I woke up this morning, having left the television on last night, to a TV preacher on WGN telling the story of Cain and Abel. The curious part was that he said that “Cain was the first person to go to hell, assuming he died before his parents”. I thought I might have misunderstood, but he went on to add that although Abel went to heaven, Adam and Eve never reconciled with god after being ejected from Eden. Thus, they both went to hell upon their deaths.
I was raised Christian, but left the church many years ago, and I don’t remember ever being taught anything like that. Is this a common Christian belief? If not, are there any major denominations that do believe this, or was this guy just nuts?
Well, granted, I’m not exactly up on all this religious mythology these days, but when I was a kid I was raised Catholic and don’t remember this ever even coming up in a discussion. I think the assumption was that they both went to heaven after their deaths (whenever that was)…but I don’t think it was ever explicitly stated either in church or in Sunday school.
I doubt that it’s a core belief for any denomination, but from a biblical literalist point of view it makes sense - there is no record of Adam and Eve reconciling with God, therefore it never happened. Ipso facto, they are in Hell.
Personally, I’ve never even considered the question…
According to some theologians, before the Crucifixion, everyone went to Hell. When Jesus died on the Cross, he went downstairs and rescued everyone who was not irredeemably sinful. After taking them to Heaven, he returned to Earth and was Resurrected.
The technical term for this event is “The Harrowing of Hell”.
Mormons believe that Adam was the angel Michael in his pre-mortal life, and that the Fall was not a bad thing, but necessary for mankind to exist and should be celebrated. Brigham Young originally taught that Adam WAS God the Father, but that changed later.
Maybe a topic for another GD thread, but I’ve always been uncertain whether the New Testament indicates that people go to heaven or hell when they die, or whether everybody’s just dead until they’re raised up for Judgment Day. Under the latter scenario, I’d figure that (according to theology) Adam and Eve would just be nowhere, and remain so until they’re resurrected with everybody else.
Also, I remember that there’s a lake of fire that burns forever, but does that equal eternal torment? I had the impression that eternal torment isn’t directly mentioned anywhere in the bible and might even be more or less an invention of the medieval Church.
God does show Adam & Eve mercy in that He does not end their lives, but their opportunity for immortality, clothes them in animal skins to cover their shame (regarded as a foreshadowing of animal sacrifice), and promises that Eve’s seed shall crush the serpent’s head, even as it wounds him in the heel.
The post-NT apocryphal writings on the Harrowing as well as Catholic artwork depict Adam & Eve with the pre-Christ souls who embrace Christ as His Descent into Hades, and are delivered by Him into Paradise.
Actually, that exact question is one of a lot of contention (for those who worry about such things) with a number of denominations holding that the dead are just dead until the Final Judgement and others contending that they immediately go to Heaven or Hell (or Purgatory if one’s theology leans that way) and that the Final Judgment simply seals the deeds (while allowing God to pass a final sentence on those who had not yet died at that time).
Arguments can be made for each position, but there is no clear declaration in the New Testament indicating that one scenario is the obvious only one.
Another (if somewhat academic) aspect of theology that a lot of people (including theologians) forget is that in the Catholic/Orthodox faith we’re disembodied spirits until the day of judgement. At that time, all the dead (good and evil) receive what you might call the Ressurection Body. That is, mankind is part spirit and part animal; at death we are seperated from our bodies, but on the Last Day this breach is healed as we are whole once more. Some might go further and even say this is symbolic of the redemption fo the universe as a whole and its being brought into the kingdom of heaven through purified, perfected (formerly-)mortal flesh.
Of course, the damned will suffer that much more for having perfect forms as well. C’est la vie.
If God created everything in the first 7 days, wouldn’t he have created hell at the same time? There isn’t anything in the Bible that says hell was created later on. Unless he was moving in mysterious ways again.