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The Sadducees in ancient Israel rejected the very idea of there being an afterlife. They claimed that the punishment and curses as well as the blessings and rewards described throughout the Bible are earthly.

Many Jewish held beliefs carry over into Christianity, but are there any Christian denominations that believe this?

  • @Jesse For clarification, is it fair to say that by "afterlife" you mean any conscious existence after death? I ask, due to the differences in definitions of "afterlife"--some take it to be a disembodied existence after death; others consider "resurrection" to not be afterlife, but a continuation of this life, etc... So to avoid unnecessary hair splitting, is there a specific definition you're after? – Flimzy Nov 20 '17 at 11:02
  • Merriam-Webster defines "Christian" as: "one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ." This is difficult, however, because different denominations accept different teachings of Christ and interpret them differently. As a Catholic, one might hold that he who does not accept the Eucharist is not following Christ's teachings from John Ch. 6 and is therefore not Christian. But it seems that the converse is also true - a protestant might say a catholic is wrong about the Eucharist, therefore not following the teaching. So it depends on how you define "Christian." cont. – J. Tate Dec 11 '17 at 17:52
  • I like the simple definition of one who believes in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who was both fully human and fully divine. Then any squabbling about other teachings separates out denomination vs. denomination, not Christian vs. non-Christian. In any case, you must define Christian before you examine a denomination that claims to be Christian and does not believe in an afterlife, as you say. – J. Tate Dec 11 '17 at 17:52
  • Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. – user38924 Dec 11 '17 at 21:20
  • Keep in mind that the Bible describes life after death quite a bit, so they would need a way to explain those. – PyRulez Jan 30 '18 at 23:58
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I would have to say no.

Now, I'm not an expert on ABSOLUTELY EVERY denomination, but I have never heard of a denomination that denies the existence of consciousness after death.

Note that there may be small groups that are nondemoninational, who have unconventional beliefs. Seeing that nondemoninational is such a general term, we can't really give an answer, seeing that a small church in somewhere might believe that.

But to my knowledge, there are no other denominations (other than nondemoninational, as stated) that deny the existence of an afterlife, though the idea of the afterlife might be morphed a bit across denominations.

  • Given that there is such a thing as Christian Atheism I think it's safe to say there are some Christians who don't believe in an afterlife. – DJClayworth Mar 1 '18 at 14:31
  • @DJClayworth Thank you for this comment. I did not know of the existence of Christian Atheists (I thought they were just Christian evolutionists). Now I do. But I do consider them not to be another denomination, but a seperate belief, that has come from Christianity. Like Jehovah witnesses or mormons or roman catholics. I believe that denominations are alike to the difference between baptists and pentecostals. But then again, that may just be where I personally define denomination vs. belief. Again, thanks for the comment. – GreenHawk1220 Mar 2 '18 at 18:02
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While Jehovah's Witnesses definitely do not believe the same thing that the Sadducees believed, what we believe has some things in common with what you described.

We do believe in spirit creatures, including God and angels, and we believe in heaven. (John 4:24) But we don't believe that humans have a spirit person inside them that survives the death of the physical body and continues to exist in spirit form. When a person dies, they are just a dead body, and their consciousness ceases to exist. (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6) In that sense you could say we don't believe in an afterlife, but we do believe God can and will resurrect many humans back to physical earthly life in the future. (Acts 24:15) Basically, he will recreate them from his memory. (Job 14:14, 15)

We believe that the spiritual heavens and the physical world, are different things. When God created humans, he had already created spirit angels, so humans were meant to be different, physical beings. (Job 38:4, 7) The physical earth was intended to be our home, not heaven. (Psalm 115: 16) So most of the blessings and curses discussed in the Bible, as they relate to humans, are about things we would experience on the earth, at least in the Hebrew and Aramaic scriptures. Those that continue to obey God can live forever on the earth. (Psalm 37:29) Those that are judged negatively will die and remain dead forever. (Psalm 37:9, 10) The gift of life will have been taken away from them. Just as they did not exist before their life began, they will not exist after it ends. (Genesis 2:7, 3:19)

Of course the Christian Greek Scriptures do speak of a heavenly resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) But that was not a hope that was always held out to people. It is something God later opened up in order to serve a limited purpose. 144,000 people are being selected from among mankind, to rule with Christ in heaven as kings and priests. (Luke 12:32, Revelation 14:1, Revelation 1:6) Because they experienced life as imperfect humans, they will be able to empathize with and relate to the rest of mankind. Depending on how you define it, one might still say that those resurrected to spirit life are not exactly experiencing an "afterlife". It is not as if they have a spirit that survives the death of the body and they continue to exist in that form. They first completely die, and then God recreates, or resurrects them in a different form, a spirit one. (1 Corinthians 15:50)

https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/good-news-from-god/who-is-god/#p5

https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/good-news-from-god/what-hope-for-the-dead/

https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/good-news-from-god/what-is-gods-kingdom/

https://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/watchtower-study-december-2017/i-know-he-will-rise/

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200004211

https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200004192

  • I think most people would consider what you are describing as an 'afterlife'. – DJClayworth Mar 1 '18 at 14:33
  • @DJClayworth Yeah, depending on how you define it, I guess you could say we believe in the potential for an afterlife, but we don't believe in an automatic afterlife. There are some people who simply live out their life on the earth, die, and that is it. – still_dreaming_1 Mar 1 '18 at 22:59
  • Also, some people will get to experience everlasting life without ever having to die at all. To me the word afterlife feels tied to the concept of everyone having an immortal soul or immortal spirit, which we do not believe in. It feels tied to the concept that everyone will eventually die and the natural next step is to pass onto the afterlife. We believe that death is unnatural for humans, and was not part of God's original intention for mankind to have to experience. But that definition of an afterlife might just be my personal opinion. – still_dreaming_1 Mar 1 '18 at 23:17
  • To illustrate it another way, if someone had their body cryogenically frozen immediately after they died, in hopes they could be brought back to life or recreated after technology, science, and medicine advance, would that mean they believe in an afterlife? That is similar to how we feel about God. He simply has the ability to perfectly recreate us with a new body based on his perfect memory of everything about us. – still_dreaming_1 Mar 1 '18 at 23:27

protected by Nathaniel Oct 12 '17 at 14:59

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