Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI Reminds the Faithful That Mortal Sin Leads to Damnation

Photo Source: REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (ITALY)
Nov. 06 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) reminded the faithful that mortal sin leads to damnation, in a sobering message at his Angelus audience on November 5.

The Pope devoted most of his Sunday audience to a reflection on the Christian understanding of death. An affluent society, he observed, often avoids the topic of death, but inevitably every mortal is brought face to face with this reality, which seems "radically hostile and contrary to our natural vocation to life and to happiness."

Through his redemptive suffering, the Pope continued, "Jesus revolutionized the meaning of death," making Christians realize that death is not a final end. Since the Resurrection, he continued, "death is not the same; it has been deprived of its sting."

However, the Holy Father remarked, there is a form of death that should be more fearsome to believers: the death of the soul in sin. "Indeed," said the Pope, "those who die in un-repented mortal sin, closed off from God's love by their prideful rejection, exclude themselves from the kingdom of life."

12 comment(s):

del_button November 8, 2006 at 5:32 PM
Anonymous said...

So is the soul simply damned or does it die? I'm confused.

del_button November 8, 2006 at 6:17 PM
Matthew said...

Theologically, the soul does not die. The soul will live forever in either Heaven or Hell.

del_button November 8, 2006 at 7:05 PM
Anonymous said...

Oh. Ummm...what does 'death of the soul in sin' mean?

del_button November 8, 2006 at 7:38 PM
Matthew said...

It means the soul will be in hell. A "nicer" way of saying a soul goes to hell is saying the soul dies because it is no longer connected with the Giver of Life, God Himself.

del_button November 9, 2006 at 12:27 PM
Anonymous said...

I came across this the other day. Ezekiel 18:4 – Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

doesn't this mean souls die...?

del_button November 9, 2006 at 6:12 PM
Matthew said...

But, the soul is defined as the eternal life force in a living being. It cannot be destroyed.

That passage again is metaphoric of the soul going to hell. In hell the soul is completely deprived from life and suffers forever away from God and life. It can be theologically said that the soul dies, but it is just a way of saying the soul goes to Hell.

del_button November 9, 2006 at 11:08 PM
Anonymous said...

I think the issue is is that the verse clearly says souls can die (also the same word used to describe Adam's death - therefore it's a "literal" death). Like anonymous, i also used to ask questions about the existence of an immortal soul. Upon doing some personal study (a very humbling experience!!), I quickly found that these verses in Ezekiel are actually talking about personal responsibility: The man that sins dies, the man who does good lives (not eternal damnation for the bad in hell vs. eternal bliss for the good in heaven).

Go down a bit further and the same words are repeated in verse 20 (obviously the punishment of sinning is something Ezekiel was really pushing!!). Verse 21 explains who the souls that sin are: "the wicked". Run the verses together and you'll get something that looks like this: "The person that sins shall die...but if that same wicked person turns from all the sins he has committed and does good, he shall live."

While the death of a soul might seem like a metaphor at first, looking at it from the perspective outlined above and it becomes clearer and clearer that the 'soul that sins' is literally a 'wicked person'.

del_button November 10, 2006 at 8:34 AM
Anonymous said...

Hmmm...definitely something I'm going to think about. I admit I do have a problem with the metaphor slant since everything else in that verse and even in the rest of the chapter seem to be literal. If I was a Jew listening to Ezekiel's/God's words, I'm not sure if I would comprehend that Ezekiel is talking about souls suffering in hell until the end of time. It doesn't seem to fit the topic of conversation if you know what I mean!! Like, if I heard the words "death" and "life" in the same breath, I would naturally think "death" and "life", not methaphorical death of the soul through eternal suffering!!

del_button November 10, 2006 at 10:32 AM
Matthew said...

Let me clarify my statement since I have more time to write now. The soul is not technically "eternal" because it has not always existed. It is "immortal". This is basic of all Christian doctrine. After death, our soul will ultimately go to Heaven or hell. It will never cease to exist, but it may be deprived of God (in Hell) so that we no longer have living grace in us. But, literally speaking, the soul will always exist.

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del_button November 10, 2006 at 11:34 AM
Anonymous said...

Sorry Moneybags!! I still don't get it!! I hear what you're saying of course but I'm a little confused how you find hell damnation in ezekiel's words!! Maybe there are a ton of references to an immortal soul suffering in hell elsewhere in the Bible but it's not looking like this verse in Ezekiel is one of them. being a skeptical Christian by nature, if you say souls don't die but Ezekiel says they do and then, like tiny tim pointed out, the soul is actually just a bad and sinful human being and not an immortal intangible lifeforce, then my apologies but I'll be looking a little harder at future soul references in God's word! thanks for your opinions though. theyve been helpfull.

del_button November 13, 2006 at 3:57 PM
Anonymous said...

About immortal vs. eternal, it should be noted that God Himself is called "immortal" in 1 Timothy 6:16. Since it can't be argued that He hasn't always existed, I wonder if there's really that much difference between the two words.

del_button November 20, 2006 at 10:34 PM
Anonymous said...

I think you will find that in regards to "immortal" refers to an unending existence, while "eternal" refers to sommething being in existence outside of time and change. Let us assume that there are different parts of a soul, these parts I shall treat as seperate entities or "souls within a soul". An immortal person would live forever, but would remain a person. A soul is eternal in the sense that it exists outside of time. (time being a construct mostly of our own intuition according to Kant) This also gives us as Christians (using the term at its broadest) a way to reconcile the bible telling us that before we were we were known to God. The part of our soul that is eternal WAS with God before we were. But this was not our immortal soul. The immortal soul is in a sense our most human soul since it is in a context of time. It is our lives here on Earth and our sins that create the ever living reality for that soul. These sins transfer to the punishment of the eternal soul upon death. As heaven is commonly refered to as "life after death" then the opposite of heaven...hell must be something like this: "death after death". To a Gnostic like myself this become very interesting meditation since, in regards to the eternal soul, there is no such thing as life or death, only existence. But to shed some "light" on the idea of a dying soul....which part? Also it is important to remember that any translation of the bible has flaws in it and those flaws are also amplified if we look to closely at direct transcriptions between books of the bible.

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