testament there are various places which implicitly refer to the existence of judgement right after death. In the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (St. Luke 16:22-31) the two men are taken to their respective places, bosom of Abraham and Hell, while the brothers of the condemned person are still alive. Further Christ says to St. Dismas, the penitent thief, that he will be with Him in Paradise on that very day (St. Luke 23:43) and according to St. Peter in the Acts of the Apostles, the suicidal Judas has “gone to the place which belonged to him” (Acts 1:25).

As to Holy Tradition, the Second Council of Lyons (1272-1274) and the Council of Florence (1431–1449) teach that people whose souls are completely clean from sin, either through baptismal innocence or otherwise, are immediately received into Heaven while those in mortal sin are directly condemned to Hell.

The Second Council of Lyons (D 464):

However, the souls of those who after having received holy baptism have incurred no stain of sin whatever, also those souls who, after contracting the stain of sin, either while remaining in their bodies or being divested of them, have been cleansed, as we have said above, are received immediately into heaven. The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to hell, yet to be punished with different punishments.

The Council of Florence (D 693):

And that the souls of those, who after the reception of baptism have incurred no stain of sin at all, and also those, who after the contraction of the stain of sin whether in their bodies, or when released from the same bodies, as we have said before, are purged, are immediately received into heaven, and see clearly the one and triune God Himself just as He is, yet according to the diversity of merits, one more perfectly than another. Moreover, the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kinds.

When you die you are immediately judged and either go immediately to Hell if dying in a state of mortal sin or immediately saved (straight to Heaven or Purgatory first) if dying in a state of grace. There is no sleeping soul!!

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