Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Qur’an Surah 50: Qaaf

The following is from a work-in-progress called The Qur'an: a Book Report, in which I read each surah of the Qur'an and write about what I learn.

I recently got into a conversation with my dad about the Christian doctrine of what happens when you die.  The popular belief is that, when you die, your soul goes to heaven (or hell).  But this is not exactly the picture we find in the New Testament.  In the book of Revelation, for example, there is the belief that, at the end of time, all the dead will be bodily resurrected from their graves to face a final judgment.  The belief that your soul separates from your body at death is arguably a more Gnostic than orthodox Christian belief.

It is this latter view, that the dead will be bodily raised at the end of time, which the Qur’an adopts.  Surah 50, Qaaf, is concerned mainly with emphasizing this belief.  In the Qur’an, the belief in bodily resurrection is so important that it is what separates true believers from unbelievers.  This belief was also super important to early Christians.

The question then arises—what happens to people between death and final resurrection at the end of time?  To my knowledge, neither the Bible nor the Qur’an explicitly answers this question.  One could reasonably infer that, in this interim period, you are simply dead.  If you are somehow alive during this period, what need would there be for resurrection?

I guess my point is that both of these major world religions leave us with some unanswered questions regarding what happens when you die.

"The Resurrection of the Dead" by Michelangelo

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