Friday, January 9, 2015

ANF 5: Hippolytus Against Plato

Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 5

Hippolytus: Works and Fragments II.--Dogmatical and Historical: Against Plato, On the Cause of the Universe

Here we have Hippolytus' (or whoever's) view of life after death, heaven and hell. The righteous are guided to heaven by angels, while the sinners are dragged to hell by demons. The two can see each other, but with a "deep and vast abyss" set between the two, "so that neither can any of the righteous in sympathy think to pass it, nor any of the unrighteous dare to cross it."
But this is not all, for God will resurrect our bodies as well (which you Greeks should believe, since even Plato teaches immortality), so that for all eternity we will be soul and body. And yet, the difference will remain--the bodies of the righteous will be glorified while the bodies of sinners will be scourged, both for all eternity. And what is the dividing line between the two? "Ye who believe these words, O men, will be partakers with the righteous." Faith is what separates Christians from non Christians, heaven from hell.

[If it's unclear why this is "Against Plato," it is because despite their surface similarities, Christians must ultimately reject the teachings of Plato about eternity in the Republic and the Timaeus.]

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