"Dies Irae" by Thomas of Celano (1200 – c. 1265)
Day of sadness, day of sighs,(My translation).
When we from the coals will rise
And to judgement be consigned
therefore, God, please spare mankind
"Holy Sonnet 7" by John Donne (1572-1631)
At the round earth's imagined corners blowThe image of bodies arising on Judgement Day is certainly there in the Old Testament.
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go;
12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord. ’” (Ezekiel 37:12-14).And in the New.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (Revelations 20:13)It's in the Apostles' Creed
...the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.and the later Nicene Creed
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.and Ghostbusters.
So, the Christian consensus seems settled: When we die, we go into some sort of waiting period until the day that our bodies physically rise from our graves, from the sea, from wherever, and we come back to physical life. This takes place on earth, either the Earth we know or a recreated New Earth. Where is there room for "going to heaven" in this?
Well, there are two ambiguities here. One is, where do the souls wait? The other is, are they conscious when they are waiting? Ink and blood have been wasted on whether the souls (1) sleep or (2) die and will be resurrected, or (3) watch and wait. Donne is with the "soul sleep" camp in "Holy Sonnet 10":
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,If you hold with the "watch and wait" opinion, however, then heaven could be our waiting room until the New Earth is created.
And Death shall be no more ; Death, thou shalt die.
I recently wrote a short poem about my father's death that includes both views on the afterlife: heaven and soul sleep.
He’s with his maker, in a higher place,
and looking down to see his former loves;
and till we rise to join in Heaven’s grace,
we flutter on the Earth, like fledgling doves.
I’ve also heard my father’s soul’s asleep—
he waits for Christ to order his rebirth,
he waits for resurrection from the Deep,
he waits to walk forever on the Earth.
All that I know for certain is he’s gone,It seems odd that most of our euphemisms for death are about going to heaven, movies about death seem to be about going to heaven, and so on, but I can't find the justification for Christians to think that they are going to heaven. It seems to be a mostly twentieth-century idea, but I have not chased down why or when as yet.
an absence like an abscess in a tooth,
a certain solid fact of life withdrawn,
that leaves an empty echo as the truth.