Why do you have to die in order to go to heaven or hell?


It’s strange that we can’t go there unless we’re dead, except in rare extreme cases where few saints or prophets saw both.


Because our earthly life is incomplete–it’s not yet in eternity. God knows how long each of us has to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” as St. Paul put it. He gives each person as much time as s/he needs to gain salvation.

Some saints have done better than see heaven/hell. Some have been bodily taken up into heaven, such as Elijah, Enoch, and the Virgin Mary. Again, in each of their cases, what God had wanted them to accomplish had been done, and so it was time for them to join him in the Beatific Vision of Heaven in eternity.


How this make sense when many die at a young age?


Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.




The Original Sin of Adam and Eve brought death and rebellion into the world. Up until then there was no death and God walked with us in the Garden of Eden.


Enoch is believed along with Elijah to have gone to Heaven without dying first. It’s possible that they will return before the ‘Final Judgement, End of Days’ as the two witnesses mentioned in the Apocalypse. They then get killed when they come back. So even they don’t escape Death.

Also, some Christians believe that the ‘Rapture’ will automatically take believers to Heaven without having to Pass Go or Collect $200! I’m a little nervous about the actual process of dying so this is appealing. I seriously doubt it will happen that way.

We experience death as a part of life. Death was ‘over come’ and we are able to live everlasting lives with God. (I have no real grasp of what this is, but I also didn’t understand ice cream until I had it. Just saying, we can go by scripture, or a very few number of people who’ve reported NDEs but mostly it’s a Trust issue. I’m going to trust that death is inescapable, no matter what trans-humanists want to sell, and that what comes next is not entirely out of my control. If I sew goodness and faith and trust and forgiveness in this life I can accept that I should see some of that on the other side. I trust that the Church knows enough to help me out.

Mystics sometimes experience Heaven or glimpses of it, as you alluded to, but when I’ve read descriptions of it I know I don’t understand it. I am assuming it’s a part of something outside of this world, the rules of this worlds physics/nature kinda like a flat lander not understanding our 3D world.




I’m not sure why the ???

It’s rather clear; some saints, such as Faustina (Divine Mercy) or Teresa of Avila, have seen Heaven, Hell, or both, but most of us will go into (hopefully) Heaven with our dead eyes rolled back into our heads.

I think the key is that our human bodies are temporal, while the other life is eternal (and so incompatible). You cannot pour life eternal into an old human skin; it won’t hold it. You’ll need a new, everlasting skin.



And you think God didn’t know they would? Or that the mercy of God doesn’t extend to them? Or that, in God’s infinite plan, it wasn’t the best thing for them? Since we cannot know God wills for each of us, we really can’t say when anyone’s time to die is the right or wrong one.


So many die at old age sinning, wouldn’t be better for them, then, according to what you said to die at a younger age.


God made us mortal beings. Why? Perhaps to show his power and his mercy. Following the teaching of our Lord (Jn. 12:24), St. Paul compares the resurrection to the transformation of a seed into a plant:

[T]hat which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die first. … Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot possess the kingdom of God: neither shall corruption possess incorruption. … For this corruptible must put on incorruption: and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Cor. 15: 36, 50, 53)

We are, in fact, mortal by nature. Adam and Eve had the ability not to die by a preternatural gift, but they did not have glorified bodies before their fall. So if man had never fallen, we would still need to die, or at least to be transformed; but although that transformation might be accomplished without pains, it seems it is still a kind of death and resurrection.

What’s different about a glorified body? For one it is unable to die. The Catechism of Trent tells us it is also impassible (incapable of pain or discomfort), bright (shining like the sun), agile (going anywhere instantly and without difficulty), and subtle (perfectly subject to the soul and its wishes).


Because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden. He should never have listened to his wife, Eve, who in turn, should have eaten the snake, instead of the apple. As any indigenous Aussie will tell you! :snake:


That, surely, is for God to decide, not me. :wink:


And Moses too, whose body was taken up to heaven? At least that is what I was taught in Hebrew school.


It doesn’t make sense to our human minds. That is why we must trust and have faith in G-d.


Dt. 34:5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. 6 And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day.

Of course, that doesn’t mean God couldn’t have/didn’t assume his body in heaven. :wink: Matthew’s Gospel chapter 17:1-13 depicts Moses and Elijah talking with the transfigured Christ on Mount Tabor. From that reference we can surmise that either Moses’s spirit stood on Mount Tabor with Jesus and Elijah or it was his assumed body/soul. :yup:


I guess by strange you mean distorted - flawed from right reason. But take for instance the abovementioned quote: “For the wage of sin is death. But the grace of God, life everlasting in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23)

Thomas Aquinas built on the profound understanding of this quote by saying, “In regard to the good he says, but the grace of God, life everlasting. For since he had said that just men have eternal life, which it is certain cannot be had except through grace, then the very fact that we do what is good and that our works are worthy of eternal life is the result of God’s grace: he bestows grace and glory.” (Ps 84:11 vulg.) (Com. on Rom, Ch. 6, L. 4)

We cannot find true glory in this life. The Catechism says, "On this way of perfection, the Spirit and the Bride call whoever hears to perfect communion with God:

There will true glory be, where no one will be praised by mistake or flattery; true honor will not be refused to the worthy, nor granted to the unworthy; likewise, no one unworthy will pretend to be worthy, where only those who are worthy will be admitted…" (CCC 2550, St. Augustine, City of God, 22, 30) The right reason for grace, glory, or praise is only perfectly found in heaven.


Life is not a gift, it is one really long final exam. It is a responsibility.

That’s why you have to die, the exam is over by then.


Is life a closed-book or an open-book exam? That can make a difference.
Also, do you ever get the exam back with a grade, which can be contested? Which reminds me, I have stacks of exams that I have to grade.


Such people in general have lived incredibly deep spiritual lives, focusing their souls on such things.

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