- Religion and Philosophy
Purgatory Biblical Evidence
The purging of Sin
Catholics and Protestants agree, there is biblical evidence for Heaven as well as Hell. Purgatory, however...well...that's another story. Purgatory is mere Catholic folklore.
After all, where in Holy Scripture can the word Purgatory be found - what chapter - what verse? where is the biblical evidence for the doctrine of Purgatory?
Well, in the interest of saving time, let it first be said the word Purgatory is no where to be found in holy scripture. The biblical evidence for the doctrine of Purgatory, however, is ample.
Oh really, say our bible-thumping Protestant brothers and sisters: Then let's have it. Let us see that we may believe.
Okay...let us begin by saying that there are Christian doctrines shared in common by Catholics and Protestants not specifically mentioned in the scriptures. For example, the doctrine of the Trinity. The belief that there are three persons in one God, is shared by both Christian sects.
Yet, like purgatory, the word "trinity" is no where to be found in sacred scripture. Still another Christian doctrine shared between Catholics and Protestants is the doctrine of the incarnation. The belief that Jesus Christ was incarnate or born of a woman.
Yet, like purgatory, the word "incarnation" is no where to be found in the scriptures. We profess a belief in these Christian tenets, however, because (like purgatory) the biblical evidence for them is abundant.
That having been said, let us crack open our King James bible for a little scripture fun. Yes, I said: King James bible.
Matthew 12:32, Jesus tells us: "...whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."
Note must here be taken. Jesus tells us sin against the Holy Ghost will not be forgiven in this world or the world to come.
Now, if sin can be forgiven in the world to come, as Jesus implies in this scripture verse, then where exactly in the world to come can this occur? For sin cannot be forgiven in heaven since there is no sin in heaven to forgive. Revelation 21:27 tells us nothing unclean shall enter heaven.
Is it not sin which makes us unclean? Yes, it is.
Neither can sin be forgiven in hell for hell is everlasting. Matthew 25:46 tells us: "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment..."
Jesus must then be alluding to another place in the world to come where sin can be forgiven. This place, the Catholic Church teaches, is purgatory.
Matthew 5:25-26, Jesus is a bit more specific: "...Thou shall be cast into prison. Verily I say on to thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing (2 cents, according to the KJB).
Here Jesus refers to a prison in the world to come. A prison where certain debt can be re-paid. Once this debt has been repaid, the prisoner is allowed to "come out." Jesus cannot be referring to hell, for there is no "coming out" of hell. Hell, is everlasting. He cannot be referring to heaven, for after all our earthly toil and strife to enter into its glory, who would want to be released from said glory? Certainly, not our Protestant brothers and sisters.
Yet, what is this prison Jesus refers to in the world to come where release is possible?
Well, 1 Peter 3:19-20 sheds a bit more light, when it tells us: "...[Jesus] went and preached to the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient..."
Once again, we see the description of a prison in the world to come. A prison for disobedient spirits (sinners). Certainly this prison cannot be a description of the glory of heaven. For what glory is there to be found in incarceration? Absolutely none. And what disobedient spirit is to be found in heaven? Perhaps, Lucifer was the last.
This prison cannot be hell, as we have seen, for hell's everlasting nature, grants no release to the eternal spirit as does this supernatural cell.
This prison is an ethereal place where certain debt can be repaid by sinners (disobedient spirits). A place not heaven, yet, a place not hell.
It is a place the Catholic Church teaches to be Purgatory.
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