Where we are judged by God ...?

Our Catholic faith teaches us that if we die with an unrepentant mortal sin upon our soul, we will be lost to the fires of hell. If we die in God’s friendship, we will be with Him in heaven forever but may be first required to be purged of our attachment to sin in purgatory.

That said, where are we judged by God before being sent off to our destination?

Heaven? That might be the place for those that are going to heaven but the ones who are going to hell will never see heaven so they can’t be judged in heaven.

Hell for those going to hell? Well, by definition, hell is the absence of God so if God were to enter hell, it would no longer be hell.

Purgatory for those going to purgatory? According to Our Lady, no person of the Trinity enters into purgatory.

That pretty much excludes everything. So, anybody have any ideas where our final judgement might take place?

Maybe the final judgment won’t occur in an actual place? Does the Church teach we will actually appear before God in a courtroom-like judgment? It doesn’t seem to me that God would be limited by such things and would simply pass judgment on our souls immediately after we die. I don’t for sure, though.

We don’t know.

My humble opinion is that it is the soul that essentially judges itself and decides for itself, as we decide during life, whether we wish to go into God’s presence and love, or not.

People who have near death experiences usually report travelling down a tunnel towards a light - God? Possibly the soul of the person who is hellbound finds it cannot bear to approach the light and instead moves away from it. :shrug:

Since both the soul and God are bodyless it may not be appropriate to speak of a place of judgement [for the immediate judgement after death].

A priest once spoke on EWTN of dying in an auto accident - head on ito a semi. He was in the dark. There was no judgement as such. He just knew his life as God knew it and knew he was damned. He then heard an argument between a man and a woman who was pleading that he be given a second chance. Obviously he got it and changed his life.

I do a poor job of summarizing it, but the tape is facinating and convincing.

Where was this “dark”?

Maybe if he wasn’t given a second chance, a final judgement would have taken place.

A priest damned? Leaves little hope for the rest of us.

Perhaps the Blessed Virgin Mary pleading his case before God?


The particular judgement occurs immediately after death. It does not take place in Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell. Instead, the soul is alone with God, being judged by God based on their choices in life. The particular judgment is placeless and timeless.

The general judgment occurs at the time of the general resurrection in the distant future. This is also called the final judgment. In it, both the unjust souls from Hell and the just souls from Heaven and Purgatory, are judged and given resurrected bodies befitting of their vices or virtues.

What do you mean “placeless”? I don’t understand that.

God is bigger than the universe He created, remember. Just as He is beyond time, He is also beyond space and place. So you can’t say there is a particular ‘place’ where He needs to be to meet the soul or for the soul to meet Him.

Sir Knight, I listened to a talk by Peter Kreeft speaking about Heaven, and he said us trying to imagine Heaven is like a baby in the womb trying to imagine the world outside. “Maybe the outside world is an even bigger womb!” I don’t think we can even begin to imagine Heaven, so maybe trying to fully comprehend the concept of placeless and timeless is futile for us.

Oh, here’s that talk if you’re interested:


My understanding of God’s presence in Hell is that he is present, because he is present everywhere. Those there just cannot perceive him.

Sorry. It’s a tape from EWTN that I heard years several years ago. Thought I knew where it was but can’t find it at the moment; so don’t even have a name.

I found this interesting link related to the topic. It certainly makes for worthwhile (and perhaps painful) meditation.


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