The Cornerstone of the Church’s doctrinal structure is eschatology, the doctrine of the end of things and it is summed up in the book of revelations. We know that Man came from God, therefore to God he will return. The doctrine of the last things is what gives the deepest supernatural meaning to the history of the world, which is ultimately the history of salvation to the glory of God the father Almighty.
Naturally the position of Christ and his Church in eschatology has not always been proclaimed with the same emphasis at all times and in every individual decree. Almost always the Church’s decrees are aimed at heresies which arise and these mostly concern the last things as they affect individuals.
In its dealing with heresy concerning the last things, the Church has stressed three main fundamental truths:
- The nature of the direct vision of God in the next world which is essentially different from the indirect knowledge of God in this world
- The dignity of the human body and with it the whole of material creation.
- value of the human body and at the same time to fight for the basic facts of a true anthropology.
The best source of the last things is from John’s vision written in the book of revelations in the bible. The Catholic Church Teaches that Souls which depart this life without sin or punishment due to sin, go the eternal happiness. The happiness of heaven consist in the direct vision of God. For this vision, an end which is not owed to man, man needs the Light of Glory.
She also teaches that the soul which has temporal punishment still due goes to purgatory. The faithful can help the holy souls by prayer and good works. Souls which depart this life in grievous sin go to hell. Hell is eternal. For souls burdened with original sin alone it consists of the loss of the Beatific Vision, but for those in actual sin there are also the torments of hell.
At the end of time souls are re-united with their risen bodies following Christ’s example. Christ will then pronounce the last judgment, he will finally reveal himself as the head of the Church, and hand over his kingdom to the Father.