Universal resurrection

Universal resurrection or general resurrection is a doctrine held by some Christian denominations which posits that all of the dead who have ever lived will be resurrected from the dead, generally to stand for a Last Judgment.[1][2][3]


Main article: Jewish eschatology

Orthodox Judaism holds belief in the resurrection of the dead to be one of the cardinal principles of Rabbinic Judaism. Jewish halakhic authority Maimonides set down thirteen main principles of the Jewish faith which have ever since been printed in all Rabbinic Siddur (prayer books). Resurrection is the thirteenth principle:

"I believe with complete (perfect) faith, that there will be techiat hameitim - revival of the dead, whenever it will be God's, blessed be He, will (desire) to arise and do so. May (God's) Name be blessed, and may His remembrance arise, forever and ever."

Judaism, at least in the Second Temple Period at Qumran, traditionally held that there would be a resurrection of just and unjust, but of the very good and very bad,[4] and of Jews only.[5][6] The extent of the resurrection in 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra is debated by scholars.[7][8][9]


Acts 24:15 in the KJV states: "...there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust."

Augustine believed in a universal resurrection of bodies for all immortal souls.[10]

The Didache comments 'Not the resurrection of everyone, but, as it says, "The Lord will come and all his holy ones with him" ' (16.7)[11] Many Evangelicals believe in a universal resurrection, but divided into two separate resurrections; at the Second Coming and then again at the Great White Throne.[12]

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (1911) article on "General resurrection"[13] "The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) teaches that all men, whether elect or reprobate, "will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear about with them" (chapter "Firmiter"). In the language of the creeds and professions of faith this return to life is called resurrection of the body (resurrectio carnis, resurrectio mortuorum, anastasis ton nekron) for a double reason: first, since the soul cannot die, it cannot be said to return to life; second the heretical contention of Hymeneus and Philitus that the Scriptures denote by resurrection not the return to life of the body, but the rising of the soul from the death of sin to the life of grace, must be excluded."

Mortalists, those Christians who do not believe that man has an immortal soul, may believe in a universal resurrection, such as Martin Luther,[14] and Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan,[15] Some mortalist denominations may believe in a universal resurrection of all the dead, but in two resurrection events, one at either end of a millennium, such as Seventh-day Adventists.[16] Other mortalist denominations deny a universal resurrection, such as Christadelphians[17] and hold that the dead count three groups; the majority who will never be raised, those raised to condemnation, and a second final destruction in the "Second Death", and those raised to eternal life.

See also


  1. Michael T. Griffith One Lord, One Faith: Writings of the Early Christian Fathers As ... 1996 p207 "43 The Universal Resurrection: All Will Be raised from the dead POINT: The Bible teaches that all mankind will be resurrected. Several early Christian writers reiterated this truth. Selected Bible Passages: Acts 24:15: ". . . there ..."
  2. Wolfhart Pannenberg Jesus God and Man 1977 p66 "Then when his disciples were confronted by the resurrected Jesus, they no doubt also understood this as the beginning of the universal resurrection of the dead, as the beginning of the events of the end of history."
  3. Sergeĭ Nikolaevich Bulgakov The bride of the Lamb 2002 p531 The Universal Resurrection The parousia of Christ is the coming of the Resurrected One in the power and glory of the ... The resurrection of the One is also the universal resurrection, hidden until the "last day" (John 6:39) and ..."
  4. John Joseph Collins Apocalypticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls 1997 p112 "The resurrection is not universal. It is the destiny of the very good and the very bad, who are raised for reward and punishment respectively. Daniel uses the metaphor of sleep and awakening to indicate the transition that is in ..."
  5. Lester L. Grabbe An introduction to first century Judaism: Jewish religion and History in the Second Temple Period (9780567085061): 1996 p79 "Here the resurrection is not universal but involves only some of the dead. The righteous achieve what is referred to as 'astral immortality'; that is, they become like the stars of heaven (12:3) . After this resurrection is found widely ..
  6. The Expositor Samuel Cox, Sir William Robertson Nicoll, James Moffatt - 1884 "and that his soul may repose for ever and ever with those elected unto life everlasting." 3 X. While thus the Jews firmly believed in the Resurrection of the dead, it was no universal resurrection that they held. "
  7. Jacob Neusner, Alan Jeffery Avery-Peck Judaism in Late Antiquity: Part Four: Death, Life-After-Death 2000 p157 "2, p. 301. On the views of resurrection, judgment, and the world to come in 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra, see the article by John J. Collins in this volume and Nickelsburg, Resurrection, pp. 84-85, 138-140.
  8. Liv Ingeborg Lied The other lands of Israel: imaginations of the land in 2 Baruch 2008 p189 "In other words, this is not a resurrection of all Israel or a universal resurrection of mankind (50–51). “The first” (“the ancients,” “of ... 1Thess 4:15; Cf. Charles, Apocalypse of Baruch, 55–56; Bogaert, Apocalypse de Baruch II, 66)."
  9. Turid Karlsen Seim, Jorunn Økland Metamorphoses: resurrection, body and transformative practices in 2009 p29 "In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul argues didactically rather than polemically in defense of a resurrection from the dead.31 In the eschatological scenario of 1 Corinthians 15, there is, differently from 2 Baruch, no universal resurrection. ."
  10. Aurelius Augustinus, City of God Against the Pagans "For then, either not all the dead will rise, leaving some human souls without bodies forever, that had once had human bodies, though only in their mother's womb ; or if all human souls are to receive in the resurrection the bodies which .."
  11. Simon Tugwell The apostolic Fathers 1990 p148 "First, the mention of the resurrection is qualified by the rider, 'Not the resurrection of everyone, but, as it says, "The Lord will come and all his holy ones with him" ' (16.7). This is probably to be taken, not as meaning that dead sinners never get resurrected, but as referring to a preliminary resurrection of the saints before the millennial earthly reign of Christ, which was widely believed in the early"
  12. Herbert Lockyer All about the Second Coming 1998 p.xv "Only some of the dead will rise: “the dead in Christ will rise first”(1 Thessalonians 4:16). The rest of the dead, the wicked dead, will remain in their graves until the time of the great white throne, when all must be raised"
  13. Anthony Maas General Resurrection
  14. Paul Althaus The theology of Martin Luther 1966 "With the New Testament, Luther teaches the resurrection of all the dead and not only of the believers." All enter into judgment. The believers enter into eternal life with Christ; evil men enter into eternal death with the devil and his angels..""
  15. Hobbes Leviathan 1976 ed., p.315 "For though the Scripture be clear for a universal resurrection, yet we do not read that to any of the reprobate is promised an eternal life. For whereas St. Paul, to the question concerning what bodies men shall rise with again,"
  16. Seventh-Day Adventists answer questions on doctrine General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists - 1957 "The general resurrection of all the dead occurs at the second advent, which will usher in the eternal world. Satan was "bound" by the first advent of our Lord, and expelled from the individual hearts of His followers"
  17. Tennant, H. Christadelphians - What they believe and teach Birmingham, CMPA 1977

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