Death and Afterlife: Improve your Essay Technique

Everyone doesn’t deserve to be saved and go to Heaven but what is the process to separate the ‘sheep’ and ‘goats’? Some Christian theologians pose the idea of election or predestination. Limited election means that due to their omnipotence, before we are even born God has chosen our eternal destiny of salvation or damnation. It is argued by the likes of Augustine that this occurs due to us being seminally present in Adam and Eve and should therefore still be punished for Original Sin but this makes God appear petty as if they are holding a grudge against humanity. On the contrary, Pelagianism claims we are born clean slates and are not tainted by the Fall and it is our choose if we are good or evil without any intervention from God; if God has no say in our actions or choices, is it right that they can damn us to Hell? Initially, Augustine believed God knew all our freely chosen actions due to their omnipotence but later changed his mind to the harsher idea that a recognisable sign of God’s Grace is the decision maker in who is saved and so not everyone deserves to be saved and to go to Heaven. This is supported by John Calvin who believed that God is in total, unwavering control and we are predestined for either salvation or damnation. Although influential in Protestantism it is often rejected or criticised by Christians as if we are predestined for a certain afterlife why should we put in any effort at all? Conversely to this, unlimited election believes everyone deserves to be saved and to go to Heaven. Karl Barth raises the point that in dying on the cross Jesus brought salvation for all humanity and it is through Jesus you are elected. Evangelical Christian John Hick pioneered a more universalist view stating everyone of any religion can go to Heaven in the end. All religions are expressions of love and desire for a God like figure and so it is not a case of a right God and a wrong God, it is simply cultural. Furthermore, he adopted the view of Irenaeus that everything is about growth and the afterlife is where our faith in God grows. This argues that everyone deserves to be saved and go to Heaven. On the other hand, Pope Benedict XVI (Cardinal Ratzinger) rivals this by saying if everyone from any religion deserves to be saved and to go Heaven then Jesus’s sacrifice was all for nothing and therefore only Christians selected via limited election deserve to be saved and to go to Heaven.

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