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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II:
ATHENAGORAS: Chapter XX.—Man Must Be Possessed Both of a Body and Soul Hereafter, that the Judgment Passed Upon Him May Be Just.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XX.—Man Must Be Possessed Both of a Body and Soul Hereafter, that the Judgment Passed Upon Him May Be Just.

For either death is the entire extinction of life, the soul being dissolved and corrupted along with the body, or the soul remains by itself, incapable of dissolution, of dispersion, of corruption, whilst the body is corrupted and dissolved, retaining no longer any remembrance of past actions, nor sense of what it experienced in connection with the soul. If the life of men is to be utterly extinguished, it is manifest there will be no care for men who are not living, no judgment respecting those who have lived in virtue or in vice; but there will rush in again upon us whatever belongs to a lawless life, and the swarm of absurdities which follow from it, and that which is the summit of this lawlessness—atheism. But if the body were to be corrupted, and each of the dissolved particles to pass to its kindred element, yet the soul to remain by itself as immortal, neither on this supposition would any judgment on the soul take place, since there would be an absence of equity: for it is unlawful to suspect that any judgment can proceed out of God and from God which is wanting in equity. Yet equity is wanting to the judgment, if the being is not preserved in existence who practiced righteousness or lawlessness: for that which practiced each of the things in life on which the judgment is passed was man, not soul by itself. To sum up all in a word, this view will in no case consist with equity.

Next: Chapter XXI.—Continuation of the Argument.

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