According to Catholics, are names added to the Book of Life anywhere in the Bible (after Creation)? Including apocryphal writings or extrabiblical sources from within the Catholic spectrum.

I see only examples of names remaining in or being wiped out. I don’t see names being added.

“The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

In order to never be blotted out it’s implied you were already written in. When was it written in?

What is the Catholic view?

1 Answer 1


St Thomas Aquinas covers this question (more-or-less) and I don't think you're going to find this in the Catechism. I think someone smarter than me will have to interpret it for you.

Therefore those who are ordained to possess eternal life through divine predestination are written down in the book of life simply, because they are written therein to have eternal life in reality; such are never blotted out from the book of life. Those, however, who are ordained to eternal life, not through divine predestination, but through grace, are said to be written in the book of life not simply, but relatively, for they are written therein not to have eternal life in itself, but in its cause only.

So there's two times when the writing takes place once for those who St. Paul called predestined:

For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Rom 8:29

and once for those who drink the waters of eternal life later on.

but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:14

And the writing in the book, St. Thomas says should be taken in the Metaphorical sense:

The book of life is in God taken in a metaphorical sense, according to a comparison with human affairs. For it is usual among men that they who are chosen for any office should be inscribed in a book; as, for instance, soldiers, or counsellors, who formerly were called "conscript" fathers

  • Thank you. It is fascinating that you bring up the possibility of two modes of registry. I accept this to be a RC position but I fail to see where blotting out comes into the picture. If I understood you correctly, the first category I understand you to mean are registered and cannot be blotted out. Would I be correct to assume the second category according to RC can be registered if they accept but also risk being blotted out? Or am I reading too much into it?
    – Autodidact
    Jan 30, 2019 at 14:41
  • 1
    @autodidact St. Thomas covers that. I can't say that I understand it in the least and would hesitate to try to explain what he's talking about
    – Peter Turner
    Jan 30, 2019 at 14:55

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