PHiLES home
  Up to Abrahamic religionns


Last Judgement, Hell and Heaven

Before Jesus, Semitic prophets were used to stress the beneficial effects on life on earth of following God, and first and foremost the detrimental effects of not doing so. Heaven was thought to be God's dwelling place not reachable for humans, neither in nor after life on earth. There was no hell. Semitic prophets thought earthly effects of good and bad actions would suffice. They relegated all dead without much distinction to an underground world of skinny, grey, impotent and generally uninteresting and certainly unenviable people.

Jesus, in his attempts to convert Jews used to deal with Romans, who were suppressing them succesfully , living a good life in which they clearly were not not being punished for their deeds, was the first in the line of Semitic prophets who decided

bullet to put hell into use (for Romans in the first place)
bullet make heaven accessable to humans, albeit after life, albeit only if living faithfully up to the prophesy of Jesus ( Matthew on Heaven).

In early references hell is called Hades, the ancient Greek name for the underworld. A hell, defined as a torture department in Hades, was already employed by the Greek at the times. Apostle John added some detail to the the selection  criteria for heaven and hell in his Apokalyps, the last book of the christian New Testament. Muhammed did not add significantly to the image of hell, apparently considering Jesus' and John's hell to be gruesome enough. The main elements are heat and fire, apparently at the time physically experienced by Semitic mortals with enough intensity to convincingly be things to stay clear of. You will drink boiling water and molten brass and you will eat decaying filth, you will be speachless of despair. Koran speaks about heaven and hell in an astonishingly higher frequency than the Bible, often as a pair, to enhance the contrast between the consequences of choosing between right and wrong in the subject matter dealt with. In Koran, the description of hell is as sobre as in the Bible, but descriptions of paradise occur much more frequent and show much more detail than those to which Bible readers are used ( Graph of heavenly joys).

Koran on Heaven and Hell
Koran sources heavenly joys: Graph Table of frequencies
find Koran Heaven and Hell references