2.5   AFTERLIFE

Once free the soul usually drifts to the Heavens.   It passes through both the First and Second Heavens enroot to its new home in the Third.   It cannot willingly stop on this journey, nor can any celestial impede its progress.  Its proper place seems to pull it forward like a magnet.

Once in the Third Heaven, the souls are drawn to one of two places.   Those souls who have lead good lives and learned from their misdeeds travel to the Garden, while the souls of those who have walled in selfishness and depravity during their stay on Earth go to Tartarus.   Either way, they resume an ethereal version of their old physical bodies.   They do not necessarily appear as they did at the moment of their death.   Rather, they appear as what they looked like at the height of their life (this varies for each individual soul).  Still, there is a perfection to this form that could never be achieved on Earth.

They do not, however, resemble the other inhabitants of Heaven, the celestials.    Angels are much larger, usually standing 10 to 20 times as tall as any of the departed souls.  

For those souls making it to the Garden, eternity is a wondrous thing.   The very trees and soil of this paradise have a soothing effect on the inhabitants.   All that a righteous soul could ever want or desire can be found here.   Two Cherubim always guard the gates, but this is more for the protection of the souls within then to prevent them from escaping.  In fact, from time to time a soul will wander out of the Garden (usually disregarding the protests of the Cherub guards) and mingle with the other inhabitants of heaven.  This is unusual, though, as most souls are so contented that thoughts of leaving are remote to them. 

Tartarus is another story completely.  The guards here are meant to keep the unworthy souls from leaking into other parts of heaven.     It is here that the wicked souls are punished for eternity.   Those of Earth have often mistakenly believed that demons carry out these punishments, for what else but a demon could stomach such unending suffering.  In actuality, though, it is the angel of torment who take on this mantel.  Demons have nothing to do with the dead.  A soul that is locked in Tartarus already signifies the victory for the fallen ones—no more need be done on their side.


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